Live Microsoft E3 Xbox conference Finished
The Microsoft Xbox E3 2011 press conference is over. But you can still read all about it!
Eurogamer was reporting in real-time from the Los Angeles event. There was news about a Modern Warfare 3 exclusivity deal, not to mention a Tomb Raider release date and plans to bring telly to Xbox Live.
Our live coverage has now ended. Here's what you missed: Updating...
Xbox.com lists "Halo 4", "Halo: Combat Evolved: Anniversary" and "Kinect Sports Season 2".
In the queue for the Microsoft conference speculating whether MS will go with "Halo 4" or "H4lo". As long as it's got space gnomes and purple Barney the Dinosaur aliens in it, count me in.
Hello! We're just getting settled and ready for kick-off. Hands up who is so excited they feel a bit sick?
And we're in! Welcome to the Galen Center in Los Angeles where Microsoft is about to announce all the stuff we saw on Xbox.com an hour ago.
The auditorium is still filling up so we're probably a few minutes away from kickoff.
The stage is a trio of white circles drenched in green backlighting by a bunch of video panels - arranged, presumably not by accident, a bit the slides that you see on Windows Mobile 7, Windows 8 and the evolving Xbox interface.
Haven't spotted any celebrity developers yet and nobody's asked me to put on a space poncho. Bit disappointing. Still no word on when it starts but Xbox.com is saying 5.30pm BST / 9.30am PST apparently.
If they announce Viva Pinata 3 I will storm the stage and fellate whoever is speaking.
To be fair, at least Microsoft didn't leave Halo 4 lying in a bar.
L-R: Bramwell, Dutton, Yin-Poole, Robinson
By the way, remember to tweet @johnteti with your E3-related comments, queries and opinionated nonsense. He'll read the best ones out on our daily E3 podcast.
"The briefing will begin in five minutes."
"The briefing is about to begin." TIME TO JUMP IN.
Lights going down...
Modern Warfare 3's up on screen. ECHO ECHO TANGO BRAVO ETC. We're getting a live demo.
Some dudes in wetsuits are cutting through a chainlink fence underwater. "Please reconnect controller." Brilliant.
We're gliding through the water using a little one-man sub device with other squad-mates doing the same. Looks like a traffic tunnel that's been buried under water - lots of rusting cars.
The squad of marines are going past lots of sea mines and floating bodies. Something's just exploded in the distance. "Eyes on your sonar."
As usual one of the dudes has a "Follow" prompt on him so you don't get lost. Checkpoint reached. A sub just rumbled overhead toward whatever your target is.
"Wait till she passes." Now we're following the big sub's rotors. She seems to be the target. Yep, we're planting explosives on the hull.
The sub's forced to surface by our explosives, so we do too. We get a shot of what looks like Manhattan - all the skyscrapers are pocked with huge gashes spitting fire and bellowing smoke.
Choppers strafe the coastline. In the foreground our dudes are breaking into the sub. We've got to reach the missile control room apparently.
Lots of shooting and kicking people in the face until they're dead. The sub's flooding. It's all a bit reminiscent of the underwater base bit at the end of Black Ops.
"in the interest of time..." pops up on screen. Looks like we're fast-forwarding to a later bit of the level. A klaxon's going off and we're planting a charge on the door.
In the control room we go into slow motion and take out about half a dozen enemies one by one before whooooomphing back into normal time.
They're hacking into the sub's mainframe. Presumably they're looking for CC numbers oh wait they're changing the missile co-ordinates.
Now we're in a speedboat escaping into a flotilla of warships. There are missiles slamming into hulls, spray everywhere, boats with machineguns, etc.
Explosions, water, explosions, etc. FOLLOW. DO NOT DEVIATE FROM THE SET-PIECE.
Some sort of bridge tunnel chase thing. The boat just did a jump. Now they've driven the boat into a helicopter or something and they're flying away.
That's the end. Everyone cheers. Infinity Ward creative strategist Robert Bowling and IW's Glenn Schofield are on stage now.
Sorry, Schofield's from Sledgehammer of course, as he's pointing out. Apparently MW3 is going to be "epic".
"It's truly humbling to be part of this game," he says. "We've been pouring our hearts and souls into creating this game and there's so much more to come. We can't wait for November 8th."
That's it for MW3. Don Mattrick is up. He's the boss of Xbox and he looks a bit like the kid out of Rushmore.
"Thank you for making last year the biggest year in Xbox history. This is an incredible time of growth and innovation."
"Technologies that sees us, hear us, and connect us all together are changing the way we play, interact and have fun."
