Here it is, everybody. The culmination of months upon months of rumors and disinformation. Will we see new consoles unveiled? Will we get a new earth-shattering IP? Will Ubisoft’s Mr. Caffeine be forced to commit seppuku live on stage? Over the next two days, these and other burning questions will be answered, starting at noon E.S.T. This year we open with Microsoft and quite possibly the biggest reveal of the show, Halo 4. Spike TV has the coverage this year, so I get to report this while listening to Geoff “Don’t Call Me Jeff” Keighly ooze fake enthusiasm through my television set. And away we go!
12:00: Coverage begins with a “stand by” static slide in place for 30 seconds. Good start!
12:08: Two of Keighly’s cronies refer to their coverage of the event as “moving through the building like a bowel movement.” I throw up a little in my mouth.
12:12: Kevin Smith! The man must own 400 hockey jerseys. 30 seconds in, he’s mentioned drugs twice. Anyway, he’s there to announce his company, SmodCo., is starting a game development division, and potentially developing a Jay and Silent Bob FPS.
Also, he says Carrie Fisher told him John Belushi tried very hard to get on the cast for Empire Strikes Back. This is far more interesting than anything else he says.
12:17: Tekken Tag Tournament 2 trailer. 30 seconds of ass-kicking alliteration!
12:20: Oh look, it’s Microsoft Studios head Phil Spencer! Blah blah blah party games, blah blah blah digital distribution, blah. Annual Xbox Live event Summer of Arcade line-up announced, starting with third-person action shooter Hybrid from 5th Cell, the makers of Scribblenauts. It’s quite a departure from their norm, but they have enough street cred for me to pay attention. Side-scrolling zombie apocalypse shooter Deadlight comes next, and if you read my stuff you know I’m excited for this. Kinect-based Wrecketeer comes third, meh. Oooo, Tony Hawk Pro Skater HD, if you want to play that again. And finally Dust, an asian-styled action RPG. All in all, pretty promising.
12:28: Xbox Live Companion announced, essentially this is a way for your Xbox to integrate console achievements with all your various social media apps and portable devices. Great, I know my friends want to be updated on Facebook every time I get an achievement. This is just what we’ve been waiting for!
12:30: Ok, Microsoft, impress me.
12:31: Holy s***tsnacks. The Halo 4 trailer begins with a live-action commemoration of the first UNSC ship launched in peacetime, after the events of the previous Halo trilogy. Up in space after launch, some bad shit goes down, and the ship is sucked into some kind of wormhole, only to reappear crash-landing on the same planet Master Chief is marooned on! Next we see some kind of glowing sphere thing, a new enemy type? The video ends and we go to actual in-game campaign gameplay, tearing ass through an alien jungle to reach the downed ship, and it looks tremendous. New weapon models, awesome. What are the Covenant doing here?! Whoa, that Elite disintegrated! What the hell? Finally the strange planet’s inhabitants reveal themselves, and Cortana tells us it’s some kind of organic A.I. Shoot stuff, explosion. Ah, a new humanoid enemy type attacks, looks like a cross between an Elite, a bugger and a Tron extra. After he dies, John gets a new weapon, some kind of Forerunner rifle. It blows up the new guys real good. John now sports thermal vision in his visor, and we see him surrounded by enemies before he gets knocked out. The preview ends with more of Cortana losing her mind, and a gravely voice calling you “Reclaimer.” Cut to black.
Whew! That was good.
12:40: New Splinter Cell Blacklist! The level they show is in the desert somewhere overseas, with Sam sneakin’ around like he’s known to do. Not digging the new outfit, he looks like he’s cosplaying as Solid Snake. Suddenly he tags and kills like 8 dudes on the run, and the Ubisoft guys tell us it’s a new feature called “kill on the run.” Seems kind of obvious, but they’re Canadian, so what do you want. And of course it has to have some kind of garbage Kinect functionality included, which appears to be yelling at guys as a distraction. Great use of the tech, fellas. This looks far more action-oriented than Splinter Cell games ever were, so if that’s your thing it has some potential. Finally they announce a return to fan-favorite multiplayer mode Spies vs. Mercs, which will make a lot of classic Xbox nerds very happy.
12:48: Oh good, EA Sports. What garbage are you promoting? Oh, Kinect functionality for FIFA 13 and Madden 13! Wooooooooooooo. More voice commands in my games, just, yes, more of that please. Jesus Christ. So, you can now yell at the refs in FIFA, and if you use naughty language, you could get a card. Yes, that will fly in the households I know! If you curse non-stop throughout the entire match, do the fans have a riot? And here’s Joe Montana to play Madden. He should tuck his shirt in. There’s a noticeable lag between shouting out an audible and it registering with the game, which is the biggest problem you have when you take the controller away. This is awkward.
12:53: Another Kinect game, with magic. Fable: The Journey. Looks like zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz….
12:57: Ok, we’re back! Some douchebag with too much gel in his hair wants to tell us about Gears of War: Judgement. It’s a quick trailer, looks like more of the same old, but starring Baird instead of Marcus. Then we see Forza Horizon, shiny cars driving around. Someone needs to come up with an idea for a new kind of racing game, because this year’s Forza just looks like every other Forza you’ve ever played.
