When you hear of a “console war” it brings all sorts of images to your head – various gaming systems battling it out in a field of red rings and shattered motion controllers comes to mind.
In actuality, it’s an ad-driven competition between various gaming companies to see which one will be the top dog of the industry. Sounds a little less pleasing after hearing that, but to Sony it sounds like the perfect movie.
For those that have paid attention to this “war” here’s a quick run down of events: Sega and Nintendo used to be the kings of the gaming world, then Sony and Microsoft waltzed their way into our homes with brighter graphics and sleeker systems. Now Sega just makes games to stay alive and Nintendo decided to play with its Wii in the corner, leaving Sony and Microsoft to duke it out alone. That is the quickest, simplest version of the last 20 years of gaming.
Other then those names, most regular people might not understand the everyday, behind-the-scenes details and tactics of those same companies in a big-budget movie. According to gaming news site Joystiq though, this hasn’t stopped Sony from registering a list of domains in preparation for the Console Wars, their tale on the everlasting war between consoles and developers. Kris Tapley of In Contention has commented on this news, saying he’s heard about the project and that it’s going to be like Social Network, but for video games.
Just take a look at these domains they registered:
We don’t know how all of this will play out, but seeing how this is mainly a Sony picture it might be a bit one-sided when it comes to those “other” gaming companies. No news yet on whether any of these said companies has tried to stop or delay the development of this movie, but give it time.
I honestly thought that Microsoft’s presentation couldn’t be topped, but while their technical ambition has yet to be beat, Sony brought the thunder in terms of their gaming slate — showing off a God of War prequel, a sort of zombieless, yet fantastic looking zombie game, and the visual stunner of the convention (so far) in the form of Beyond: Two Souls. Of course, being Sony, there were missteps.
One of those missteps was Sony’s big Move announcement, the Wonderbook. A piece of DLC that seems like it was designed with kids in mind. What is it? Well, the Wonderbook asks kids (or adults) to sit in front of the Eye Camera and watch the screen as Wonderbooks come to life. Spells can be cast by employing the Move Wand as an actual wand while using JK Rowling‘s exclusive Book of Spells, or a map and characters can come flying off the page and onto the screen thanks to something that is over enthusiastically called, Augmented Reality. The trouble with all of this is, the non HD Eye Camera saps the majesty of the effect thanks to its low video quality. Something that was obvious during the demonstration.
Sony’s other big tech news revolved around the Vita, with the company announcing crossplay ability between the PS3 and the Vita, and the ability to use the Vita as a PS3 controller. There were also PSN and Playstation Plus upgrades, with new content promised (Youtube and Crackle for the Vita), but these don’t come close to the full Internet Explorer internet browser and loads of content from Paramount, ESPN, professional basketball and hockey, that Microsoft promised for Xbox Live. Sony also announced the expansion of their mobile gaming interests, with an announced partnership with HTC (personal yay!) to develop Playstation certified games for Playstation mobile.
Alright, enough of the tech stuff, lets move on to the games!
Perhaps the most ambitions, and creative game revealed so far, Beyond: Two Souls comes from the developers of Heavy Rain, (Quantic Dreams) and seemingly aspires to be more than a game — frankly, it looks like it aspires to be art.
Focusing on a woman with seemingly supernatural abilities, the game follows, essentially Ellen Page (honest to blog!) through her life for 15 years and hints at an exploration of the afterlife if you make the right choices. I won’t mince words, the trailer was a cinematic, so I desperately crave gameplay footage, but the concept blew my hair back.
The Ubisoft presentation earlier in the day showed off ample Assassin’s Creed 3 footage, with a kickass conclusion to the gameplay footage showing the new assassin, Connor, soaring through the air. During the Sony presentation though, Ubisoft trucked out more AC, announcing a “from the ground up” Assassin’s title, Assassin’s Creed 3: Liberation, starring a female assassin. They also showed a lengthy bit of gameplay footage, with Connor steering a ship through the Caribbean seas while engaging other ships in cannon combat.
Ubisoft also brought out more Farcry 3, though this clip featured less nipples than the Farcry portion of the Ubisoft presentation from earlier in the day… there was 4 way co-op and promises of a map maker and exclusive Sony DLC though, which might just trump nipples.
