E3 2011 is coming to a close, and the major press conferences have all come and gone. All the biggest announcements have already been made, so let’s recap the week’s biggest events.
Microsoft kicked off the show on Monday morning. The press conference began with a controller’s battery dying, followed by a demo of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. It looked pretty much exactly like what you’d expect it to look like. Somehow, Don Mattrick got away with calling Infinity Ward “the world’s greatest storytellers.” Modern Warfare 2 says “Hello.”
Up next was a much more impressive demo of Tomb Raider. Lara looks noticeably more realistic (read: proportional). The demo focused on the survival aspects of the game. No gunplay was shown, but there was plenty of platforming and puzzle goodness.
Kinect was the major focus for the rest of the show. Microsoft showed off a gun-modding interface called Gunsmith for Ghost Recon: Future Soldier which is entirely controller free. It also showed Kinect functionality for Mass Effect 3 which allows you to speak dialog options and use voice commands to order your squadmates around. Representatives from both Ubisoft and EA announced more Kinect functionality for future games in the Tom Clancy, Madden and FIFA franchises.
The show continued with plenty of other Kinect games. While casual games like Dance Central 2 and Disneyland Adventures were shown, Microsoft tried to prove that Kinect isn’t just for babies (it is) with games like Kinect Star Wars and Fable: The Journey. A bunch of new interfacing features for Kinect were shown, including Bing functionality which allows you to search through content using voice commands. Kinect Fun Labs, an app designed to promote more experimental uses for Kinect, was also announced.
Lastly, Microsoft didn’t forget about its major franchises. Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary was announced and will be released on November 15. Gears of War 3 also had an impressive demo which included mechs, and Halo 4 was teased.
Sony’s press conference began later that day. Unsurprisingly, the show began with an apology regarding the Playstation Network outage and information leak. With that out of the way, Sony went straight into some gameplay demos. Uncharted 3 looks as good as ever, while the Resistance 3 demo was somewhat disappointing.
Sony’s focus then shifted to Playstation Move, with live demos of NBA 2K12 and Medieval Moves. Move support was also announced for Bioshock Infinite, and Irrational Games’ Ken Levine announced a portable Bioshock game.
Sony also announced several other new games, including Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, a new Star Trek game, and a first person shooter called Dust 514, which can somehow interact with EVE Online.
After some discussion of 3D glasses and T.Vs, Kaz Hirai took the stage to talk about NGP, or as it’s now known, Playstation Vita. Some PS Vita games were shown, including Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Modnation Racers and LittleBigPlanet. However, possibly the most exciting Vita news to come out of the conference was it’s lower-than-expected price of $250.
Finally, Nintendo’s press conference began on Tuesday morning. It started off strong with a montage of Zelda clips and an entire orchestra performing Zelda music. As part of the 25th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda, Nintendo announced that The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventure will be free on DSiWare. A golden, Zelda themed Wii Remote was also announced, and the Zelda orchestra will be making more live performances. Unfortunately, there was no demo of Skyward Sword, but a 2o11 release was confirmed.
Gameplay footage of Star Fox 64 3D, Super Mario 3D, Kid Icarus Uprising and Mario Kart was shown. All four will be released by the end of this year. Luigi’s Mansion 2 was announced for 3DS and will be released in 2012.
The rest of the conference was all about Nintendo’s new console, known as Wii U. The focus wasn’t on the console itself, but instead on the controller. The new controller includes a six inch touch screen along with four triggers, a D-pad, two circle pads (similar to the 3DS), and four action buttons. There are plenty of interesting ways to interact with the unique controller. For example, you can seamlessly move any game from a T.V screen to the controller’s screen. However, the controller isn’t a stand-alone handheld device. It only works while Wii U is turned on, and probably has some range restrictions.
Nintendo then showed a montage of clips from upcoming third part games such as Darksiders 2 and Ninja Gaiden 3, confirming that the Wii U is significantly more powerful than the Wii and runs in HD. How it compares to the Xbox 360 and PS3, however, is still unknown.
And that’s it. I’ll be doing weekly news stories from now on, but you can expect future posts to be much, much shorter.