Apparently we're all "flocking to interact with entertainment". And we're going to see "the next wave of Kinect experience", lots more about Xbox Live and "a better way to enjoy television".
But first the games. Here's Crystal Dynamics to show Tomb Raider.
Darrell Gallagher and someone Dan Neuberger are on stage. We're going to see a bit from the beginning of the game.
Lara is suspended upside down in a sack with just her head hanging out. She arches her back and creates momentum to swing herself towards some naked flames, which ignore the sack she's in. "This is going to hurt." It allows her to escape and she falls painfully to the ground.
She appears to be pressing X to jam a compound fracture back into her hip or something. No sign of T-Rex.
She's stumbling through a tunnel of bones and candles, past a body nailed to the wall like a crucifixion. It looks absolutely stunning, by the way. So much detail. Uncharted 2 esque.
Oops, someone's grabbed her. She kicks him away. She's moaning and muttering in terror the whole time as she crawls through a watery tunnel clutching onto a torch. She can barely get her head above water now - it's just her scared face framed by the close-up. The camera seems to shift dynamically to different vantage points sometimes but mostly it's third-person.
Apparently she has to use her survival instincts to find a way out. She goes into a kind of Batman Detective Mode which highlights usable bits of the environment.
She releases some sort of crate from a cage and sets fire to it and now she's climbing up a ramp. The cage is suspended on a rope and without the crate weighing it down it floats up towards the ceiling. This allows Lara to climb onto it and reach a higher platform.
She can see light at the end of the tunnel! But a rockslide blocks it off. Then it happens again. Now she's sliding down into the gloom again.
The whole place is falling apart as Lara races past falling rocks. She's been grabbed again and the player has to waggle the left stick to escape - after which her assailant is visibly crushed by a falling boulder.
Now Lara's climbing into the light. She pulls herself out onto a small cliff and surveys the outside world - it's a cove smothered in shipwreckes and plane crashes...
That's it. Fall 2012.
That was gorgeous. Speaking of which, here's Peter Moore!
"This feels vaguely familiar."
He's bigging up the accuracy and authenticity of EA Sports games. He's here to announce four EA Sports titles will feature Kinect support in 2012 - Tiger Woods, Madden, FIFA and one more that will be announced later.
You'll be able to call audibles in Madden, swing a club in Tiger, and... do stuff in FIFA. "We'll have more to show you and tell in the next year or so."
In the meantime The Sims 3 Pets will support Kinect.
That's it from Peter apparently. Now it's time for Dr Ray Muzyka and more importantly Mass Effect 3!
He's recapping what ME is about - the storytelling of traditional Bioware and the combat of an epic action game. For ME3, "the galactic war's begun". "Earth's been taken."
And Mass Effect 3 will also support Kinect.
Through voice recognition.
Jesse Houseton is on stage to demonstrate how it works. The idea is you can speak to your team using Kinect.
Ooh! It's the guys! Shepard and Mordin are having a chat.
The voice options on screen include "You let them die". Jesse shouts "You let them die" and it selects it on-screen.
It works quite well because the things Shepard says are slightly different to the prompts you choose from.
They're at some sort of Krogan station talking to a woman who's "the future of the Krogan race". Ooh!
You can use Kinect in combat too to organise your team. "Garrus, move up! Liara, Singularity!"
Shepard's shooting some assault troopers and just melee stabbed one with what looked like a blade extension of his Omnitool...
Woo, some sort of mental mech robot just landed. As with ME2 there's a nice mix of action and cut-scenes... Aw damn, that's it. More!
They're going to "set a new bar with Mass Effect 3". A space bar.
Expect more later today at the EA press conference.
Now we're seeing Ghost Recon Future Soldier. Some dudes are standing behind cover and saying WHISKEY ALPHA TANGO TANGO a lot etc.
One of them turns on stealth camo and they coordinate their attack so something explodes, people get capped and so on simultaneously. We're getting a cool flythrough of the level highlighting all the simultaneous strands of combat, UAVs etc.
That looked pretty swish, although hard to get a feel for what it will be like as a game.
Here's Yves Gullemot to explain more. "We've been big believers in Kinect since day one."
He says he wants to show us how they will use Kinect to enhance their core games via body tracking and voice.
We're going to see GunSmith - a new Kinect enabled mode for Ghost Recon Future Soldier.
It's about customising any weapon in the game even down to the inner parts. A weapon comes apart on screen and then gets reassembled - it's responding to the demo guy moving his hands apart and swirling them around. It's Minority Report for the NRA!
He's using a mixture of gestures and voice commands to assemble and customise his gun.
"Optimise for close combat," says the demo guy and the gun reassembles itself. "Randomise," he says and the gun does it again. Now he's testing the gun by leaning forward into a sort of gun-holding gesture. He fires by opening and closing his trigger hand.
