E3 Archive


XBLAFancast Episode 65 – Todd Talks E3

Todd returns from E3 this week, so once we get the new releases out of the way it’s pretty much all Todd all the time. He tells us about some of the games he saw last week, a list of which you can find below. So if you were interested by the XBLA games being shown off last week, odds are we talk about them this week.

Please subscribe, rate and review the podcast on iTunes. We appreciate it! Check us out on twitter (@XBLAFans) where you can win codes for games, give us feedback or just ask a question. We are also now on Stitcher, so you can stream the show on your smartphone, give it a go!

Big thanks to Chris Green for the awesome theme music, be sure to check out his site BlurredEdge and why not follow him on twitter too @BlurredEdge.


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What we are playing: June 10

What we are playing is a weekly column published on Sunday. Select members of the team talk about the games they’ve been playing over the past week and which they’re most looking forward to. 

Christine Mitchell - Been playing a load of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. Can’t believe the studio went bust, I’m really enjoying it so far.

Nick Santangelo - Like most gamers I’ve long wanted to attend E3. I finally did so for the first time this past week, and it was great. The Big Three conferences were mostly disappointing, but I played a ton of fun game demos, like Hell Yeah!Pid, Borderlands 2, Happy Wars, Hybrid, Quantum Conundrum and Ascend: New Gods. I also played a few that I was less enamored with, such as Resident Evil 6, Hitman Absolution and RAW.

Perry Jackson - Humble Indie Bundle V for me mostly this week. Sworcery and Lone Survivor made it definitely worth the price of admission to get 6 other solid games with it. Oh yeah, that E3 thing happened. It looked pretty cool.

Steve Melton - So close to getting 200/200 on Joy Ride Turbo. What a fun game. Unlock system could have been a bit kinder, though. Other than that I dusted off my Kinect for some Fruit Ninja and Kinect Star Wars.

Matt Liparota - Been a good couple of weeks for gaming for me – I’ve been playing a TON of Diablo III and Max Payne 3, and I finally got around to picking up and playing Bastion. This past week I dove back into Batman: Arkham City with the Harley Quinn’s Revenge DLC and enjoyed playing as Robin a heck of a lot more than I thought I would. In the coming week I’m hoping to wrap up Max Payne and my first playthrough of Diablo.

Mark Seymour - Only just recovering from a stupor brought on by the most embarrassing trio of E3 conferences in memory; buoyed by reports that there were some exciting games on the floor though. High hopes for Lollipop Chainsaw this week too.

Your turn.


Mini-editorial: E3 needs to retool the big presentations

Normally I don’t go for what I largely consider the ‘sensationalist journalism’ that gets big hits. You know the kind — things like the Activision vs Respawn Entertainment/Infinity Ward battle. I hate ‘em. It seems like a cheap way to get hits on a site, especially when there’s no subtle amount of mudslinging strewn throughout those articles. But there’s one bandwagon I’m starting to follow: E3 just isn’t what it used to be.

I can remember when E3 was about satisfying those that actually take the time to watch it. Now it seems like the big presentations are more about the social aspects, gimmicks, and sequel games than anything else. Thankfully from everything I’ve seen the show floor is more of the traditional trade show flare than the presentations.

I just can’t stomach the three console manufacturer’s shows anymore, and I’m a big fan of all three consoles. We’re introduced to all sorts of crazy numbers and stats that somehow make each console the #1 in the world. It’s like car commercials; there’s no way that every car in this world is the #1 car in its class. After that we get a handful of trailers, some only cinematic in nature, and every few years we get a tech demo that shows off the power of a new console. Ironically it’s rare that developers ever hit that level of quality on the console. It’s probably because the tech demo was merely a scripted 3D “film,” whereas devs have to worry about runtime physics, controls and a slew of other things.

Thankfully once the smoke clears and the real E3 begins it begins to change. Big guns like GameSpot have near round the clock live previews of games on their site. Spike and G4 highlight the best of the best, and sites like us can finally unleash our staff on the show floor. That’s where the real news comes. While a game might be announced in a big presentation, it’s not until someone gets their hands on it that people can finally hear what it’s like. It’s moments like you see in the photo above where the real news comes into play.

I don’t know, maybe I’m jealous. We had four members of our team attend E3, and I’ve always wanted to go myself. I’m sure that if I were to sit in a big theater with 14 foot screens I’d feel different. But I just can’t shake the fact that I don’t get much of anything from the presentations, and I feel like I’m not the only one by a long shot.

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E3 Hands-on: Dancing the day away with a bear and a hare in Hell Yeah!

Once upon a time, the opportunity to play it was passed over in favor of speaking at length to the man behind it. A tough decision for sure, but one for which there are no regrets. But this is E3, with all its glitz and gaudiness, its bass and babes, its bombshells and busts — both on the babes and on the press conference stages. This is the show, and Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit might just be the game coming to Xbox Live Arcade. Abstaining from experiencing firsthand at The Big Show, one of the most promising upcoming games for XBLA, simply wouldn’t do. Even waiting just a wink longer until XBLA Fans’ scheduled time with the game later in the week arrived just wouldn’t do. Read the rest of this entry »


SmartGlass-compatible Homerun Stars coming to XBLA

Talking behind closed doors at E3 2012 with Game Informer, Microsoft let slip that Homerun Stars is a thing. The previously unannounced title will have Kinect and SmartGlass functionality built into it. Also, as the title implies, it is a baseball game. No developer was mentioned in connection with the Arcade title that is set to release at some point during the coming holiday season.

