E3 2012: Microsoft Press Conference

Looking Through the Smart Glass at Microsoft’s Press Event

Welcome to Metanorn’s exclusive E3 coverage by your’s truly, steev! I am a guest writer over from Anivision.org and I am here to satisfy all your Microsoft E3 2012 Conference Needs. Think of me as a pimp and Microsoft is my hoe.

I have split the conference into 4 categories: Games, Sports, Entertainment, and Smart Glass. I will go over in detail about what was presented and have videos of what they showed. I even added convenient links to guide you through the coverage in ease. I probably over did it when it comes to design, but hey, anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

This year Xbox showed off a lot of game titles. The best part of the conference was that they shied away from doing too many Kinect games. Kinect was their focus last year and we got a ton of those games shoved into our faces, whether we wanted them or not. Their exclusives really didn’t change too much, but with a strong showing from Halo 4, Forza, and Gears of War, there is at least something worth talking about. Like last year, instead of a lot of exclusive games, they are getting the DLC first. Many PS3 owners might be sighing from the news, but this seems to be how Microsoft is supplementing it’s lack of exclusive titles over their rivals. HALO 4
To be honest, I wasn’t too impressed by the end of the Halo demo. At first I was excited, especially when I saw the insanely high level of detail in the graphics and the more gritty hardcore video. I thought that 343 studios was going to evolve the Halo franchise into something that we haven’t seen before. After the gameplay started I realized that wasn’t going to be the case. Halo 4 is taking the same, albeit successful formula, and making just another Halo game. ODST and Reach, story wise, have been the best in the series because they changed what we already knew. Each campaign had something new to bring to the franchise and I loved them for it. Halo 4 is going back to the Halo 3 style and doing very little in terms of innovation for the franchise.

The game does intrigue me though. The new aliens have a cool style to them and you can’t deny that it is a graphically impressive game. Easily the most impressive they showed at their E3 conference. I think I will be eagerly awaiting the game, but I don’t think it was the slam dunk I was looking for.

One of my favorite games from 2010 was Splinter Cell: Conviction. They took the stealth genre and changed it in a way that it was no longer how slow you could move, but how fast you could kill people before they notice you. One thing I noticed in the trailer is that they ramped it up and made it much more action oriented. I can say that it makes me excited to see them take it to another level. They even demo’d some new Kinect features like being able to say, “Hey!” and getting the attention of the guard. They are really using Kinect very minimally, but it will help improve the gameplay quite a bit. They only teased the single player as well, but I am excited to see how they include co-op as well.

It isn’t all rainbows and sunshine though. Just looking at the brief trailer we learn that Sam is now the leader of Third Echelon, which is disappointing to say the least. I liked him in the last game because he was a man seeking to destroy the system. The more rogue elements made the story more intense. All in all, I am still super excited about the game and will definitely be getting it when it releases early next year.

They didn’t really show much more than what they already have in the past, but it still was a great presentation. I don’t know about you, but this is easily the game I am most excited for in 2013. The new dark story really hits with me as I get the feeling that this will not be a pleasant story. I am even speculating already that the ending won’t be all kittens and fluffy bunnies either. They are trying to push the envelope with this game.

If you are complaining that this game looks too much like Uncharted with boobs, then I can agree with you. At the same time, Uncharted was really just Tomb Raider with a cocky lead and, well, other ‘cocky’ things. I don’t mind them copying the more cinematic experience that Uncharted has. That is mainly because this game does look way more intense. Uncharted is an awesome franchise, but the games aren’t really intense. Tomb Raider will be and that is what is going to set it apart.

Gears of War 3 might have been the final of the trilogy, but it isn’t the final in the franchise. Judgement is going to be a prequel of one of the most popular characters in the game. It will take place 14 years before the first game. There will be even more multiplayer modes. They will allow for the Horde Mode to be a vs. mode where players can fight each other as either the Horde or the men.

Personally, I am not a huge Gears of War fan. This does give a great exclusive title to Microsoft that it desperately needs. Epic does a great job with each game so I am expecting this game to be even better than ever.

If you were thinking to yourself that you really wanted to see some Leon, then you are in luck. Two Capcom executives went on stage and played 5 minutes of Resident Evil 6 and it was all Leon. In my opinion, Leon was far more of a BAMF than Chris, so I am glad to see him back, but that is off topic.

Getting back to the Demo, one thing you notice right off the bat is they made it much more action heavy. There was diving, cover, and even some movement when Leon shot. So Capcom isn’t just pushing RE toward the Action genre, it is now a full-fledged action game. I don’t hate that because I still think RE5 was the best game in the franchise. I do think that they are keeping a bit of the Horror elements by reintroducing Zombies from previous games, but overall it will be action oriented.

