Microsoft’s E3 2012 Press Conference Summary. All The Announcements, Trailers And Details Here!
Xbox Entertainment Evolved Conference kicked off the big conferences of the day to discuss how they are continuing to evolve the Xbox 360, as well bringing new experiences to the console through a new SmartGlass application, gameplay demos, Xbox Music, and lots of Kinect updates.
As had previously been announced, Halo 4 took the stage with an impressive gameplay demo. – Full post here with more details - After a cinematic video of a large USNC ship crashing into a planet, the gameplay which followed gave many highlights such as new enemies, weapons and many interface tweaks. The graphics looked to be a nice upgrade from Reach, and the Visor mode returns from ODST. Taking place in an atmospheric jungle environment, the mist and fog worked in the enemies favour as they seemed to be much more agile than the Covenant. Chief was alone in this segment, and not only got his hands on new enemy weaponary which disintegrates your foes, who are part of the forerunners. Updates to the visor showed video communication, gun sounds have been updated, and hitmarkers are in. “An ancient evil awakes”
Don Mattrick (Head of Microsoft Entertainmet} took to the stage to welcome everyone, and revealed facts such as that the Xbox 360 has now become the no.1 system worldwide, and promised more information on how the system and services are evolving later in the conference, including new partners and innovations to make the experience even better
Splinter Cell: Blacklist was certainly a surprise reveal, and looked fantastic. – Full post here with more details – Taking the mark and execute system to the next level, the gameplay looked much smoother and free flowing, including new climbing mechanics, and a number of features from older games in the series such as the classic night vision goggles, though an improved sonar feature returns from Conviction. Ubisoft Torono is in charge, and have implelented Kinect features such as distracing guards and cuing airstrikes. Water bolts were used to take down enemies, suppression fire impacted Fisher, and he smashed through doors in an action packed turret sequence. Unfortunately, Michael Ironside has not returned as the voice for Sam Fisher, but it certainly was a great gameplay demo and reveal. Single Player, Co-Op as well as fan favourite Spies vs. Mercs multiplayer mode is back!!
Moving onto sports, FIFA 13 and Madden 13’s Kinect features were revealed. In FIFA, you can make substitutions and give feedback to your team, adding drama, unpredictability, as well as freedom of creativity in attack. You’ll be able to command the action without interrupting the game such as deciding formations, though you’ll receive feedback from the Referee. It’ll work in multiple dialects too.
Madden 13 featured similar support, and signal caller Joe Montana showcased the voice commands which lets you call out individual player, and set formations both offensive and defensive. It’ll be launching August 28th 2012.
A new Fable: The Journey trailer showed lots of combat scenarios and use of many different magic powers. No horse gameplay was shown though, focusing primarily on the more action packed aspects of the gameplay.
Phil Spencer (Head of Microsoft Game Studios) took the stage to state that ‘Only the best games are on Xbox’, with notable mentions to Halo 4 and the new direction for the Fable series. Featured studios included Lionhead, Turn 10 and Epic Games.
Gears Of War Judgement was officially revealed through a cinematic trailer featuring Cole and Baird. – Full post here with more details – . It’ll arrive 2013.
Forza Horizon had a very lengthy trailer, showing off how it’ll feature both open roads and large gameplay areas, but also a festival atmosphere with competitive circuit racing, drift events, as well as car showcases. Many environments were shown such as populated city areas, and more open cliff and dirt landscapes. Destruction of both the cars and the environments looked impressive. It’ll arrive October 23rd.
Yusuf Mehdi (Head of Marketing and Strategy) took the stage to discuss music, television and entertainment. Stating that they’ve added 200 million new TV shows, movies and music to the service, he discussed updates to the Dashboard such as faster bing search where you can now search via Genre. The Dashboard look has been tweaked, showing more content on the screen, and also adding a new favourites section so you can keep track of specific content. The voice features will be available in twelve more countries later this year including Spain, Mexico, Austria, Ireland, Germany and Switzerland. They’re looking to double the entertainment experiences in the coming year, with more than 35 new content providers, with specific highlights of Nickelodean, Paramount and Machinima.
New sports entertainment is heading to Xbox Live including updates to ESPN which will allow 24/7 live programming of ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPN 3, and ESPN U. The UFC app will see more interactivity, and there’ll be new apps for NBA and NHL. A trailer to showcase these was then shown, highlighting features such as being able to share things with friends.
A new music service Xbox Music was announced, taking the place of the Zune Marketplace. It will feature new ways to share, enjoy and discover music, and will be available for the Xbox 360, Windows 8, as well as Microsoft Tablets and Phones. It’ll have a brand new interface and feature Kinect.
