With E3 just around the corner, we take a look at the upcoming press conferences, giving our thoughts on the reveals we're likely to see, and chatting about our hopes for this year's expo as well. First up: Microsoft.
Other than giving me a reason to keep that damn Gold Subscription going, I’m not entirely sure what to expect from the Xbox camp this year. Call of Duty will almost certainly kick off their presentation like clockwork, Halo 4 will be definitely be there, and we’ll no doubt get told about all the wonderful online media features the US will be getting, but I honestly don’t know what else they have up their sleeves besides how they plan to improve the integration of Xbox Live with Windows.
That said, this gives Microsoft a huge opportunity to blindside me with an interesting announcement. A new IP to help bolster their line-up in the years to come? A genuinely interesting use for Kinect that enhances gameplay? Maybe we’ll see Ryse appear without a horribly scripted demonstation. Surprise me Microsoft!
Microsoft has a few confirmed projects on the way. We'll probably get to see Forza: Horizon, Crytek's Ryse and Avatar Motocross Madness on show, amongst others. Windows 8 (both phones and the OS) will possibly also get a shout out, along with some of the as-yet unreleased hardcore Kinect titles like Crimson Dragon and Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor.
But with a new console reveal almost completely off the table, it remains to be seen where the 'wow' factor will be coming from. I wonder if we'll get to see an upgraded version of Kinect in action? Either way, Microsoft needs to prove that they're still willing to throw money at second party developers to secure some exclusives, and this will only get more urgent as the 'nextbox' countdown looms ever closer. How much do SEGA cost these days?
Oh, and Halo 4. You know, because that's happening.
We’re all sick and tired of the seemingly endless stream of rumours and reports regarding Microsoft’s next-gen console. The 360s success was thanks in no small part to the headstart it was given over its competitors, and with Nintendo having already ‘unveiled’ its Wii U, Microsoft will be eager to throw their own contender into the fray.
We won’t be seeing a hardware reveal this year, of that I’m sure. But with Epic floating a number of screens for their ‘next-gen’ Unreal engine, and with the Wii U’s seemingly limited graphical prowess, Microsoft have been presented with the perfect opportunity to wow gamers with some stunning-looking prototypes and pixel-perfect renders of their next-gen software. Gears 4 perhaps? Fable 4 running on a next-generation Xbox?
There will of course be the usual barrage of Kinect titles and probably a few third-party developers gushing about the importance of Kinect integration, along with an extended gameplay video for Black Ops 2, but who gets excited about either of those things anymore?
I'm getting really worried about Microsoft. As platform holder and publisher, surely E3 should be the time to announce new partnerships, studio acquisitions, hot new IPs, and striking titles that appeal to the core. Well, we'll definitely be getting Halo 4 and Forza Horizon, but aside from that I expect a whole bunch of relatively unimpressive Kinect fodder, aside from Crimson Dragon which I crave!
Microsoft have made noises about a superior version of Kinect, so maybe we'll see that come into play, and with rumours of an imminent cloud gamng deal being struck between Sony and other leading party, Microsoft may have something to announce in the that department too. The Metro update has paved the way for Windows 8 *shudder*, so expect a barrage of updates for Xbox LIVE, and plenty of media announcements.
Then again, they could pull a massive smash coup out of the bag, blow Nintendo out of the water and unveil the Nextbox with a huge "Ta-daaaaaaah"...but I'm not holding my breath on that one. Neither will they announce a foray into mobile gaming...aside from Windows Phone 8. *facepalm*
Considering just how obsessed I became with Halo 3 and Halo: Reach's multiplayer, I'm looking forward to hearing a bit more about Halo 4 as well as seeing just what the Master Chief's been up to since the end of Halo 3, hopefully we'll be treated to a trailer along with some gameplay footage.
After recently playing Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor my faith in Kinect has been partially restored and I'm interested to see if Microsoft will be showing any other games that can finally make owning the clever little piece of technology worthwhile. Finally, I'm still holding onto the hope, no matter how unlikely, that we'll finally get our first glimpses of the Xbox 720 this year.