Thursday, 4 June 2009

[E3] Microsoft Round Up

With the big 3's conferences out of the way, and the real show-floor gaming beginning, I thought I'd take some time going over what each of the major console manufacturers have announced this week. Once I've completed the posts for Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo, aswell as mentioning other muti-platform announcements, I'll take some time out to pick out some of my early impressions. But anyway..that's for later!

First up (and in order of conferences this week) is Microsoft:

Project Natal

Alright, lets get the big announcement out of the way first!

Project Natal is the current codename for the Xbox 360's new motion sensored controller. A new Live Vision Camera you ask? Well..not quite...

Sitting just below your T.V. this new camera from Microsoft is capable of mapping your body movements, facial recognition and voice recognition. The best way of imagining how this all could work can be left to the following video:

Pretty impressive huh? I was! It was inevitable that Microsoft were bringing some form of new motion sensored device to E3, in an effort to steal some of the Wii's gaming audience, but I wasn't expect what Project Natal offers.

Lionhead Studio's Peter Molyneux went on to demo 'Milo', a virtual boy, using the 360's new camera. I highly recommend reading Stephen Totilo's experience with Milo over at Kotaku. If you weren't impressed before, I'm sure you'll be at the very least a little impressed now!

Social Networking, Music and T.V.

Before Christmas Xbox 360 users, for no extra charge, shall be able to access Facebook and Twitter on their 360. Along with this, and again for no extra charge, you'll also be able to access Last.FM straight from your dash.

Not so free, will be Microsoft's 'Games on Demand' service, saving you a trip to the shops, allowing you to download the latest 360 games straight to your console. Microsoft have also formed a partnership with Sky, which yet again is scheduled before Christmas. This will allow users to watch popular Sky programs, movies and sport much like their online offering, but through their 360s with no addition hardware required.

Halo Reach, Forza 3, Left 4 Dead 2 and Crackdown 2

Forza Motorsport 3 has been rumoured to be in production for some time, but now its official, and is being aimed to be instores come Christmas. Graphics have been improved aswell as the frame rate thanks to a new engine powering the game, new cars are to be added along with ofcourse new tracks. Another interesting addition is the ability to create, edit and upload your own racing videos to Forza's website, of which you can then download.

Left 4 Dead 2 will be set around the timeline of the first L4D. Introducing 4 new survivors its also expected to offer 'deeper cooperative gameplay' aswell as being longer than its predecessor. Improving upon L4D's A.I Director, the A.I. Director 2 shall not only change the location of the zombies each time you play, oh no, now it'll also change weather effects, objects and pathways. Backed with new weapons (which include a chainsaw!) and more close combat melee action, it aims to be more than just L4D with a little more content.

We haven't had chance to buy Halo 3: ODST yet, but that hasn't stopped the announcement of a new entry into the Halo franchise. Dubbed Halo: Reach, it shall be set before the events of the original Halo game. No other information has been released about the game, apart from the fact (as stated at the end of the video teaser below) don't expect it before fall of next year:

You'll also note that for those who purchase Halo: ODST shall get an invite code for the multiplayer beta of Halo:Reach.

Not alot has been mentioned regarding Crackdown 2, apart from it'll be slightly different than the first. Some form of virus has infected the cities residents, causing them to act like zombies. The title shall also have cooperative and competitive multiplayer modes.

Metal Gear Rising

Now..I wasn't too sure on where to put this. When Microsoft first announced this title on Monday during their conference, although never really stated, everyone assumed it to be an Xbox 360 exclusive. This apparently is not the case.

Staring Raiden as the lead character (not Solid Snake) you can check out the teaser trailer below:


Alan Wake

Remedy Studios new title has been rather quiet as of late..that's all changed now as new screenshots and a trailer were shown off to the public.

Its scheduled for Spring of next year.

Perfect Dark

The original N64 hit, Perfect Dark, will be hitting Xbox Live Arcade later this year. Rumoured to be able to run in 1080p, along with being able to have online multiplayer matches. I..cannot..wait... One of my most played N64 games!

360 Avatars

As the year progresses, expect lots more clothing for your avatars, aswell as props and awards that can be purchased or awarded (by completing game achievements possibly?)

Joy Ride, a new XBLA racing title is also being produced, which will support your avatars.

Sorry for not going into much detail, and yes, I know I've missed some announcements out (as mentioned at the start of the post, multi-platform releases shall see its own post). My intentions are to round up some of the major news, some of which I shall break down into more detail, along with personal reaction.

Keep an eye open for Nintendo's round up, which should be online in the coming few days.

Many, many thanks to Kotaku and Gametrailers for the coverage provided over this week!

No comments: