E3 2011 Day One Recap
It was a huge day for video games. We've got one story that summarizes it all and gives you all the links you might want to click.
Whew! What a big day! Microsoft, EA, Ubisoft, and Sony all put their best foot forward, and there were some impressive games and technologies on display.
Microsoft started things off with a big morning touting the 360's worldwide reach and some big third-party titles that rocked the audience back in their seats: Tomb Raider and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. Gamers were also excited when Gears of War 3 was demoed not only by Cliff Bleszinski himself, but also his good friend Ice-T.
Microsoft also tried to make a case for the continued success of Kinect with a number of titles that capitalize on the motion-controlled peripheral. From kids titles like Sesame Street: Once Upon A Monster and Disneyland Adventures to Kinect Star Wars, Crytek's Ryse, Fable: The Journey, Dance Central 2, and fascinating technologies for use right now in Kinect Fun Labs, the Kinect case was a lot stronger than ever before. Microsoft not only detailed the second wave of Kinect games we've been waiting for, but showed that it was serious about bringing the peripheral's experience to hardcore games like Mass Effect 3.
We still have some doubts about Kinect's ability to draw in the core gaming crowd, but it's hard to argue with the impressive technology on display. On that same tech front, Microsoft also touted the new option to watch live TV on your 360.
Finally, Microsoft revealed not one but two big Halo projects. One of them takes us back to the beginning with a remake of the original Halo: Combat Evolved. The second finally continues the story of Master Chief and Cortana in Halo 4.
Electronic Arts put the focus squarely on several big games throughout its concise conference. All of those titles looked great, including a breathtaking look at Battlefield 3, a new trailer for Star Wars: The Old Republic, and a combat-heavy demo of Mass Effect 3. However, the big surprises were a close look at the new Need for Speed: The Run and a long-awaited glimpse of Insomniac's Overstrike.
[Next up: Ubisoft's new games, and Sony's shot at the limelight]
Ubisoft showed an eclectic selection of its upcoming titles at its briefing, including several unexpected announcements. The Gearbox World War II franchise is getting another entry with Brothers In Arms: Furious 4, which looks to draw heavily on the school of thought established in Tarantino's Inglourious Bastards. Far Cry 3 was a well-kept surprise that returns to the franchise's roots of a big island adventure. Ghost Recon: Future Soldier and Assassin's Creed Revelations proved beyond much doubt that Ubisoft's most popular franchises are in good hands. And Rayman: Origins looks like it could finally give Super Mario Bros. Wii a run for its money in the 2D action/platform scene.
Sony is known for its lengthy press conferences, and this year was no exception. That said, it's hard to fault the company, as almost everything they showed looked quite good. Jack Tretton appeared appropriately contrite when apologizing for the recent PSN outage, which came as a welcome moment of graciousness before heading into the big announcements. While there weren't a lot of load of new PS3 titles (Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time being an exception), the previously announced PS3 titles showed off the value of PS3 exclusivity. Resistance 3 and Uncharted 3 both looked remarkable. And though it wasn't an exclusive, Bioshock Infinite made its first appearance of the show and announced Move compatibility as well as a BioShock title for Vita.
On the tech side, Sony had an equal number of big reveals. A PlayStation-branded 3D TV bundle comes will come in at $499, and includes a TV that lets two players see two entirely different images at the same time on the same screen. On the portable side, Sony finally went in depth with its new handheld, including announcing a name: The PlayStation Vita. From LittleBigPlanet to ModNation Racers to new titles like Ruin, Sony was all about showing off how the Vita will interact with the PS3.
After the press conference, Sony opened up the evening to actual gameplay sessions. Journalists and other attendees had the opportunity to dig into many of the games they had just seen on display.
Overall, all four big companies made a good case this year for their respective strategies. While there might not have been quite as many blockbuster game announcements as some previous years, at least we were able to avoid too much of the self-aggrandizing number crunching that so often characterizes these press conferences. Instead, Microsoft, EA, Ubisoft, and Sony all put their games front and center, just the way we like it.
Tomorrow will reveal if Nintendo will follow suit, or even exceed what's been seen today, as the beloved gaming company reveals its next home console. Check in at 9am Pacific time on Tuesday morning to watch Nintendo's day in the sun. We'll have a live stream for you to keep up minute to minute.
[Next up: We've hit the highlights, but there's so much more. Check out all the other E3 stories that came out today]
Believe it or not, despite all the big news we just talked about, there was a bunch of other big stories that aren't covered in the analysis above. Check out these links.