Sony also showed off Playstation All Stars Battle Royale and announced that Big Daddy from Bio Shock and Nathan Drake from Uncharted, would join the game as playable characters. Battle Royale came off as a classic button masher, and the lineup is a bit odd, with Drake now set play alongside Fat Princess, but the crossplay capability was demonstrated during this demonstration, and seemed to go off without a hitch.
Speaking of classic Playstation characters, Kratos is back with God of War: Ascension, a sort of prequel/origin story with the usual dose of fierce GOW gameplay, with epic battles showed off in the footage. People, there is an Elephant-man that is half man, half elephant, (and all punk ass bitch) that Kratos dispatches with ease. The whole thing is thrilling, and had me itching to see more. Sadly, the game won’t be out until next March.
The Last of Us is the previously mentioned maybe, sort of near zombieless zombie game, and this footage focuses more heavily on the struggle and battle between the survivors of some kind of pandemic event. The storyline is reminiscent of some of the best parts of The Walking Dead, with the “survival mode” human posing a real danger thanks to desperation and fear. Really, it’s exploring a world where mankind is thrust back into the wild and forced to view everyone as a potential predator. I love the brutality, the impressive hand-to-hand combat, and interplay between characters. “Joel” isn’t badass, he’s doing everything he needs to survive. Notice the lack of quips, the absence of swagger, this humanizes an end world event and also de-humanizes the protagonist and turns him into an animal. The Last of Us doesn’t have the lofty goals of Beyond, and it isn’t, you know, art, but it is a lot more interesting than a lot of the other zombie games that we’ve seen in recent years.
These things are made to seduce us, and as a natural born cynic I’m supposed to take every E3 announcement with a grain of salt, because while everything is ambitious and amazing now, we are far away from these companies delivering on these promises and living up to the hype.
With that said though, as a lead off for E3, Microsoft got things started right — showing us a look at games like Halo 4, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, Splinter Cell: Black List, Tomb Raider, and everything that the Kinect and Xbox Live can and will do on the 360.
There was no mention of a next generation console, but plenty of talk about knocking down the walls that keep our numerous devices separate. The voice recognition on the Kinect is the first part of Microsoft’s 3 tiered campaign toward evolution — with voice command you can choose a film genre, then a film, and have your Xbox respond. While playing a game like Madden 2013, you can stand in and call audibles at the line and call out individual players to run routes, as was demonstrated by NFL Hall of Famer Joe Montana.
The second part of Microsoft’s plan is Xbox Smart Glass, a way to bridge the gap between your Tablet, Microsoft enabled smartphone, and your console. With Smart Glass you can watch an episode of Game of Thrones on HBO GO on your console and your Tablet will show you a map of Westeros, detailing where each character is (particularly helpful when there are 272 main characters on the show, I guess). Don’t want to call in a play using voice command while playing Madden? Take your tablet and draw up a play, Xs and Os style, changing routes on custom plays mid game.
The third part of the evolution of the Xbox is real web browsing via Internet Explorer on Xbox Live that allows voice command to help you use Bing search for whatever you need. You can also navigate the web via a downloadable ap that lets you use your smartphone as a mouse. Not just a Windows 8 enabled smartphone either, but any smartphone, including Android and Apple devices.
All of this together certainly gives Microsoft an edge and increases their lead in the motion “peripheral” field over Sony’s half-assed Move and even the new Wii U because of the hands free nature of Microsoft’s device and it’s increasing ability to be intuitive and user friendly. This also comes about because Microsoft has another advantage over Nintendo and Sony, they’re Microsoft, and really, for the first time that is something that they are taking advantage of, sharing the benefit of the upcoming Windows 8 with Xbox console havers. Now, with a full Windows 8 enabled line of products — from Tablets and phones powered by the OS to Xbox Live and your console, there really is no wall left standing and nothing to hold us back from full immersion. So basically, goodbye sunlight.
Another big Xbox Live announcement is all of the content that the service is promising to provide. The NBA, the NHL, Paramount, Nickelodeon, and Univision, are all signed on to provide movies, live sports (which can be watched via a voice controlled split screen), and more. There is also Xbox Music, which promises 30 million songs and a revolutionary way to share and listen to music.
