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E3 2011: Microsoft Keynote Wrap-Up

News; Jun. 7, 2011; Channels: Video Games; By Jason Winstanley
Subtypes: News
Los Angeles, CA, USA

When Microsoft announced the new, slim Xbox 360 in last year's E3 Microsoft keynote, I wrote the wrap-up article -- the first article I handled following our re-launch. And now, only a year later, I have the honor, privilege, and above all, the pleasure of doing it yet again. So without further ado, let's get right on to the fun part: the announcements, the videos, and the demos.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

Heading up the keynote, presenting the latest in the Call of Duty franchise, MW3 started with a demo, during which there was a technical glitch (the batteries in the controller failed). The game play was smooth and exciting; however, there were a few comments about the underwater subway level.

Following the MW3 game play trailer and a short discussion, it was announced that future map packs will be released for the Xbox 360 first.

Tomb Raider Origin

Next up was Tomb Raider, also appearing with a demo. Lara appears to be weak and unprepared, leaning heavily on survival instincts. The game looks like it's similar to Uncharted, using puzzle-based levels, etc. It definitely seems more like a survivor-horror genre this time around. Tomb Raider is expected to hit store shelves in the Fall of 2012.

Mass Effect 3

EA stepped up next, showing that a few of their sports franchises, such as Tiger Woods Golf and Madden, will have Kinect support. They said that they'll have more during their own keynote. They then showed Mass Effect 3's game play and Kinect voice control support. Players can control conversations with their voice and get through entire conversations without moving a finger. It also includes voice recognition during combat, allowing you to order your squad around. The quick example shown looked very smooth.

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Warfare

Kinect will be used in the latest Tom Clancy title by Ubisoft. We were primarily shown a weapon configuration called Gunsmith, which lets you customize every single part of a weapon. It uses voice and movement recognition and looks very interesting. After putting together your weapon, you can then test it out in an interactive firing range.
All future Tom Clancy games will feature Kinect support in one way or another.

Kinect featuring YouTube, and Bing Search

YouTube compatibility will be soon coming to the Xbox 360. Kinect will also integrate with Bing, which lets you navigate through the various content available on the dashboard with ease. For example: if you say, "Xbox Bing, Lego", it will pull up all the Lego content available on Xbox Live. UFC president Dana White then came out and announced a unique partnership with Xbox for UFC content that will also have Kinect features.

Gears of War 3

Time to switch gears, literally. A quick trailer of Gears of War 3 was shown to start off its portion of the presentation. Afterward, Epic Games gave a quick thanks to players who participated in the Gears beta. After that, we had a celebrity cameo from Ice T. Next, came a part of the campaign mode, which included a firefight, followed by a massive boss battle. During the demo, they also showed off a mech-like suit that players can find and use to slay the Horde. After the demo, Ice T promised to record a song exclusively for the game. Gears of War 3 launches on Sept. 20.

Ryse

A trailer for this Kinect-enabled game was shown next. It's set in ancient Rome, with the uprising of a new hero and his army of followers. Looks very promising.
Stay tuned for more information regarding this release. 

Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Edition

Rocking a Nov. 15 release date comes the newest Halo game, a remake of the very first game in the series: Halo: Combat Evolved. It will come complete with new graphics, sound, and Xbox Live multiplayer and co-op. Also, several of the original multiplayer maps will be redesigned for this Anniversary Edition.

Forza 4

A trailer for this upcoming racer was next on the agenda, showing some of the most realistic looking cars ever seen. Forza will have Kinect support. Stay tuned for more information regarding this release later this week, when we hit the show floor.

Fable: The Journey

Peter Molyneux stepped on stage and showed us how the Kinect will work in the world of Fable. You can control several magic powers, such as hurling fireball-like projectiles at enemies, and even objects you can destroy. No release date has been set, but it's expected sometime in 2012.

Minecraft for Xbox 360

Minecraft made an appearance in the Microsoft keynote. We are not sure whether this will be an Xbox Live Arcade title, or a full release. Kinect support has been promised, and we'll keep you updated with the latest news on this one.

Disney Partnership

Microsoft officially announced a partnership with Disney. The first game under this partnership is a Kinect game called Disneyland Adventures. A playable demo was shown in which users explored the actual Disneyland park in complete detail. It was announced that you can purchase in-game merchandise to share with your friends and use with avatars. The kids who were playing the demo then ventured onto the Peter Pan ride, where they got to fly with Peter Pan and collect Disney-shaped coins (similar in a way to some of the old Sonic the Hedgehog special stages). Afterward, they landed on Captain Hook's ship and met the man himself. The demo ended shortly after that. Disneyland Adventures will be released this fall.

Star Wars Kinect

Next, it was time to go to a galaxy far, far away. Star Wars Kinect was shown in playable form. Along with the expected lightsaber duels and use of the Force, it was revealed that you can also pilot ships, such as X-Wings, and even enter a pod race. The game is expected to be out by the end of the year.

Sesame Street: Once Upon A Monster

Tim Schaffer came out to demo this game, clearly aimed at very young gamers. The playable demo showed Elmo and Cookie Monster walk through a creepy forest, where they encounter some scary-looking monsters. This one may also be out by the end of 2011.

Kinect Fun Labs

Up next is a new tool for the Kinect called Kinect Fun Labs, which takes the capabilites of the Kinect to a whole new level. With the various tools involved, players can upload their own image and even clothing onto their 360 to create a brand new avatar. Also, items can be integrated by simply scanning them. After they're scanned, players can use the Kinect to move items around like they're alive. Fun Labs also has a finger tracking option. Possibly the biggest news about it, though, is that it's now available on Xbox Live, to all Xbox Live members for free.

Kinect Sports Season 2

A sequel to one of Kinect's most popular titles is next up. Season 2 features brand new sports, including football, baseball, golf, tennis, skiing... and even darts. One of the developers then came out to show how golf plays. That was followed by two more demoing football and leading the team to a game-winning touchdown. No release date was announced.

Dance Central 2

Another Kinect sequel next danced its way onto the stage. One of the game's developers, along with its choreographer, then took the stage to show off their moves. No release date was announced.

Halo 4

To finish the keynote, Microsoft had a bit of a surprise. The lights went out, and the audience got to watch what appeared to be a flaming comet, but then after a closer look, the audience got to see the first glimpse of the next major story in the Halo saga. Halo 4 is expected to be the first part of a new trilogy, developed by 343 Industries. A surprise like this was more than any Xbox fan could have asked for. Halo 4 is slated for a holiday 2012 release.

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