Microsoft E3 2011 Press Conference Highlights

x360Microsoft’s big shindig just went down, and it was kind of crazy. Despite the early leaks, they still manage to pull off a few tricks and bring a lot of Kinect.

Hit the jump to see the round-up!

  • As is tradition, a Call of Duty game opened the presser with Robert Bowling playing a level from Modern Warfare 3 called Hunter Killer which starts off with an underwater sabotage and ends with a crazy boat ride. Once again, the trailer is cut short “in the interest of time”. Maybe make shorter demos?
  • Crystal Dynamics had a couple staff members out on stage to play through a bit of their Tomb Raider reboot. It looks pretty interesting, but I found Lara’s monologue more than a little cheesy.
  • Peter Moore came out on stage for a moment to talk about EA Sports with Kinect. He was followed by Ray Muzyka from BioWare who demoed some of the Kinect integration with Mass Effect 3. Kinect looks like it replaces the former wheel controls for talking and giving orders to squad mates. The close combat looked pretty cool as well.
  • Ghost Recon Future Soldier came out next with a nice pre-rendered trailer and demonstrated some of their Kinect usage with the Gunsmith Mode where you can use either voice commands or hand signals to change every part of a gun, right down to the gas system. The gunsmith stuff was cool, but the Kinect based shooting was pretty janky. Hopefully you can use either/or, as thumbing through all those gun parts with a controller could become tedious.
  • After that, some new features were announced for the Xbox dashboard like voice control (which I’m sure they demoed last year?), and UFC and live TV on Xbox LIVE, which is pretty awesome. Never thought I’d hear UFC referred to as a “thought leader”.
  • Cliffy B and Ice T (hey, that rhymes!) came out on stage to show off a snippet of Gears of War 3 gameplay. They showed the new Silverback mech suit and flaunted some of the engine improvements. Looks really killer! Strange that they only had two people on stage given that last year was all about four-player campaign.
  • Crytek played a trailer for Ryse, which was called Codename: Kingdoms last year. A first-person melee combat game set in ancient Rome.
  • Halo Anniversary was announced, and hot damn does it look good. As a total fanboy, I’m really excited to play this when it launches in Fall. Looks very similar to Halo: Reach, though, despite earlier claims that the game is powered by a new engine. Post-presser interviews confirm that you can switch between the classic graphics and the HD overlay. Multiplayer will be pure Reach, however.
  • Forza 4 was brought out and it also features some Kinect stuff in the form of head tracking, which is a really smart addition. Forza 4 certainly looks like a great game for the car fans out there.
  • Peter Molyneux was out on stage next to overhype, I mean announce, Fable: The Journey, which is an entirely Kinect controlled experience. I guess that developers finally solved movement controls with Kinect: just remove them entirely and put the game on rails.
  • In a sneak announcement, Minecraft was revealed as an Xbox LIVE exclusive this fall, and then was totally glossed over.
  • There was a bunch of kiddy Kinect stuff like Dinsey, a terrible looking Star Wars game and Sesame Street. Tim Schafer was out there for the Sesame Street demo, so that made this segment a little more bearable.
  • A bunch of Kinect stuff was introduced like Kinect Fun Labs, which introduces some indie Kinect stuff and a creepy Avatar creator. Honestly, I tuned out for a bunch of this Kinect stuff, but the message to hold-outs was pretty clear this year: Microsoft really, really wants you to buy a Kinect.
  • Don Mattrick sums up the press conference and announces the first part of a brand new Halo trilogy, starting off with a pre-rendered trailer for Halo 4. Looks very cool, but doesn’t give us a lot to go on.

So there it is, folks, Microsoft’s press conference wrapped up fro you. While it started off strong, the presser eventually became mired in Kinect stuff with UI information and kiddy games galore. If Microsoft wanted to prove that Kinect wasn’t just for simple games and could be used for the hardcore (besides small things like in Mass Effect 3) they really dropped the ball.

So what grade would you give Microsoft’s press conference? Any thoughts on the games they showed? Was it better or worse than last year? Also, just like last year, our very own Bearded One, Nick Comardo, was killing it on the GamerSushi Twitter feed, giving his thoughts on the presser.

Written by

mitch@gamersushi.com Twitter: @mi7ch Gamertag: Lubeius PSN ID: Lubeius SteamID: Lube182 Origin/EA:Lube182 Currently Playing: Stardew Valley, Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords, Battlefield 4, Tom Clancy Double Feature: Rainbow Six Siege and The Division

11 thoughts on “Microsoft E3 2011 Press Conference Highlights”

  1. Most excited about Ghost Recon and the new system. I think its going to be better than MW in my opinion.
    Halo CE Aniv is going to rock. It will probably be better than Halo 4. So Halo 4…..343, you better not screw anything up. Seriously. Do not want a milk-the-system game like ODST.

    Enough about Kinect, seriously not that interested. Dont think its going to make me get it. Also really interested to see the things like Live TV for the xbox, thats great!.

    Really excited to see the rest of E3

  2. The thing that humiliated Microsoft the most was Kinnect Freakin’ Sesame Street. I could not believe my eyes! Is that game the kind of thing people show at E3 now? Is it the kind of thing they show to people completely out of its target range?

