Microsoft's Entertainment-Focused Keynote Still Had Room for Video Games
posted Monday Jun 4, 2012 by Jon Wurm
Not unexpected this year, Microsoft came out strong by announcing right away that entertainment is the primary focus with the Xbox Live living room experience. Alas, gamers shouldn't be too disappointed with the video game showing, however, even though no matter how much they give us, we will always want more.
I'm going to give a quick breakdown of what we saw first hand and fill you in with more details throughout the week so be sure to keep plugged in. If you've managed to make it this far why not press start to continue and read on after the break.
First up to bat was the much anticipated Halo 4 and while I'm not a huge fan of the series, this is the one that might pull me in (don't hate, it just means I'll be an easy kill for you in multi-player). We got to see actual game play that was really impressive and the jungle environment they threw you into is rich and vibrant with both plant life and things that want to kill you. The implementation of Smart Glass is something we look forward to discussing more in detail later. I'm still not used to Master Chief talking though, hopefully that will subside by the 11/06/2012 release date.
Ubisoft of Toronto showed off the new Splinter Cell: Blacklist which looked great and most notably showcased "killing in action" which is the system that blends the stealth and action elements of the game together to make the pace of the game much faster as well as more challenging. With Kinect you can also interact with enemies by distracting them or issue commands to teammates which adds new life to the unique ways to kill people. This is pretty much why we play games like this anyway. All I know about the release date is Spring 2013.
We also briefly saw a Fable: The Journey preview that showcased Kinect capability, Gears of War world premiere and Forza Horizon preview which were cool but there isn't much more to say about it.
Stefan Olander from Nike came on stage to present Nike Fit which is admittedly a pretty cool fitness video game platform that takes health and fitness to the next level. It measures real life performance with the Nike Plus Fuel Band and Nike Fuel points that provide real world feedback about your physical health and performance. The message they were trying to get across is that you can't improve what you can't measure. We can expect this out by Holiday 2012.
Crystal showed off a new Tomb Raider that lives up to the expectations that fans have of the game. Most notably, the transition between cinematic and game play is very smooth and keeps the action going. Lara Croft also keeps getting hotter so maybe they will bundle it with some new underwear upon release.
A few world premiers that came next were Ascend: New Gods which might make you say "God of War who?", Lococycle and Matter which appears to be some crazy awesome Portal like game with marbles. All these are coming out sometime 2013.
Resident Evil 6 was more of the same old thing we've come to expect. The game play looked a little choppy but it's still the quintessential zombie killer game.
The award for Goofiest game of the Keynote goes to Wrekateer which is a fun E for everyone Kinect game where you use your body to guide projectiles into castles and blow them into non-existence. Remember, the family that slays together, stays together. Dance Central 3 had a big showing with Usher giving a live performance but we didn't see a lot of the actual game. I get the feeling that if you've played it before, you've played this one as well. Another goof game but for completely different reasons was South Park: The Stick of Truth which puts you in an episode of the TV show by South Parkifying your avatar. It is also an obvious Lord of the Rings parody so if you like South Park you'll like this, too.
Microsoft had one more heavy hitter to round out the show this year and that was Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 which did not disappoint. The graphics looked amazing with barely any difference between cinematics and game play. Treyarch seems to have stepped it up a notch and even though no one plays Black Ops for the story. I'm not going to ruin it, except for this part where you get to fly a Harrier-looking aircraft around a decimated LA destroying drones. Way cool. According to Treyarch and Microsoft, "The Future is Black" on 11/13/2012.
Before you get mad, I didn't forget about FIFA 2013 or Madden NFL 2013, Nick will be covering those in depth later, just relax for now and know there is much more to be said and written about these games in the coming week. If by chanced you missed it, check out our liveblog of the Microsoft E3 Keynote and tell us what you're excited about.