Breaking with the tradition of starting with a Call of Duty game, this year’s Microsoft conference started with Halo 4. A live action short introduced the ship the UNSC Infinity before Master Chief and Cortana fight off Covenant forces and a new AI enemy on a mysterious new planet with Forerunner technology. Check out the gameplay footage below.
Next came a new Splinter Cell title, Splinter Cell Blacklist, showing off a free-flowing and fluid combat system that’s an obvious evolution of the combat seen in Conviction, with Kinect voice integration for distracting guards. Coop is also due to return. The Blacklist gameplay demo takes place on the border of Iraq and Iran, in what is unusual for a Splinter Cell title, bright sunshine. You can check out the gameplay footage below.
Next, EA take the stage and show off Madden 13 and Fifa 13, both making use of the Kinect voice control to call plays, substitute players, change formations, and even perform passes, take shots and swear at the referee. It looks to be a great way to use Kinect features alongside an ordinary controller.
A Fable: The Journey demo was then played, showing nothing new. Chucking spells at all manner of beasties in Albion, on-rails. the visual looked impressive though. Gears of War Judgement was then shown with a trailer, showing Baird in chains and dealing with the Locust, due for release in 2013. Then Forza Horizon was shown in a trailer, due for release later this year.
Microsoft next started talking about improvements and additions to the Xbox entertainment suite. First the bing search system is due to be upgraded to make searching via Kinect even easier. Machinima and Paramount Pictures are due to start sticking content up on the system, as well as NBA and NHL games. The music experience through Xbox is also due to be enhanced and Nike are partnering up to help with fitness apps and games.
Next, Xbox SmatGlass was announced, which is a system to enhance your immersion and interaction options with all Xbox content, including games. SmartGlass will work on practically any handheld device, tablets and smart phones in particular through an app, and allows you to pull up additional information and content relating to what you’re playing or doing on your Xbox. This includes social interactions such as receiving an invite to play multiplayer in Halo 4, which then automatically saves your current game and opens up the multiplayer lobby on your Xbox.
Microsoft then finally announced Internet Explorer is coming to Xbox.
Next a demo of the new Tomb Raider was played, showing brutal combat, fast paced action, destructible cover and exceptional visuals. It was also announced that the first DLC for Tomb Raider will be a timed exclusive for Xbox.
Next, a few teaser trailers showed some new IPs. Ascend New Gods, a hack ‘n slash thrid-person adventure with cross platform play between Xbox and Window phone. LocoCycle, a new racing title from Twisted Pixel. And Matter, which looks very Portal inspired. All three were very short teaser trailers, giving very little away.
Next, and boy do I say “next” a lot, came a gameplay demo of Resident Evil 6, showing the action heavy, moving whilst shooting, melee finishers, zombie combat. Then a new Kinect game was demoed, a medieval castle destruction title called Wreakerteer. It looks like a Angry Birds style game and is out this Summer. Matt Stone and Trey Parker then took the stage to show off the new trailer for South Park: The Stick of Truth, the Obsidian developed RPG. Harmonix then showed off Dance Central 3 with Usher coming on stage to sing his new song and show the dance moves he’s choreographed for the game in the flesh.
Finally, The Microsoft E3 conference was brought to an end by a demo of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2.