Yves Guillemot reckons we couldn't do that with a normal controller. "GunSmith will pave the way on Kinect." "All future titles in the Tom Clancy franchise will leverage Kinect."
Marc Whitten from Xbox Live is up next.
Marc wants to give us more TV, more apps, more ways to connect with friends. "At the same time, we must get the technology out of your way."
"At we enter an era where all your content can live in one place we are introducing an innovative new way to experience your entertainment."
"Welcome to the new Xbox experience." Play games, watch movies, listen to music and share with friends - do it all with Kinect voice commands.
"Xbox Music". You get instant access to more than 11 million songs on one panel. "Xbox Games". Games panel. Etc. It's all very Windows Mobile 7 with slides and stuff.
Whitten says they'll increase the number of partnerships by a factor of 10 and the content will grow from hundreds of thousands to millions. One new partner is YouTube...
"All of this content will bring into focus the next great challenge: discovery." Eh.
Bing is coming to Xbox too.
"You say it, Xbox finds it."
It's not quite raw web-browsing, by the looks of it. You search "Lego" and it finds all the stuff on Xbox services with Lego in it.
They search "X-Men" and it brings up all the X-Men game, movies and animated series in one place so you can buy, browse, watch etc.
"This is the year that live television is coming to Xbox 360." They're going to partner with people in the US and globally.
"News, sports and your favourite local channels, all just a voice search away."
He keeps saying "You search, Xbox finds it".
That's enough of that apparently. Here's a lifestyle trailer of some nuclear families using Kinect to watch Harry Potter in their lounge. I hope that sofa's more than six feet away from the screen.
Oh look, loads of massive lounges. Screw you guys.
Right, next on stage is Dana White, the president of UFC. He looks like he wants to hit someone.
"Xbox will revolutionise how fans experience live events on television." All the best fights will be on Xbox starting "this holiday", which I believe is "Christmas" in old money.
On screen you can flick between training videos, live weigh in, and jump in to watching the actual event. I think they just got some sort of TV achievement for "Knockout watched"...
There's a prompt to "call the fight" on screen so you can vote for who might win.
UFC Xbox Live. DONE. Now we're getting Phil Spencer from Microsoft Studios.
He's thanking "thought leaders like UFC and ESPN".
"But at our core Xbox will always be about games. Games you can't find anywhere else." Except on Xbox.com two hours ago.
"From this point on, everything we show you... is available only on Xbox 360."
We're starting with Gears of War 3.
Paranoid by Black Sabbath playing over footage of various Gears shooting Locust in the streets. And here's Cliff Bleszinski. "What's up guys, good morning."
He's going to show us a section of the campaign in co-op - playing along with Ice T who is also on stage!
It's been two years since the events of Gears 2 and it's all gone to hell. Jacinto's flooded, the Lambent infection's running wild, etc. The Gears are on a ship but a sea monster is coming after them.
It looks like a lambent Kraken. "We need to blow its brain out its ass," says Cole. We're inside the ship as its tentacles lash against the deck, crumpling the side of the ship.
Marcus moves into the heart of the ship. "Let's use the two silverbacks in the maintenance bay." Easier said than done with one of the monster's tentacles raking the deck.
They've made it to the Silverbacks - little mech walker things.
Ice T is racing his mech up onto the deck. (Words I never thought I'd have to type.)
They're shooting the lambent kraken thing in its glowy eyes to subdue it. Oh apparently it's called a Leviathan. Makes sense. It's buggered off for now. Ice T is rumbling around dropping fools.
Oop, Leviathan's back, mashing its maw against the deck while the Gears continue firing into its gob.
They just dropped a lot of bombs onto the Leviathan's head, which seems to have annoyed it a bit more, so they're jumping off the boat. That's the demo over. Looked good.
Ice T "has a gift for you". He's going to "reunite my rock band Bodycount" to do a song.
And they're off. Thanks Cliff! Thanks Ice!
Crytek's up next. What's this then.
Some sort of dog staring at an animation of a colosseum on a wall.
"There are two sides to every coin. There was a Rome of soldiers, statesmen and their sport. So to was there a Rome of squalour, struggling," etc. "There are two sides to power." The dog watches some peasants running and getting stabbed by a centurion.
Now he's out in the streets staring at bodies accumulated among rubble and burned out waggons. "An Empire will fall," says the voiceover. Now we're seeing swarms of people racing over a bridge. "A hero will rise. This is Rome."
Aha, it's some sort of Kinect first-person hackandslash. Here's a bit of gameplay where a guy is stabbing and slicing with gestures to take out the guy in front of him. The game's called Ryse.
