E3 2011 Microsoft Press Conference Roundup: Halo 4, Fable: The Journey, Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary, Ryse from Crytek, Minecraft on Xbox 360, watch TV and youtube, Bing search and UFC announced. Kinect Star Wars, Mass Effect 3 with voice control, Disneyland Adventures and Fun Labs demoed
Microsoft’s E3 2011 Press Conference has just ended, and a bevy of new games and upcoming features, mostly revolving around Kinect-based voice control and gesture abilities, were shown off at the Pre-E3 keynote. Here is a recap of all that was shown with my notes from the show.
Navigate to each of the games announced and demoed using the Table of Contents list below. Where you can see their new trailers and live demos from the conference and read my notes taken live as I watched the event unfold.
Don’t forget to check out our E3 2011 Schedule and Showtimes/E3 history page to see all of the E3 2011 publisher-held conferences and when they are scheduled, and to read our Electronic Entertainment Expo coverage going back to 2006!
Table of Contents
- Halo 4
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
- Xbox Live TV
- Youtube, Bing, UFC Live PayPerView announced for Xbox 360
- Tomb Raider 2011
- EA Sports and new game announcements
- Mass Effect 3
- Ghost Recon: Future Soldier
- Gears of War 3
- Ryse from Crytek (makers of Crysis 2)
- Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary
- Forza Motorsport 4
- Fable: The Journey
- Minecraft on Xbox 360
- Kinect Disneyland Adventures
- Kinect Star Wars
- Sesame Street: Once Upon A Monster
- Kinect Fun Labs
- Kinect Sports Season 2
- Dance Central 2
Modern Warfare 3 starts off conference. Guy on stage playing. Demo begins with soldier underwater in the ocean, wielding through a mesh gate. The controller then disconnects to show its a real demo. Swimming through underwater they must plant a mine on the sub as “objective updated” flashes across the screen. Swimming to the surface you can see torpedo shots in background. Going underwater again they are swimming towards a sub with group, using a swimming device that pulls you forward and sonar to navigate towards their objective. As they are swimming, a giant sub passes overhead…. Like the opening of the original Star Wars! Eventually they enter the sub and start battling. Melee combat shown. It’s like Titanic, water is flooding the sub.
Still in sub that is flooding. Puts charger on locked door. After explosion it goes into slow mo as the door is quickly entered and enemies taken out. You can hear the sub groaning around you from the water pressure. They’re in the control room. Confirming coordinates… Launched missiles! Objective completed.
Here is the the official debut Xbox 360 trailer and stage demo of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 from E3 2011.
… In the interest of time… the demo skips ahead. Now they have reached the missile control room – objective completed. Rises to surface as buildings are destroyed by missiles/torpedos. Now on the surface of the water. They board a sub and starts firefight with enemies. Teammate throws grenade into opening of sub ladder entrance.
Escape the harbor! As they reach sub surface, jets fly overhead. They leap off sub into small boat as the missiles are launched from the sub. Impressive graphics. Riding boat between giant ships as planes explode above. Quickly shots enemies on opposite boat while surfacing on tipping ship’s top. Rides back into boat until they reach an open helicopter at the end. End of demo. Very nice.
Sledgehammer Games comes onstage, talks about them working together with Infinity Ward to work on the epic Modern Warfare 3. November 8, 2011 release date.
Don Matrick from Microsoft Interactive Entertainment comes on stage.
Last year was biggest in Xbox history. Incredible time of growth and innovation for those who love entertainment. Greatest storytellers redefining industry, technology that sees, hears and connects us redefining fun. Fans of all ages flocking to interactive entertainment. Next wave of Kinect experiences for everyone. Now they will unveil a better way to enjoy TV!
Marc Whitten from Xbox Live. “We must get the technology out of the way and make it invisible. More than 50 years after introduction of the remote control, a new way to experience entertainment has begun. Give TV a new voice, yours. A woman demos by speaking voice commands, heretofor in quotations.
“Xbox home”. They show off a new “NXE” user-interface (New Xbox Experience). Through Kinect you can use it to control your entertainment with no buttons. They demonstrate the new interface that easily and quickly links you to all parts of Xbox Live. She speaks “Xbox music” and goes to the music store. 11 million songs instantly accessible. She speaks “Xbox games” and goes directly to the videogames on Xbox Live Arcade. “Xbox video” takes her to movies, tv, sports… all entertainment together in one place. Controller, gesture or voice makes it all easier to access than ever before.
