Microsoft’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.