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E3 2010: Microsoft Keynote recap

June 14, 2010

Kinetic took center stage this year, as the company aims for the Wii’s current audience and enticing with more blockbuster hit titles and a new slimmer Xbox 360. Read the whole recap down below.

It began with Treyarch’s Call of Duty: Black Ops. A spokesman from the developer took the stage to show new gameplay video with soldiers wandering through tunnels riddled with corpses and hostile militants.

However, in the interest of time, the developer switched into a gunfight in the jungle. After taking out several militants, the two hijack a helicopter, showing the helicopter gameplay. Including blowing up bridges and parts of the jungle, toppling trees over and sinking enemy boats and other helicopters.

Afterward, Senior VP of Microsoft’s entertainment Don Mattrick, announcing timed exclusivity of Call of Duty DLC for Microsoft through 2012.

Mattrick calls this a year of transformation.  They point out some of their bigger blockbusters in Gears of War and Halo, as well as how they bridge entertainment with music, movies and social media. This leads into Natal’s final form, Kinect.

Hideo Kojima takes the stage (!). He’s going to premier the first footage of Metal Gear Rising. To show this, Shigenobu Matsuyama takes the stage, whose the producer for Rising. He describes rising’s gameplay as Zan Datsu, which means cut and take.

Footage rolls of a robot enemy in an abandoned factory. He begins shooting as Raiden shows up, cutting him in two and rippin out his metallic spine. He absrobs the energy from it as his as his eye glows red.

Phil Spencer, Corporate VP of MS Game Studios. He touts that MS Game Studios has made several blockbuster games and announces more for this year, such as Fable 3, Crackdown 2, and Halo: Reach.

Every game he’s here to show is Xbox 360 only. To begin, Cliffy B is here (with a red 360 controller!) to show Gears of War 3′s four player co-op. The COGs are ambushed by locusts, whorip off a cogs arm, Marcus immediately  carving the locusts in two, as the battle rages, we see tagging a meat shield with a grenade and kick it into other enemies. As the battle’s goes on, Lambic, the new enemies in the game begin to ambush. These tentacle monsters spawn smaller monsters and have long reach, testing the covering abilities of players. A lambic berserker appears and appears and ravages the team. However, as all seems lost, the Hammer of Dawn lasers down from space.

A new mode called Beast will be shown during the show.

Creative director of MS Game Studios Peter Molyneux. takes the stage to show Fable III. Set 50 years after the second game, the player’s journey leads you from revolutionary to leader.

Another trailer, depicting scenes from Fable III.

Spencer takes stage, announcing MS Game Studios newest partner.

A teaser trailer of a gladiator in a bloodied field, covered in blood. A rock says “Crytek as huns and other spartans approach. The trailer ends with a teaser “Codename Kingdoms.”

Halo: Reach is up with a representative from Bungie. The world premier of the campaign mode. The trailer shows space, meteorbelts and earth as Spartans land on the surface of the world. War’s already raging as missiles drop from covenant ships drop soldiers. The battle rages as they enter a building guarded by Spartans, only to find Covenant have raided it. The spartan boards a space ship and launched into space.

Corporate Vice President for Xbox Live Mark Whitten is up. He describes the growth of Xbox Live to around 25 million users. He touts Kinect, and how it responds to movements, enhancing how entertainment is handled with Kinect.

A guy named Ron (just Ron) shows how logging in to the system with Kinect is as easy as waving at the TV. It can recognize voice commands, such as saying “ZUNE” to bring up the Zune store or “XBOX, PAUSE” to pause a movie. You can point with your hands to select buttons. They play Justin Bieber to music as well as BOB.

Xbox Live is being brought to several more countries and to Windows Phone 7.

Next up is Video Kinect.  This isn’t much more special than Skype video chatting, though through links on the bottom of the chat, players can watch movies or sports together. The camera also tracks the person, following them.

Video Connect will be coming to Microsoft’s Live Messenger as well.

A new partnership: Xbox Live users will have access to ESPN’s sports services, including streaming sports videos archived and live in HD (but only some). These include College Football, Soccer, and baseball. The service is free of charge to Xbox Live Gold Users.

Creative Director of Kinect Kudo Tsunoda takes the stage to show off Kinetic’s line of titles. The first game is Kinectimals, featuring a girl playing with a tiger, interacting with it.

What a creepy looking tiger. She interacts with it by talking to it and petting it, causing it to rub up against the screen. When she hides, the animal begins to whimper that its friend was gone, immediately growing happy when she pops up from behind the sofa on stage. She ends the demo by playing jump rope with “Skittles”, the tiger doing a flip over the rope in a Matrix-freeze frame type deal.

Really?

Next is Kinect Sports. The demo man takes the time to ham up the in-game audience by raising his arms, causing the audience to cheer. A shout out to Team U.S.A. over in the World Cup and on to the gameplay.

Two people take the stage and show a 200 meter relay, running in place to make the characters run and jumping in place to jump over hurdles.

Kudo back on stage to show Kinect Racing, a basic party racer which uses the player motioning holding a wheel to drive a car. How’s acceleration and braking work? It looks like it’s automatic.

Kinect Adventures is another group of mini-games. First shown is a platform riding game where two players compete to collect many coins during the ride. The next one is similar to the first, only now on a raft… that can ride on clouds. Posture and positioning looks to be important in this (or the actors are really hamming it up. Hard to tell.)

Kinect Adventures takes pictures of you as you play, which you can upload to Facebook.

Ubisoft’s Your Shape: Fitness Evolved is up with Felicia Williams. The camera can scan your body and height, knowing your physical dimensions. To join her is a certified trainer, explaining how users can choose a personal trainer in game, do some martial arts or other workouts.

The coach in game teaches you the exercises, as a sort of personal training and gives you live feedback on your performance. These include squats, punch training. Lastly, to cool down, users can do a Zen class.

The audience is really into this.

Dance Central is up, with dancers demonstrating several moves. Did she just really do the white boy?

Alex Rigopoulus from Harmonix explains the game truly captures dancing without pads or controllers. The moves in the game were captured via professional choreographers.

He then goes up to demonstrate how players can learn to do the moves through a beginner mode as the two dancers from before dance behind them. It’s like watching a pop diva concert go horribly wrong. Expect gifs on the Internet very soon.

Spencer’s back on stage. Kinect will launch on November 4, 2010 in the U.S. with 15 new titles. What, no price yet?

They also announced a partnership with LucasArts for a new Star Wars. The footage that plays is the same from last night’s event, ending with a clash with Darth Vader.

Turn 10 is up, demonstrating a bunch of box cars racing against a the newest Ferrari. Driving is done on Kinect by positioning your hands on tten and 2

Players can interact with the car by looking at the wheels, the engine and get into the car. A great substitute for those who will never own a Ferrari (right, Jorge?)

Mettrick is back on stage touting the Xbox’s life is in its 10th year. He shows off the new, smaller Xbox 360.  Featuring a 250GB and built in Wireless-N Internet; the machine costs $299 and will be available later this week for purchase.  Everyone in the theater is also getting the new 360 for FREE.

With that, the conference ends. However, over on GameTrailers.com, it was confirmed that the current 360 models will be reduced $50 each to $149 and $249 respectively.

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