Today announcing Bing is coming to Xbox. You say it, Xbox finds it. “Xbox Bing” allows you to search all Xbox content from Netflix to Hulu to Xbox Live Marketplace to find what you’re looking for. Essentially a fancy search engine. The lady says “Xbox Bing Lego” to find all Lego related videogames and content. No longer will you have to navigate menus to find what you’re looking for. “Xbox Bing X-Men” shows all X-Men games, movies, and even the animated series. Power of voice control, intelligence of Bing. TV is mor amazing when you are the controller. “Xbox Live TV” comes to Xbox 360 in 2011 as they partner with leading partners in the states and around the world.
Our goal is the entertainment you want. This year they will increase partnerships by 10 and content in entertainment will grow from hundreds of thousands to millions. Youtube is coming to Xbox Live. All of the top web original content from around the world including music videos. “Discovery, how to find the entertainment you want, when you want it, made easy.”
Last but not least, Dana White comes onstage and announces UFC Xbox Live! Exclusively for Xbox 360, you will now be able to watch upcoming Live Fights by ordering them directly through Xbox 360! Pretty sweet stuff!
Here is Dana White announced UFC Live games available on a PayPerView schedule as they are in realtime exclusively for Xbox 360!
Crystal Dynamics shows Tomb Raider running on Xbox 360. Tomb Raider will be the true origin story of 21 year old Lara Croft who has been hardened through intense situations and survival that will breed a new era and reboot the franchise. Demo begins by showing Lara who has been shipwrecked by a massive storm. She is now held captive on a mysterious island and has to use survival instincts to escape. The demo begins with Lara who is tied upside down and must swing back and forth in order to reach a fire nearby. Burning what is holding her, she crash lands HARD. Moaning in pain, she pulls out spike. Amazing graphics as she starts going forward through cave. Water dripping all around, she comes upon a shrine with strung body (this will be familiar to anyone who read the announcement of the game and the Game Informer cover story).
She takes a torch from the wall, walks slowly through cavern. Holds RT to relight the flame on her torch via a burning lantern. As she tunnels through a small opening, a guys suddenly grabs her feet, trying to pull her out. She resists and escapes his grasp by wiggling the right stick and pressing R3 to bust free. She crawls into a small space on her hands and knees and then into into deep water that leaves only her head above water still with torch in hand. Graphics and animation are phenomenal as is Lara’s audio effects. She is constantly talking to herself, moaning to the pain and discussing her situation as she makes her way through the cavern. She finds more fire in a new open room with a contraption hanging above that is highlighted in yellow as she comes across it. She lights a box in the water… goes up a ramp. Leaps to the contraption that lowers from her weight and from there leaps to higher ground. Now we are seeing some classic Tomb Raider. She pushes flaming boxes down a ramp and creates an explosion at the end. This shakes the cavern and creates an escape route as she runs forward through new areas of the cavern. As she is running she stops and the ground breaks beneath her. She tumbles down, hitting the sides in intense and brutal fashion. After landing, she keeps making her way. Now she is running as a giant boulder is chasing her. Intense running sequence as she Indy’s her way forward. Leaping over chasms and such. She is visually bloodied. Finally she makes it out of cave and sees her downed plane. Fall 2012 release date.
Here is the first Xbox 360 gameplay footage and stage demo of Tomb Raider 2011 from E3 2011.
EA SPORTS – Madden, FIFA, Tiger Woods PGA Tour. The Sims 3: Pets to use Kinect, Family Game Night 4 announced
EA Sports Peter Moore comes onstage. He announces that 4 upcoming EA games will be built with Kinect Support. They include Tiger Woods PGA Tour, Madden NFL, FIFA, and one additional unannounced title. All of these games will include vocal commands and gesture controls, using your body to swing in golf as an easy example. Additionally several non-sports EA games will also use Kinect, such as The Sims 3 Pets which features voice control. He then announced Family Game Night 4, which also supports Kinect.
BioWare CEO Ray Muzyka comes on stage to talk Mass Effect 3! Talks about how 8 years ago they set out to make a brand new sci-fi universe with deep stories and intense combat to form a blockbuster title. Mass Effect 3 will be starting a brand new adventure. The Galactic War has begun and everything is on the line. Earth has been taken, you choose the path to take it back. Choices with consequence.