Here's the Halo remake then. That music.
"Ten years ago" blah blah blah. "Billions of hours of entertainment."
"That was ten years ago. This is now. The campaign of the decade, remade and remastered."
Space gnomes! Looks pretty sexy. "Combined with classic multiplayer maps enhanced and updated for Xbox Live. A fully remastered campaign. Co-op over Xbox Live. And seven of the best multiplayer maps of all time."
Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary. November 15th.
Dan Greenawalt's taking to the stage to show Forza Motorsport 4. It'll deliver "an entirely new car experience".
It's all in-game footage. We're getting a montage of sexy-looking cars with POWER by Kanye West blasting over the top.
Kinect headtracking, community car clubs, rivals mode, 16 players, epic world tour.
Top Gear Test Track sighted.
Looks really gorgeous. These people know how to have visual sex with cars.
That's enough of that though - here's Peter Molyneux to show Fable: The Journey.
He says Fable's always been about you being the hero, so for the next one he's asking how we can feel 100 times more involved, "where power and control are at your very fingertips".
Here's a video. "Albion. A land long desired by those who should not possess it." We're watching a dragonfly buzzing through Albion, pursued by a hawk, then blotted by a guy riding a stagecoach. "When heroes are no longer born, they must be made." Dark clouds. The smoke monster from Lost, by the looks of it.
A gypsy woman jumps onto the waggon and they race away from the smoke. "Albion's end is coming. All that matters now is the journey."
We're in the driving seat on the horse-drawn carriage. The demo dude off to the right is using Kinect to hold the reins and whip at the horse. He pulls them back to halt the horse and dismounts. It's all first-person. He's firing off spells with his hands.
He lifts his arms up and makes a circle gesture to create a specific spell. On-screen there are two small circles indicating hand positions.
He draws them over the enemies he encounters to smash them with fireballs. He's now slapping enemies in the face with gestures.
It's not clear if he's actually moving forward by himself or if it's on rails but my guess would be the latter from observing the guy playing.
That's the end of that. 2012.
"Ladies and gentleman, please welcome back Phil Spencer." HELLO PHIL SPENCER.
"A year ago, an indie game came out of nowhere to become an indie hit." He's talking about Minecraft.
Ooh, they're bringing Minecraft to Xbox with Kinect...
"Minecraft is making its console debut this winter exclusively on Xbox 360 and Kinect."
He's also announcing a collaboration with Disney. What, are they going to close some studios together? Oh no, it's Disneyland Adventures, where you can explore the actual Disneyland and hang out with characters. Somewhere, Eurogamer's Chris Donlan is having a fit of excitement.
You can go on the rides and stuff too. Two photogenic kids are on stage using Kinect to do Peter Pan's Flight. They're waving their arms to fly, swerving left and right to collect coins, calling out the landmarks as they pass them.
Now we're going to see Alice in Wonderland. Some other photogenic kids are stamping on my soul - I mean playing croquet with the Queen of Hearts.
The kids just did a fistbump. "Kinect Disneyland Adventures... will be available in your home this holiday." Unless your couch isn't six feet from your TV, obviously.
Kinect Star Wars. Big cheer.
Rancor! R2! Clone Wars! Pod racing! Etc!
Coruscant (the whole planet is one big city), Bespin, lightsabres..
Star Destroyers and Starfighters...
Looks like a gameplay section now. Ships hurtle out of a Star Destroyer and approach Bespin Cloud City. We're a Jedi standing on a dropship circling a landing platform. There are droids below to mash up...
"Lightsabre on," shouts the demo guy. Now he's slashing his arm around to use his lightabre. Now he's using his arms to lift a knackered spaceship out of the way with Force Push. Doesn't look like he's controlling the character's movement.
It's third-person over-the-shoulder stuff. He's using his gestures to block laser fire with the lightsabre. Droid Destroyers are approaching firing out from behind their shields. He gets up close and slices through them like hot butter.
Now he's inside fighting one of those sentry droids that have lightsabre-esque double-ended batons.
Droids are all over the place and fall apart satisfyingly whenever he strokes his lightsabre across them. A frontal shot of the Jedi we're playing suggests he's a new dude. He looks a bit like a babyface Hugh Jackman.
Uh oh, we're in the carbonite chamber and there are a couple of Sith. "Welcome to your destiny, Jedi." They've both got dual lightsabres! And that's the end of the demo.
Aha, here's Tim Schafer to show Sesame Street.
Sesame Street: Once Upon A Monster "opens up a living storybook full of monster friends for you and your kids to learn from and play with."
