Earlier today, Microsoft held its much-anticipated gaming press conference at the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles. The company titillated its audience with upcoming chapters in beloved game franchises, an all-new Xbox 360, and of course the much talked about Project Natal Kinect. So what can we expect from Microsoft in the upcoming quarter? Details below:
Previews of Upcoming Game Franchise Releases
- Call of Duty: Black Ops: Mark Lamia, head of developer Treyarch and now de facto director of the Call of Duty games, previewed some grimy trench warfare in 1968 Laos. Modern Warfare this is not. Activision has signed an exclusive multi-year deal with Microsoft: From 2010 to 2012, all Call of Duty game downloads (e.g. add-ons and map packs) will launch first on the Xbox 360.
- Metal Gear Solid: Rising: MGS creator Hideo Kojima, who has been making the rounds around the US, premiered the first footage of the series’ first Xbox 360 game. Producer Shigenobu Matsuyama described the game as being based around the badass Japanese phrase “zan-datsu,” which translates as “cut and take.” The game features destructible objects like cars and people (duh), and at one point we see Raiden slicing a watermelon into yummy wedges.
- Gears of War 3: Epic Games‘ Cliff Bleszinski revealed an example of gameplay, which takes place in an unfamiliar jungle environment. Cool minor additions include a Pendulum Lancer (basically the average Lancer with a bayonet instead of a chainsaw), the Digger Launcher (shoots out a sharp-toothed creature that burrows underground to get enemies that have taken cover), and a rush-and-impale attack against enemies. There will also be a new “Beast” game mode, though Bleszinski did not elaborate.
- Halo Reach: The new Halo game mostly features more of what we know and love. With two exceptions: One, they teased some particularly massive battles that will take place. Two, during the campaign, a Spartan can be seen boarding a spaceship and engaging in space combat. We’re excited to see more footage in the weeks to come.
The All-New XBox 360
- XBox Live Gold will offer a new ESPN feature, providing access to 3,500 live events in the first year of service. You can also play trivia games as you watch.
- This year, Xbox Live, with its friends, avatars, and achievements, will be able to sync with Windows Phone 7.
- Sleeker, glossy black, and “whisper-quiet,” it features a 250GB HDD and built-in Wi-Fi. It is shipping to retails as I write this post, and will be available in stores by the week’s end. All conference attendees got a free one, the lucky bastards. Retail price same as before: $299. (image via Wired)
- The upcoming motion control peripheral includes two depth sensors, an RGB camera, and a base with a motorized tilt feature.
- A facial recognition function allows players to easily sign in. Menu navigation is done completely by waving, and voice recognition will also be available for users to access applications. While watching Alice in Wonderland, the Microsoft engineer commanded, “XBox, pause!” Great, now our video game consoles are pets.
- Video Kinect will let you chat with your friends whether they’re on MSN Live Messenger or XBox Live, and watch videos together.
- Wii Kinect Sports will let you jump hurdles, box in the ring, and play soccer or volleyball. Other similar games will let you race cars by holding an imaginary wheel and punching to boost, or even whitewater raft.
- Ubisoft‘s Your Shape: Fitness Evolved creates a workout for the player, and recognizes every part of your body. The virtual coach reacts to how you move, and gives you pointers accordingly. Low-impact and high-intensity options both available. My mother’s probably going to make me buy this immediately.
- Harmonix‘s Dance Central will finally train us to dance in the way that people actually dance. With 600 different moves and 90 different routines (some grabbed straight from hip-hop and pop music videos), we’ll be able to grind and hip-thrust to songs like Lady Gaga‘s “Poker Face.” I look forward to lanky geeks around the world transforming into incredibly desirable hip-hop dancers.
- LucasArts‘ Star Wars lightsaber game is a dream come true. It’s currently title-less and set to be released in 2011. We’ll be waiting for the day we can swing at unsuspecting stormtroopers. Here’s to hoping that dismemberment will carry over from The Force Unleashed II to this new game.
- The Kinect will have in total 15 launch titles. So far, the ones we are aware of are: Kinectimals, Motionsports, Kinect Adventures, Biggest Loser, Joyride, Kinect Sports, Dance Central, Sonic Free Riders, Kinectimals, and EA Active.
- North American launch will be on November 4th, 2010. Mark your calendars.
- HAS THE KINECT’S PRICE BEEN LEAKED? As reported by Engadget, the product was posted a bit prematurely on Gamestop with a $150 price tag. A bit on the costly side, but not a huge surprise. UPDATE: Microsoft’s Aaron Greenberg wrote on Twitter, “Retail prices are purely speculative. Final pricing and pack-in details are not yet determined.” I hope this means we see a cheaper price tag.
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