Microsoft delivered a very successful keynot address to the E3 crowd and left the hall applauding. It was mainly Kinect centric but there were a few major non-Kinect news as well.
Of Wars and Tombs
Microsoft hit the nail on the head by taking advantage of having first address and announced multiplatform games for the XBOX. The address started with a sneak peak in to Modern Warfare 3 and the highlight was on the fact that the downloadable content will be available on XBOX first.
Next up was Tomb Raider, without a title. It is still a work in progress and it showed off Lara Croft doing what she does best — acrobatics and precision moves.
Kinect Is Now Motion Tracking Serious Gamers
Kinect has so far been for games that can best be described as ‘cute’. However, Microsoft is about to change that with multiple Kinect-enabled titles that serious gamers will take notice of. Starting off the list is EA Sports titles Madden, Tiger Woods an FIFA. No elaborations on how Kinect will tie in to games like FIFA.
One highlight of the keynote turned out to be the Kinect enabled Mass Effect 3. Kinect’s voice recognition now also means that you will be able to ‘talk’ to in game characters, which is currently limited to reading out from fixed replies. You will also apparently be able to give out orders mid-combat by speaking/shouting them over the gunfire. However, the accuracy and speed of response is something that will make or break the voice recognition features for Kinect.
This was followed by a show stealer of a game from Ubisoft — Ghost Recon Future Soldier for Kinect. In what is probably the first controller-less First Person Shooter, the gestures showed were fluid and definitely good to look at. You will be able to use Gestures to take a gun, take it apart, put in other pieces and make a custom gun. You will also be able to pick up a gun, reload it and everything using gestures. If all goes well, this game will something to look forward to. Get ready to feel futuristic.
Then there was the sword fighting game ‘Ryse’ and ‘Forza’ with head tracking and voice control and also ‘Fable: The Journey’ with gesture-triggered spells.
‘Disneyland Adventures’ turned out to be the only Kinect game that allows motion tracking exploration of a virtual world. In this case, the Disney Park.
The biggest draw for Kinect by far has been the Star Wars for Kinect. While it sounds good in theory, so far the motion tracking is all that great and the game play is mostly about hacking and slashing. Whether it will survive the market is something that remains to be seen.
KInect: More To It Than Wildly Flailing Your Arms At Virtual Monsters
And beyond all the new games lie some additional Kinect goodies. Microsoft is releasing Kinect Fun Labs where you will have downloadable apps that let you take advantage of Kinect’s 3D scanning and let’s you do interesting things like recreate a real life object virtually and the play around with it or turn your head in to a bobble head. Good news is that newer apps will continue to show up for downloads. Looks like Microsoft has been keeping a track of Kinect hacks after all.
The XBOX is also to get the ability to show live TV and rumor has it that Microsoft is trying to rope in IPTV providers as well. Not that they aren’t already on XBOX but Microsoft is tying up with more to bring IPTV content to XBOX Live users where the XBOX will act as the Set Top Box. Whether they will try sales pitches like “two boxes for the price of one” remains to be seen.
Halo 4: Need We Say More
You might not have noticed or kept track but any hardcore Halo fan(atic) will tell you that it has been a decade since the first Halo was launched. And now if you want to relive your moments of glory in “Halo Combat Evolved” or want to try it for the first time, there’s a new anniversary special version coming that has better graphics and is in full, glorious HD.
However, the finale is what left the crowd applauding and wanting more. Microsoft showed a teaser for the next version of Halo. Simply titled Halo 4, it is slated to released during the holidays of 2012. So ardent fans will have to satisfied with new old Halo Combat Evolved.