Mass Effect 3 supports Kinect to take immersion to a higher level via voice recognition! Demonstrates how it works in real-time in-game. Using your voice! You’ll feel even more Kinected to your game. Gameplay from Mass Effect 3 is shown! Conversation starts, you speak what conversation choice you want! “I don’t need her trust” the demo guy says in response. Are you here to kill me? the woman in the cage asks. “Of course not” the demo guy responds with his real voice. Very cool!
Ray says Kinect isn’t just about choosing dialog but also fighting for survival. Kinect will offer a crazy level of coordination and control never seen before. Cuts to a new part of the demo as the demo guy tells his teammates to “move up” by speaking it. Gunplay and melee strike shown. Giant mech falls from the sky and starts attacking. Cut. Epic, Awesome, Fun says Ray. Just a small example of how Kinect is used he promises.
Here is Mass Effect 3 gameplay footage on Xbox 360 using Kinect for voice recognition!
Ubisoft is the highlight now and it starts with a trailer for Ghost Recon: Future Soldier. Impressive slow-mo trailer showing sniping and melee kills in slow motion.
Ubi President and CEO Yves Guillemot comes onstage. Says they have been big supporters of Kinect. One experience they haven’t shown yet is how they are going to use Kinect with core games. Body tracking and voice will be used for upcoming core titles!
And now, Ghost Recon: Future Soldier. Gun Smith is an exclusive Xbox 360 Kinect feature that allows you to customizing your weapons in-depth like never before, and is critical to operations. Any weapon can be customized even down to their inner parts! A demo guy demonstrates this by stretching his arms wide, this causes the gun to “explode” open so that you can see all its inner parts! Through gesture or through voice you can then swap out new parts and customize the weapon. The demo guy speaks, “Gas system, next, select” and changes the gas system out! “Optimize for close-combat”, “Randomize” with each voice command the weapon changes. He is then asked to demo the weapon. He takes out the weapon by gesturing as if he is pulling the gun off his back, and then with his hands he points and shoots! Shooting is done by opening and closing his hands. He speaks “Optimize for range!” and switches to a Sniper Rifle. Uses gestures to fight, reload gun and shoot!
“Kinect shows what you can’t do with a regular controller. Gunsmith uses Kinect to pave the way for the future. All future games in the Tom Clancy Franchise will use Kinect.”
Here is the debut trailer and gameplay stage-demo from Ghost Recon: Future Soldier for Xbox 360 from E3 2011.
Phil Spencer comes on stage to talk Gears of War 3! Only on Xbox 360, he discusses the franchise that debuted with the system and that defined this generation. More than 1 million pre-orders so far! Gears of War 3.
Cliff Bleszinski comes on stage. Says Gears 3 is the most polished game in the franchise yet. Ice T comes on stage with Cliffy B to help demo the game!
Here is the very impressive live demo of the Xbox 360-exclusive Gears of War 3 from E3 2011.
At the end, Ice T announces that he is going to reunite his band “Bodycount” to do a special song dedicated to Horde Mode. The exclusive BC song isn’t shown, but will undoubtedly be a kind of theme or part of the official soundtrack. Pretty cool.
Crytek shows off a new Roman Kinect-enabled game called “Ryse”. A trailer is shown. A dog is wandering around Rome, shows the Colosseum. “Two sides to every coin.” The royal side, and “the Rome of squalor, suffering and struggle. “Two sides to power, order and justice.” A dog makes its way through the streets, seeing horrors at every turn. The stray witnesses a guy get stabbed and murdered. “A kingdom so divided cannot stand. An empire will fall. A hero will rise. This is Rome.” It flashes to gameplay footage that is fancily shown off using Kinect. By giving us glimpses of a dude in front of the TV making various gestures that correspond with cuts to gameplay showing off the moves he is performing. Headbuts, blocks with shield, kicks, swings of his sword are all done using gestures. In Ryse, you are the controller, you are the weapon!
Here is the official trailer for Crytek’s Ryse exclusively for Xbox 360 Kinect from E3 2011.
Cut to Halo music filling the hall. A trailer begins showing gameplay from the first Halo: Combat Evolved for the original Xbox. Ten years ago Halo changed how we play games. 10 years ago Halo introduced millions of fans to a new universe and delivered billions of hours of entertainment. Now the original Halo campaign has been remade and remastered on Xbox 360! Classic maps enhanced and updated for Xbox Live! Fully remastered campaign, online co-op, 7 greatest maps of all time. Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary will be released on November 15, 2011. Sounds like it is a retail title and not a download.
