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Official HTF E3 2012 Coverage

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#1 of 4 OFFLINE   Todd Erwin

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Posted June 11 2012 - 10:03 PM

This year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), held at the Los Angeles Convention Center, was a bit of a letdown, with none of the rumored major announcements of next generation gaming consoles from Microsoft or Sony. Even Nintendo was a disappointment, despite the upcoming debut of their next generation console, the Wii U. The event ran from Monday, June 4 through Thursday, June 7, 2012 in and around downtown Los Angeles.





Monday was Press Day, with all of the major players holding their press conferences in large venues. As in years past, Microsoft held their event at the Galen Center, and kicked off this year’s Press Briefing by marking the return of Master Chief and his assistant, Cortana, in Halo 4, with an announced street date of November 6, 2012. The game demo had much of the same look and feel of previous entries in the series, but introduces some new non-biological enemies.




Don Mattrick, President of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business, announced that in 2012, XBOX became the number one selling game console worldwide, stressing that this year will be XBOX’s best year yet.


Next, we got a quick glimpse of Ubisoft’s latest entry in the Tom Clancy franchise,


Microsoft also announced new voice search features with Kinect (including multiple languages), and new content partners Machinima and Univision. ESPN will be expanding their coverage to 24/7, including content from all four of their major channels, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, and ESPN U.


Still trying to break into the music business, Microsoft announced XBOX Music, essentially a rebranding and relaunching of their Zune store, to be available on XBOX and Windows 8 PCs, tablets, and phones. More than 30 milliion music tracks are will be available.

Next up was the announcement of a partnership with Nike.

Marc Whitten of XBOX LIVE introduced XBOX Smart Glass, a downloadable app for iPad, iPhone, Windows Phone, Android devices, and Windows 8 tablets, that allows you to use your smart phone or tablet as a second screen controller for XBOX as well as seamless switching between screens when watching videos. In conjunction with Smart Glass, it was announced that Internet Explorer would be coming to XBOX, and you can use Smart Glass on your phone as your mouse or pointer, or voice commands using Kinect.


Crystal Dynamics introduced a new gameplay demo from their upcoming

Usher surprised the audience by bursting out on stage to perform one of the two routines he choreographed for the upcoming

Not to be outdone, the press briefing ended with a gameplay demo of Activision’s


Electronic Arts held their annual E3 press conference at The Orpheum Theatre in downtown Los Angeles.

Madden NFL 13 features improved passing and animation systems, as well as a new Connected Careers option. Players will now be able to use existing pro players, create their own athletes, or select legendary coaches for their team. Madden NFL 13 hits store shelves for XBOX 360, PS3, Nintendo Wii, and PlayStation Vita on August 28. Also look for Madden NFL 13 Social on Facebook and smart phones this fall.


The PC-based series,

The Battlefield 3 Premium service was also launched this week. For a one-time fee of $49.99, owners have access to five add-on packs, including 20 new multiplayer maps and additional play modes and weapons. The service is available for XBOX 360, PS3, and PC.

Beginning in July, new members to the BioWare-developed Star Wars: The Old Republic will be able to play the first 15 character levels free of charge. Additional content for the game will be available within the next year.

October 23rd brings

FIFA Soccer 13 arrives this fall for XBOX 360, PS3, PlayStation Vita, PC, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo 3DS, PSP, iOS, Android, and even PS2 (where's the Sega Genesis version?).

Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White announced a multi-year, multi-product licensing agreement wit EA Sports.

EA’s popular racing series returns with an all-new

Sony had an impressive line-up of exclusive titles to announce at its press conference, staerting off with the latest cinematic adventure from Quantic Dream, the developers behind Heavy Rain. Oscar-nominated actress Ellen Page stars in Beyond: Two Souls as Jodie Holmes, and players have the opportunity to make decisions that affect her life over a 15-year period.

Kratos returns in God of War: Ascension, with our hero facing off against an army of goat-men, an elephant-headed warrior, and a kraken. The game is due to hit stores in March 2013.


Naughty Dog, the studio that brought us the Uncharted series, is bringing the post-apocalyptic survival actioner The Last of Us as a PS3 exclusive. The game follows a man and a young girl as they make their way through a disaster-ravaged world.

Ubisoft unveiled Assasin’s Creed III, set during the American Revolution, and the highly-anticipated (and extremely graphic) Far Cry 3.


