An armchair view of E3 2012: Microsoft

Xbox 360 Conference: June 4th 5:30pm GMT

 

It’s that time of year again when I sit here blathering away about the nonsense that goes on at each of these E3 conferences and each year it seems more and more pointless when everything gets ‘leaked’ in the days leading up to the event. Anyway, I hope there isn’t so much Kinect this year, as little as possible about the Gears of War prequel, and maybe a glimpse at the next gen Microsoft console. Excessive Halo 4 is also a given.

  • For the past two years the various conferences have played a game of one-upmanship in terms of microphone sizes (in my mind, at least) so let’s see if MS get off to a good start.

  • That set is even greener than last year.

  • It begins with a trailer. 2 seconds in and I can tell it’s Halo 4.

  • A man giving a speech while a ship full of people are dragged into a portal of some kind and spat out elsewhere. It then cuts to Master Chief seeing the ship crash on a planet.

  • An evil looking giant sphere approaches the chief then flies off. Yes, spheres can look evil.

  • Now into gameplay, Cortana talking via a HUB picture. Looks near enough identical to Reach so far. And when the Covenant turn up it’s even closer, at least until a mysterious enemy attacks them with what appeared to be a phaser.

  • Master Chief fights off ‘defence AI’ machines in typical Halo style then gets into a fight with a stronger partly organic one. It drops a Forerunner weapon which he then uses.

  • The visual improvements are slight, but obvious enough. Other than that nothing amazing so far. It cuts off into a gameplay montage.

  • Don Mattrick appears with an open jacket and moderately sized microphone. Perfect chance for an early pee break while he boasts about various statistics and what have you.

  • Talking about social, movies, and other media all in one so that’ll be their angle this year.

  • He leaves the stage after mentioning integration to smartphones and a video starts.

  • A man carrying another wounded man while soldiers shout angry things in a foreign language. Not sure what this is yet. Oh, I think this may be Splinter Cell.

  • Yup it is. Good old Sam Fisher hurting people for justice. Splinter Cell Blacklist.

  • An on stage demo begins. Sam has never looked more like Solid Snake in MGS4. It’s during the day and his gadgets seem even more high tech. The execute gameplay from the last game seems vastly improved from an over the top action kind of way. There’s now climbing sections too which seemed to flow smoothly.

  • Oh no, he said voice recognition.

  • He said “Hey, you!” and the guard nearby reacted. He should have said something inappropriate like “Fish and chips!”

  • Some more action later it seems far less stealth based. Culminating in him calling in an air strike, the most stealthy weapon in existence.

  • Single player, co-op and spy vs merc mentioned. Out next year.

  • Andrew Wilson of EA Sports strolls onto stage. At least he did his jacket up, but that won’t garner interest in sport games I’m afraid.

  • Better with Kinect,” for some reason.

  • The “unpredictability of football” is a little less so with a FIFA game out each year.

  • He tells people to listen out for Kinect voice commands as a gameplay trailer plays. Formations change and substitutions happen – seem just as easy to use a pad. Out this fall.

  • Another brand of football.” No it isn’t. It’s rugby for girls. Madden 13.

  • Some celebrity comes to the stage to talk about this game and there’s an awkward back and fourth. I think they’re about to try and demo voice recognition on this too so this will be embarrassing if something goes wrong.

  • I see the game moving but I’m fairly sure he’s pressing things at random on that controller he’s holding. There’s also a suspicious delay on what he’s saying compared to when they appear on the screen. A minute or two later the ‘live’ demo is over. Out August.

  • A new trailer suddenly starts playing. But it’s for a Fable game so no one is really interested. Apparently you can do hadokens in Fable Journeys.

  • Phil Spencer is next on stage. Some general boasting follows. “Biggest year for games on Xbox” I get tired of hearing that every single year.

  • A trailer for the new Gears of War game plays. Has anyone asked why it’s interesting to play the start of a war that you know how it ends?

  • Gears of War Judgement out next year.

  • Another trailer straight away and it’s about cars. Cars that don’t know which side of the road to drive on. I don’t know what this music is but I hate it. I looked away and missed the game it was. I’m professional.

  • Yusuf Mehdi is next on stage. More gloating and an open jacket.

  • Starting this fall Bing has Kinect integration to find things for some reason. That could lead to some fun awkward misunderstandings. This is supposed to be about games, right?

  • He mentions lots of new partners including nickelodeon and paramount movies. For gamers (nice he remembered them for a change) there is also Machinima.

  • Let’s talk about sports.” Let’s not.

  • NBA is coming to Xbox.

  • Do you love hockey?” No.

  • I don’t know what ESPN is but he’s talking about that now and that it’s getting better. 24Hrs a day 7 days a week you can watch ESPN on Xbox. Ringers in the crowd start a short clap.

  • A trailer for the things he just spoke about played – perfect chance for a toilet break.

  • Music is next on his list of things to talk to gamers about.

  • Xbox Music. Sounds like it’s essentially just iTunes. Out for phones and Windows OS computers also. A trailer for this then shows.

  • Oh good just one last thing to mention. It’s about Kinect. “One of the greatest brands comes to Xbox 360 – the future of fitness.”

  • Impending Wii Fit without the step.

  • Stefan Olander of Nike comes to the stage at a conference being watched by gamers worldwide to talk about how amazing his company is. Could I see some new game trailers, please?

  • Wow, he talks a lot. I mean, literally. Figuratively he’s saying NOTHING.

