Microsoft manages to pull off quality and quantity in their latest showcase.
We’re still hard at work on our latest instalment in the “What They Do Right” series, focusing on Microsoft, but it seems like the company took the wind out of our sails by doing it themselves! The Redmond behemoth just took the wraps on pretty much everything they’re doing in the next little while, and I wanted to share it with you because there is a ton of good stuff here.
Forza Horizon. I can’t say I really saw this coming. Forza releases have been pretty steady, but given that we just got Forza Motorsport 4 in the last few months, it didn’t seem like we’d see one this year. But Forza Horizon is a new take on the series from Playground Games and will be available this Fall. .
Gears of War 3. What, just because Gears has been out since last year doesn’t mean Microsoft is stupid. Of course there is more content coming. Would you have it any other way, really? .
Fable: The Journey officially launches this Fall from Lionhead studios. Kinect is the main draw of this title, and you’ll see with the next few points here that Microsoft is finally taking Kinect much more seriously! And as Peter Molyneux confirmed, it is definitely not on rails. So that settles it. .
Mass Effect 3 has some incredible uses for Kinect, the most creative of which is being able to voice your character as opposed to have to click through the menu. This is also the first game to my knowledge to really leverage controller and non-controller gaming at once in what is arguably one of the most hardcore games on the market. It’s also a big advantage over the Xbox 360 over the PlayStation 3 version of the game. .
Kinect Star Wars. This one has been delayed and delayed, but it will finally be launching in less than a month, on April 3rd to be exact, and will have what everyone has been clamouring for since the original Natal announcement: LIGHTSABERS. Hell, people have been asking for this since the Wii launched, and they haven’t delivered, so Microsoft stepped up and is taking charge with the official franchise license! Incredible stuff. .
Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor. This is the third instalment of the incredibly innovative Steel Battalion series. The original was one of my favourite titles on the original Xbox, with that massive behemoth of a controller, and this one is showing off Capcom’s innovation again with Kinect as well as controller-based gaming. Look for this one right after E3 2012, on June 19th. .
Kinect Sports and Dance Central 2. Again, Microsoft is pushing some DLC, but these are also arguably the two best games that take advantage of Kinect out on the market right now, so it’s definitely worth mentioning. When the game is this good, it needs to be backed up by great content, and it looks like they’re doing just that. Way to go, Microsoft!
On the Xbox Live Arcade front, Microsoft also made sure to highlight Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition and Fable Heroes, two unique takes on their original titles available for download early in 2012.
For the PC – because people still game on computers, apparently – Microsoft has released Microsoft Flight, the next iteration in their massive flight simulation series. Best of all, the game is absolutely free and covers over 1.2 million square miles of land with new beautifully rendered aircraft and scenery. Download this one now at www.MicrosoftFlight.com.
Microsoft also hasn’t forgotten about their hardware being the main piece of the puzzle, release some awesome white Xbox 360 and Kinect hardware in a new family bundle which includes their white 4GB console, white Kinect, a custom white controller, as well as Kinect Sports, Kinect Adventures, and a three-month subscription to Xbox Live! Not a bad deal for three hundred bucks!
Microsoft also discussed their huge mobile offering for Windows Phone, including, among many others, Civilization Revolution and Pro Evolution Soccer 2012. I’m more than excited to see what they’ll have to offer at E3 2012!
Update: According to Major Nelson’s Blog, VEVO also becomes available on Xbox 360 in Canada, the United States, UK, and Ireland. VEVO joins other popular services like Rogers OnDemand in Canada and Hulu Plus in the US, among others.