The big news for the company’s latest portable console, the PlayStation Vita, is cross-platform support with its big brother, the PS3. A major highlight was the ability to use Vita as an enhanced controller in games like Little Big Planet 2. The Vita will also be available in Crystal White.

PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, for both PS3 and Vita, is a multi-player combat game where players can assume the identity of many classic PLayStation characters, such as Nathan Drake from Uncharted, Kratos from God of War, Big Daddy from BioShock, and Sly Cooper. The game is due to hit shelves in time for Christmas.


Sony also announced that HTC will be making smartphones as part of the PlayStation Mobile service.

Sony introduced what they are calling Wonderbook, combining a branded tablet and the PS Eye camera, allowing readers to become part of the story. J.K. Rowling’s Book of Spells was announced as the first Wonderbook title.

Although the buzz was that Sony’s press conference stole the show this year, they did receive some criticism for the disappointing number of PS Vita titles that were announced. The console is less than a year old and sales have not been stellar, which left many wondering what Sony’s plans are, other than possibly making it a very expensive enhanced controller for the PS3, similar to Nintendo’s WiiU GamePad.


Although the big buzz at Nintendo is the new Wii U console, the company’s focus during their press conference was on the lineup of games rather than the console itself. Nintendo still has not announced a list price nor a release date for their next-gen system. One thing they stressed about the Wii U was the introduction of what they are calling asymetric gaming, by combining the traditional controllers from the Wii and the new tablet-like GamePad controller. More details were provided on the GamePad, including a built-in camera and microphone, dual analog sticks, stylus, headphone jack and speakers, and a touch screen. Up to two GamePads can be used simultaneously on the Wii U console.


The first game unveiled at the presentation was Pikmin 3, which benefits greatly with the enhanced high-definition graphics of the new console, as well as a persistent map of the environment on the GamePad.



What’s a new console without a new Super Mario Brothers game? New Super Mario Bros U offers four-player co-op play, power ups, even a flying squirrel Mario. GamePad users can place blocks to help or hinder other players.

Warner Brothers Interactive announced Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition, using the GamePad to manipulate remote control Batarangs and new super-powered fighting mode.

Scribblenauts Unlimited brings back Maxwell and his magical notebook. Players can use the GamePad to create and customize objects before sending them to the game arena.

Fitness games are brought to a new level on the WiiU. Wii Fit U combines the Wii Balance Board with the GamePad, allowing players to track calories, try new exercises, and use the GamePad while watching television.



Nintendo did not devote a lot of time to the 3DS, essentially only announcing three new titles during the conference, inviting everyone to their webcast to see a more detailed lineup.


It will be interesting to see if Nintendo can pull off the launch of the Wii U, especially since, like I said earlier, no price or release date has yet to be announced. With the technology behind the GamePad, the Wii U could very well be the most expensive game console at launch, even higher than Sony’s original pricing of the PS3.




On Tuesday, I got a tour of Konami’s booth and a glimpse of their upcoming line-up.

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Metal Gear series, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, developed by Platinum Games, is unlike any other previous entry in the series, focusing on heavy-hitting combat.



Konami is also releasing Metal Gear Solid HD Collection for PS Vita, essentially bundling Metal Gear Solid 2 and Metal Gear Solid 3 for the portable gaming console.



Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate is coming for Nintendo 3DS, and Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 for XBOX 360 and PS3.



Silent Hill: Book of Memories takes the franchise in a new direction for a new console, the PS Vita. Developed by WayForward Technologies, the game focuses on cooperative multiplayer action.



Konami is also launching Frogger Pinball Frenzy for Facebook and iOS devices, a video pinball game inspired by the classic arcade game.



Hyperkin specializes in retro gaming consoles and accessories, as well as accessories for current consoles. Some of the items on display in Hyperkin’s booth at E3 included SupaBoy, a portable gaming device that plays original 16-bit SNES and Super Famicon game cartridges on a 3.5” screen.


The company also makes emulators for Sega Genesis and original NES systems (Retron 2 and Retron 3), as well as controllers and power adapters for original consoles.



The AK-Striker is a realistic gun controller for PlayStation Move that resembles an AK-47. The company also makes Game Genie, a save editior for PS3 and Nintendo 3DS.


Dice+ is a bluetooth die that can be used with video board games on tablets, smart phones, and other bluetooth game devices. The six-sided die comes pre-loaded with a few popular games, including Finger Twister.