So basically, this is Microsoft going after iTunes and Apple, and really, you have to marvel at Microsofts balls here, because they’re trying to become the ultimate entertainment hub, and they have the resources to do it, and no one, not Apple, not likely Sony, and certainly not Nintendo, have the software or the support to beat them to it. The question is, how long will this hardware, this generation be the hub, and there was nothing offered that shed any light on that. The thing is, these promised improvements aren’t really Xbox 360 dependent, with changes taking place on XBL and the new Windows OS, meaning they could easily function as well and probably better on a next gen console, whenever Microsoft feels the need to invest in that. Bottom line: These improvements, if implemented properly and as promised (always a big if), can extend the Xbox 360’s lifespan for a good long while.
With that said, now on to the games!
As you can see, Halo 4 looks brilliant. I gave up on 360 last winter and got a PS3 because I’m a baseball sim freak and wanted The Show, and also I wanted Uncharted and a Bluray player, but Halo 4, and all the above mentioned enhancements honestly fill me with regret. The environments look brilliantly detailed, and the cinematics are a knock out. The chances of me not re-buying a 360 are minuscule at best, in part because of my excitement level over this game.
Splinter Cell Black List has smooth animation and Kinect voice recognition support that allows you to call over to a potential mark, or alert that mark to your presence when your dog barks, or the phone rings. The game looks as if it lacks the fluidity of motion that Max Payne 3 has, but it’s a clear upgrade from past iterations. I’m the wrong guy to talk about Sam Fisher games, as I left the franchise a long, long time ago.
Fable The Journey looked like a fun Kinect game, but the animation disappointed me, as I favor as realistic a look as is humanly possible. Same goes for the teaser trailer we saw for Ascend New Gods, though Ascend had giants ripping people in two, so you know, it’s got that going for it.
The new Gears of War footage was all cinematic trailer that had all the usual pretty bells and whistles, but these show nothing substantial to game play, so we’ll have to hope for more footage at a later date.
The new Tomb Raider, which is an origin story, was the second 3rd person shooter we saw, and it looks much quicker than Splinter Cell, and more immersive with water and debris hitting the screen, as if it were built for a 3d experience. The sequence where Lara Croft falls down a waterfall may have been the visual stunner of the entire presentation and this might be the Tomb Raider game that reclaims the adventure title belt from the Uncharted series, though it’s goona take more than amped up action to do that.
I mentioned Ascend New Gods before, but there were 2 other snapshot teasers — one for Loco Cycle, which looks to be an assasain motorcycle, and man should they have showed more of that to earn a bit more buzz and a few less eyerolls. Speaking of showing more, all I know about Matter from Gore Verbinski is that it is called Matter, it’s from Gore Verbinski, and it may be starring the Toclafane from Doctor Who, or something of close relation.
The gameplay from an extended look at Resident Evil 6 looked great, with solid combat and up close and personel zed kills. The zombies look great, but if I have to have a complaint, I’ll note that some of the after-effects of the bombs and up close shots dont live up to the impressive graphics. I imagine a grenade thrown into a hallway of 7 or 8 zombies doesn’t leave little to no damage on the structure and it surely doesn’t divide the horde into a tidy pile of cleanly severed limbs. I fully expect and fully hope to see that corrected by the street date though, as that can be a little distracting if left unresolved.
South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone were probably the best part of the presentation in terms of showmanship, though the pretty yet overly enthusiastic girl who demonstrated Wrecketeer sure gave it her all to take that crown. While on stage the guys poked fun at Microsoft’s cross platform ambition, while also talking up South Park: The Stick of Truth, an epic adventure game that really does look as if you’re playing through an episode of the show as a new kid who is a part of the gang.
Following the guys from South Park was an Usher song and dance number that I was super excited to see, because it meant I could get up and take a piss. When I returned, I was treated with another extended gameplay look at what will likely be the biggest selling game of 2012, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, which toured the (in the future) destruction of LA from an on the ground perspective. What can I say, it’s a COD game, and it looked stupendous, and also, I swear I heard Michael Rookers voice in the cast, but that could have been a joygasm afterglow hallucination.
