The biggest gaming event of the year is almost upon us, with all of the industry’s heavy hitters preparing to bring out the big guns to impress both fan and investor alike at E3 2012. Every year, gamers tune in to the their televisions, internet streams and Twitter feeds to see what the year’s biggest announcements are. Here at Xbox Kinect Fans, we put our heads together to compile a list of what we want to see from Microsoft and the Xbox brand at this year’s show. So read on, get excited, and start counting down the days until Microsoft’s press briefing on June 4th!
Ryan Reynolds – One of the biggest things that I am looking forward to seeing from Microsoft at this year’s E3 is the direction of Xbox Live Arcade. Most analysts will tell you that downloadable games are the way of the future. That said, it will be interesting to see how much light Microsoft sheds on their downloadable portfolio, which provides players with great games, without ever leaving home, and on a budget. Xbox Live Arcade also provides interesting opportunities to developers looking to work with Kinect. Developers are able to experiment and produce a smaller scale games on XBLA. With the cost of game development sky high, minimizing financial risk is important. Developers such as Grasshopper and Double Fine have both combined the might of XBLA and Kinect to produce high quality titles such as Diabolical Pitch and Happy Action Theater which likely never would have seen the light of day as retail games. I’m really hoping to see some great Kinect enabled XBLA games at this year’s show.
Additionally, like any other year, it’s important for Microsoft to put the pedal to the metal on big name exclusives. Microsoft has done a great job historically gaining timed exclusive content from big brands such as Call of Duty and the recently announced Skyrim DLC. What I’m interested in more than anything however is the opportunities that only Microsoft can bring to the table. Microsoft will likely showcase all sorts of exclusive games and features that utilize Kinect, something that no other hardware manufacturer can currently touch. Only the Xbox 360 can tout controller free gaming. It will be interesting to see how many big name franchises and developers will include Kinect exclusive features in their game, like Mass Effect 3‘s voice command system. If Microsoft can show off enough games that are utilizing Kinect at this year’s E3, I think you’ll see more and more consumers buying into the product, and the Xbox brand going forward.
Top 5 most anticipated games of E3 2012: Halo 4, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dead Space 3, Assassin’s Creed 3 and Black Knight Sword.
Nate Hubler- Last year at E3 when Microsoft was unveiling all things Kinect, one thing stuck with me that has had support for over a full year now. That thing is Kinect Fun Labs. Kinect Fun Labs was essentially a mixture of tech demos to give developers inspiration to create new experiences on Kinect. That said, there have been some shortcomings that I hope to see addressed at this year’s E3. First of all, Microsoft is charging for a good number of the “labs”, which is ridiculous since they are essentially tech demos. Microsoft should also open up Kinect Fun Labs to indie developers who would be able to bring their controller free gaming concepts to life and post them to the Kinect Fun Labs hub. This gives gamers more content, and small independent development studios more exposure and opportunity. There’s a lot of potential here and I hope Microsoft keeps sing Kinect Fun Labs to play out new ideas and keep gamers coming back.
I would also like to hear more about upcoming Kinect exclusive titles. Ryse from Crytek had an amazing debut trailer last year that got all kinds of gamers excited but has gone missing since. How about a holiday release date and a gameplay presentation at this year’s convention? There also needs to be new games unveiled that go beyond the basic idea of moving to the left or right to collect things. If Microsoft can show upcoming titles that are evolving the Kinect experience, and are more in depth than what we’ve seen so far, then they shall surely have the most exciting keynote of E3.
Top 5 most anticipated games of E3 2012: Rayman Legends, Ryse, Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, Dishonored, and Far Cry 3
Nick DePetris – I’m just going to lay this out there: no game utilizing Kinect thus far has caught my attention in the way that Steel Battalion has. Games like Mass Effect 3 and Skyrim have added excellent voice support to complement their solid standard controller schemes and games like Haunt have done an excellent job using the whole barrel of Kinect tricks available to developers, but no one has fully combined them to the degree that From Software has. And while I am excited for Steel Battalion, what I’m really looking for out of Microsoft at E3 is the announcement of more compelling experiences that combine both traditional controls and Kinect to create deeper all-around schemes.
What I’d really like to see from Microsoft is some tweaks to the dashboard. I’m actually a huge fan of the Metro interface, but I think there are a few things that could be done to drastically improve it. First of all, we need the ability to pin some favorite apps and games to one of the main tabs, similar to the Windows Phone 7 interface. In addition, the Games Marketplace is basically a place where great games go to die. It’s just hard to highlight things with the current setup. I know entertainment is king these days, but the more people that know about XBLA and DLC the higher the potential for revenue for Microsoft. While we haven’t heard anything to suggest a new dashboard will be shown at E3, Microsoft is constantly tweaking their design, so it’s not out of the question.
