Bud's Weekly Geek-out :: E3 2012
E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, is on right now, and it’s where game companies and publishers make major announcements, price and date their hardware and software, and basically try to out-cool everyone else.
Here’s what the big three gaming companies, Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo, brought to E3 2012.
Microsoft (Xbox 360 console / Kinect motion control peripheral) sstarted their E3 presentation off with some clips of Halo 4, followed by footage of Splinter Cell: Blacklist.
Then, the president of EA sports came on with Joe Montana to play about Madden NFL. He gave voice commands to the video game while using the controller. It was kinda awkward to watch, but pretty cool.
Next up was a quick clip of Fable: The Journey, a sorcery-based title which used the body movements of Kinect to cast spells.
Then, there was a sizzle reel with some shooters, some drivers, some sports, and some dubstep.
On the home entertainment front, they highlighted their Kinect voice search for home entertainment using Xbox and Microsoft’s search engine, Bing. The guy said “Xbox. Killer Elite,” and all the options to watch that movie came up.
Then, he navigated the thing in Spanish.
After reminding folks that Major League Baseball and UFC are on Xbox’s sports lineup, they announced NBA and NHL, so you can watch basketball and and watch or listen to hockey on your Xbox. And, it’s all navigable by voice.
Xbox music was announced next, said to be premiering with 30 million tracks on Xbox 360, Windows 8 PCs, tablets, and phones. They have Pandora-like features and, of course, social sharing of what you’re listening to.
And, in what they called the future of fitness, they announced a partnership with Nike. It’s called Nike+ Kinect Training, and it’ll use Kinect’s range camera to measure your body movements.
It’s like Wii Fit, but you can’t cheat. =)
Continuing on the home entertainment front, they announced Xbox SmartGlass which ties in the Xbox with smartphones and tablets. It allows you to do things like continue a movie you started watching at home on your phone or tablet. Or, while you’re watching a show on your TV, your phone or tablet gives you supplementary information.
They also showed game tie-ins where you could use your tablet to plan out a play on a Madden game, and execute it on your Xbox. How very Wii U.
You can also use your phone as an Xbox remote control, and — here’s the interesting part — SmartGlass works on Windows Phones & tablets, iPhones & iPads, and Android smartphones & tablets.
Then, they announced Internet Explorer for Xbox to delayed applause. It’s also voice navigable, and you can scroll, click, and zoom with your phone.
Returning to games, they showed a sequence from the upcoming Tomb Raider prequel. It was very cool, showing a young Lara Croft stealthing, shooting, and parachuting through some exotic jungley location.
Then, some wild footage of Ascend: New Gods, LocoCycle (about a motorcycle assassin, if you can believe that), and a game from Gore Verbinski (who directed Pirates of the Caribbean) called Matter, where the main character appears to be a metallic sphere.
Capcom then showed off some footage of Resident Evil 6. Gory and intense, as expected.
This was a fun surprise. South Park: The Stick of Truth. To talk about it, they brought in creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone.
Trey Parker summed up the whole connectivity bandwagon by opening with, “How many times have you been watching an episode of South Park and thought, ‘I’d like to be able to watch this on my television, while hooked into my mobile device, which is being controlled by my tablet device, which is hooked into my oven, all while sitting in the refrigerator.’ Well, we’re not doing that; we’re just doing this game.”
Of course, with Dance Central being the most popular game for the Kinect, Dance Central 3 wasn announced next. Usher worked on the game with some coreography, and did a live performance on stage, eventually meshing his dancing with the game.
Microsoft closed with TWELVE MINUTES of Call of Duty: Black Ops II. Bang, bang, shoot, shoot.
Sony (PlayStation 3 console / Move motion control peripheral / Vita handheld console) kicked off their presentation with a new PS3 title from Quantic Dream (who brought us the creepily-realistic Heavy Rain in 2010), called Beyond. The main character, Jodie Holmes, has a connection with the beyond, and her story is told over a span of fifteen years. The actress behind Jodie Holmes is Canadian actress and Academy Award nominee Ellen Page.
This Christmas, they’ll release a PS3/Vita meelee title featuring all of their signature characters, PlayStation All-Stars: Battle Royale, which’ll work like Super Smash Bros on Nintendo systems.
