E3 2012: Microsoft Press Conference
Written by: Ryan Brunty || 2012-06-04
Exactly as predicted, Microsoft opened their 2012 E3 press conference with gameplay footage from Halo 4. As you know, this is the first Halo in the franchise to be developed outside of Bungie Studios with 434 Studios taking the helm. What kind of take aways did we get from the Halo 4 footage? First and foremost, this isn’t the same Halo we’re all used to. This game looks to be highly stylized and focused on playing like the movie we were promised oh so many moons ago. The enemies aren’t just grunts, jackals, brutes and hunters repeated over and over again, the new enemies seem to use scare tactics rather than stealth. The footage showed an enemy jumping on Chief’s visor and unleashing a skull buried deep within the initial skin. Will this be Halo meets Doom? Probably not, but definitely expect more of a horror element to this iteration of Halo.
The next game toted at this year’s press conference was Splinter Cell: Blacklist. The presentation featured gameplay involving Microsoft’s baby, Kinect. The footage looked great and it’s wonderful to see Sam back on the big screen in a game that looks fun, stealthy and innovative.
Trailers for Fable: The Journey and Gears of War: Judgement followed these announcements. Interestingly enough, these two trailers both portrayed how far great sagas can fall. Fable: The Journey is a Kinect exclusive that showcased a young man Dragonball Z-ing his way through Albion. The trailer was cheesy, the game looks terrible and is just another bruise on an otherwise stellar game series. The Gears of War: Judgment didn’t show much, but honestly, is anyone even interested in another Gears of War game at this point? The gameplay is tired, the story is overdraught with inconsistencies and the characters are tired, and long drawn out. It’s time to Old Yeller this series or at least change the gameplay! Placing Baird as the main character instead of Marcus is a step in the right direction, but not enough to garner any new interest.
Guess what? The real star of the show wasn’t a video game at all, it was the announcement of Microsoft Smart Glass, a smart and intuitive way to learn about your entertainment options while watching/playing them. For example, while watching Game of Thrones, information about the episode will stream on your tablet or smart phone. Halo 4 was also displayed with waypoints being highlighted through the Smart Glass technology. Slayer was unofficially/officially announced through this new technology as well. The best part about this announcement? You don’t have to use a Windows based tablet to use it, it’s fully functional on any device you currently own! This is great news as Microsoft is known for keeping their technology on their own devices so this is sure to broaden their market share.
The next big announcement from Xbox is that Internet Explorer is officially coming to Live. The tech demo was streamlined and clean, leading to a brand new way to view the web. Microsoft has taken a note from Apple and has implemented smart phone remote technology into the build. I’m very interested to see how sites decide to implement this new technology into their hub.
Crystal Dynamics took the stage next to show off new footage from Tomb Raider. We’ll be bringing you an interview with the team and an exclusive look at the game on Wednesday so stay tuned!
Trailers for Ascend, Matter (a Portal 2 inspired game) and another very forgettable trailer (that I forgot the name of) were also showcased.
Resident Evil 6 came out strong and didn’t disappoint, Leon is back and better than ever. The game’s graphics are top notch and the zombies are fluid and menacing. RE: 6 looks to be darker and more in depth than any other iteration in the series.
Now, my favorite part of the conference came in the form of an RPG that I’ve talked about many times on this blog and something that I expect to be my favorite game of all time: South Park: Stick of Truth! Not only was the first official trailer unveiled bu the masterminds behind the series themselves came out to talk about the game a little bit. Matt Parker and Trey Stone joked a bit about the way gaming is heading with tablet inclusion and such, but ultimately described how much time they’ve put into making this game feel as though you’re in an episode of South Park which is something I’ve wanted since playing the Nintendo 64 game in fifth grade. I’m saying it right now, freakin’ GAME OF THE YEAR, dudes.
Of course, no Microsoft announcement would be completely without another stupid dancing game. Dance Central 3 is officially announced and Usher is on stage dancing.
The press conference closed with an official reveal of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. HOW MANY TIMES CAN WE PLAY THE SAME GAME?!
Takeaways from the day’s first press conference: Halo 4 looks rad, Splinter Cell looks fun, Tomb Raider is surprisingly beautiful, Dance Central still sucks and Call of Duty needs to bring something new to the table.