E3, the fabled gaming expo held in Los Angeles, kicked off today with several large press conferences. I'm about as far as you can get from the event but through the power of the internet I can still catch up on all the latest announcements and bring them to you.
Date: 15-6-2010 Subject: Games Article By:Bradley Beeck The Gist
This year's E3 will be about two things: Motion based technology and 3D Stereoscopic games. If anyone doesn't believe that Nintendo's Wii console changed the gaming industry, then this E3 should will make them a believer. Microsoft and Sony, Nintendo's rival companies, will be making a big push with their own motion based technology. Microsoft has already demoed it's newly dubbed Kinect device (formerly Project Natal), and Sony has been touring it's Playstation Move device around the U.S and is sure to reveal more at the expo. As for Stereoscopic games, Nintendo announced a few weeks ago the Nintendo 3DS, a stereoscope version of the it's ever popular DS console. Nothing was really detailed at the time, and the company promised more information at E3, so that's something new we have to look forward to. Other companies, such as Sony, have already begun work on producing Stereoscope versions of their existing games, like Killzone 2. And we can expect more news on this front as well.
Microsoft made a wide variety of announcements at their press conference and related E3 events. Chief among them was the official naming of Project Natal as Kinect (presumably as in Kinetic and Connect) which also received a release date of November 4 in the US. The price is still unknown. The device is a camera based system which tracks a person's motion, although it also has voice recognition technology. I don't particularly like the new name, it's pretty generic and forgettable. Natal had a much more distinct and unique sound to it, however you wanted to pronounce it (Na-taal or Naytil). We also finally got to see what games would launch with the new device and they were underwhelming, and clearly aimed at a different audience. Wii clones adequately sums them up: Kinect Sports/Wii Sports, Your Shape: Fitness Evolved/Wii Fit et al. However there was one shining ray of hope for avid gamers and geeks: Kinetic Star Wars. Only a brief gameplay trailer, a tech demo really, was shown where Anakin used his lightsaber and forcepowers to kill some Stormtroopers but the prospect of enacting lightsaber duels through full motion capture is enough to get me excited.
Microsoft's other big announcement was the Xbox 360 Slim, which has been rumoured for months. The new Xbox SKU (Stock Keeping Unit) is quiter, slimer, has built in Wifi, more USB ports, a 250GB HDD and will be available this week. EB Australia is already advertising it for $450AUD. It's about time the 360 got built in Wifi, the price of the external adapters is ludicrous. However the new price is a bit steep, the core hardware is 5 years old and it comes close to the PS3's price ($500AUD).
Some of the other news to come out of the press conference is that ESPN3.com, a sports website/channel, will be available to Xbox Live Gold Members this November. I'm not totally sure about the details on this, there may be some restrictions. For those of you in Australia, live TV from Foxtel will become available sometime in the next year. No setup box will be required. The Xbox Live service is also expanding into: Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Poland, Russia and South Africa. The Windows Live Messenger service will expand to Xbox Live, allowing users to have real time video conversations with PC users through the Kinetic's camera.
Games Announced or Displayed:
Kinect Adventures - Float in outer space. Experience the thrill of roaring rapids. Tackle mountaintop obstacle courses. And dive into the deep to explore a leaky underwater observatory — all from your living room. With “Kinect Adventures,” you are the controller as you jump, dodge and kick your way through exciting adventures set in a variety of exotic locations. (Press Release)
Kinetic Joy Ride (Big Park ) - 3 … 2 … 1 … Go! “Kinect Joy Ride,” the first controller-free racing game, will take you and your friends on the ride of your lives — no drivers license required. “Kinect Joy Ride” reinvents driving and Kart racing by adding massive jumps and full body stunts to the classic Kart racing action. With a host of cool features and game modes you can take off for the ride of your life by yourself, pick up a co-pilot or team up with your friends and family to take on the world. (Press Release)
Kinect Sports (Rare) - Turn your living room into a world-class stadium, bowling alley, soccer pitch or arena. With “Kinect Sports” you’re not only the star player, you are the controller — through the magic of Kinect for Xbox 360. See a ball? Kick it. Spike it. Even give it a little top spin. “Kinect Sports” features soccer, beach volleyball, bowling, table tennis, boxing and multiple track and field events. (Press Release)
Kinectimals (Frontier Studio ) - A wide-eyed Bengal Tiger cub cocks its head to the side and playfully peers at you. Memories of your first trip to the zoo come rushing back. “Kinectimals” invites children, their parents and animal lovers of all ages to build lasting friendships with some of the world’s most exotic creatures. Just like real pets, your “Kinectimals” will come running when they hear your voice, respond to commands like “jump,” “roll-over” and “play dead,” and purr with joy when you scratch them behind the ears. (Press Release)
Dance Central (MTV Games) - Dance Central”TM is the first full-body, controller-free dance video game with fun choreography for beginners and experts. Featuring full-body tracking, the magic of Kinect for Xbox 360 allows you to experience real dance with your friends and family. Whether you’re rehearsing in Break It Down! or owning the stage in Perform It, you’ll be introduced to more than 600 moves in the game and more than 90 dance routines all created by professional choreographers. The game features tracks from an amazing mix of pop, hip-hop and R&B artists including Lady Gaga, No Doubt, M.I.A., Bell Biv Devoe, and more. Take your moves to the next level while connecting with the music you love! (Press Release)
Your Shape: Fitness Evolved (Ubisoft) - Get the most out of Kinect with “Your Shape: Fitness Evolved.” Unlike other games, the proprietary Player Projection technology of “Your Shape: Fitness Evolved” puts your body into the game for the ultimate experience. You’ll physically interact with virtual environments in ways you’ve never seen before, and you’ll be captivated by unique and exciting visual effects that respond to your movement and impact. Burn calories your way — choose a personal trainer to help you meet your specific fitness goals, take a yoga or martial arts class, or play fun family-friendly minigames. As you exercise, you’ll receive specific feedback on your every move, thanks to the game’s real-time precise tracking system. You won’t notice how hard you’re working until you see the results! (Press Release)
Gears of War 3
This was demoed at a pre-E3 event but a few more screenshots emerged. More female soldiers!
Metal Gear Solid Rising
Annouced this time last year, this is the first Metal Gear Solid game to go multiple platform simultaneously being on the PC, Xbox 360 and PS3. Checkout the trailer, courtesy of GameTrailers, below: