Tuesday, June 5, 2012

E3 2012 News Summary Day 1: Microsoft, Sony, EA, and Ubisoft



Day 1 of E3 was huge, with major announcements coming from four of gaming's biggest companies. Microsoft, Sony, EA, and Ubisoft all had major announcements and large stage shows to display their offerings for the next year. Here are summaries of each show's announcements just in case you missed something:

Microsoft

Halo 4’s release date is November 6, 2012. The game has gorgeous graphics and a useful HUD, providing info about your surroundings ala Metroid Prime.

Splinter Cell: Blacklist, to be released Spring 2013, features Kinect voice integration for commands, a slick and quick combat style, and new gadgets to keep the gameplay fresh.

Games from EA sports will have Kinect integration for voice commands to your teams.

Fable: The Journey will be released on September 4, 2012. This title has interesting graphics, but still looked to be an "on-rails" game for Kinect.

Gears of War Judgement is coming out in 2013 and so far, looks like the other Gears games.

Forza Horizon is due out October 23, 2012 and features new cars, and the same Forza feel.

You can look for videos on the 360 and then choose what service provider to get it from, which seems useful.

HBO Go is on the Xbox 360 as well as Nickelodeon, Paramount Pictures, and Machinima.

To expand its sports offerings, the 360 will now offer NBA, NHL, and 24/7 live content from ESPN.

Xbox Music is a Spotify-type app for the 360 to purchase and stream music from your 360, PC, or Windows Phone 7.

Nike has integrated its Nike+ system with Xbox 360 to include workout buddies, sharing your workouts with social media, and more accurate workouts using Kinect. It also integrates with your mobile devices.

Smart Glass is a new feature from Xbox 360 to add additional content to your 360 experience. It allows your mobile devices (multiplatform) to integrate and connect to your Xbox to  become a secondary source of information about what you're doing, be it playing a game, watching a movie, or viewing a TV episode. Uses include having a map on your tablet to keep track of characters in Game of Thrones, editing plays in Madden, getting information about Sherlock Holmes while you watch the movie, and reading extra information and viewing online matches while playing Halo 4.

Kinect has been upgraded to include the use of webhub to look at things online in Internet Explorer. You can also use Smart Glass to control the webpages.

The new Tomb Raider game looks as great as it did last year, with stunning visuals and visceral game experiences by allowing Lara to fail and get hurt. Combat that was shown included using a bow and arrow and a shotgun. Tomb Raider’s first DLC will be available on Xbox 360 first.

New IP includes Ascend: New Gods, an asynchronous, drop in drop out multiplayer combat experience, LocoCycle, and Matter.

Resident Evil 6 continues its departure from traditional scare tactics to approach the action gaming paradigm heavily. Combat looked smooth, graphics were good, and the characters are familiar, though there was nothing really new or anything to be excited about here.

Wrecketeer lets you launch cannon balls at towers to destroy small demons. Looks cartoony and like a small time-waster for Kinect.

There weren't many details on South Park: The Stick of Truth, but the game's trailer and creators were hilarious and true to the style of the show.

Dance Central 3 was announced and Usher made everyone in the audience feel awkward.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 features asynchronous multiplayer in which players can choose between different paths to get to the same goal. It's a nice, refreshing feature to add to the mammoth series.


Sony

Beyond, Two Souls is the new title from Quantic Dream, the studio behind Heavy Rain. It's about 15 years of a girl’s life in which she interacts with and knows about some external force that no one can see. This spirit can possess people and interact with real life objects. The cinema we saw was incredibly detailed and the animations were impressive. Ellen Paige plays the lead and her face was captured almost perfectly. If the game is no good, at least it will be pretty.

Playstation All Stars Battle Royale is Sony's answer to Super Smash Brothers. It's a brawler in the style of SSB: there are 4 characters in a ring all brawling at the same time, but they also have combos and build up specials over time. The official character list for Playstation All Stars Battle Royale as of now is Kratos, Sweet Tooth, Fat Princess, Parappa, Sly Cooper, Mael Redac, Nathan Drake and a Big Daddy. The game also features cross-platform compatibility with the Playstation Vita, allowing mobile gamers to fight console gamers all the same. To be released later this year.

Little Big Planet 2 gets an update for more content and to add in the Playstation Vita as another controller for the PS3.

Playstation Plus members get three free games that will be rotated out, starting with Infamous 2, Saints Row 2, and Little Big Planet 2.

PS One classics are coming to the Vita.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified is coming to the Vita this holiday season.

Assassin's Creed III Liberation is the first title to feature a female assassin, and will take place in New Orleans. It is coming to the Vita October 30th and will be featured in a bundle with a Crystal White Vita hardware and a 4GB memory stick.

Assassin's Creed III will features sea battles.

Far Cry 3 allows up to 4 person multiplayer co op in a dedicate story.

A new peripheral was announced. Wonderbook is a kid-aimed Augmented Reality book aimed to make stories and storytelling more interactive. The first title is the Book of Spells by JK Rowling. You use the Move controller as your wand to learn to cast spells. Both Wonderbook and Rowling’s Book of Spells will be released this holiday season.

HTC will release a Playstation Certified device.

God of War: Ascension looks like the visually best entry in the series. It's adding in more gore, more enemy weapons, and Kratos gains more abilities, like the ability to turn back time in a localized area. The new God of War installment has a release date of March 12, 2013.