Top 5 most anticipated games of E3 2012: Unannounced Kinect XBLA games!, Steel Battalion, FORTnITE, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, Halo 4
Seán Prideaux - One of the most difficult games to believe any hype about is Fable: The Journey. The E3 demo from last year was a difficult game to peg; was it on rails or was it really going to be different like Peter Molyneux said? Peter has a tendency to overreact and promise things that either aren’t feasible or have to be cut due to time/cost constraints. Fable games have always been successful in what they set out to do whether people like to admit it or not. I had a connection to my dog in Fable 2 and it did affect me emotionally; so the fact that there will be an attempt at an emotional connection with your horse piques my interest. Attacks varying depending on your body language is also an intriguing concept. If half of what Peter promises comes true then it’ll be one of the best games on Kinect this year.
So then, what would I like to see announced at E3? I want to see more XBLA games that utilize Kinect. The problem with the big budget Kinect games is they don’t take many chances; Leedmees, Gunstringer (it was originally going to be XBLA title before it exceeded the size limitations) and Diabolical Pitch. These titles (aside from Gunstringer) wouldn’t have been available as full retail games as they would have to have publisher backing for such wild and unique ideas. XBLA has been somewhat of a testing grounds for Kinect, with developers being able to push out unique concepts without risking their entire business. XBLA has always been the place that I find some of the most interesting and fun titles on Xbox 360. A line up of Kinect enabled XBLA titles would be a fantastic way to push Kinect forward. Microsoft’s very own Summer of Arcade promotion would be a perfect way to bring a host of new, unique, controller free games to players at a budget price.
Top 5 most anticipated games of E3 2012: Double Fine’s new adventure game, the new Harmonix motion game, Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millennium, Ryse, Darksiders 2
Andy Tran - As an early Kinect adopter I’ve been adamant about trying to get my friends to “jump in”. I really want to help support Microsoft in their quest to bring gaming into another dimension. Mass Effect 3 and Ghost Recon: Future Soldier are two “wow” worthy titles to hardcore gamers like me because they of the immersion factor. One title that I’m looking forward to getting immersed in is Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor, which has players controlling a “Vertical Tank”. Switching views in the tank is where Kinect comes in, allowing players to shift by pushing their controllers to up or down to man different stations. I’d really like to see more games at this year’s E3 that use Kinect not as a gimmick, but as a way to immerse the player and put them inside the game.
Additionally, I would like to see the integration of more Kinect features into big-budget “core” games. Microsoft really needs to pique the hardcore gamers’ interest in Kinect. Giving me the chance to show my friends how I can command a squad more efficiently, or build a gun faster without a controller is the ticket. When they go back home and have don’t have access to the game’s Kinect features – that’s the selling point and the way for Microsoft to expand on the Kinect’s audience.
Top 5 most anticipated games of E3 2012: Company of Heroes 2, God of War: Ascension, Crysis 3, Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor, Guild Wars 2
Scott Waldyn – One of the avenues Microsoft is really looking to peg Xbox Live services as is an entertainment device. Users (with or without the Kinect) can surf through various applications, movie, music, television and other services. What’s interesting is that some of these services, like Netflix, used to have a party interface where friends could watch a movie together. Avatars would climb into theater seats next to each other, and certain buttons would evoke emotions from the avatars during the feature that played across a mock movie screen. This has since been removed, but with the Kinect gaining steam and wrangling in more and more users with its improving mechanics, a whole new door of human interaction has been unlocked. I’d like to see a recombination for this newly evolved communication device with entertainment applications again. As Microsoft is constantly updating its navigation systems and interfaces, something in the form of communication updates probably lies in the horizon, but with what rests the question.
Beyond that, updates to Kinect Fun Labs are in order. While opening it up to indie developers to test their might and removing the fees associated with many of the tech demos would be fantastic, a re-classification of the product is also in order. Navigating for games on Games Marketplace can be a little difficult for Kinect users, but trying to find Kinect Fun Labs is another animal altogether. The product has been updated and supported for over a year, but for something Microsoft seems to want people to utilize, it can be tricky to find on my system. Whenever I feel like turning it on, I hope for an advertisement, so I don’t have to go hunting through my device wondering where Microsoft likes to keep it.
Top 5 most anticipated games of E3 2012: Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor, Assassin’s Creed 3, Darksiders 2, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, Skyrim DLC
Now that you know what we’re looking forward to, we want to hear what you want to see at E3 2012! Let us know by commenting below!