Xbox 2011 E3 Keynote Recap
Microsoft started things off and in typical fashion, they opened with a bulk of third party games. Is it us or have they opened with a Call of Duty game the past two years? Aside from demoing a bit of MWF3, which seemed like the same old song and dance in our opinion. We saw a glimpse of the new Tomb Raider and confirmed that Mass Effect 3, Ghost Recon: Future Soldier will have Kinect support. The Kinect integration for Mass Effect 3 was very subtle and was mainly voice recognition. The real shocker was Ghost Recon, there was an actual demonstration of using Kinect in a shooter, that looked fairly smooth. So this is the stuff we expected, but what about the rest of the show?
Keeping with recent tradition, Microsoft announced the new “New Xbox Experience,” which will add Bing, YouTube and live TV. The new setup seems to really be focused on Kinect and showcased how Bing will be used to search just about anything you could image within the Xbox ecosystem. YouTube is well… YouTube, this didn’t really impress us too much considering how everything with a pulse these days has YouTube access and it was something that both PS3 and Wii could do at launch. The Bing search however was pretty slick and might actually be useful. Another potential big deal was the inclusion of live UFC programming airing on Xbox Live. This will allow people to view fighter stats and make interactive predictions about the event while it airs. All of these extras are expected to land this fall.
For those of you looking for games to play, a chunk of the conference was dedicated to Kinect games. We’ll spare you the shovelware stuff and try to focus on the goods. As we previously confirmed Kinect Sports and Dance Central both are getting sequels, which boast a few improvements over their predecessors. On a positive note the game Ryse was revealed and looks to be an interesting new Roman gladiator IP powered by the Crytek engine that is strictly for Kinect. We also got a glimpse of the new Fable title that appears to have full Kinect support and looked like an RPG fan’s dream. The demo showed the player tossing magic around and interacting with multiple enemies.
Focusing on more traditional titles, Cliff Bleszinski and Ice-T had a decent walkthrough of Gears of War 3. There was also the official announcement of Halo Anniversary, which was dated for a November 15th release. The remake will get an HD face-lift and will also include online co-op and competitive multiplayer. The game is to be priced below an average full retail game and will allow players to turn off the HD effects and revert back to the game’s original appearance. As we mentioned a couple of weeks back, Microsoft closed their conference out with the conformation of a new Halo trilogy starting with Halo 4. The CG teaser trailer was brief and intense and revealed a planned release for holiday 2012.
As far as the conference as a whole, we feel that Microsoft did a decent job, but there could have been more of a focus on core games. The lack of first party studios appeared to be part of their presentation’s downfall. We’d also like to note that the highly rumored “Xbox Live Diamond” didn’t happen and the upcoming enhancements appear to be for current Xbox Live membership. With one conference down and us live blogging the next two, it should be interesting to see who shines the best at this year’s E3. We’d love to hear what you liked and disliked most about Microsoft’s E3 showing.