Haha, he's just handed over to "the simulated family" - a bloke and a small child off to his left playing the game with Kinect. We're going to see a couple of the activities.
Elmo and Cookie Monster are jabbering in the foreground. "Phew, it's just a monster."
We've got to match the silly gestures and poses that the characters and the monster do on-screen. After the "magic" of Disneyland this actually looks quite cute and enjoyable.
If I had children I would let them play this game (after they've been down the mine anyway).
Now we're seeing the kid and dad grabbing at fireflies in front of a magical purple tree. Obviously.
Schafer says it's nice to be making a game his daughter can actually play. Anyway, that's enough of him. Now it's time for KUDO TSUNODA TO TALK AT 100MPH AND NEVER STOP TALKING IN ONE SENTENCE FOREVER AND EVER LETS GO JUMP IN
In saying that, he seems to be pacing himself this year. Still got the shades though.
He's talking about how Kinect Fun Labs will let you "check out the best innovations for Kinect".
It will let you play "experiences developed by the Kinect community" (i.e. hackers?) along with stuff from game devs.
He's going to demo a few of the Fun Labs bits made with the Kinect SDK.
There's a woman onstage showing us recognition software that allows you to assemble an avatar without having to go through a bunch of menus.
It actually really works - she's on screen and her avatar, which it just cooked up in seconds, is wearing the same clothes, hairstyle, etc.
That's it for that - no we're seeing something to do with Kinect finger-tracking. This is Kinect Sparkler.
First he does a capture of a "fun pose". Then he adds "a nice fun background image". Now he draws on-screen with his fingers - the sparkler line goes behind the pose of him, which rotates a little in semi-3D.
That was cute. Once he's made one of these 3D sparkly diaramas he can share it online.
Next up from Kudo is "object capture".
Kinect Googly Eyes lets you scan in physical objects using the camera. You do a front shot and a rear shot and it then rustles up an on-screen version.
She jumps around and the on-screen thing (it's a sort of cuddly fuzzy monster) moves around matching her motions.
We're back with Kudo. He says Fun Labs is about experimenting and sharing and so on and blah and it goes live TODAY. It's available to all Xbox Live members.
And here's Kinect Sports Season Two. Baseball, skiing...
BigPark producer Nicole Makila is on stage to show it off. There was a Rare logo too.
"We're bringing you six new sports you were asking for, like skiing and tennis." And darts?
"Today we'll be showing you football and golf." She's using a sort of lean-forward-and-raise-an-arm gesture to zoom the camera forward in golf to admire the fairway from above. Then she does a golf-looking swing. "Just a natural swing, like I'd do on a real golf course." They wouldn't let you on a proper course with that shirt.
She uses voice commands to change club to a pitching wedge. I would've gone for a 9 iron from there but whatever. Maybe a nice flop.
Now she's putting aaaand it just rolls in. She does an air punch. This is RIVETING. Now we're seeing a game of football. Some REAL MEN are on stage talking FOOTBALL.
HUT HUT 42 ETC. The quarterback just got sacked. They pick a play from a list using voice commands - "Streak 40". They line up...
"Hey I'll see you in the endzone." This is GREAT banter.
The QB threw the ball successfully to one of the, er, runner guy people. He ran to the endzone. TOUCHDOWN.
Here's Kasson Crooker from Harmonix next to show us Dance Central 2.
DC2 includes voice control. Plus all songs from DC1 can be imported into DC2. More than 100 songs will be available at launch. There's also "simultaneous multiplayer dancing".
Two guys are on stage to show us some of the aforementioned simultaneous multiplayer dancing. The same rolodex-style line-up of dance moves is on the screen but on both sides - one for each character.
Don Mattrick's back to wrap things up I imagine.
"Xbox 360 will change living room entertainment forever," he promises. Voice search, Live TV, Kinect, a new generation of games...
"And Call of Duty downloadable content will be available first on Xbox 360."
"This year Xbox 360 will go from being the number one selling console in North America to the number one selling console globally."
"I'd like to share a first look... and the dawn of a new trilogy for Xbox 360."
There's a red cloud floating among the stars, and fiery smoke bursting from it. It's like a weird constellation or something. It's all very abstract and embryonic.
It's Halo 4. Chief is blasting around in a space station in zero-G. Flames everywhere. Cortana. Flying toward a big white circle of death. Halo 4. Holiday 2012.
The music was a bit grumpier than usual. And that's it! We're done!
Hope you enjoyed that. Time to head off to the Ubisoft and EA conferences. If you want to ascend similar new heights of excitement again later today, join us for the 5pm PST Monday / 1am BST Tuesday Sony conference... Until then.