Kicking off the E3-spectacle, Microsoft unveiled several new titles, including a console-based Minecraft, a fourth installment in the Halo series, as well as a remake of the original Halo: Combat Evolved. Full details are included after the jump.
The press conference kicked off with a presentation of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. Robert Bowling, community manager of the franchise, showcased a level known as “Hunter Killer,” which features underwater sequences off the coast of New York City. In the demonstration, the player places a mine on a submarine and boards it, and later escapes by means of another vessel. Representatives from Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer Games took the stage to once-again confirm the release date of November 8th,
Following a short introduction by Don Matrick, Microsoft’s President of Interactive Entertainment Business, Crystal Dynamics took the stage to give a live demonstration of the upcoming reboot of the Tomb Raider franchise. Featuring a 21-year old Lara Croft, the game promises to be a more visceral experience. Showing off one of the very first levels of the game, the demo included multiple quicktime events and some light puzzle work. The game is expected to be released during Fall 2012.
Presenting a large number of games for Xbox Kinect, EA announced 4 new EA Sports titles to be released this year, which will incorporate Kinect functionality. These games include new installments in the Tiger Woods PGA TOUR, Madden, and FIFA series, with one additional unannounced EA Sports title to make use of the motion-control peripheral. EA further confirmed voice-control functionality to be available in The Sims 3 Pets.
Bioware co-founder Ray Muzyka took the stage to confirm that voice recognition will also be available in Mass Effect 3. By speaking the dialogue options out loud, players will be able to directly control the conversations in the game. Voice control will also be available during combat, where it can be used to direct and issues orders to party members.
Continuing to add more Kinect functionality into more hardcore-oriented titles, Ubisoft confirmed options for voice-control and gesture-control functionality for Ghost Recon: Future Warrior. Yves Guillemot, who presented the Ubisoft-aspect of the Microsoft conference, further confirmed that all future Tom Clancy titles will utilize Kinect technology in one way or another.
Microsoft further detailed some upcoming partnerships, including an BING and live TV, and upcoming partnerships that will bring live UFC coverage and Youtube to the console.
Creative director Cliff Blezinski took the stage together with Ice-T, who voices Jace in the upcoming Gears of War 3, to present a cooperative demo of the game. The demo gave a first look at one of the early levels in the game, as well as a mech-suit that allows other players to take cover behind the wearer.
The presentation included a short presentation of an upcoming game to be developed by Crytek, feature Kinect-controlled sword fights.
Confirming the oft-rumored remake of the original Halo: Combat Evolved, Microsoft showed off the first in-game footage of Halo: Anniversary. The game will be a full remake of the original, with updated graphics and several classic multiplayer maps. The game will include both online competitive and cooperative multiplayer.
Annoucing Forza 4, Microsoft incidicated that the game will future Kinect-based headtracking and once again, voice control. The game will feature monthly updates, and will contain cars developed by over 80 manufacturers.
Taking the stage, Peter Molyneux presented a trailer and a demo for Fable: Legends, which included first-person Kinect-controlled horse riding and magic-casting, in what appeared to be a rail-based sequence. The game will be released at some point in 2012.
Indie smash-hit Minecraft was also revealed to be joining the Kinect-lineup as an Xbox 360 exclusive this winter.
New footage was also released for the Kinect-based Star Wars title, which was revealed during E3 last year. The game will include pod-racing and combat with a Rancor, as well as additional combat lightsaber combat and Force-power sequences. Additional footage for the upcoming Sesame Street-based title from Double Fine Studios was presented, along with the announcement of Kinect Fun Labs, which will be permanent addition to the Xbox dashboard. Kinect Fun Labs will feature new Kinect-based features developed by the community and industry, and will be made available to all Xbox Live-users today.
The last third party to take the stage was Harmonix, which presented a sequel to Dance Central, the most successful Kinect launch title of 2010. The sequel will feature simultaneous multiplayer.
Closing off the conference, Don Matrick returned to take the stage and presented a teaser-trailer for Halo 4. Continuing directly where the third installment in the series left off, Halo 4 is supposedly the first installment in an all-new trilogy.