By shaun832 2 Comments
E3 2010 started with bang, opening with the Microsoft E3 press conference. Some new games were announced and more information was given to already announced titles but the major focus of the event were the Kinect (formerly known as Project Natal) and the reveal of an upgraded and refined Xbox 360 model.
The press conference opened with a live demo of Call of Duty: Black Ops presented by Mark Lamia from Treyarch. The part they showed started out in a subterranean tunnel with dead bodies and rats scurrying along. This section shows that Treyarch is taking a different approach to the Call of Duty franchise but adding these tense and gloomy parts. The demo then skips forward to an outside area in a jungle and turns into the frantic shooter that CoD is known for. Overall here I think that this is an interesting direction that Treyarch is taking and I hope that the finished product will be worth it when it's released November. Oh, and map packs will be released on Xbox 360 first until 2012. That's sort of important too.
Next up Hideo Kojima made an appearance on stage for Metal Gear Solid: Rising. The game's producer Shigenobu Matsuyama presented a trailer for the upcoming title. I can't really say much for the trailer because I'm not an MGS fan and had no idea what was going on but I know enough to say that it's going in a ridiculous and over-the-top direction new to the series. Instead of using stealth, the game focuses on cutting objects and people using Raiden's sword... thing. Again, not a fan, I don't know who Raiden is. The violent cutting of the enemies has also leadme to believe that this might have an extremely tough time getting past Aussie censors. Let's just keep an eye on it.
After this trailer, Cliff Bleszinski, design director of Epic Games, came out onto the stage with some other co-workers to show off the co-op in the upcoming Gears of War 3. Nothing much to add here. If you played and like the Gears of War series then you should get this because it's mainly just more of that.
Peter Molyneux came onto the screen next to show a trailer for Fable 3. Now, I've played through Fable 2 so I can compare it with this trailer. It looks like they haven't changed a lot with the game but I did notice a few new additions. The only one worth noting, however, would be the ability to combine spells but that's hardly ground-breaking.
A quick trailer of Crytek's newest project, Codename Kingdoms, and appears to involve gladiators. Sadly that's all that was revealed here.
Next up, the creative director of Bungie, Marcus Lito, showed off a gameplay trailer of Halo Reach. This trailer finally convinced me that Halo Reach is different from the previous games in the series. First of all, the gunplay appears to be the same which is fine because it worked in the previous games. Some of the things they added were shown off during the Halo Reach beta a few weeks ago, including mods and assassinations, but one addition really caught my attention. Space combat. I'm not talking about it still being a first-person shooter just with low gravity but actual space combat where you fly ships around and shoot at other ships. Since this a bit ambitious for Bungie I'm a but cynical about how this will control but I hope it's good.
The Kinect was the next thing that was shown. If you don't know what it is then let me briefly explain. It is an upcoming addition to the Xbox 360 that utilises an upcoming peripheral called the Kinect. This piece of hardware uses a camera and 3D depth sensors to be able to track your movements in front of it and use it instead of a controller for supported games. When it was announced as Project Natal at last year's E3 I was pretty sceptical. I mean, motion tracking is a pretty ambitious thing. Unfortunately I'm still very sceptical about it. I just see how well it performs when it is released in November.
They showed off some of the new features of the Xbox 360 that will accompany the Kinect. Firstly they showed that the Kinect has speech recognition so you can control your Xbox 360 by just saying various commands, such as 'Xbox pause' if you want to pause a video. Next they introduced 'videoKinect', a video-calling service very similar to Skype. They also said that you will be able to stream video to your Windows Live Messenger contacts so I'm okay with that. The problem is why go through all the trouble of setting this up when I can just use a webcam and the computer that is sitting right next to the Xbox?
Next, they announced a series of games that will utilise the Kinect. The problem here that they appear to be suffering from 'casual syndrome' where all the games are either tech demos or minigame collections. Hopefully a little while after the Kinect is released developers will start making full-length games that will make use of the Kinect. I just hope that when it comes to these game I want to still be able to use a controller if wanted to.
Finally, Microsoft announced the next model of the Xbox 360. It's the same price as the pro bundle right now so it makes sense that they stopped shipping current model 360s. This Xbox has a 250 GB hard drive and has built-in Wi-Fi which is good because it means that you won't have to buy those $100 wireless adapters anymore. Also, as an added twist, this Xbox is shipping at the end of this week in the US which is very soon considering that they just announced it. Hopefully there will be a date for Australia in the near future.
So that's the Microsoft press conference in a rather long blog post. Honestly, this is probably the longest post I've ever written anywhere. Thanks for reading and I hope to be writing more about E3 in the coming days.