Microsoft kicked off a busy day of events with some big announcements, including both a new Halo game and a remastered version of the original, a Star Wars game for Kinect and sequels to Dance Central and Kinect Sports.
Halo, the company’s largest franchise, is not only getting a remake of the original for the series’ tenth anniversary (out November 15). Halo 4, a game highly anticipated after side-story games Halo: ODST and Halo: Reach were released in recent years, will be out holiday 2012.
A new Dashboard interface was revealed, with full Kinect support, YouTube integration, a search function through Bing and live TV. It’ll be out this fall. Youtube will be available natively on the Xbox 360 for the first time, while Bing will allow you to search your Xbox and the Xbox Marketplace for specific keywords for the first time. This is a feature that, in our opinion has been needed for awhile. We just wish it wasn’t called Bing. Live TV was only briefly touched on, more will likely be announced later, but apparently it will give you access to live content from a number of partner companies along with your local broadcast channels.
The company is putting a lot of effort and resources into a second wave of titles for its motion-sensing Kinect peripheral, including some that appeal to a less casual demographic. We’re getting expected sequels to last year’s hits, Dance Central and Kinect Sports. We’re also getting Kinect Star Wars, a series of Force-based challenges, including lightsaber battles. Fable: The Journey is a Kinect-enabled fantasy adventure. Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster, developed by Double Fine, lets you and your family be Elmo and Cookie Monster. Four EA Sports games will include support as well, including Madden, FIFA and Tiger Woods.
Kinect Labs is making its debut today for all Xbox Live members. It will essentially allow all those PC Kinect hacks to be run on the Xbox 360, with some modifications. This could be what Kinect really needs in order to take off, but only time will tell.
Of course, they didn’t ignore previously-announced games, either. Gears of War 3, releasing in September, marks the return of Horde Mode. Forza 4 features headtracking and will be out in October. Modern Warfare 3 had a big video, and Mass Effect 3, Ghost Recon (both with Kinect integration) and Tomb Raider (out late 2012) were also shown.
The rumored Mass Effect 3 integration is not as full-blown as some people feared. It will feature voice recognition and control of your squadmates. It is also optional, so you don’t have to talk to the game if buttons are your preferred method of conversational interaction. Ghost Recon Future Soldier will feature full Kinect integration too, also optional. It will have voice recognition used in it, but will also feature full fledged motion control if you so desire it.
Next up is the new-look Tomb Raider. A demo of it was run through on stage. It looks fairly impressive, possibly a competitor for Uncharted in the action/adventure genre. Lara will have to use her ‘survival instincts,’ which highlights different objects she needs to use to solve the environmental puzzles she’s confronted with. Also, it looks like there will be a lot of quick-time events in the game, if the demo is anything to judge by. Finally…lots of fire may be required.
Microsoft E3 Trailers
Kinect Star Wars
Gears of War 3
Forza Motorsport 4
Fable: The Journey
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3