Microsoft wrapped up their E3 2012 press conference earlier this morning, and while there weren’t any mind-blowing new announcements, it wasn’t the worst conference E3 has ever seen.
Here are a few of the biggest highlights from Microsoft’s show.
Microsoft trotted out its heavy hitter, Halo 4, first with a trailer that mixed pre-rendered cinematics with gameplay footage. The trailer showed Master Chief watching the Infinity, a massive warship converted to peace-time purposes, crashing into an alien world. The trailer then switched to gameplay of Master Chief working his way through a lush (downright gorgeous) jungle. New Forerunner weapons, new enemies, and a new infrared visor were all shown in the trailer.
Next up, Microsoft revealed a brand new entry in the Splinter Cell series, Splinter Cell: Blacklist. This game features a new voice actor for Sam Fisher (Eric Johnson), and the demo footage showed Fisher sneaking and murdering his way through the Middle East. Familiar mechanics like Conviction‘s Mark and Execute were prominently displayed along with Fisher’s climbing abilities that looked straight out of a game like Uncharted or Assassin’s Creed. One of the new mechanics that Microsoft touted was the ability to use Kinect to interact with the game i.e. throwing your voice to distract guards.
The existence of Gears of War: Judgment was revealed the other day, and now Microsoft showed off the first trailer. Not much is known about the game other than it takes place after Emergence Day (years before the first Gears of War) and follows Baird and Cole in Kilo Squad. Expect more details to come.
Microsoft also revealed a few other games like Loco Cycle from Twisted Pixel and Ascend: New Gods from Signal Studios. They also showed off some more footage from Fable: The Journey. The games mentioned up above are the true big 360 exclusives, even if they are just sequels. News about the new Tomb Raider and Call of Duty: Black Ops II‘s DLC exclusivity are exciting, but both titles are multiplatform games.
As expected, Kinect was a big focus of Microsoft’s press conference. Nike is teaming up with Microsoft to bring Nike+ to the 360. Using Kinect, Nike+ can help gamers keep track of their fitness and do things like measure their bodies or angles during stretching exercises.
The last big highlight of the show was Smart Glass. Smart Glass is part of Microsoft’s plan to integrate the Xbox 360 as the entertainment hub for the whole household. Smart Glass is supposed to connect your console with your smartphones and tablets to allow your devices to communicate with each other. For example you’ll be able to watch a movie on your phone, stop it, and then resume it on your console at home. Or you could use your phone’s touchscreen to call out plays in Madden.
Microsoft showed off some new tech, but in other ways, their press conference was just more of the same. With very few new big-name games being announced, it seems like the company is still putting a lot of its eggs in its Kinect basket. Time will tell how new innovations like Smart Glass will change how we experience games and other forms of entertainment.