Tag Archives: xbox 360

XBOX ONE Announced: Details And Reaction

6C7512049-new-image-consoles.blocks_desktop_largeNow that Sony had their big announcement it is time for Microsoft to make their big next gen reveal. Will it be always on? Will we actually see the console? Here is a rundown of the event, with key details in bold:

1:00 PM: Microsoft set the tone early with a montage talking about how the new system will integrate cloud technology to give you what you want without having to find it. They want the new console to dominate your living room and the key work that sums it all up is “alive.”

1:03 Don Mattrick is the first person up to talk about how the XBOX has always been ahead of the curve with things like XBOX Live and Kinect, and how they are still looking forward. They want to simplify your living room by taking advantage of cloud technology to create an all-in-one system in an age where people go to their tablets phones while gaming and watching TV.

1:08: The new console is called XBOX ONE. They show off what the console looks like (unlike Sony), black and shiny like a PS3. There is a Kinect at launch with a new controller which seems to fix the d-pad issue. The hardware is then shown on the main stage. The idea is to make the experience simple, fast and complete.

1:10: Yusef Mendhi up next to show off the console. Like Don, he put heavy emphasis on what they will show at E3. The homescreen is similar to the 360 and remembers the last few things you were doing, and has a trending section which shows what your friends are into and what the overall community is into. This branches from games to music and movies. Yusef cycles through all of the options using voice command. Saying
“XBOX, watch TV” instantly switches to a TV feed. He is also able to switch to music, browsers, movies and games with voice command, and it’s pretty fast. There are also hand gestures that open up windows from the menu to go full screen.

You also have the ability to use multiple apps at the same time. While watching the 2009 Star Trek movie, Yusef uses voice command to open IE on the side of the screen to look up the new Trek movie, go through favorites and buy tickets. I’ll forgive the plug.

Yusef uses Skype with a fellow employee while watching the movie. Video and audio look solid.

After pulling up the ESPN app, Yusef displays the ability to show league standings and fantasy stats. Pretty cool if you’re in an ESPN fantasy league (which I’m not). There is also a TV guide which lets you see what is on cable and go to any channel by saying the channel you want to watch like HBO or CBS. The idea behind all of this is for the user to not have a reason to turn the TV off of the XBOX.

1:20: Mark Whitten out next to talk about the details of the console. 5 Billions transistors and 8 gigs of RAM. It has BluRay and USB 3 tech.

It uses three different operating systems to make it as easy as possible to use. This causes the system to shift from program to program with no lag. Voice control has also been adapted to be more conversational.

Kinect is getting an upgrade with a better camera and enhanced body recognition to recognize rotation and weight control.

The new controller has 40 design innovations with an upgraded battery pack and d-pad (which looks more like the Sony d-pad). The new Kinect sensor is what the entire experience revolves around.

New XBOX Live is built on 300,000 servers. Content is stored in the cloud so that you can access any content from anywhere. There is also a DVR program for gaming that lets you rewind and record gameplay (like PS4). There is also a system to find the perfect competitors for you in multiplayer, giving you the best possible experience.

1:28: Andrew Wilson from EA announces that EA is producing FIFA 14, Madden 14, NBA Elite 14 (uh oh) and a UFC game (that’s interesting). They will all be ready within 12 months and feature a new program called “Ignite.” This is meant to adjust the mental aspect of playing, along with more realistic body movement when colliding with other players on the field. There are also more dynamic crowds and playing environments teased. There is also a tease of XBOX only full multiplayer. This was all recapped with a montage of what could be gameplay. If it is it looks pretty great. That’s expected of course. The main thing I took away from it was uniform  and face movement.

1:35: Phil Spencer out next to take a look at Forza Motorsport 5. I don’t know much about racing games but it looks good. After the PS4 reveal I’m kind of numb to the graphics. Of course it is all going to look amazing. It will be available at launch.

1:40: Remedy Games debuts a game called Quantum Break. The games starts with a live action scene which cuts into a heavy disaster scene with a ship crashing into a bridge. What followed was a sneak peak of gameplay (most of it I missed due to LAAAG). What I did see looked okay.

XBOX ONE will launch with 15 exclusives, eight of which are new franchises. This is kind of a big deal as exclusives have been lacking recently.

1:45: Nancy Tellem from XBOX Entertainment Studios talks about how TV on XBOX will emerse you in the experience. The emphasis will be on personalization. She brings out Bonnie Ross from 343 Industries to talk about how Halo will integrate into this. She reveals that there will be a live action Halo TV series to be produced by Steven Spielberg.

1:50: XBOX ONE will have a partnership with the NFL to have exclusive content, as well as app access to integrate your fantasy league stats. I imagine this also means Sunday Ticket will be available as well. It was on PS3 last year.