Last of Us is Naughty Dog's new title and it looks quite impressive. The visuals, ambiance, and characters in the game all breathe life into this post apocalyptic world in which nature appears to be reclaiming cities. The interactions between the protagonists are both believable and entertaining.




EA

Dead Space 3 plops Isaac onto what appears to be the home planet of the Necromorphs as it contains the source. It features co-op, which is a series first, and mostly fighting on the ground. Not many of the visuals shown off fit the traditional creepy-corridor-and-silence feel of Dead Space, but we can find out February 2013 when Dead Space 3 is released.

Madden 13 has a new engine for player collisions and interactions call the Infinity Engine. It looks to have more player interactivity by taking away the decided nature of tackles. The ability to create your own leagues where you follow a player, coach, or another league associate is featured heavily and looks to try and add more player engagement.

SimCity Social is a Facebook game in the series we all know and love. It features a morality system, unlocks, and social integration.

A new Sim City is on its way, in addition to the Facebook game. They have an entirely new engine, new animation, better data visualization, and more ways to play including multiplayer. It looks to be the most user-friendly version of Sim City yet and will be released February 2013.

Battlefield 3 Premium is a premium, flat-rate service to get players access to DLC sooner, new maps, new weapons, and new ways to play. This includes Close Quarters for smaller, more intimate matches, Armored Kill, for vehicle matches, End Game for high speed games, and Aftermath.

Star Wars The Old Republic is adding a new planet named Makeb, a new operation called Terror from Behind, Cathars are a new playable race, Assassin Droids are new companions, and a new warzone called Ancient Hypergates.

Medal of Honor Warfighter will feature connections to recent news stories and current hotbeds of terrorist and criminal activities as well as great beards. New combat includes use of drones, and the HUD is minimalistic and out of the way. Multiplayer includes a number of different teams representing different regions across the globe like Spetsnaz, OGA, GROM, SEAL, SAS, and SFOD-D. It will be released October 23, 2012

EA is looking to connect all of their sports games socially.

FIFA 13 features new dribbling, Kinect integration, collision models, and will integrate your data from FIFA 12. FIFA Club is also getting an app for mobile devices. The Kinect will know if you're swearing at the ref, which is pretty funny and encourages creative uses of expletives to see if you can get by the detection software. FIFA 13 will be out September 2012.

UFC is officially pairing with EA to make an official MMA game, though no title or release frame has been given.

Need for Speed Most Wanted will be released October 30, 2012, and promises to increase social play by having ranks of your stats against those of your friends within the game. In this game, you fight to become the most wanted, and the gameplay is from the highways to streets and backalleys to offroad and everything in between.

Crysis 3 will be out in February 2013 and feature more beautiful, taxing graphics, and nanosuit shenanigans, including cablehooking a helicopter to throw it around a little.





Ubisoft


Just Dance 4 was revealed to include songs old and new. Also Flo Rida made an appearance and made everyone wish it had been Usher. Just Dance 4 is slated to be released October 9th and include songs such as Call Me Maybe, Moves like Jagger, and Wild Wild West.


Far Cry 3, to be released September 4, 2012, involves the protagonist taking up arms against a madman while also feeling up said madman's sister. Use of a bow and arrow, machine gun, and tiger showcased the combat while the beautiful environments and promises of exploration to be had showed off the game's beauty. 


Splinter Cell Blacklist also looks to feature co op, though that's not confirmed.


Avengers: Battle for Earth has few details, but features all the Avengers, along with characters from X-Mmen and Spiderman.


Rayman Legends carries the torch of Rayman Origins to Wii U. It features up to 5 player coop and uses the Wii U gamepad to interact with the environment as another character. Details are lacking, but the videos all have the same fun look that Origins does.


ZombiU is the game that rose out of the ashes of Killer Freaks from Outer Space. No real gameplay to speak up, but it's the first confirmed mature game for Wii U. The trailer visualizes the zombie apocalypse as it hits England.


Assassin's Creed III is out October 30th and had an extensive live gameplay demo showcasing the combat system, tree running, and horse riding, amongst other things. The American Revolution era game also features a less invasive HUD, which is far improved over that of Assassin's Creed Revelations. Another bit of information reveals that you will be against the Templars, not necessarily just the redcoats. Weapons shown off include the hatchet, bow and arrow, knife, pistol, and musket.


To make a run for the esports market, Ubisoft has also come up with Shootmania Storm, an esports 3v3 game. Players take control of the red or blue team, each round featuring one player from one team against the three on the other. The solo player has a weapon which can kill any opposing member instantly, whereas the other team has weapons that take two shots to kill and are slower.


Watch_Dogs stole the show. Details are few, but the gameplay and cinemas did the title justice. The world is now controlled entirely by one operating system, ctOS. From the traffic lights to cell phones to signage, ctOS is in charge of all of them, and you're part of an organization who can and does hack the system. You can use these abilities to disable and tamper with devices in order to, say, create a distraction. You can also learn about people based on their data, and extrapolate more information from that, like violence probability. The gameplay featured bullet time, standard gunning, and great graphics, but the hacking and strategy portions were quite impressive. The multiple protagonists also seems to poke at multiplayer, though that has yet to be confirmed.
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