    That, my friends, was the Bat Credit Card trigger moment for me in Microsoft’s conference. I mean, come on. SESAME STREET KINNECT IN E3? I haven’t got a problem with Kinnect Sesame Street, but they felt the need to show it at E3?!!?!?!?!?!?!?!??!?!!

    …For shame, Microsoft. For shame.

  3. About as bad as last year. The Kinect stuff just undid any good thing they showed. Fable seemed quite unimpressive and Mass Effect’s Kinect integration is about as impressive as SOCOM’s commands. So, not very. To Bioware’s credit, at least they didn’t make it on-rails and maybe there are other more interesting things to do with it.
    CoD and Gears are both looking pretty damn good (although Gears’ voice acting is worse than I remembered – Marcus didn’t always sound like a bad impression of Sal from Futurama did he?) and more Halo can only be a good thing (or not since it’s now an anual release a la CoD).
    Overall: 2 out of 5.
    Games: Awesome (without Kinect taking up all their screen time).
    Kinect being the focus of seemingly EVERY OTHER presentation: Fail.

  4. Im more excited about the new dashboard features then any games. Im not sure what the deal with Minecraft is on the xbox but if its controller friendly and has online count me in. Youtube is a welcome addition and the kinect fun labs thing seemed cool.

    All in all this would have been the best e3 conference ever, if I was 8. Whos to say thats a bad thing, its a good year for little kids.

    adaminator, Im assuming their main focus is making money. They showed games like Sesame Street and Disneyland Adventures because theyll make cash. I for one wish them the best, I hope a ton of parents buy their kids Tim Schafers Sesame Street game.

  5. I’d Give it a B.

    MW3 didn’t seem to bring anything really new to the table, with what, to me, related to “All Ghillied Up” in the water, followed by action sequences that are very common in the COD franchise.

    Tomb Raider doesn’t look like it will do too well, and her voice got really irritating, that’s all I can say.

    I’m really excited for Mass Effect 3, and the Kinect compatibility, although a minor touch, looked really cool. I still won’t get a Kinect though.

    I must say, the Gunsmith feature in Ghost Recon looked amazing, I just hope the gameplay doesn’t turn out like GRAW2. I also hope that the gunsmith will still be easy enough to navigate with a controller.

    I don’t have much interest in Gears 3, even though I loved the first one, and the second one was okay.

    Halo: Aniv. looks cool, but I’m not all that convinced to buy it. It seems like Halo: CE, but made to look like Reach, a lot.
    No interest in Forza 4.

    Lionhead is destroying what could have been a fantastic franchise.

    Minecraft on Xbox, cool.

    I don’t really care about Kinect.

    And finally, Halo 4. *sigh* They better not kill the franchise with this. I really hope they end up to be great games, I hope.

  6. Modern Warfare 3 looks like more of the same to be honest. I’ve never really got into the series, and this one doesn’t look set to change that.

    The Kinect integration with Mass Effect 3 looks like it will work very well. More so in combat, the voice selecting doesnt really appeal to me, but being able to call out powers rather than pausing with the wheel is a good idea. I’ll still buy ME3 on PC but it looks interesting.

    The rest wasn’t all that interesting. Having Fable on rails just doesn’t seem right, although some of the magic looked decent. Star Wars looked really bad. Disneyland and Sesame Street is never going to appeal to most of the gaming media side of things but I can definitely see parents picking them up for their kids.

    Halo 4, like you said, not much to go on. But I think it could be a bit premature saying that it’s the start of a new trilogy. Especially with a new studio working on it. Who knows, it could be a major flop, unlikely but stranger things have happened.

  7. I thought it was a pretty good conference, better than last years. Halo 4 and Anniversary caused me to have a nerd freak out for sure. Oh and Gears looks amazingggggg
    @Skuba about the Gears voice acting Marcus may sound like Sal to you because they’re played by the same actor 😉

  8. @ DrellAssassin, I know lol, John DiMaggio ftw. It was just that it only just hit me how alike the voices are. In my head Marcus’ voice was deeper and gruffer.
    Also, I tol had a nerd freak out for 2 Halos!

  9. Yeah, I agree, the conference started off decently and then went downhill from there. Seriously, a couple of years into Kinect’s lifespan, I thought we’d start to see something noteworthy. That Star Wars game was flat out embarrassing.

  10. I’m at work now, so I can’t watch the videos, unfortunately, but I think it’s safe to say that I have never been excited for the Kinect, and I am still not excited. Like I said last year, real gamers don’t want to stand up and move around for hours while playing video games, whether it’s Mass Effect or Sesame Street. It’s probably fun for people who don’t care about E3, but I think they should stop trying to overhype that embarrassment.

    Other than that, really underwhelming as far as I can tell, or at least for someone with my tastes. Coming from the side of the tracks that could care less about Halo/CoD/Gears of War, there’s nothing here for me. I’ll check out that Ryse video when I get home, which sounds like it might be cool, but all I’ve heard about it is from the few sentences in this article. Tomb Raider might intrigue me, and Fable:But Not Really is a disappointment, since I love those games.

  11. I think Microsoft is relying too much on Halo and COD fans. I was hoping them to take a firm stance in the hardcore games again since Nintendo seems to be doing just that with the new console. Are they saving all the good ideas and new IP’s for the new Xbox? Now that I thing about it… Is Halo 4 still on the xbox360? The new trilogy might be on the new console.

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