1:02: And now we hear about changes to your dashboard. Bing voice commands will now accept searches by genre, so that’s, um, still more of a pain in the ass than using your controller? Cool. Oh, and they’re adding new languages recognized by Kinect, so that’s great for all my Swedish friends. New content is coming, including new entertainment providers like Nickolodeon, Paramount Movies, Machinima (yay!) and Univision, to get your fill of those fantastic Spanish boobies. New sports providers are coming too, like NBA League Pass and NHL game center. Now Brad has a reason to use his Xbox. And finally, ESPN live programming is coming to Xbox! All your favorite shows AND sporting events streaming live in HD 24/7. Awesome.
An update for Xbox Music is next. Looks very Pandora-ish, but if you’re gonna steal, steal from the best. They’re really hyping social connectivity this year too, showing a “sharing” option with every piece of new content and dedicated offline Xbox features you can access on your tablet or cell phone. TECHNOLOGGYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!
1:12: Nike Fitness Kinect zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…
1:20: God, MORE about Xbox on your smartphone or tablet. Xbox SmartGlass is announced, a way for you to shift content around from your various devices so you’re not forced to restart a movie you’re watching on the go when you get home (you lazy ass.) Also if you’re watching a movie on your Xbox, it will automatically give you related information about it on your other devices. As far as games go, they show the playbook from Madden 13 popping up on your tablet, and maps and tech guides from Halo 4 on your smartphone. Also, you’ll soon be able to use your cell as an Xbox remote, sure to piss off all your friends and family when you remotely f**k them up while they’re playing. And finally, we get an internet browser. Way to finally jump on board, guys! Sadly, it’s Internet Explorer, but did you expect anything else? Look for it this fall.
1:25: Andddddddddd fade to black! Live! While that dude was talking! Spike’s really knocking it out of the park this year.
1:26: Blah blah blah SmartGlass.
1:30: Tomb Raider! I’m loving the new mature direction Crystal Dynamics is going in. They show us some gameplay and it looks pretty damn fantastic, very Uncharted-esque. Lara’s got some pretty brutal melee kills going on here. Man, she is getting BEAT UP, I feel bad for her. Crazy parachute sequence, wow. I’m really excited for this one. First DLC will be Xbox exclusive, so sorry PS3 fanboys.
1:35: World premiere exclusive time. Ascend: New Gods, from those wacky guys that brought us, um, Toy Soldiers? Is that really something you want to advertise? Anyway, it’s some kind of action RPG with some God Of War thrown in there. Next up is LocoCycle, about, wow, motorcycles. Really? This is what you’re showing us? And then some Kinect-based Marble Madness-style game, Matter. Snore.
1:40: Resident Evil 6 gameplay! Leon vs. Zombies and a helicopter. They show off RE6′s new move-and-shoot feature, as Capcom finally decides to join us here in 2012 (welcome!) Why do I notice Leon’s hair looks amazing? Oooo, dual wielding pistols! GET TO DA CHOPPA!! There are several QTE moments in the footage, which doesn’t bode well. Overall, short but sweet.
1:45: Wreckateer for Kinect. Does anyone care?
1:47: South Park trailer! In case you didn’t know, it’s an RPG. “Jews can’t be saviors, Kyle.” Snort. I haven’t watched the show in forever, but I’m still down for this. And here come Trey Parker and Matt Stone to tell us all about it. Damn they look old. They proceed to make fun of Xbox connectivity and SmartGlass, which was AWESOME. Somebody had to say it. They appear cool and laid back and humble, talking about their game. Well done, guys.
1:50: Dance Central 3. Can someone PLEASE teach me how to dougie? Anyway, apparently Usher is involved, so he has to come out and sing a song now. Ok, what the F**K is going on here, Microsoft? At one point he asks the crowd to “get up!”, and exactly no one moves. Even he looks mildly embarrassed to be there. This is just, wow. So awful. Please end soon.
Man, he is STILL dancing. This has gone on now longer than any single moment they’ve shown thus far. Why does Usher get more airtime than Master Chief?
1:57: When they finally get Usher off the stage, it’s time for closing comments. Blah blah blah connectivity, blah blah blah future, blah blah blah what the f**k EVER. Get to Call Of Duty, you know it’s coming.
1:58: Call Of Duty Black Ops 2! First DLC exclusive to Xbox! Wow, actual gameplay footage, surprised they’re putting it out there already. You’re escorting the President somewhere, in the near future. Love the dashboard HUD on your vehicle. EXPLOSION!!! And now we shoot stuff. Really, it’s Call Of Duty, you know what it looks like. Interesting, there’s a moment where you can choose to snipe from an overwatch position of rappel down to join the fray up close and personal. I hope they give us a lot of divergent path options like this during the campaign. It’s future warfare this time out, so they show off some tech like x-ray scopes and apparently magic bullets and whatnot. Fast-forward to later in the mission, and we see some standard COD run and gun in a shopping mall. Hey, I want a wrist controlled flying drone with a mounted machine gun! These things are everywhere, like angry wasps. And then a building falls over, in the most non-impressive fashion possible. What the hell was that? And now you’re flying a jet with the First Lady. Looks like another non-controllable flight mission ala the first Black Ops. Explosions, yawn. Hey, fun fact, did you know oscar mike means “On the Move,” thanks to the phonetic alphabet? It’s true!
Annnnnnnd, cut to black, and then back to Geoff Keighly’s face, which means I can turn this off and take a smoke break.
So there you have it, the first major presentation of E3 2012. No Rise? No Assassins Creed 3? No new Xbox announcement? Usher dancing? WTF guys?
What did you see that impressed you / made you sick? Confab below!