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E3 2011: Microsoft Presser: Our Thoughts

The OMGN Staff Weighs in on the Microsoft Press Conference
Los Angeles, CA, USA

OMGN's 4 E3 representatives were in attendance for Microsoft's E3 2011 press conference. Here's our thoughts.


What game most excited you? Why?

Kyle: For me, the game that had me most excited was Ghost Recon: Future Soldier. The use of the Kinect to customize your weapons by using your hands to manipulate gun parts along with the ability to test fire the weapons with simple hand gestures seemed very streamlined and very intuitive. It had a very cool Minority Report-esque interface as well. By far the coolest use for Kinect and the one game for 360 I'm really looking forward to.

Ryan: That's a very tough question. A number of games intrigued me quite a bit, but I have to say their new franchise, Ryze, grabbed my attention quite a bit, despite only being a trailer at the presser.

Jenner: I would have to side with Kyle, definitely: Future Soldier. I've been very interested in seeing how a Kinect game would apply to a mainstream genre, like FPSs. My only worry is how the game would play when you're actually moving around, not just doing target practice.

Robert: Gears of War 3. I know they didn't talk about it a whole lot, aside from a demo of the game play with Ice-T. But Gears of War 3 looks to be the most polished Gears title to date, and as long as it doesn't deviate from the great game that Gears already is, it'll be a good success.


What game most disappointed you? Why?

Kyle: It's a close one, but I was disappointed with Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster. Obviously it's a title made for kids, and while I have no problems with games being geared for youngsters, it was sightly disappointing to see Tim Schafer -- known for works of genius -- do something like this.

Ryan: Hands down, Sesame Street. I understand that Microsoft wants to brand out to all demographics, but this game really didn't have much to offer. Honestly, this should have been saved for the show floor. The 5 minutes or so spent on it at the presser were better spent on something else.

Jenner: Again, Sesame Street. I didn't see a whole lot of game play in that, other than mimicking a character's moves. I'd rather play Dance Central, really.

Robert: And we have a unanimous winner: Sesame Street. I was surprised to see something like this take up a significant amount of time in the conference. The Big 3 will always have a good child market of games going, but E3 typically isn't where you see any prime time devoted to children's games. The Disneyland Adventure game falls into this category too, but the game play seemed better.


What were your expectations for the conference?

Kyle: I knew that Microsoft really had to step it up with Kinect. Its third party support has been lacking in comparison to its main competitor, Sony. While admittedly the list of titles were not surprising, the use of Kinect was very impressive. Microsoft has shown that Kinect is not just an afterthought and is instead a full evolution of its console (most likely in the absence of a new console any time soon).

Ryan: I was expecting a lot of Kinect. I hoped they would show off some games for Kinect -- not Star Wars -- that would grab the attention of hardcore gamers. I was also expecting some Gears of War 3 and some Halo. I also had hopes of a major surprise at the end.

Jenner: I was really expecting a lot more than just a rather silent walkthrough of one of the campaign levels in both Modern Warfare 3 and Gears of War 3. Granted, the GOW3 beta already gave a lot of detail to players, but as of now, we know nothing about the multiplayer of MW3.

Robert: I have to agree with Kyle and Ryan here – I was expecting a lot of time devoted to Kinect, and it was. I also figured Microsoft would play up its exclusives quite a bit. It did to an extent, but it didn't overwhelm you... At least, not in the same way that a certain other video game console manufacturer did later that afternoon.


Were you disappointed about anything that was missing?

Kyle: Modern Warfare 3. I enjoy the COD series in general, but nothing in the short preview looked like anything new or interesting. Clear rooms of enemies; go on a rail segment; shoot some more. Without the use of Kinect or any new multiplayer features shown, MW3 was quickly overshadowed by other titles.

Ryan: There were rumors of a Gears of War Kinect title, but nothing like that surfaced. There were also some third-party titles I would have liked to see, such as Batman: Arkham City, that were a no show.

Jenner: The lack of any real multiplayer detail in Modern Warfare 3. The campaign was impressive, as cinematic as ever, but I'm sure the majority of gamers agree that mutliplayer is there to keep the fun going once the campaign runs dry.

Robert: I'm going to take a page out of Ryan's book here -- Batman: Arkham City. I think I can speak for the majority of the video gamers out there in saying that Arkham Asylum was one of the best games put out in quite some time, so to see a lack of Arkham City in Microsoft's press conference was disappointing.


What were your general thoughts?

Kyle: It's obvious Microsoft was aggressively pushing the Kinect, and there's a part of me that feels like this is another attempt to extend the life cycle of an aging system. Another, more optimistic, part of me really likes how the Kinect has become a part of not just games, but for the system as a whole as well. It's evolving a system beyond its initial concept and allowing for a new way to experience all its functions as a whole. Even if you didn't buy into the Kinect experience, a majority of the games shown work just fine with normal controls. Microsoft is not forcing you to buy the experience, but if you choose to, you won't be left high and dry.

Ryan: I think Microsoft did exactly what it needed to do and then some. I left the theater wanting to run to Best Buy and pick up a Kinect. It showed several Kinect titles I would love to play: Ghost Recon, Kinect Star Wars, and Ryze all look very promising. Even the Disneyland game looks like a unique experience. The announcement of Halo 4 put it over the top for me.

Jenner: I think it stands to reason that Microsoft is indeed really pushing the Kinect here, and so far, I think it's doing great. I didn't expect it too soon, but we've gone from petting animals, raft-riding, to magic conjuring (Fable: The Journey) and carrying imaginary guns (Ghost Recon: Future Soldier). We're quickly approaching Gerard Butler's Gamer. Just keep the chips out of my head.

Robert: I thought Microsoft did a very good job overall. The show had a little lull with the two kiddie titles mixed in, but otherwise I thought the progress made in using the Kinect really sold the show. The better usage of the voice recognition and body tracking really impressed me, especially with the gunsmith mode in Ghost Recon: Future Soldier.


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