E3 2012: “Halo,” “South Park” Highlight the Xbox 360 Presentation


Microsoft shows off upcoming titles and increased Kinect functionality for the 360.

The presentation kicked off with a trailer for Halo 4, showing off both story and gameplay footage primarily focused on Cortana who’s starting to show major signs of rampancy. Some new enemy units make their debut here as well as a mysterious voice echoing 343 Guilty Spark’s iconic welcome to the Master Chief.

From super soldiers to government assassins, Ubisoft showed off footage of Splinter Cell: Blacklist featuring series hero Sam Fisher against a global terrorist threat masterminded by Middle Eastern militants. The mark and execute mechanic mechanic from Splinter Cell: Convinction makes a return now called “Killing-in-Motion,” joined by some new wall-scaling traversal as well as Kinect voice support. With the latter, players can call out to enemies to get their attention and, you know, shoot them and stuff when they get close. The Kinect support also allows Fisher to call in airstrikes, and paired with Sam jumping from cover to cover during the demo, gives Blacklist way more of a cover-based shooter feel than previous entries in the stealth-centric series. The new game will include the usual multiplayer suspects including Spies vs. Mercs and will be available in Spring in 2013.

Quick question: is that a Michael Ironside sound-a-like?

Next up, EA showed off the ways Kinect support would enhance FIFA 13 and Madden 13. FIFA 13, which is on the way this fall, will allow players to call out team strategies without stopping the action. Afterward, Joe Montana took the stage to demo the latest Madden—with Kinect, you can call out plays and even single out players using the Microsoft peripheral.

The Kinect-enabled Fable: Journey made its public debut (coming this holiday season), and following that Epic showed off the tease trailer for Gears of War: Judgement. And just as I was about to laud E3 for going a full half hour without dubstep, along comes the trailer for Forza: Horizon, making its way to the console on October 23rd of this year.

Kinect continued to get singled out with a fall update providing voice search options with expanded language support and programming search by genre across applications. Nickelodeon, Paramount movies, Machinima, and Univision are four of the 35 new content providers which will be available on Xbox LIVE throughout the year.

NBA Gametime and the League pass will bring basketball to the console, along with an NHL service. ESPN will be providing 24 hours of daily content across all of their networks on Xbox LIVE, in real-time on the 360.

Now if you’d rather get fit than watch sports, Nike+ Kinect Training is a Nike/MS fitness game coming to the console to help you get athlete fit this holiday season.

The next big Xbox media thing is Xbox SmartGlass which promises to link your LIVE-enabled devices. Start a movie or TV show on one device and resume it on another. It also offers second screen functionality to your Windows 8 tablet if, say, you’re watching Sherlock Holmes and want a bunch of production information about the movie. SmartGlass will be biting off some of Nintendo’s style allowing game functionality with the tablet interacting with titles like the upcoming Madden which lets you select plays or getting multiplayer info for Halo 4. You can also use your SmartGlass-enabled phone to control your 360 like a remote.

Oh, and IE is coming to the Xbox 360 this year with voice commands. So you can get all of your Prometheus spoilers through your 360. Your tablet or phone will allow you to scroll through content and pinch to expand and shrink content on the screen.

SmartGlass and IE will be available this fall, and will not only be compatible with Win 8 devices but Android and iOS.

Crystal Dynamics took the stage to show off some very pretty gameplay footage from Tomb Raider. Lara switched between a bow and arrow and a shotgun in taking out some island crusties. We also saw the fledgeling explorer take cover behind destructible objects and ride down zip lines. From what was on display, Lara’s going to have a serious killer instinct thing going, stabbing dudes in the neck for bloody executions. Uncharted comparisons are likely (and hard not to make) but Crystal Dynamics is playing up the brutality of the combat and simply surviving in the wilderness in a very big way.

The 360 will be the first to get DLC for the game.

Matt Stone and Trey Parker presented the Obsidian-developed South Park: The Stick of Truth, which will put you in the role of “the new kid,” in this RPG which they want to feel like an episode of the show. Stone says the goal was to get the “distinctive, crappy look” of the series into a game, and they were impressed with Obsidian’s ability to match the look of the source material. Developing the game has actually helped the creators of the show create a map of the town of South Park.

Oh, and Dance Central 3 will be teaching you how to Dougie. The new game will feature both modern and disco-era dance moves.

Following that, Treyarch showed off some gameplay footage from Black Ops II. Absent UI for the demo, it looks very much like a near-modern shooter. The killing of dudes both on foot and through the comfort of a vehicle were on display.

Related posts:

E3 2012: LucasArts Announces “Star Wars 1313″
E3 2012: “Assassin’s Creed: Liberation” Heading to the Vita

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