The Microsoft press conference, which began with an impressive demo of the newest Tomb Raider game, as well as footage of Modern Warfare 3 and Gears of War 3 quickly gave way to Kinect pseudo-games that have the gaming press scratching their heads, and Xbox loyalists gnashing their teeth. In Tomb Raider, Lara Croft gets impaled, and you can see her injury impacting her ability to move and jump. In a similar manner, Microsoft has turned their game lineup into a game of survival horror, with their core consumer getting stabbed in the side with gut renching renditions of motion controls over and over during their E3 press conference presentation.
The trickle of Kinect announcements started slowly, with some classically controlled franchises allowing Kinect motion and voice controls as an option. Mass Effect 3, due out in 2012, will support voice commands given using Kinect to move squadmates around. Soon however, the Kinect announcements turned into a flood.
One could say that Microsoft was obligated to highlight their Kinect support this year, because of the 5 million+ units that have been sold through to the public in the past 8 or so months. Electronic Arts was the first company in the Microsoft E3 press conference to highlight their commitment to the platform. EA representatives revealed that you'll be able to use Kinect to control your Sims 3 Pets experience. Four EA Sports titles will also use Kinect to control the action, including Tiger Woods, Madden, and FIFA.
Ubisoft was next, showing Kinect support within Future Soldier, the next installment in the Ghost Recon franchise.
But it didn't end there - Microsoft just announced that they'll be enhancing the Xbox 360 Dashboard so that it's easier to use Kinect to navigate. Likewise, they also announced that it'll be much easier to view your personal media collection from the Kinect Dashboard. In passing, Microsoft also announced that they'd be destroying the massively popular indie game Minecraft by including Kinect support. For those not in the know, Minecraft is an eternally-in-beta game on the PC that allows players to construct elaborate "traps" that help you live through the night against an invading horde. Minecraft has been announced for Fall this year on Xbox 360.
Three all-new abomonations were announced for the Xbox 360's Kinect peripheral: Kinect Star Wars allows players to control their lightsaber using their voice: "Lightsaber on" turns on the lightsaber, and from there, mini-game action begins. As you're probably aware, the midichlorins make people talk to their light sabers. It's Star Wars canon now. Because Kinect controls are useless for virtually everything, you spend a lot of your time in Kinect Star Wars flying around Cloud City and other areas of the Star Wars universe. In an ironic twist, if anything can save this game, it's the pod racing. That's right, POD RACING IS THE HIGHLIGHT OF STAR WARS KINECT. Let that sink in for a bit. The game, by virtually any stretch of the imagination, looks terrible, and seems as if it will be as exciting as watching a Cavs game.
Kinect Disneyland Adventures takes players on a Peter Pan journey through the Magic Kingdom, in a title sure to appeal to Microsoft's core Xbox audience. There's also a mode where you fall through the rabbit hole from Alice in Wonderland, so that's bizzare, creepy, and out of place - kind of a metaphor for this game! In a poorly acted demo on stage, two kids demonstrated that it's never too early to sell out to Disney.
Fable: The Journey looks like a first person quasi-action game featuring Kinect support. Basically, it's an on rails thing, with such game mechanics as controlling horse reins, throwing magic spells, and more. Not too much more, mind you.
Voice search will be enabled using Bing Search. For instance, you can now say things like "Bing Search Lego" which will bring up a list of Lego games for the 360, using the Bing search engine. Also announced today was a partnership with YouTube, which will enable users to view all their favorite YouTube Videos right from the Xbox dashboard.
It wasn't all doom and gloom for Xbox fanatics, however. Yes, Xbox is getting MW3 and Gears of War 3. Additionally...
The long-expected announcement of Microsoft's IPTV service happened today during Microsoft's E3 2011 press conference. In addition to announcing a YouTube partnership, Microsoft announced that there will now be Pay Per View events from the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship). The new UFC pay per view events will have features already in the ESPN 3 application, such as voting on who you think will win the match and social sharing features.
Forza 4 features content from Britain's popular Top Gear television program, and incredible car physics and moels. Although the car gallery will be Kinect powered, allowing you to view many details about the cars, the rest of the game is classically controlled.
Halo CE Anniversary was also shown at the Microsoft E3 2011 press conference. Of course, you can play Halo with Co-op over Xbox Live, and there will be at least 7 multiplayer maps available upon release of the game. Halo will launch November 15. According to Frank O'Connor from 343 Industries, there will be a total of six multiplayer maps from Halo: Combat Evolved and one Halo 2 map... In the Halo: Reach's online multiplayer! In other words, Halo: CE Anniversary will not be playable as stand-alone online, except through co-op. The multiplayer component will be more or less a map pack for Halo: Reach. Frank O'Connor confirmed that Halo CE will be a low-priced budget game, not a full $60 release.
A short Halo 4 teaser-trailer was shown at the end of Microsoft's E3 2011 press conference. While the teaser didn't reveal anything significant about the storyline, it did seem to hint at the Forerunners being a part of the new game. Master Chief does make an appearance in this trailer.
StageSelect.com's coverage of the Electronics Entertainment Expo 2011 continues. We'll be bringing you all of the news to come out of the Microsoft E3 Press Conference, as the event happens. Stay tuned June 6th through June 10th for additional details on brand new games as they're revealed for the first time to the game playing public.
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