I am not going to lie, I am super excited about this game. You might be wondering why this game is even worth talking about, but it is quite simple. This isn’t your average game. It is going to be a full-fledged RPG and it will stay true to its style.

Matt Stone and Trey Parker came on stage and talked about how they want it to be like no other Sout Park experince. As a South Park fan, I can’t wait.

Black Ops 2
If you don’t know me, well, I am a Call of Duty Fanboy. Not the annoying type, but the one who plays tons of hours of Multiplayer and even though I might play another game for a while, I will always come back to Call of Duty. Black Ops 2 looks like an amazing Call of Duty game. They are going into the future and adding things that have never been done before. Treyarch proved with World at War that they know how to make a game that is unique to the franchise and they continued on with Black Ops. Black Ops 2 should be an epic game and one not to be missed. Don’t just hate it because it is popular, it actually is a good game.

Really there was no surprise here. They demo’d some of the campaign, which does surprisingly look good. The new jet fighting sequences should prove to be a lot of fun too. Most of us though are waiting on the multiplayer details, which won’t arrive till September.

Other Games
Instead of highlighting the rest of the games, I am going to combine them into one segment. They showed off a lot of the other smaller games, which all look pretty good. The best of which was Ascend: New God. Not a lot was really shown, but what I gathered from the trailer was that it will have a Shadow of Colossus meets God of War feel to the game. Lots of big battles as well as massive hack and slash gameplay. The thing that makes this a bit more unique is that it will be an Xbox 360 exclusive. There aren’t many of those, so hearing that alone should at least get your attention.

Another bigger title was Forza Horizon. I am not really a racing game fan, but it does look like they are keeping the high level of detail that most have come to know about the franchise. It does look like they will be focusing on more rural areas, which should prove to have nice back drops as you are racing through the maps.

They showed off several Kinect games, one of which was by Gore Verbinski, the director of Pirates of the Caribbean. Honestly, that game looked pretty interesting, but as I don’t have a Kinect, I’ll have to sit it out. Another Kinect game they showed off was Fable. To be honest, last year it looked pretty dull and this year had very little else to show for it. They also showed off a game called Wreckateer. Where you controlled a massive Batista and shot at various castles. To me that game looked nothing more than a kids game. It was hardly worth showing off. Finally, the last Kinect game they showed was Dance Central 3. Other than a performace by Usher, there really isn’t much to talk about.

The big push for Kinect this year didn’t come from regular games, but instead it came from the sports and fitness division which is integrated with real products like the cbd roll-on for pain by fresh bros. I am not too surprised about this. One of the big reasons the Wii did so well was because many people went in for it because of their fitness programs. It shouldn’t be surprising that Microsoft wants to be apart of it. It also partnered with Nike so that you can train on a whole new level. Another thing they highlighted was that there are going to be several new sports that will be available to watch Live through your Xbox 360. EA SPORTS
EA Sports
The most interesting thing coming to Kinect comes with EA Sports games. Both Fifa and Madden will offer in game voice support that will alow players to issue commands and call out players. It will even keep track of your voice and if you dislike a Ref’s call in Fifa and say something you shouldn’t, then the game will respond to you. That adds a new level of involvement that you haven’t seen before in video games.

Personally, I don’t really have any strong emotions toward this, but I do understand that this could be a very interesting thing. I know people that do enjoy sports games and being able to switch formations and plays easily will dramatically improve play. It should be more interesting once they get this kind of functionality into all of their games.

If you are like me, then the one thing you probably don’t do enough is exercise. Good news, you can now do it with a personal trainer from Nike! Through the power of Kinect and Nike+ technology, they have created a way for you to train with a personalized workout regiment develop just for you.

They even use Nike’s patented training regiment that was developed for professional athletes. You can track loses and watch your body change from the deformed blob it is into a greek god.

It should be no surprise to you that Microsoft is still pushing for sports broadcasting on their Xbox 360. This year they will be bringing NBA and NHL to Xbox 360, making it the must-buy console for all you sports fans. The way you can control the sports you want to watch is absolutely amazing.

To top it off, the entire ESPN package is coming to 360 now. That means you can watch ESPN, ESP2, ESPN3, ESPN U, and ESPN News all from the confort of your 360. You’ll be able to keep up with your teams and watch all the games you want.

Once again Xbox 360 is proving that you don’t need to have cable to enjoy all your favorite shows and movies. Microsoft has yet again upgraded its Kinect features allowing you to search for more specific titles and genre. They have also lined up 20 more partners to show even more content than ever. That includes Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon, and Univision. Xbox 360 is really pushing hard for the whole multimedia package. They even unveiled Xbox Music, which is essentially iTunes for your Xbox. More than likely, it is the remnants of Zune showing up modified and better than ever.