Well, that’s everything I saw watching Microsoft’s live E3 Xbox presentation. Over the next few days NerdBastards.com will bring you recaps like this for Sony and Nintendo, as well as trailers and video game news as they break. So keep checking back, tell us what you’re excited about in the comment section, and happy gaming!
If you want to watch or re-watch Microsoft’s presentation, go here.
The story of Halo is one that just keeps going and going, and with good reason. This series gained such popularity that it became iconic in the world of Xbox gamers. No doubt Microsoft and 343 Industries will continue to turn out sequels until the Halo Franchise gets bumped by some hotter, more innovative title or until they create an ending to the game that angers and alienates their fan base.
Until then, it’s onward Halo! The latest installment, Halo 4, just got an official release date of November 6 of this year, which means fans don’t have long to wait to get another chance to play gun-tag with Master Chief.
In a recent press release from the overlords at Microsoft and 343 Industries, they had a few things to say about what to expect from the next chapter. First of all, Halo 4 is to be set four years following the third game and will feature Master Chief (as always) coming back to fight an evil that threatens the universe.
Halo 4 is supposedly the start of a completely new arc which 343 will be using across future installments. So, needless to say, they don’t plan on stopping work on the franchise anytime soon. Also, Microsoft’s corporate VP had a bit to say about how awesome the game is going to be, how cool the Xbox is and how fans will worship at their feet (last part implied, of course).
If you happen to be reading this on time, there’s an added bonus:
Conan O’Brien is doing a special Halo segment on his show tonight to celebrate the release date being announced! This might be worth watching (personally, I love the Conan), so tune in if you get the chance:
We’ve been enjoying our Xbox 360s for six years now. Just think back on all those late nights you and your 360 have spent together. Think of all the times you’d waste your friends online in either HALO or Call of Duty. At six years the 360 has outlasted its predeccesor, Xbox, by two years. Which has to have you wondering, when will Microsoft release its next gaming console?
With the Kinect, Microsoft introduced true motion control to the 360 and that almost felt like we had a whole new machine. Until the brief coolness of motion controlled games wore off and we went back to sitting on the couch, mashing buttons and stuffing Doritos in our mouths.
The Microsoft rumor blog, MS Nerd has what they think are the specs for the next Xbox, which is a project under the codename, “Loop.”
With a heady mix of rumors, tips and speculation, I am now stating that Xbox codename ‘loop’ (the erstwhile XboxTV) will indeed debut a modified Win9 core. It will use a Zune HD-like hardware platform—a ‘main’ processor with multiple dedicated assistive cores for graphics, AI, physics, sound, networking, encryption and sensors. It’s reported that the new console will be smaller and sell for less than the Xbox 360, which makes it perfect for Kinect adaptation.
Obviously there’s been no confirmation from Microsoft but stay tuned, who knows, we might hear something solid from them about the next Xbox early next year. Or, never, because this all unfounded rumor we like to share just to drive you fans mad. ‘Cause we’re bastards, remember?
It’s safe to say AMC’s “The Walking Dead” is a hit show. When it premiered a little less than a year ago, it gave the network the highest ratings to date. The first season finale received 6 million viewers, a series high; with 4 million viewers in the 18–49 demographic, making it the most watched basic cable series for the demographic. Numbers like that make Marketing Executives drool like a zombie dropped in the middle of a chess club.
The fine folks brain leaches at Microsoft wanted a little piece of that action. A little over a year ago they approached AMC with an idea to work the 21st century answer to “Ask Jeeves” into the show.
“The thing is that it’s a post-apocalyptic zombie concept,” where all power grids have been destroyed, explained Melissa Wasserman, the vice president of advertising sales marketing at AMC. “So people aren’t using their computers or phones in the show.”
“We pitched them last year where maybe the characters could find a library with a generator and do a Bing search,” said Sean Carver, a marketing director at Bing, who acknowledged the scene was a stretch.
A stretch? I didn’t get the best marks in high school english, does “a stretch” mean “an idea so colossally bad it makes me want to slam my own testicles in the refrigerator door till I forget I ever heard it?” – Maybe I should Bing that… yea, like anyone uses Bing.
