Microsoft kicked off their press conference at this year’s E3 with a demo of Call Of Duty: Black Ops.
Mark Lamia, Studio Head of Treyarch, took the stage to show the game play demo of the new Call Of Duty game. He begins the demo crawling through tunnels burrowed in the ground, climbing over the dead bodies of fellow soldiers hacked to pieces. Following his partner through the tunnels, he turns the corner to see his leader stabbed in the throat by an enemy. Then he emerges in an underground bunker where he is surrounded by the opposition. The screen fades to white. New scene: His character finds an enemy camp in the jungle. There is a firefight. He then climbs into a helicopter. An NPC (non-playable character) takes the controls and gets the chopper off the ground, then lets the player take over. He flies through a lush green river valley, shooting down enemies and blowing up enemy bases.
The game looked fantastic. Fast paced, great graphics, and very captivating. Call Of Duty: Black Ops will be released November 9th of this year. Here’s the official trailer:
Don Mattrick, Senior Vice President of Interactive Entertainment at Microsoft announced a new agreement between Microsoft and Activision which will make all Call Of Duty add-ons and map hacks available on XBox 360 first now through 2012.
Kojima Productions then came out to announce Metal Gear Solid Rising, which focuses more on precision swordsmanship. It’s a new direction for the Metal Gear franchise, which previously was more gun-oriented. Trailer:
Then came the demo of Gears Of War 3. Cliff Bleszinski, Design Director at Epic Games, came out with some colleagues to show off the 4-player story-based co-op mode (I like to call it “hyphen mode” for short ). There were laser beams shooting down from the sky and giant snake/tree things popping out of the ground and giving birth to monsters. It was amazing! Bleszinski also said this Gears iteration would introduce a new game play mode which he called “beast.” This is Beast Mode:
This was followed by a trailer for the mediocre-looking Fable 3.
Then a trailer for an XBox exclusive title from Crytek called Codename Kingdoms, which looked kind of like a video game version of “Spartacus: Blood and Sand.”
After that Creative Director of Bungie, Marcus Lehto, emerged to introduce Halo: Reach. This game looks great. Spectacular graphics. The screen was filled with crisp, clear, detailed images. Not to mention *geek moment* SPACE BATTLES!
This is a clip from G4TV where Bungie shows off a game play demo of the new Halo:
ESPN announced an agreement with Microsoft to make over 3500 live and on-demand sports events available to XBox Live Gold members free of charge. Some of the sports available will include college football, college basketball, NBA, MLB, and soccer.
Then came probably the biggest announcement Microsoft had up their sleeve, and the main focus of the rest of the conference: XBox Kinect.
Previously code named “Project Natal,” Kinect is a sleek receiver that hooks up to your XBox 360, circumventing the need for controllers. XBox Live Corporate Vice President Marc Whitten said of Kinect, “This is what happens when technology gets out of your way.”
Kinect responds to gestures and voice commands. When watching videos or listening to music, a user has to simply say things like “XBox, play music” or “XBox, stop” to control playback functions.
Another feature will be VideoKinect, which is XBox Live’s version of video phone. You’ll be able to have a live video chat with others on XBox Live or Windows Live Messenger. You can watch videos together, and the camera automatically tracks your movement so you can walk around the room and remain on screen. A built in microphone eliminates the need for a headphone.
The games that will ship with Kinect are:
Basically Tamagachi in HD. In the demo a young girl played with a tiger cub named Skittles. The cub interacted with her petting and commands to do tricks. When she hid behind a podium, the cub looked around for her. Cute but pointless. Kids will love it.
More interactive than WII Sports. You actually use your whole body to play. No mats, no controllers.
Kinect Joy Ride-
Cart racing and stunts. Looks fun.
This one looks fun too. Your character stands on a platform or float on what looks like a roller coaster and you jump, duck and dodge to avoid obstacles and move the platform. The game takes photos and videos of you in action which you can post to the web.
Other games that will be available at launch time are YourShape: Fitness Evolved which is a full-body workout game and Harmonix Dance Central – a high energy full-body choreography game.
Kinect launches in North America on November 4th of this year.
Next was a preview of Star Wars for Kinect, which looks great, and is due out next year.
Then Bill Gies and Dan Greenawalt of Turn 10 Studios introduced Forza Motorsports for Kinect, which is also due in 2011.
Finally, the new XBox 360 Slim was unveiled. It’s smaller, sleeker design holds a highly amped-up CPU inside. View the full specs here.
IGN shows you the new XBox 360:
To wrap things up, and this is one major reason I wished I could be there, Microsoft gave a new XBox 360 Slim to everyone in the audience.
That’s all for Microsoft’s press conference. Stay tuned, because tomorrow I’ll summarize the press conferences from Nintendo and Sony.