1:55: Dan Mattrick comes back out to wrap things up, announcing that the XBOX ONE will be released later this year, and again promotes E3 where several more games will be revealed.

2:00: Eric Hirshberg from Activision out to announce the next generation of Call of Duty, of which DLC will all be released first on XBOX. Using a new game engine, Call of Duty: Ghosts is the next CoD game. There is a short behind the scenes clip showing the making of the game and some of the new features like dogs. Yup, dogs. The engine upgrades the way objects look when you are close to them, as well as changing the way you hurdle over objects, slide and interact with the environment. Another new feature is interactive maps, which include essentially traps that you can trigger within the environment. Hirshberg describes it as the best CoD game in terms of graphics, gameplay and story. Ghosts was then compared side by side to MW3. Of course its better. I’m honestly not going crazy over them though. Finally we get a clip of gameplay on the XBOX ONE engine. What we actually get is the games trailer. The biggest element to me was the interactions with water and shooting down a building while you are scaling it. The parts that looked like gameplay certainly had the graphics of a cutscene. It looks good. It’s supposed to.

2:08: One final plug for E3 in the form of a countdown and the presentation is over.

I’ll probably sound like the huge Sony fanboy that I am but I was a little underwhelmed by this event. On the plus side, we actually saw the hardware which looks very nice and not oversized. It also did not drag the way Sony’s did. However there was so much emphasis put on watching TV and not very much on gaming. NFL, ESPN, watching moves, surfing the internet. Gaming seemed to be second to everything else. They did announce some titles and show off some footage, but aside from Forza, it was all third party titles that will be on PS4 as well. I imagine this will all be address at E3. I’m sure this had everything XBOX fans were looking for, but in many ways it’s what Sony already announced with the PS4. The TV features are very cool. I just hope the games are as well.

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Domino Confirmed For Deadpool Game (NYCC)

At this point we all know that High Moon Studios is making a Deadpool game due to come out in 2013 right? Well at the Marvel Video Games panel at the New York Comic Con we received an update on how the game was progressing.

Everything looks great, the combat is coming into shape and blah blah blah. Thankfully Deadpool himself decided to crash the panel, start a dance party, and announce that none other than Domino is confirmed to make her first video game appearance.  A fellow mercenary, Domino is also known for having a relationship with Cable, and you can’t have a Deadpool game without Cable being involved somehow. By the way, the game will be rated M for mature. That means cursing and boobs and blood and guts! They also showed this highlight reel of Deadpool’s appearance in San Diego:

Some other notes from the Marvel Video Games panel:

-The Amazing Spider-Man game will come to the Wii U in the spring. It will include all of the DLC, will have optional motion controls and the touchscreen controller with act as the cellphone hub during gameplay. This is similar to how the navigation and gadget controls are being applied to the Arkham City Armored Edition.

(On a side note, I watched some people run through a brief demo of Arkham City on the Wii U. Graphically it looks just like the current version. The armor’s main function seems to be providing a brief but large impact in combat, electrocuting enemies and adding range. It only works when fully charged. Gadgets like the remote batarang and detective vision make you look at the touchscreen. This gave a lot of players fits as it’s against everything we know as gamers to look away from the giant tv in our face to look at a smaller one below us. The controller itself takes some getting used to but I’m sure that after a little while you get used to it.)

-Marvel Pinball will be debuting a Civil War version by the end of the year. In it, you pick a side (Captain America or Iron Man) and the object while playing is to recruit allies. The side you select determines what moments play out from the series.

-There was some new footage shown for the free to play MMO, Marvel Heroes. Among it was the announcement of three new characters: Nova, Luke Cage and Jean Grey (as Phoenix). The video also showed a glimpse of Rocket Racoon from Guardians of the Galaxy, which got a big response from the crowd.

Is One Video Game Per Sport Enough?

For the third straight year there will not be an NBA game from EA Sports. NBA Elite 11’s demo was so broken that the game ended up getting delayed and ultimately cancelled. After changing studios, engines and attempting to rebuild the game from the ground up, EA decided that since they weren’t far enough yet for an October release date (in line with the NBA season) that they would again put off launching a game this year and aim to release a game for next season instead.

My question is, does anyone care?

This drought of EA basketball games (no NCAA basketball either) just happens to be during a period where the NBA 2K series can do no wrong. NBA 2K11 changed the game with the addition of Michael Jordan and the most realistic basketball game we’ve ever seen. 2K12 took all of that and improved it, adding more touches and hall of famers. Now, when the series could be on cruise control if it wanted, they seem to be pushing the envelope even more. EA couldn’t have picked a worse time to not put out a game.