Microsoft made an announcement today that shouldn’t piss off any Cable companies. They have officially pulled the curtain back their plans to offer streaming network television on the Xbox Live platform. Nearly 40 world-leading TV and entertainment providers, such as Bravo, Comcast, HBO GO, Verizon FiOS and Syfy in the U.S.; BBC in the U.K., Telefónica in Spain; Rogers On Demand in Canada; Televisa in Mexico; ZDF in Germany; and MediaSet in Italy, will beaming into the beady little eyes of Xbox 360 users by the end of the holiday season in more than 20 countries. U mad Netflix?
You know what your parents used to say about playing videogames, that “they could kill you” if you played them for too long? Hell, you may have seen this on a certain television show about numerous ways to die, but this is all too real.
20-year-old Chris Staniforth of the United Kingdom died last May from a condition called deep vein thrombosis, which is caused by sitting in the same spot for an extremely long period of time. After staying in the same place long enough he sadly died due to unfortunate circumstances he could have controlled. Big deal right? Wrong.
Prior to his death, Staniforth spent up to 12 hours at a time playing Halo on his Xbox. 12 hours a day tossing sticky grenades and tea bagging n00bs, his Spartan probably got more exercise in those 12 hours then Chris did all month and that’s just sad. According to the coroner, “There was a blood clot that formed in Staniforth’s leg that moved up to his lungs to cause a fatal pulmonary embolism.” Even though his gaming habits sound like the main cause of death, Staniforth’s dad David, doesn’t blame Microsoft for what has already occurred.
Mr. Staniforth said, “After my research I saw there was no difference to Chris sitting at a desk on his Xbox and someone on a long-haul flight.” Microsoft, the company that produces the Xbox, claims that they always encourage gamers to take breaks from playing throughout the day. And you very well should, take at the very least a recommended 15 minute break for every hour of game play people. Even if it’s just to get up, take a piss, grab another cold one or even to see what daylight looks like for a second, just get up and move that’s all that’s asked of you.
Playing to be the number one gamer in anything sounds like fun, but you shouldn’t get all caught up in it. It’s only a game and that game allows you to re-spawn if you die in it, you however will not.
Star Wars and Comic-Con. They’ve been together since 1974 and are one of the longest and strongest relationships in the whole geek world. Could you imagine a Comic-Con without legions of Stormtroopers and Slave Leias? Unthinkable!
This year they brought out some real goodies Star Wars nerds are going to lose themselves over. First, in celebration of the entire Star Wars saga coming to Bluray we were treated to a sneak peak at those promised deleted scenes. This sizzle reel of clips shows off never before seen footage from the original trilogies, like Luke with his new lightsaber and R2-D2 running like hell from a Wampa. Or rolling, he can’t really run.
Excited? It’s new Star Wars that wasn’t a hack job to score more money from fans! Or, wait, these probably are included to give us more reason to throw away money on movies we already own five times over. But, whatever, whoo! Star Wars on Bluray come September!
For the other big Star Wars announcement today, you’ve heard of Kinect Star Wars, right? The new Kinect game releasing this holiday season which will allow you to be a Jedi. Well, as close to a Jedi as Microsoft and LucasArts can manage, which from what I’ve seen looks pretty damn good. With the Kinect you’ll be able to wield a lightsaber, control the force, pilot a pod racer and possibly even murder younglings but I haven’t been able to confirm that yet.
In another totally awesome way to smuggle more money from us they’ve released a Kinect Star Wars bundle with what may the coolest skin for an Xbox 360…ever! It’s an Xbox designed to look and sound like Artoo with a golden controller channeling Threepio’s shiny ass! Just look at it! It’s soooo beautiful. It’s only going to set you back about $500, but for this much beautiful awesomeness, that’s chump change. Here are the specs,
-Kinect Star Wars game
– Custom R2-D2-themed Xbox 360 Console with custom sounds
– White Kinect Sensor
– Custom C-3PO-themed Xbox 360 Wireless Controller
– 320 GB Hard Drive
– Xbox 360 Wired Headset
– Kinect Adventures game
– Exclusive downloadable content
Take a look through the gallery for more images of the fabulous console. Has Comic-Con delivered on some great Star Wars stuff, or what?!
Even though E3 doesn’t officially start till tomorrow, Microsoft wants to start the week off with their press conference, in which they called it “The Future Revealed.” Just what kind of future does Microsoft have planned for us gamers is just a one click away to find out.