E3 2011 – Day 1 Press Conference Sum Up

In case you missed the deluge of journalism surrounding today’s start of the Electronic Entertainment Expo, 2 of the Big 3 made their presentations in different areas of L.A. with a few surprises, though nothing too mind blowing. I could probably write a substantial article with play-by-play, but after live blogging three press conferences this morning, I’d like to type a little less before tomorrow’s show floor kick-off. Here’s the highlight reel instead, with EA’s conference thrown in for good measure.

Microsoft

It’s clear that Xbox’s focus this year is the same as it was last year: Kinect. Sure, there are more titles, but it’s the new functionality that is perking our ears.

  • Kinect Fun Labs actually hits today. Players can now scan their actual faces AND bodies, including the clothes they are currently wearing to create an accurate avatar to use throughout the service. Other little toys, like a pseudo-3D photo taker you can draw on using finger tracking capabilities. We’re also finally getting the object scanning we were promised last year.
  • Disney and Microsoft have come up with a way for you and your kids to experience Disneyland without forking up a hundred bucks for a ticket and 10 bucks for a soda. Disneyland has been recreated and rides turned into mini-games to dodge obstacles and collect coins.
  • Kinect Sports 2 features…another golf game and football.
  • A much better demo of the Star Wars kinect game. One questions on everyone’s lips: “Lightsaber…on!” ?!?!
  • Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Edition brings the classic shooter to the HD age with new textures, lighting effects and improved online multiplayer.
  • And finally, Halo apparently isn’t over. Microsoft intends on launching a new trilogy starting with Halo 4.

EA

Not technically part of The Big 3, EA certainly is a major contributor to every facet of the gaming world, so their press con should be nothing to sneeze at, particularly with so many high profile titles on the horizon.

  • Mass Effect 3 – 3/6/2012. It’s time for more Shepard and the final chapter of the planned trilogy of titles that have already sold millions of copies worldwide. Throw in a basket full of J.J. Abrams style lens flares and you’ve got an instant hit.
  • Need For Speed: The Run introduces a bit more story to the definitive racer and, for the first time, pulls players out of the car, but they don’t amount to much more than quick-time sequences.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic. We’ve still yet to see any real gameplay video from this, but the pre-rendered sequences are effing incredible, there’s no two ways around it.
  • SSX hits the slopes once again, this time utilizing NASA satellite maps of the planet to set up the best-ever snow board runs. Ride it. Trick it. Survive it.
  • FIFA 12 and Madden NFL 12 make their inevitable debuts with a promise of more integrated and expanding social network support.
  • The Sims meet Facebook and take a jab at Farmville in the process. The Sims Social brings familiar gameplay to the social network in new and innovative ways.
  • Reckoning spawns from the mind of Ex-Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling and creative head Todd McFarlane. Says Kotaku.com: “Fable for Grown-Ups”.
  • Insomniac leads off with a new franchise: Overstrike. This aint no Ratchet and Clank.
  • Finally, like a coup de grâce to fans with baited breath, Battlefield 3 blazes onto the screen with a tank combat sequence that is brilliant. I always though it tough for Battlefield to retake it’s thrown over Call of Duty, but number 3 could very well be the catalyst.

Sony

A few of us had a gentleman’s bet going as to whether or not Jack Tretton would give any mention to the continued hacker problems and downtime plaguing Sony. That being the first thing from his lips was completely out of left field. Kudos though, it took balls, but he was quick to bring focus back to the future. It’s all about the 3D this year, which I guess shouldn’t be surprising. They’re the leaders in 3D TV’s so pushing the tech on the PS3 is a win-win situation. Frankly, I think they’re pushing too hard. Most of the press conference’s video sequences were in 3D. My head hurts just thinking about it.

  • Naughty Dog and Sony have partnered with Subway for a massive Uncharted 3 launch that starts with a full multiplayer experience that launches before the game itself does. Today’s demo sports a real time, dynamically rocking cruise ship and a hero who can’t quite find his balance.
  • Insomniac takes the stage for the second time, this time with Sony to announce Resistance 3 in 3D.
  • Tretton returns to announced THEIR remakes: God of War, Eco and Shadows on the Colossus are all being re-rendered in 3D.
  • And speaking of Sony’s 3D TVs, Sony is launching a 24 incher branded specifically for use with the PS3 that split screen, without the split. One TV, two unique images for local players. It sounds brilliant at first, but in an online centric world, how useful is this and, oh my gawd, what will it look like to a casual observer?
  • NBA 2K12 introduces a Move mode, so playing basketball is a point and click experience. Aside from that silliness, the animation and graphics look pretty amazing.
  • Medieval Moves desperately wants to be Legend of Zelda and does a decent job of it.
  • A new run-n-gunner is on its way: Star Hawk.
  • Hide your valuables! It’s a new Sly Cooper!
  • DUST 514 marks the first time a console shooter will persist on a PC platform, using the EVE Online universe as a backdrop.
  • Bioshock Infinite in-game play appears to applause and Ken Levine hints at Bioshock on the new portable.
  • Star Trek co-op shooter coming to the Move and has a matching phaser peripheral.
  • Playstation content will be coming to other devices including Android based items with Playstation Suite.
  • And speaking of new portables, the Playstation Vita (it means life) has 2 analog sticks, front and rear touchpads and cameras, a 6-axis motion control, 5” screen and, well, it’s the phone most of us already have, with apps we already use, just without the phone part.

The best part of the Sony conference? When they announced they would be partnering with “the fastest, most reliable 3G provider…AT&T”. It was like the entire audience suddenly uttered WTF?!?! Um, Sony.. haaaaaaaaave you met Apple?

Christopher Kirkman

Christopher is an old school nerd: designer, code monkey, writer, gamer and Star Wars geek. As owner and Editor-In-Chief of Media Geeks, he takes playing games and watching movies very seriously. You know, in between naps and watching TV.

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