Here is the official trailer and E3 2011 debut announcement video for Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary for Xbox 360!
Turn 10 Studios Dan Greenawalt comes on stage to stalk Forza 4. Unique vision for car enthusiasts of innovation and quality that he promises will drive the genre forward. They promise they’ll transform it with the most comprehensive and groundbreaking game yet. Entirely new car experience, stunning graphics and detail. Ultimate car community. Cuts to a trailer they say is all in-game footage. Trailer is set to some cool rap music that fits the video perfectly. Forza 4 release date is on October 11, 2011.
Here is the official stage demo and E3 2011 trailer for Forza 4.
Fable creator Peter Molyneux comes onstage to talk a brand-new Fable title! In creating Fable they imagined a living breathing world. How can they make you feel a hundred times more involved however? Through Kinect of course! A trailer is shown for the new game. “The Age of heroes is over. When heroes are no longer born they must be made. Albians end is coming, all that matters now is The Journey.”
Cuts to gameplay as the demo guy is shown horse riding using Kinect! Controlling reigns for the horse by making gestures and squatting as if he is really holding on to the reigns. The game goes into first-person, as he uses his hand to shoot magic after hopping off the horse. He is attacked by goblin enemies and casts all kinds of spells using his hands and many different gestures. Creates a fire spell by rubbing hands together. First-person melee combat shown. In one unique spell he creates an ice spike by forming the water, it then solidifies and drops into his hand, where he then throws it! He fights off many small goblins. Demo ends as a giant Goblin burst onto the scene. 2012 release date for Fable: The Journey for Kinect.
Here is the debut trailer and stage demo of Kinect’s Fable: The Journey for Xbox 360 from E3 2011.
Phil Spencer comes onstage to make a huge announcement. A year ago an indy game came out of no where to become a worldwide hit. “Minecraft proves that a great idea can become a success in the modern day gaming industry.” He announces that this year Minecraft and Kinect are coming together! Minecraft will make it’s console debut this Winter exclusively on Xbox 360 using Kinect. This is an exclusive partnership with developer Mojang and Microsoft. Phil says Kinect gave rise to new blockbuster franchises. And Microsoft plans to build off that success with the next wave of innovation and the largest brands reimagined with Kinect. Copping Minecraft? MEGATON.
“We begin where memories are made,” says Phil Spencer as Kinect Disneyland Adventures is announced. This new Kinect game for kids will give players the magic of visiting the Disneyland park to millions of homes in a brand new way! Faithfully recreated, the entire Disneyland park is available virtually and open for players to explore using their Avatars. From Main Street to Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. Players can create their own souvenirs and share them viw Kinectshare.com. Kids will also get to hang out with their favorite Disney characters who will be wandering through the park (and look like their animated versions, not people in life size costumes. Important to note).
They then cut to gameplay footage. Peter Pan’s Flight is demoed. Two kids are flying through the skies. They have their arms outstretched as if they were flying. High speed flying gameplay as they dodge objects and collect coins. The kids miss the special coin. Captain Hook comes on just as the demo ends. Next is Alice In Wonderland. Same type of gameplay as they are falling through a house environment and moving their bodies to fit through the holes. Next is a Super Monkey Ball syle ride down a rollercoaster. The kids have to wildly flail their arms and hands in front of them like they are a hamster encased in a plastic ball. In hilariously scripted fashion, the male kid ends by proclaiming “Fistbump!” to his female partner . Kinect Disneyland Adventures has a Holiday 2011 release date exclusively on Kinect.
Here is the Kinect Disneyland Adventures E3 2011 announcement, gameplay footage, trailer and stage demos showing off many of the events from the game.
Star Wars Kinect! Looks amazing. Wide variety of gameplay, vehicle and space action combined with ground combat using lightsabers. All kinds of famous moments from the films are recreated and are shown with gameplay footage. A real demo then begins as the guy physically jumps to leap out of the flying vehicle and into the battle on the ground. The demo guy speaks “Lightsaber on!” and begins fighting off some clones using his Lightsaber. Uses both hands to move objects out of the way using Telekinesis and makes swinging motions to attack while dashing forward. Dodges bullets with hands by ricocheting them using his lightsaber, just like the movies! Combat seems a bit laggy, although maybe that’s to be expected. He knocks back bullets with sword. Jumps to dodge. “Welcome to your destiny Jedi.” as the demo ends.
Here is the debut Kinect Star Wars trailer showcasing gameplay footage for the first time from E3 2011.
Tim Schafer comes onstage to show a demo of his unique Kinect-enabled kids game using the Sesame Street license called “Once Upon A Monster”. A game created for kids and parents to play together. He talks in both serious and sarcastic tones of how Sesame Street taught him all he has learned in life and as a kid. He says everything they make at Double Fine is a labor of love.
Once Upon A Monster is a living storybook of monsters and friends to meet and help. Sesame Street Once Upon A Monster is then demoed using Kinect by both a child and adult playing together. Elmo and Cookie Monster are shown. The demoers have to scare the monster away by waving their hands and growling. They jump up and down and make monster gestures and sounds. After scaring the monster away, another sequence is shown. Now they are using their hands to grab objects on the screen. This game releases as a downloadable title (I believe) in Fall 2011 exclusively for Kinect and 360.
Famous for his performance announcing the Kinect at E3 2009 (back then called Project Natal) Microsoft Game Studios Kudo “BAM” Tsunoda comes to the stage. This time he didn’t say anything like his famous quote from last time… “Ever wondered what the bottom of an avatar’s shoe looked like? Well – BAM! There it is.” He comes to the stage and talks about how two years ago this week, Microsoft announced Kinect which has defied all expectations and sold tremendously despite what many people assumed.
Experimenting in new ways with Kinect is now what they are focusing on. To that end, they announced Kinect Fun Labs. “Check out the best innovations from Kinect, , Fun Labs has now permanently been added to the Xbox Live dash and is available to all members.” Built using the Kinect Sensor and Development Tools it will offer a number of unique “games” and demos for players to try out. It essentially will demo new technologies for the device that developers have created.
Kinect Me allows you to become your Avatar. You can instantly create an Avatar that looks just like you using the Kinect camera. Kinect can detect not only your full body but also your finer features, announces a girl who demos the “Kinect Me” Fun Labs App. She captures her face and hair and then the camera captures her clothing! Using this data Kinect creates a more lifelike Avatar instantly! “Her look, her style, her Avatar.” Very cool. And it’s about time!
Next Kinect Sparkler is shown. This App allows you to draw in 3D after taking multiple photos of yourself. He demo guy then draws in front AND behind the image seamlessly. It allows you to move around the space and view the image in 3D after you are done, and makes use of new Finger Detection technology. Once you have created a masterpiece of art you can share it with friends via Kinectshare.com. Nifty!
Last up is Object Tracker. A woman comes on stage with a stuffed animal and demoes how it can scan in objects! First she scans the front side, then scans the backside of the object. Now the object is put into the game digitally and recreated exactly as it is in real life! She then can play with the stuffed animal by controlling it using her body (makes him hop, for example). You can scan in anything you want, she mentions a car(!) or a skateboard which you could then put on a virtual track! Although this isn’t shown… Interesting. Kinect Fun Labs is available to try out TODAY.
See all of the above Kinect Fun Labs games in action with this video for trailers and stage demonstrations from E3 2011.
Kinect Sports: Season 2 is announced. It will include: Baseball, Skiing, Golf, Darts, Tennis and Football. Kinect Sports is the top-selling franchise to date for Kinect. This new game will use voice features and Kinect gestures. More realistic than ever. Football and Golf are shown. The cute girl demoing Golf looks at the course by putting her hand to her forehead. Swings with hands and arms as if holding a real golf club. Todd and Ron show football…. HILARIOUSLY. You have to see it to believe it! Ferry was laughing his head off the entire time.
Here is the stage demo showing gameplay footage from Kinect Sports Season 2.
Wrapping up the Microsoft 2011 keynote is Harmonix showing off Dance Central 2. The new game features a full single-play campaign, rebuilt modes, voice recognition features and the ability to import each and every one of your songs from the first game! This will make Dance Central 2 have “more music than any other dance game” they claim. Gameplay is then shown as a girl and guy show off the new 2-Player simultaneous co-op dancing!
Here is gameplay footage and co-op dancing as demonstrated on stage at E3 2011 from Harmonix’s upcoming Dance Central 2 for Xbox 360 Kinect.
Last but DEFINITELY not least, the final curtain call is officially announcement of Halo 4, the “dawn of a new trilogy!” And it will STAR Master Chief! Cortana is also shown. Woot woot!
Here is the debut announcement trailer for Halo 4 from E3 2011.