June 6, 2011
E3 2011 – Microsoft- Kinect
Kinect was the biggest feature at the Microsoft press event and with good reason. It was a huge hit over the Holiday but with little fanfare for the core gamer and with a very small library still no most have titles outside of Dance Central. This issue they tried to address this E3. They brought out the big guns to try and declare that Kinect was for the “hardcore” and still appeal to the casual audience they have already captivated.
After Don Mattrick took the stage, Peter Moore for EA (funny to have the former Microsoft exec on a MS presser again) took the stage to introduce that Kinect will be featured in Tiger Woods, Madden, and Fifa franchises; to what extent it was not mentioned. EA would continue the Kinect dance with Mass Effect 3 revealing its Kinect features in a live demo. During the demo it was revealed that you will be able to choose dialog choices by simply speaking them making the conversations more involved with the player.
Ubisoft would be the next to show off its Kinect tech with Ghost Recon: Future Soldier. They showed off a short trailer for the game then moved on a new feature of the game called Gunsmith, and this is where the Kinect features come to life. Gunsmith is a new weapon customization suite that gives around 20 different pieces of your weapon to customize, inside and out. There are over 20 million different combinations and picking out the weapon that is built for you and your situation is just a gesture away. Using Kinect you will be able to scroll through parts and weapons in a breeze while being able to have custom load outs activated with just a few simple words. At the end of the Gunsmith demo, it was announced that all future Tom Clancy games would have Kinect integration.
There were more Kinect “core” titles shown. A brief trailer for Crytek’s Ryse, which was code named Kingdoms last year, shows a brutal first person fighter set in, what looked like Rome. Forza 4 was shown and how Kinect will use head tracking for cockpit views. Forza 4 will be release on October 11th. Peter Molyneux, head of Lionhead Studios, came on to announce a new Kinect Fable title, Fable: The Journey. The title will be out in 2012 and looks like a rail shooter with other elements, at least what I gathered from the demo. The PC hit, Minecraft, will be coming to Xbox 360 with Kinect support more on a release date later.
The tone would change and the family fun side of Kinect was shown. Kudo Tsunoda would take the stage to present Kinect Fun Labs; which seems like a culmination of everything they left out at launch but in a haphazard feature set. The fun Labs will be available on the dashboard to every XBL member, and as I am writing this should be available for you to use. (When I checked after the conference it was nowhere to be seen) In the Fun Labs there are applications such as creating avatars from a body scan, object scanning (they brought a stuffed animal to life during the demo), and finger tracking that you can use in a Photoshop like application. I understand these are just tech demos of what the hardware/software combo are capable of, but this is not what I had in mind for these features. I’ll let you know what I think of it when I get my hands on with Fun Labs at a later date. Disneyland Kinect was shown, looking like an interactive tour though the theme park, kids were involved with the demo. Then Time Schaffer took the stage to show off his studios (Double fine) take on Sesame Street in Once Upon a Monster, kids were involved in that demo as well. The Star Wars Kinect game was finally shown and demoed. It looks to take some of the greatest chapters in the saga and you’ll relive them in the eyes of a generic Jedi. It looked ok using gestures to hack and slash through battle droids but the gestures and the animation just weren’t matching up and you have to say “light saber on” to activate your weapon, really? I really am hoping for more from Lucas Arts.
Two of the Kinects holiday hits are getting sequels, Dance Central and Kinect Sports. Dance Central 2 will have two players dancing as well as the ability to import the music and DLC tunes from the first game into the sequel. Kinect Sports Season 2 will have more great motion controlled sports and will hopefully make you look less like a tool than the two guys doing the onstage demo. The sports this year will be football, baseball, golf, skiing, darts, and tennis.
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