E3 Wrap-up, Wii U and Halo 4, Oh My!
Another E3 has come and gone, and if you’re like me you are probably still entranced by the exciting new game releases and hardware that Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo dangled in front of our faces. Who had the best E3 press conference? Well, that is definitely based on perspective. If you wanted innovative hardware, I believe Nintendo brought the house down with their Wii U. Personally I am not the biggest fan of Nintendo, but the Wii U is something shiny and new that I am dying to get in my hands. To me it looked like a supped-up iPad, and we all know how successful the iPad has been over the years. And if anyone can pull off this weird game controller/contraption its Nintendo. Let’s step back for minute and breakdown each press conference and what exactly we can expect from each company within the next year.
According to Sony, 3D is the future and to drill that into our heads they announced a 3D TV bundle. Due out sometime this holiday season, the new $499 bundle includes a 24-inch PlayStation-branded 3D display, a pair of 3D glasses, an HDMI cable, and a copy of Insomniac’s Resistance 3. Sony’s Jack Tretton said the system will allow two players to see two entirely different things on the same screen, effectively changing split-screen multiplayer as gamers know it. Even if you don’t own a PlayStation, this is one piece of technology all gamers can agree will be embraced with open arms. Many companies are slowly fading away from co-op split screen gameplay and local split screen multiplayer. Having a TV that will automatically do this for you without disrupting the flow of the game is going to change the way we as gamers view gaming. No more double TV’s stacked side by side in your living room leaving you tangled in an array of cords. Or shouting down the hall to your teammate because you have 2 different TV’s and 2 different PlayStation’s on opposite sides of the house simply because games don’t allow you to play split screen. This new television set may be the answer to our nerdy prayers.
Formerly known as the NGP, the PS Vita is Sony’s new next generation handheld. The only other handheld to compete with Nintendo’s 3DS, the PS Vita is already looking to take over the market. The PS Vita will have a “phased rollout” across Sony Computer Entertainment’s regional markets beginning at the end of 2011. I know most of you are excited that Sony decided not to break your wallets this holiday season. The Vita comes in a Wi-Fi version priced at $249 and in a Wi-Fi/3G enabled device that will cost $299 and, in the U.S., requires a contract with exclusive mobile broadband provider AT&T. This might be the only systems negative selling point, but the system as a whole roughly costs the same as a 3DS or an iPod Touch. The Vita’s OLED display is five inches with a 16:9 aspect ratio and 960 x 544 pixel resolution, providing 16,770,000 colors displayed.
For those of you who wanted a keyboard or mouse connection, sorry but you’re not going to get your wish. The Vita doesn’t connect to Bluetooth keyboard/mouse combos, nor does it connect to the PlayStation 3 wireless controller like its predecessor the PSPgo. Stereoscopic 3D wasn’t integrated in the Vita because Sony “decided not to install it.”
Buying Vita games and other content will be done through the PlayStation Store, which is available to users of both Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi/3G models, or by purchasing “the new game medium” from retailers. The new game medium is still a small Flash-based memory card common to portable game devices. Vita users can save games on the new game cards eliminating the need for a separate storage unit purchase (although the Vita does have a second slot for extra storage media).
How many mouths fell open when Nintendo showed the Wii U video? I will happily admit that my jaw hit the floor and my tongue rolled out across the carpet like in one of those old cartoons. Yeah, yeah, as my cousin pointed out I am eating my words, but I am eating them happily. I want this system! Shhh…don’t tell my Xbox I’m having an affair with the new Wii, he might get jealous. But seriously, all kidding aside let’s take a look at this sweet new system.
First off, it has a 6.2-inch screen that will be built into the controller for Nintendo’s next-generation Wii U console. It will also feature a microphone, a gyroscope, an accelerometer, dual analog controls, two shoulder buttons and two triggers, a front-facing camera, a stylus, and of course, it’s a touch screen too. Satoru Iwata was careful to forewarn that the Wii U’s controller was “not designed to be a portable game machine,” even if it shares some characteristics with handhelds. You will, however, be able to game and video chat even without a TV. Screen resolution isn’t given yet, but the display ratio is stated as 16:9, matching every other widescreen in your living room. Can we all say yay! Give Nintendo their props people, for they surly deserve our admiration.
What Games Can We Expect to See on the New Wii U?
Batman: Arkham City, an Assassin’s Creed game, Dirt, Ghost Recon Online, Tekken, Metro Last Light, Aliens Colonial Marines, Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge, and Darksiders II, just to name a few. And as expected, it’s all coming in HD.
Are you excited yet? You should be!
While many are saying Microsoft went easy on their press conference, gamers should still be excited for the new Kinect integration. I know, I know, too much motion control cannot be a good thing. However, games are progressively moving in this direction and if it’s going to work, we need blockbuster hits that will make us all into believers.
So What Blockbusters Did Microsoft Present for the Kinect?
Peter Moore of Electronic Arts (EA) announced the upcoming release of EA titles for Microsoft’s Kinect, such as FIFA, Madden NFL, and Tiger Woods PGA Tour.
Ray Muzyka of EA’s BioWare division introduced a new voice recognition feature for Kinect that will be featured in Mass Effect 3. This allows the user to issue voice commands with or instead of a controller during gameplay. A player will have the ability to control Commander Shepard with a Xbox 360 controller while using voice commands to attack enemies. Sounds fun right?
Yves Guillemot, chief executive of Ubisoft, announcing voice recognition through Kinect for their new title, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier. Voice recognition through Kinect will allow the user to create a custom weapon in the game’s menu system. Players can say “optimize for close combat” or “optimize for range,” and the weapon will be reconfigured. Players can also shoot using hand motion on Kinect, something that has been rumored since Kinect’s original launch. According to Guillemot, all future Tom Clancy games will use Kinect.
Other games set to be released for Xbox 360/Kinect are Fable: The Journey, Minecraft, Disneyland Adventures, Star Wars Kinect, and Sesame Street: there will also be a new Kinect Sports game called Kinect Sports: Season Two, which can be played using voice commands, and MTV’s Dance Central 2, which will feature 100 new pop dance songs.
Microsoft is also introducing live TV, YouTube, and the Bing search engine to the Xbox Kinect Hub.
And What Was the Most Anticipated Announcement from Microsoft?
I will just leave you with the teaser trailer. Nothing else can sum-up a great E3 than the continuation of a fantastic franchise that basically put the Xbox on the map. Halo 4, I salute you and look forward to playing you next year!