  • Isn’t it amazing that in sporting product related advertisements the people never look like they need exercise? Show some fat guy finish a Gears map and load this Kinect thing up afterwards to work off a cheeseburger. I dare you.

  • The ‘game’ looks awful, by the way.

  • Mark Whitten of Xbox Live is next on stage dressed like he’s going out drinking straight after.

  • Xbox SmartGlass. Makes movies and music and gaming and whatever more thrilling.

  • He says he started watching a video on a trip then he can send his movie from the tablet to his 360 and pick up where he left off. Couldn’t he also just keep watching it on his tablet?

  • While an episode of Game of Thrones plays on TV his phone and tablet whores information about the series to him (presumably whether he wants it to or not). Why is this a good idea again?

  • This might be interesting now: how it might influence games.

  • I think it’s showing that he can plan plays on his tablet while the sports game is playing on his TV and then it also shows an overhead map. Now it’s showing a Halo 4 example with Halo Waypoint on the tablet while he’s trying to play the game and obviously wants distracted.

  • Loved the confused moment where the audience weren’t sure whether they should clap or not.

  • He’s moving his Xbox dashboard using SmartGlass on his phone. Fancy, but pointless.

  • With this and Kinect a browser is coming to 360. Internet Explorer, obviously. And it’ll be out this year.

  • Now something about cars using the web hub.

  • Do Microsoft realize that Apple has been doing this stuff for years?

  • Oh good he’s almost done. Talking about Windows 8 integrating all these features and so on.

  • Two guys from Crystal Dynamics is on now. Hopefully we’ll see some gaming stuff now. Tomb Raider to be exact.

  • Gameplay begins and the camera is really, really shaking. Uncharted meets Gears of War with a bow and arrow so far. Oh and a shotgun. A fire arrow into a fuel pit lights some poor people on fire. I’m sure they were evil.

  • Didn’t Tomb Raider games used to be about raiding tombs?

  • A set piece event of Lara getting into some trouble, falling down a waterfall and into a destroyed plane ensues. She parachutes to safety though not without some bruises. I think the objective of this game is to hurt her as much as possible.

  • Phil Spencer is back on stage now. He’s dressed like he’s at a family dinner with a terrible t-shirt. He’s blathering on but I think he’s implying that now they are going to show new titles. 3 world premier exclusives.

  • First trailer is a fantasy RPG style thing. Shows a white knight being done in be a blood red one. Then he faces a rather large monster of some kind.

  • Second trailer looks assassin based. LocoCycle, no idea what that just was.

  • Third trailer. A ball running along water into what appears to be a borg cube. It’s called Matter and it is apparently ‘made for Kinect’.

  • Resident Evil 6 is next with two of Capcom’s execs taking to the stage. His English is not the best but either way an on stage demo of the game begins.

  • Leon is in a bit of trouble it seems, injured and surrounded by zombies. Damage to zombies is more detailed and Leon is far more agile.

  • Fast moving zombies attack that are holding flaming sticks for some reason.

  • Duel wielding pistols is also shown and large set piece explosion chases. Yes, Leon can out run massive explosions.

  • The helicopter that saved them ran into trouble when the pilot seemed to randomly die. There’s quite a few QTE between Leon, his partner, and survival.

  • After the title shows, the two from Capcom wander off to the on screen picture reading that DLC would be to 360 first.

  • Next a Kinect game called Wreckateer presented by a woman with a terrible arm tattoo. She’s talking to the game characters as if they were real. She’s insane.

  • You can’t spin cannonballs once they’ve been fired.

  • This is 3D Angry Birds. It’ll probably do well for only that reason.

  • If you like big explosions and looking like a moron while you play than Wreckateer is for you. Out this summer.

  • A trailer plays next for South Park, the RPG one probably.

  • Doesn’t look that interesting. Trey Parker & Matt Stone come on stage to talk about the game either way. Work the crowd quite well.

  • They don’t really show anything new just chat a bit about the production process and then they’re gone.

  • Harmonix trailer plays now for some awful, terrible, Dance Central game. I sense that dancers will be getting brought on stage to show this terrible game.

  • I don’t know who this person dancing and singing is but I presume it’s someone frozen in the 80s and was recently thawed out for this E3. What does him doing this have to do with the game again?

  • Not a dancer, but I think he dances like a prat.

  • This is going on way too long.

  • He can’t sing, either.

  • Yes, spray smoke on stage that obscures the tiny bit of the game you decided to show at the end there. Brilliant thinking. And whoever he was is gone.

  • Don Mattrick is back to probably wrap things up. I hope they end on a high note because so far this is largely terrible.

  • It’s building to something…

  • Another blockbuster game.”

  • New content first on 360. Call of Duty Black Ops2. Not interested.

  • Terrible trailer also, before some gameplay. The gameplay was better from a stereotypical Michael Bay type perspective.

  • Seems like there’s a moment where you can chose which role you play in what is about to happen. The example given was to rappel down and push forward or stay on high ground and snipe.

  • A fade out skips ahead a bit to another gameplay moment in a busy plaza. Shows off more high tech fancy gadgets. Despite the slight changes though it plays like just any other CoD game.

  • Player gets into a jet towards the end. They were tired of Battlefield monopolising vehicle gameplay I guess.

  • And it just kind of ended there.

That was a largely terrible conference besides maybe RE6 and the new Splinter Cell with no truly great surprises. Everyone involved should be ashamed of themselves.

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Written by Ian D

Misanthropic git. Dislikes: Most things. Likes: Obscure references.

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