June 6, 2011

E3 2011: Microsoft Press Conference Summary

E3 2011 - Halo 4


While some of the readied punch of the big M’s conference was leaked beforehand, the focus of the first conference of E3 2011 was decidedly a bit different from the expected announcements.

  • The conference opened with an extended look at a level from the recently announced Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. As anyone might’ve expected, it looked very much like a CoD game; transitioning from an underwater opening–mini-subs and all–to an on-foot takeover of a Russian sub, with the requisite explosions in between.
  • Next, a demo for the new Tomb Raider reboot. Lara takes a good deal of punishment during the several minutes shown, and she expresses her pain clearly throughout. The demo featured a few instances of Heavy Rain-esque quick-time events, along with more traditional running and jumping
  • Peter Moore announced Kinect support for upcoming EA Sports titles–including Tiger Woods PGA Tour, Madden NFL, and FIFA–along with an additional unrevealed game.
  • Dr. Ray Muzyka of BioWare introduced a brief slice of Mass Effect 3–along with a demonstration of the Kinect support included. From what was shown, we can expect voice support in both dialogue and battle sequences.


  • Yves Guillermot introduced a trailer for Ghost Recon: Future Soldier–which was shown in greater depth last year–and discussed the new Kinect features (seeing a trend here?), which will include gun customization with arm gestures and voice commands. Also shown was a demo of Kinect-enabled shooting, using more arm gestures. Wrapping things up, he announced that all future Tom Clancy titles will feature Kinect support of some kind.


  • The next several announcements centered around both the Kinect and new Xbox functionality, including:
    • A new dashboard
    • YouTube integration
    • Certain live TV channels, including local
    • Live UFC streaming functionality
    • A virtual Disneyland “experience”, with games.


  • Following that were a demo from Gears of War 3 (featuring Cliff Bleszinski and an enthused Ice-T), and trailers for:
    • Ryse (formerly known as Codename: Kingdoms), a first-person Kinect fighter set in Rome
    • Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, the rumored remake of the original game, with improved graphics and multiplayer bits,
    • Forza 4, with Kinect head track and voice commands
    • Fable: The Journey, introduced, expectedly, by Peter Molyneux: a first-person Kinect rail-shooter.
    • Minecraft, with–you guessed it–Kinect support!
    • The previously shown Star Wars Kinect game, with plenty of arm waiving and gesturing.


  • Afterwards, Tim Schafer came out to introduce (“Unleash the simulated family!”) a live demo of Double Fine’s upcoming Kinect family game Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster.
  • Kudo Tsunoda introduced Kinect Fun Labs, a collection of Kinect centered utilities that take fun, specific advantage of the technology. Shown were demos for finger tracking and object scanning, things that future games could implement. In addition, Kinect Fun Labs goes live today.
  • Following that were demonstrations of Kinect Sports: Season 2, and Dance Central 2, one of which actually made fine use of Kinect.
  • And then, of course, Halo 4–supposedly “the dawn of a new trilogy on Xbox 360”–due out late next year.




So there you go! Next up: EA’s press conference.


  1. Personally, I’m happy to see more Kinect support. I’ll continue to be happy as long as games also have an option to use standard controls (unless it’s a Kinect specific title).

    It’s only through the increased support that we’ll end up with better and more interesting implementation.

    And I’m completely down with more voice recognition options too. If this sort of thing can be used to enhance standard play and lessen my time in sub-menus, it can only be good.

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