Tuesday evening, the press was invited to a sneak preview of Hawken, a first-person mech free-to-play shooter in which players battle against other players in a rich multiplayer experience. Published by Meteor Entertainment and developed by Adhesive Games, the open beta is scheduled to begin December 12, 2012.


Wednesday I was treated to a demo of http://www.astrogaming.com/



Activision provided me with a behind closed doors gameplay demo of Call of Duty: Black Ops II. The latest entry features a futuristic setting and branching storylines the developers are calling Strike Force missions. This is sure to be another hit for Activision, since you could not get near their booth whenever the trailer for this game played on their massive screen.



One of the buzz words this year at E3 was Cloud-based Gaming. Gaikai is leading the foray into this next generation of gaming by partnering with game publishers and providing the network infrastructure to deliver most games to any PC, set-top box, smart phone, tablet, or smart TV, regardless of the computing power of the device. Gaikai’s major announcement at E3 was partnering with Samsung, who will be adding this service to their 7000 series (and higher) Smart TVs.

Thursday started with a sneak peak at LucasArts new Star Wars 1313 game, where players become bounty hunters within the depths of Coruscant. Named for Level 1313, a ruthless criminal underground deep below the surface of the planet of Coruscant, the game puts players in control of a deadly bounty hunter as he uses an arsenal of exotic weaponry to hunt down his marks and uncover the truth surrounding a criminal conspiracy. Star Wars 1313 emphasizes epic set pieces and fast-paced combat with a hero who uses human skills and gadgets, rather than supernatural Force powers, to make his way through this dangerous world. The technology behind the game combines the talents of LucasArts, ILM, Skywalker Sound, and Lucasfilm Animation.


Majesco offered up a demo of NBA Baller Beats for XBOX Kinect, in what they are touting as the first game to ever use a real basketball (an official Spalding NBA basketball comes bundled with the game). In very simple terms, the game takes Guitar Hero or Rockband and replaces musical instruments with a basketball. The music is your guide as the Kinect motion sensor captures every movement of both player and ball to create an entirely new basketball gaming experience. Master crossovers, pump fakes, behind-the-back, around-the-world and more as you bounce the ball to the beat of 30 licensed tracks that span across decades and genres including hip-hop, rock and old school classics.


Majesco’s other big offering was Zumba Fitness Core for XBOX Kinect and Nintendo Wii. Rock your core and dance your way to toned, sexy abs with Zumba Fitness Core, featuring 40 new songs and routines, more than 30 international dance styles from around the world and hot new choreography that’s designed to sculpt stronger abs through an exhilarating full body workout. Lose yourself in the music as celebrity Zumba instructors guide you through choreography set to contagious new Zumba® fitness originals and a broader mix of smash hits from hot artists including Enrique Iglesias and Don Omar. The game is expected to launch this October.



One of my favorite previews from last year’s E3 was Star Trek, and this year Bandai Namco offered a much more public gameplay demo of the game due out next year. Developed by Digital Extremes (Bioshock 2), the game features a storyline from God Of War writer Marianne Krawczyk, in collaboration with the writer/producers of the new Star Trek films, Bob Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof. It was unveiled at the show that the enemy of the game will be the return of the Gorn.


Thanks for checking out our coverage of E3 2012. Don’t forget to join in the discussion, and I’ll check in with more info and answer any questions you may have.

See you next year!

#2 of 4 OFFLINE   Aaron Silverman

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Posted June 12 2012 - 09:51 AM

Thanks for the report! What was your personal favorite game of the show?
"How wonderful it will be to have a leader unburdened by the twin horrors of knowledge and experience." -- Mr. Wick

#3 of 4 OFFLINE   Todd Erwin

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Posted June 12 2012 - 06:27 PM

Close tie between last year's fave Star Trek and Star Wars 1313, although Black Ops II looks pretty damn good! Didn't see much of Beyond: Two Souls, although the trailer looks good.



Originally Posted by Aaron Silverman /t/321457/official-htf-e3-2012-coverage#post_3937728

Thanks for the report! What was your personal favorite game of the show?

#4 of 4 OFFLINE   Todd Erwin

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Posted June 15 2012 - 09:37 AM

Major revision to my coverage on Astro Gaming's new wireless headset: the model I demoed was the new, yet-to-street, A50, not the A40, and the retail will be $299.99. I've corrected the post above, and here are two photos of the headset. Full specs are available http://www.astrogami...wireless-system




The Wrap-up video will not be corrected, though.

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