The start of Microsoft’s E3 keynote address saw us thrown into a torrent of out-of-control water before we realised we were looking at the latest Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and with that the Redmond company set the tone for the rest of the press conference.
Last year was all about the Kinect but this year, Microsoft had no new hardware to show off but, despite this, the company showed off a line up of up-coming games which should keep even the most ardent gamers happy. First up as we said was COD, which will be released on 8 November – and first to Xbox users. The demo certainly looked like it was going to maintain the quality we’ve come to expect from the series. But while the new COD will be welcome, the announcement of two new Halo titles will be the news to please most Xboxers. Two 'new' titles may be stretching it a bit however as one of the titles is a re-mastering of the original title, now called Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary, but Halo 4 is a completely new title and interestingly the first in a new trilogy which will see the return of Master Chief.
Kinect was always going to be central to a lot of new titles and it is now being used in more core titles. While this sounds as if it could be quite gimmicky, one demonstration certainly made us sit up and take notice. Ghost Recon: Future Soldier features a section called gunsmith where users can take apart and reassemble guns using motion and voice controls. It seemed to work really well and will please our inner Gomer Pyle. Mass Effect 3 will also use the Kinect to let you voice your character, though this does seem a little gimmicky being honest. A completely new game, Crytek's Ryse, will try to invoke the blood-curdling combat of ancient Rome and use the Kinect again in new ways. More casual Kinect games including Kinect Sports 2, Disneyland Adventures and Sesame Street: Once Upon A Monster to keep the children happy. Kinect Fun Labs was also revealed as a way of using the motion controller to re-style their avatars, scan toys into the dashboard and create 3D pictures.
Microsoft is clearly happy with its hardware for now and is working hard on making the most of the Xbox 360 and Kinect combination trying to please both hardcore gamers and those looking for more casual gaming – and with this line-up seems to have got the balance pretty spot on.