NIKE + will be coming to the Xbox with the newly announced NIKE + Kinect Training title. The trailer looked along the lines of what you’d expect from a Kinect fitness title, but it’ll use NIKE’s Fuel system, and will also remind you by phone of when you next need to work out. You’ll be able to find people to challenge through Xbox Live, and be connected to the biggest fitness communities. It will be released Holiday2012.
Marc Whitten (Head of Xbox Live) discussed the new SmartGlass experience, an application that will be coming to the PC, Tablets and Phones both Android and iOS later this year. Taking you deeper in the experience using devices that you already own, it’ll let you control and become more immersed in what you’re watching on the big screen. Using examples of starting watching a film on the tablet, you can shoot it to your TV, at which point your mobile device would show relevant information such as cast, crew and even specific content such as a map during Game of Thrones. It’s all about providing information without interruption, and will open new doors for developers, producers and designers to take your experience to the next level with new multi-screen experiences. A trailer showcased what developers have in mind for it, ranging from creating plays and formations with Madden, to providing more information on objects in the environments using a Halo Waypoint like application providing an encyclopaedia experience for Halo 4.
Internet Explorer will be heading to the Xbox 360 later this year and work in conjunction with both Kinect and SmartGlass to provide a much more visual and interactive experience, better suited for a console. A number of examples such as Prometheus and the Aston Martin websites were displayed, in which you’d use the SmartGlass application as a mouse pointer to move, zoom and navigate the page. It’s aiming to turn any TV into a Smart TV. They also stated about how they’ll be adding Xbox to Windows 8 with Music, Video and Games…though there wasn’t any elaboration on this point as it initially seemed like he stated that you’d be able to play Xbox 360 games on the new Operating System.
Tomb Raider returned for another gameplay demo showing a new more action packed section of gameplay. – Full post here with more details – Combat scenarios with both guns and a bow and arrow were shown, as well as destructable environments and up close and personal kills. Combat options such as using fire and interacting with the environment were impressive, and there were many set pieces throughout the demo, ranging from a river sequence with slow motion precision shots, to an intense fast paced parachute section. It was also announced that the first piece of DLC will be available first on the Xbox 360.
Phil Spencer took the stage to discuss a collection of new games heading to the Xbox Live Arcade.
Signal Studios’ (Toy Soldiers) new title Ascend: New Gods was revealed via a trailer, and will be available for the Xbox 360 and Windows Phone, providing asynchronous play over both platforms in this fantasy looking action title. The action was up close and personal featuring lots of blood with very large enemies. It’s set to arrive in 2013.
Twisted Pixel’s latest project LocoCycle was shown in a CG trailer. It features an assassin motorbike which is trained in over 40 forms of unarmed combat among other abilities, and will surely be very unique. No gameplay or even hints at how it will play were revealed however, but it’s certainly very interesting.
Gore Verbinski’s new project called Matter had a trailer, and even though it featured no gameplay, it looks to be a portal looking puzzle platformer if I had to guess. It’s being designed for Kinect, and will be available in 2013.
Next up was a Resident Evil 6 gameplay demo which featured lots of action, faster gameplay, and was full of set pieces. - Full post here with more details - Quicktime events, Melee combat, along with lots of Zombies were on also on show.
Alex Ruiz from the Xbox Live team gave a demo of Wreckateer, an angry birds style title which is heading to the Xbox Live Arcade, and will be part of the Summer Of Arcade this year. It features a medieval aesthetic and is exclusive to the Kinect. Powerups were also shown such as mutiball, as well as being able to directly control the ball through flight.
South Park: The Stick of Truth blew the doors off with a very epic trailer, setting up the premise and story beats, and made quite an impression at the conference. Trey Parker and Matt Stone took the stage to give further details on the title, and elaborated on the fact that they had to actually map out South Park for the first time to create the cohesive world. There was even a giant enemy crab on show, so expect lots of gaming in jokes, along the lines of The Simpsons Game. Obsidian seem to have captured the look and feel of the show, and you’ll be joining the cast of the show as a new fifth character.
Dance Central 3 was revealed via a trailer, showing new artists and soundtrack. Usher worked with the team on his songs to provide choreography, and then took the stage to perform his single Scream.
To finish it all off, a new gameplay demo from Black Ops II gave an explosive finish to the conference. As well as the gameplay shown, it was announced that the DLC will be heading first to the Xbox 360, similar of that to previous Call of Duty titles. The video showcased a very varied gameplay experience, ranging from sniping on the street with a rail gun that can shoot through walls, and later directing gun wielding Quadcopters. The vehicle segments both on the ground and in the air were action packed, with the in air sequence showing both linear and more open ended combat.
That was that for Microsoft. Lots of new games and experiences on show, but there’s still lots more to see later today. Stay tuned!