There really isn’t much to show or talk about other than the plethora of titles. I will say that Xbox 360 is becoming a juggernaut when it comes to entertainment. Neither the PS3 or the Wii U will be able to out perform Xbox 360 if they keep getting tons of partners to stream content straight to the Xbox. It shows you just how powerful Microsoft is or rather just how incompetent the other two are. I think a prime example of that is the simple fact that the Xbox 360 has Crackle, which streams movies, tv shows, and anime for free. If you wonder why that is a prime example, it is because Crackle is a subsidiary of Sony. How does Sony’s biggest competitor have rights to a division of Sony, when PS3 doesn’t?

The other big new thing to come to Xbox 360 is finally the implantation of Internet Explorer! It is fully supported by Kinect as well, so you can browse the internet with ease. It really is long overdue for Xbox 360 to have a browser. Personally, I don’t think I’ll use it, but I do think that it will be convenient at the very least to have one.

Xbox Smart Glass makes your smartphone or tablet into an extension of your Xbox 360. From the start it showed the presenter watching a movie on his tablet while he traveled, when he got him he finished it by pushing it onto his TV. That is right, you can push content onto your TV. And not just that, but if you are watching something on your Xbox, you can view information about what you are watching on your device. The example they showed as Game of Thrones and how it had an interactive map that showed the direction the characters were headed. This is pretty cool, but something that I probably wouldn’t use.

Other features it allowed for was that your device can now act as a remote for your 360! That means if you dislike the awkward controlling of Kinect, you can use your device to easily navigate through the menus. This is something that is ingenious and it only further the ingenuity by allowing it to control IE! That is right… No keyboard, no mouse, no controller, and no Kinect. You can type, click, control, and easily browse the internet. unveiling IE wasn’t enough, they had to make Sony’s browser look hard to use.

If you are excited now, I am sorry to say that you are about to have a spazem. The best part of Xbox Smart Glass is the fact that it offers functionality in Video Games… That is right. Microsoft just single-handedly killed the Wii U. Lets all now take apart in a moment of silence for Nintendo.

In all seriousness, this looks like an amazing feature, but they really didn’t show any good examples. The best they had was being able to create plays in Madden and being able to view waypoint information in Halo 4. Still, the functionality is there and hopefully the developers will do some interesting things with it.

So how did Microsoft do? Will they be crown victor of E3 2012?

Those are the million dollar questions and what it is all going to come down to is… Who you ask. That might sound like a vague answer, but it is the truth. This year Microsoft was amazing… That is overall. The new Smart Glass technology was brilliant and the fact that it will work across all platforms of smartphones and tablets, it could be the biggest news from E3 this year. What makes the question so objective is that it will depend on what you are looking for. If you want overall tech, games, entertainment, and features, then Xbox 360 wins hands down. However, if you are talking about games, which is biggest reason people go to E3 for, then Microsoft was a let down. They had few exclusive titles and the only thing they have going for them is the fact that they will annoy all PC and PS3 players because they will get the DLC first. Most of the games they demo’d are multi platform titles, so they really failed to deliver on games.

Personally, I think they won. I love the new features headed to the Xbox and while I know all the games I am excited for are all multi platform, except for Last of Us, which is a PS3 exclusive, I know that I will be getting a lot of them for the Xbox 360.

About the Guest Writer: steev-sensei

Growing up in an unhealthy environment, filled with nothing but the Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre and computers, lead steev to the man he is today, a slightly disturbed video game loving anime otaku. Link Twitter // Google+ // Anivision


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17 Responses to “E3 2012: Microsoft Press Conference”

  1. Jrow says:

    When I was watching the Halo 4 gameplay, as I’ve said a number of times on G+ and Twitter, I got a vibe very similar to Metroid Prime. The visor was given much more detail than before (and that was even before thermal vision), the aliens and how they moved around looked similar, and the alien weapon Chief grabbed at the middle of the video looked like something Samus would pick up.

    I agree about RE6’s transition to action; they also implemented some moving+shooting into the 3DS game earlier this year. Ada Wong’s inclusion to the trailer really shakes things up with the story.

    I’ll be back with more, but I must once more say that this post looks hot~

  2. Metalsnakezero says:

    It was a nice conference but it lacked stuff I wanted. Games I wanted was RE6 and Tomb Raider had me all hyped since I haven’t seen complete game play of them.

    The others were just stuff that was done already or I have little interest in and while Smart Glass is a cool feature, that and the add-ons of entertainment programs, and fitness feel out of place when E3 is about games.

  3. Shinmaru says:

    It’s not as if Uncharted is the most original series in the world, so I’m definitely not up in arms about Tomb Raider taking some cues from the craziness of those games’ set pieces. That’s definitely the game that interested me the most from Microsoft’s conference.

    But, man, is Lara Croft taking a ton of punishment! I don’t think even Nathan Drake was roughed up that much during any E3, haha.

    • lvlln says:

      Quite frankly, I hope Tomb Raider steals unabashedly from Uncharted. Uncharted took the formula Tomb Raider made big and just about perfected it. Now it’s time for Tomb Raider to evolve, taking the innovations Uncharted introduced and making them better. I’ve never been excited about a Tomb Raider game, at least not since 2 and 3, but this one has me interested.

  4. steev says:

    Man… I was going to say something, but thought I was just miss hearing things. Apparently they did replace Sam Fisher’s voice actor. That really sucks. Micheal Ironside was the man. His husky voice made Sam Fisher into a BAMF, but the new guy doesn’t have a deep voice at all. :\

  5. Rakkyo says:

    I’m only interested in Dead Space 3, Lost Planet 3, Tomb Raider, Black Ops 2, Assassin’s Creed 3 and a few others I can’t remember.

    Yeah, from that list you can see that I’m a PC gamer.
    Not having a console is suffering…

    • steev says:

      You can argue that PC gaming is better because games will work better and look better, but honestly, now a days PC gamers miss out on many of the major titles. I moved to console gaming because I stopped wanting to spend money updating my PC, but at the same time now Console gaming is where it is all at.

      The ONLY PC game I am even excited for right now, and I haven’t been excited for a PC game in a long time, is Star Wars 1313, but they they haven’t even said if it will be PC only or not. Just the Demo they have for it is on PC. It does look pretty great too.

      • Rakkyo says:

        I completely agree with that. The market is shifting heavily towards the consoles nowadays and with the release of PSVita, there’ll likely be more PS exclusive titles coming up.

        Still, the only reason I haven’t switched to console gaming is the degree of freedom you can only get in PCs. I will admit that I pirate heavily and that pirating is much easier in PCs, but there are other reasons like modding, better graphics and bugs are easier to fix like you said. And the biggest tipping point for me is that you can pretty much do anything with a PC. Just my 2 cents.

        And not to sound rude or anything, but I can’t for the life of me see how people could play an FPS with a controller.

        • steev says:

          Piracy really is the biggest reason that games have been pushed to consoles. There are other reasons too, but the loss of revenue on PC is great due to many people pirating games. One reason you are seeing more games come to PCs again is because DRM has gotten better.

          When it comes to FPS, I understand that completely. I was a big FPS fan on PC. I bought into a console back in 2007 when Halo 3 came out. At first I wasn’t all that good, but by the end of the campaign I was using the controller almost as well as a mouse. Pretty much it just comes down to experience. Once you start doing it, it becomes second nature.

          Now a days, I find using the controller easier. When you play on PC you move and strafe with keys and aim with a mouse. On a controller you use two joysticks, which gives me great precision when I use most guns. I can aim faster than I ever did on the PC by combining the two. Although, my accuracy with a sniper isn’t anything as good as it was with a mouse.

  6. Overcooled says:

    In terms of games, I don’t really see anything that tickles my fancy…The Smart Glass feature is pretty damn clever though. The Wii U keeps beating it over our heads that it’s the first and only console to let you keep playing on the Gamepad even when someone else is using the TV and now Microsoft is fighting back. I have to share my TV, so this is something I would actually use. Err, I don’t have a 360, but it’s still nice in theory. It will keep people from wanting to buy the Wii U since they already have the main selling point of it in their hands. :B

    …Goddammit, steev. You went and made your post all sexy-like and now I have to actually put effort into my layout too so I don’t look like a slacker. UGGHHH.

  7. Foshizzel says:

    Oooooooh Halo 4! I can’t wait for that and I loved that amazing half cgi half live action mini movie, but yeah I can see why Jrow and a few others would say it feels a bit like Metroid? I haven’t played any of those so I can’t really say to much about that.

    At least they have new enemies to fight against for Halo even though they scream aliens from Lost Planet with all the bright orange colors.

    Ohhh and RE6, New Gears of war, Tomb Raider and Splinter cell DO WANT.

  8. T.K. says:

    More or less the same old dudebro shooters from Microsoft but I’m crazy excited for Splinter Cell Blacklist (by the way, Sam is now working as 4th Echelon, 3E was decommissioned).

    Still waiting on Black Ops 2’s suggested gameplay changes like “branching paths in the storyline that will lead to different game endings”. If they pull that off successfully, then CoD may just be amazing again.

    • steev says:

      That really is the one thing I really want to see in Black Ops 2. The idea behind it sounds great on paper, but it could be a mess or our actions could really not do much to effect the overall story. I feel like Treyarch is promising quite a lot with it, but they aren’t showing anything.

  9. Kyokai says:

    Tomb Raider takes the cake for me but damn, I was almost wincing by the end of the video. Lara’s in PAIN goddamn it. How much will they hurt her in this game?! >< South Park seems interesting too so I'll be checking that out whenever it releases.

  10. […] Microsoft Press Conference […]

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