They’re going to release downloadable content to link the PS Vita with the PS3 to play LittleBig Planet 2.
PlayStation Plus members will be able to download 12 games for free, like inFAMOUS 2, LittleBigPlanet 2, and Saint’s Row 2.
A sizzle reel showed some amazing game titles, such as Guacamêlée, and When Vikings Attack.
Next up, Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation for the Vita (with a female assassin lead character). It’ll come out on its own or in a bundle with a white Vita, and will link up with Assassin’s Creed III for the PS3.
Then, Sony brought out a book. Y’know, the pulp and paper non-volatile storage medium.
Wonderbook is the PS3’s new product which works with PlayStation Move. It’s a physical book which uses augmented reality (where cameras overlay computer graphics over real life objects, something else popularized by smartphones and the Nintendo 3DS), and they’re working with J.K. Rowling for their Harry Potter-themed premiere title, Book of Spells, coming fall 2012.
You sit with the book on your lap or the floor and use a Move controller as a magic wand. The book, as seen through the camera, appears to spout creatures, catch fire, and become a pop-up book.
When the books they were using on stage failed, the host said, “Okay, well it is a live demo.”
Going back to hardware, to move their software platform outside the PS3 and Vita, they partnered with HTC to create a PlayStation Mobile Android smartphone.
Then, the stadium went quiet, except for the sound of birds, and dark, except for the jounralist’s screens. Then, there was about ten minutes worth of very intense and violent footage of two people defending themselves against multiple attackers in a deserted building. As the last bad guy has his head blown off, the title comes up: The Last of Us. It was quite impressive.
A game they didn’t touch on in the presentation, but showed in a sizzle reel afterwards was The Unfinished Swan, a black and white stylized world where you don’t get to see what’s in front of you until you hurl black spheres to reveal the surroundings.
Nintendo (Wii console / 3Ds handheld) let animated Pikmin run wild to intro their presentation, announcing Pikmin 3 for Wii U.
Wii U (announced at last E3) will be the successor to the Wii, and the first of the new generation consoles. Its defining feature is a 6″ touchscreen controller, called the GamePad.
Nintendo spoke a lot about “the new disruption called ‘asymmetric gameplay.'” In most examples, that means that up to four people can play games on the Wii U using their current Wii Remotes, and a fifth can play on the GamePad, either in a competitive or cooperative mode.
The Wii U will support two GamePads, and they’re working on a transfer system for your Wii game saves, Virtual Console purchases, etc.
They ten announced New Super Mario Bros. U, a Wii U-specific version of Batman: Arkham City, called Armored Edition (you can steer the remote-controlled Batarang by turning the GamePad), and Scribblenauts, a former DS title, now Scribblenauts Unlimited for the Wii U, with multiplayer and custom object creation tools.
Fitness and music couldn’t be left out, so there’s Wii Fit U (still works with the Wii Fit Balance Board, can be played with the GamePad alone, and interfaces with a Fit Meter pedeometer via IR) and SiNG, where the SiNGer holds the GamePad sideways and reads lyrics, facing friends instead of the TV.
Nintendo 3DS news won’t be revealed until Wednesday night, but they teased three titles: New Super Mario Bros. 2 (August 19), Paper Mario: Sticker Star (physically and digitally Christmas), and Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon (Christmas).
Returning to Wii U games, there was LEGO City: Undercover (one minifig constructed a green Mario pipe and plunked down into it!), Just Dance 4 (up to four players can dance w/ Wii Remotes, and a fifth — the “Puppetmaster” — can choose which moves they perform with the GamePad), and ZombiU (intense, bloody game where the GamePad acts as your inventory, view-through scanner, sniper sight, or digital lock pick). Also, the GamePad camera can zombify you in realtime!
The big finish was the unveiling of NintendoLand, a collection of 12 games housed in a theme park. Examples: The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest, Animal Crossing: Sweet Day, Luigi’s Ghost Mansion: Haunting Hijinks, Donkey Kong’s Crash Course: Full Tilt Obstacle Course, and Takamaru’s Ninja Castle.
Good frickin’ crikey! That’s about all I’ve got for now, tho’ I may add to this post after Nintendo’s 3DS software showcase tonight at 6:30p.
For more details about anything here, use that ol’ internet thing.
Thanks for geeking out with me for E3. =) Bud