Madden is constantly adding touches

EA knows all about being the only game in town. They forced 2K Sports out the door when they purchased exclusivity for NFL video games. This meant that if you wanted to play NFL football in a video game, it is Madden Football or bust. Some people yearn for the days of 2K football, but based on sales not many are still complaining. They also produce the undisputed number one hockey and soccer games with the NHL and FIFA series. Take Two backed out from hockey after NHL 2K11 fell flat, and even though Konami keeps making Pro Evo Soccer games, does anyone know anybody that owns that over FIFA13?

Baseball seems to be the only sport that has multiple video games still duking it out, and that might only be because of rights issues. The MLB 2K series has been the standard game on all platforms due to an agreement preventing third party companies from making games with the MLB license. This would have left them with no competition if SONY hadn’t decided to make a game anyway as a Playstation exclusive. MLB The Show has been regarded as the best baseball game, if not the best sports game overall, available. However since it is only available for Playstation, Take Two still gets all of the sales from baseball hungry XBOX and WII owners. That might change soon as the exclusivity agreement is about to expire. There might not even be an MLB 2K13 next year, meaning once again, there could only be one game in town.

With all that said, I again ask if it actually matters? Is it bad that all of these companies have little to no competition for their respective sports titles? Logic would say yes. Less competition leaves little desire for the work to be put into drastically improving games each year. If there is no one to challenge the throne, what is the point of spending the money. Certainly the Madden Franchise has been accused of this. Every year they come out with another version of Madden and while they still sell at a ridiculous rate, critics call in little more than a 60 dollar roster update. Truth be told, little has changed with MLB The Show, NHL or FIFA games either. Sure some strong competition would bring out the best in everyone involved right?

Is it lonely at the top?

Not necessarily. While little changes from year to year, it must be acknowledged that these current games are regarded as the best ever in their fields. FIFA12, NBA 2K12, MLB The Show 12 and NHL 12 were all called the greatest sports game of all time by somebody. Madden might have gotten similar praise if it wasn’t so ridiculously popular. It’s just not cool to give accolades to something that well known. Call of Duty goed through the same troubles now. It’s much for fun to trash it for not being as good as it used to be. With these sports franchises not needing to make drastic changes to separate themselves from the pack, they can keep everything that works and spend their time making small tweaks that each make their game slightly more like the real thing. The casual fan might not really notice it, but NHL 13 plays a lot more like real hockey than NHL 12 does. While being the leader in a one car race can lead to laziness, it can also provide to patience to do the small things that matter more down the road.

Sports games are different from any other type of video game. It is the only genre expected to come out with a new game every year. The Uncharted series needed five years to produce three games. I didn’t notice anyone complaining though. To expect drastic changes every year from a sports game is asking for a lot. I’m not saying that competition wouldn’t make the games better, but I am saying that sports games are as good as they have ever been without it.

I guess all I’m getting at is, EA can cancel next year’s NBA game too if they wanted to.

Everyone Knows There is a Deadpool Video Game Right?

The San Diego Comic Con has just passed, and of course everyone is talking about Iron Man 3 and the start of Marvel’s Phase 2 set of films. There was plenty of talk about the DC game Injustice, Gods Among Us and the Man of Steel footage as well. All rightfully deserved, but why in the hell are there not more people making a big deal out of the announcement of a Deadpool game?

I came back a few days after SDCC ended and only now am I becoming aware that this is happening. The fourth wall breaking merc with a mouth starring in his own video game? How did it even take this long to happen? Between Duke Nukem and No More Heroes, this game should be right up everyone’s alley. Of course little is known about it yet, but just check out the trailer and tell me you aren’t excited:

Now pull yourself together and let’s see what we can make of this. First off we already know he’ll be talking to us (and himself) while we play, and what better voice to do all the talking that Nolan North, the voice of Nathan Drake and a million other characters. He’s had plenty of experience doing Deadpool (Hulk vs. MvC3 etc) and has the right sense of humor to pull this off. Let’s also make note that this game will obviously not be for kiddies. Deadpool is already dropping s-bombs and blowing people’s head off Dead Space style. Graphically we can expect something along the lines of X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Plenty of glorious blood.

Gameplay wise I have to think we’re talking 3rd person action shooter with a whole lot of melee combat thrown in. We saw limbs flying around like Ninja Gaiden and shooting in the middle of big crowds. I don’t expect bullets to be hard to find in this game. Also saw a turret and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a couple of vehicle sections too. I also get the feeling there will be plenty of throwback style mini games as well. Since this is Deadpool they can really do whatever they want and it wouldn’t be that out of place.

Little else is really known. No idea who he will be fighting against but several X-Men were shown or mentioned (suck it Wolverine). Perhaps they will be in it somehow. Being made by High Moon Studios (Fall of Cybertron), Deadpool is scheduled for release sometime in 2013 and I have a hard time figuring out how it won’t be awesome.

By the way, check out how it was announced: