E3 2012: Xbox Media Brief Roundup

We caught the Xbox @ E3 media briefing just now at 12.15am, and while it got a little dry in some parts, it more than made up for it with a few select games!

In short, the media briefing pretty much focused on how the Kinect Voice was going to be a mainstay of the platform. It did make for some really cool features in certain games (we’ll be covering them below). This enhanced voice recognition also meant the Xbox Live platform is going to be pretty nifty, especially with the Xbox SmartGlass addition.

Xbox SmartGlass basically links your tablet or phone with your Xbox games and media (iOS, Androids and Windows were confirmed…sorry Blackberry users). Not only can it act as a controller for certain games, it also brings the web to your TV with voice commands. Internet Explorer gets a very sleek (and much faster) reboot for the Kinect, and SmartGlass will essentially be able to turn any TV into a smart TV. SmartGlass will also be able to help you manage video playback across devices, and add extra content to videos you’re watching.

Nifty Xbox Live upgrades aside, here are the games that were featured in the press conference!

Halo 4 will feature a new scary enemy race. Forerunners were hinted, but quite unlikely. Master Chief was also shown using said downed enemies’ weapons, which Cortana revealed as Forerunners’ technology. Visuals in Halo 4 look stunning, and the opening cutscene was nothing short of breath-taking. The game is set for a 6th November 2012 release, and more Halo 4 details will be revealed in the coming days.

Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist will be enhanced with Kinect voice recognition. Touted as the series’ most ambitious Splinter Cell yet, it will allow you to do stuff like call an enemy over to a corner before stabbing him in the chest. It is set to launch in Spring 2013.

Fable The Journey, slated for a release during Holiday 2012, looks like it’ll use a lot of the Kinect as well, with the trailer showing your character casting fireballs like he’ll never run out of mana. We wonder if there’ll be voice recognition included with the game.

Gears of War: Judgement was shown only as a teaser, where we see Damon Baird cuffed and lead out to an open space. Not much else was shown otherwise, although we can probably guess that Judgement takes place as a side story between GoW2 and GoW3. We’ll know soon.

Forza Horizon looks to deviate from its predecessors fairly radically, with a look and feel more akin to the Need for Speed series – and an emphasis on racing ‘actions’ than a simulation-style gameplay.

Lara Croft also makes a comeback in Tomb Raider, though her bust seems to have shrunk dramatically. This swashbuckling reboot is more action packed than puzzle-filled compared to the previous games, and while that’s a current trend with games, we do hope the devs will be including more challenges from when we actually had to think while gaming.

There was also a trailer for Ascend: New Gods. This third-person RPG is centred around an ancient prophecy surrounding Titans and Three Gods, so you can imagine there’ll be a lot of epic gory hack and slash.

Ascend: New Gods was followed by a TRON-esque trailer for a LocoCycle. Whatever it is, it looked suspiciously like those bikes in the TRON movie.

Speaking of movies… Gore Verbinski, director of Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, is getting his hands wet with a game called Matter, with a 2013 release date. Its trailer was so artistic we didn’t know what was going on. It did look a lot like Portal would, if Portal had taken a fine arts degree.

Resident Evil 6 also made its debut, with a super action-packed trailer featuring an overground infection on a mass scale. What we like is how the actual gameplay looks so much like an anime. It’s a nice take on the franchise’s very westernised look.

The star of the show was probably South Park: The Stick of Truth, presented by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. Featuring a massive adventure in which you, the new kid on the block, has to save South Park, the game has also been designed with “that distinctive crappy South Park look” in mind, so that players feel like they’re actually in the universe.

Dance Central 3 made an appearance, featuring not just moves from Usher in the game, but also a stellar stage performance from the man himself.

Wreckateer, a Kinect game with mechanics startlingly similar to Angry Birds, was also presented. It tries to distinguish itself with several improvements to simply tossing projectiles at a castle via a medieval ballistae – projectiles can be enhanced, or even guided, by magic spells. It’ll be on Xbox Live this summer.

More shooter goodness was delivered with Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. Clearly the highlight of the press con, demonstrated in a mission – you, the soldier, must escort the president out of an attack zone- and showcased smooth, action-packed gameplay.

Finally, as if predicting a dip in gamer fitness levels following the release of all these games, Nike announced a partnership with Xbox. Nike’s Stefan Olander introduced Nike+ Kinect Training, which is basically going to be fitness training in your home. Yay for never having to step out on the street ever again!

And that was your Xbox @ E3 media briefing summed up. Stay tuned for more coverage on E3 in the hours to come!

(Game trailers are available in the above Gallery)