Microsoft’s E32010 press conference has just finished and like last year, emphasis is on attracting the casual market with Kinect stealing the limelight. It wasn’t bad as Kinect looks pretty cool but I would have liked to see more of Gears of War 3, Fable III, Halo: Reach etc. What was shown looked great with some gameplay demos that caused a lot of excitement from the crowd. As did the announcement of a new Xbox 360 with its smaller, slicker frame, 250gb HDD and built in Wifi. Oh and Hideo Kojima came out to show the first in-game footage of Metal Gear Solid Rising – and it looks superb! Hack and slash awesomeness at it’s best. So without further ado, read on to see my point by point account of the press conference (apologies for the lack of formatting and any spelling mistakes you may find!).
What a start! A new Call of Duty: Black Ops trailer showing more explosions, and a bit more gameplay footage but mostly it’s the extended trailer shown a month or so ago. Looks great though.
Mark Lamia, Studio Head of Treyarch comes on stage to show some of the single player campaign. Gruesome start with a dismembered body. Sounds like Nathan Fillion’s voice in there too. Lamia’s slowly walking through an underground cave system with some great lighting effects and monster closet enemies. That part ends and then some footage of you and another taking over an enemy controlled camp in the jungle. Nice stuff. He then gets into the helicopter where he takes off, controlling the copter and blowing up bridges and more enemy camps. Looks like it handles competently.
Dom Mattrick follows Lamia. He announces an exclusive deal with Activision stating that all add-ons for all Call of Duty games will come out first for the Xbox 360 until 2012.
Reannouncement of name change for Natal to Kinect.
Hideo Kojima comes out on stage to talk about Metal Gear Solid Rising. Premiere footage of the game in action. Game’s producer takes over from Kojima explaining its a sword action game. WOW. Typically cinematic reveal. Some weird mech-suited soldier fights with Raiden who cuts it to pieces and extracts a blue glowing spine? More footage of Raiden cutting everything from walls to people – destructible environments. Gory as hell! Very much sword based with directional movement controlled by player. Ends with Raiden cutting watermelons.
Phil Spencer takes to the stage. Talks about success of Microsoft Game Studio games. Everything they’ll be showing from now on will be Xbox 360 exclusive.
Now comes Cliff B holding a remote. Shows live gameplay demo of four player co-op. Marcus and Delta squad get ambushed by new mutating enemies. Shows female players. COG member gets arm blown ripped off. Marcus runs up and stabs Locus in gut. Looks gorgeous, green environments. Massive worm-like creatiure appears from earth. Spawns the mutating beasts who kill a Locus? Another mutator – this one is BIG and throws a car at the team. Then charges at them. COG team in mech suits but not being played. Awesome stuff. New mode announced called Beast but not more detailed.
Peter Molyneux appears. Talks about Fable 3. More ‘great British humour’ – implies farting. Fable 3 shown. Looks sharper than before. You are one brother who must overthrow your sibling who isn’t a nice chap. Not much more is shown.
Exclusive Microsoft game revealed. Looks like Spartacus? Crytek developed game called Kingdoms. FMV footage. Dirty and bloody. Third person action game?
34 million units of Halo games sold. Bungie come on to talk about Halo: Reach. 2.7 million people played Halo: Reach Beta. Campaign mode shown. Flying through space, camera gets to inhabited planet. Shows group of Spartans hunting Covanent. They fall from sky in pods, get out and attack Spartans. Looks very ‘Halo’ in its handling but more manic in places feeling like a warzone. Looks like Covanent taken over human compound. Melee combat from Spartans using knife. Spartans get on ship and space combat shown. You control space ship fighting above the planet. Dog fighting comes to Halo!
Kinect shown. Guy signs into his profile on Xbox by waving. He waves again to get to a Kinect hub. Moves hands around to choose from menu. Then he just says things and it opens. He says ‘Zune’ and Zune opens. Cool stuff. Uses hands again to select movie. Waves over it and it loads. Impressive. Moves hands up and controls the movie’s timeline by dragging with his hands. Tells the Xbox to pause and it does. Tells it to play and it continues. Looks real, doesn’t look fact either. More movement of hands to navigate. Works really well.
Video Kinect revealed. Like party chat but with no headset and video footage. Sees a group of people either on Xbox 360 or MSN. Lady talks to friend which looks pretty staged and awkward but works well enough. You can watch video together with friends through Video Kinect. More cringe-worthy banter. If you move, Kinect follows you to keep you in shot without moving camera yourself.
Looks like a deal has been made with ESPN and MS to show sports games through Xbox 360.
Kudo comes on stage to talk more about Kinect. Lots of marketing talk promoting it. Then shows six Kinect games that can only be played in Kinect without a controller. Little girl talks and plays with a tiger cub on screen through Kinect. A lot like a smarter Eye Pet with really nice cartoonish graphics. Tiger cub in forest? Game called Kinectimals. You can adopt 40 different animals. My wife would love this!
Rare shows of Kinect Sports. He gets the virtual audience to applaud him and react to his movements. Now two Rare members race each other in a hurdles event. Literally running and jumping on the spot. Could be fun if you have the room for it! More Kinect Sports games with football, bowling, table tennis, boxing and vollyball
Kinect Joyride is a motion controlled kart racer. Not convinced mechanics as player was holding arms out in front of her but not gripping anything. Could feel odd.
Kinect Adventures makes you duck, dive and jump over obstacles for points. Second player joins and it seamlessly adds them on screen without any pausing or complications. Again looks like a game that could be fun if you have the room for it. Two players then play a rafting game with yet more jumping and tomfoolery. Hmm, I’m getting a tad bored now…
Ubisoft fitness game announced. Much like existing fitness games but Kinect controlled. Called Your Shape: Fitness Evolved. Xbox 360 exclusive title. Slick and simplistic menu system that is controlled with gestures. Adult looking Wii Fit. Customisable workout plans from martial arts to yoga. A virtual coach plays alongside you showing you the moves and gives you words of encouragement. Combat training shown. Blocks appear on screen and you punch them away. The player is represented with a colourful silhouette.
Harmonix unviels Dance Central. Guess what? It’s a game that follows your dance movements. Another Xbox exclusive. This could be huge and is the success of Just Dance is anything to go by, could help really launch Kinect with a younger market. Oh no, some Harmonix rep is very badly dancing showing a mode for those who, like him, cannot dance. Please, please stop. Please.
Kinect launches in North America on November 4th. No price though and no other regions announced.
Trailer for next year’s Star Wars Kinect game. Apparently real in-game footage. Convincing enough with lots of saber swinging to repel lasers and hand movements for force powers.
Turn 10 details how you can play Forza 3 with Kinect again with your hands held in front of you and nothing more. All in HD and 60 fps. Another mode shows someone walking up and inspecting a car using Kinect. He walks around it, kneels by it and it works very well to give the impression that he’s there.
New Xbox 360 shown. 250gb HD, built in Wifi. Costs $299 with all other models reducing in price. Smaller and slicker than original and said to be “whisper quiet”. New Xbox 360 out NOW. It’s available later this week. People in the audience all get a free one each – lucky gits!!
And that’s it! All over now but a pretty good show even if it did heavily focus on Kinect over ‘hardcore’ games.