Games Beat was later able to pry a few more details loose about Homerun Stars‘ SmartGlass elements. In the example given, one player picks up a traditional Xbox 360 controller and uses it to try to go yard. Meanwhile, a second player channels his inner Cole Hamels and goes for the kill on a tablet device while playing as the pitcher. The roles can also be reversed, says Microsoft.

“I think the most exciting thing about SmartGlass is that developers can use this extra screen to offer extra buttons and input options to players that the regular controller doesn’t have,” Robert Bowling, president of Robotoki and former creative strategist at Infinity Ward, said of SmartGlass’ potential to change how games like Homerun Stars are played. Officially announced yesterday, the Xbox app for mobile devices is quickly building a nice stable of games that will operate with it in some way, such as this November’s Halo 4.

Kinect presents yet another control option, although no mention has been made as to precisely how the motion sensor fits into the equation. Presumably, however, it will present an alternative to pitching and/or batting with a controller or tablet.

Sources: Game Informer, Games Beat and Xbox Kinect Fans


Dust: An Elysian Tail will feature casual and challenge modes

Speaking with XBLA Fans on the E3 show floor today, Microsoft revealed that forthcoming Dust: An Elysian Tail will contain an arena-type gameplay mode and difficulty setting for casual gamers. Challenge Mode is designed to keep gamers coming back for more after they’ve cleared the campaign of the Summer of Arcade release.

The casual difficulty is pretty self-explanatory, but the manner in which it was play-tested is a bit unusual. Humble Hearts didn’t lean on a team of seasoned game testers to exhaustively play through every scenario in the game on casual in order to properly hammer out its balance. Instead, the studio stayed inside the family. Dean Dodrill, the sole man slaving away on everything that is Dust besides its music, had his four-year-old daughter play through it. When she was able to beat it with “no issues,” its difficulty curve was deemed just right.


Ascend: New Gods to use SmartGlass technology

Ascend: New Gods, the recently announced XBLA game from Signal Studios has been revealed as one of the first games to utilise Microsoft’s new SmartGlass technology. The action-RPG game is said to feature an “Oracle” that brings up a minimap of the current dungeon that you’re in, the instant you enter it. You will also be able to check out the stats of a new boss or player that enters your world to inform your decision to fight or flee. Players will also be able to wage war against other gamers directly from their mobile phone, racking up power and prestige that can then be transferred over to your Xbox 360 console.

Source: Game Informer and AscendGame.com


Microsoft announces Xbox Music at E3 media breifing

Microsoft, as part of its pre-E3 2012 media briefing, today announced Xbox Music, Zune’s replacement. More than 30 million songs are promised to be included with the service that will work across Xbox 360, Windows Phone and all Windows 8-enabled hardware.

Originally rumored in February and then again in early May, the supposedly Spotify-like Xbox Music was previously said to be codenamed Woodstock. Prior to its official unveiling at the Electronic Entertainment Expo today, the service was said to come packed with Facebook integration and a “scan and match” feature that would permit Xbox Music users to tap into their preexisting music library. It was also said that current Zune subscribers would be allowed to maintain their subscription model, if they desire to do so, when the service goes live.

Supposed insider sources originally pointed to a holiday 2012 launch, but Microsoft avoided delving into date talk during its press conference this morning.


Xbox SmartGlass coming this fall

Xbox SmartGlass will launch this coming fall, Microsoft revealed at its pre-E3 media briefing today. Following up on first details of the application being unveiled to content partners late last week, the publisher publicly debuted the media-sharing application for the first time this morning. The app allows users to seamlessly “push” content between their Xbox 360, tablet and mobile phone. It is designed to function with Windows PCs and phones as well as iOS and Android devices, showing an admirable willingness on Microsoft’s part to work cross-platform with direct competitors.

Demoing the device on-stage at L.A., Microsoft swapped Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows from a tablet over to an Xbox console to demonstrate how users can pick up on one device right where they left off on another one. Prometheus, Game of Thrones, Halo Waypoint and Madden NFL 2013 were also used to show off the app’s functionality. SmartGlass will allow Madden players to draw up custom plays on their tablet devices before running them in-game on their Xbox 360s. Players of Microsoft’s flagship 2012 title, Halo 4, will be able to open up new features and data in Halo Waypoint on their tablet while playing the game.

Perhaps the tech’s most impressive feature is that the transitions happen instantaneously — or at least they did in the demonstration. SmartGlass looks to be Microsoft’s answer to Nintendo’s incoming Wii U console and tablet controller, which will surely grab center stage at Nintendo’s own pre-E3 press conference tomorrow morning at 9 am PST.


E3: Signal Studios announces Ascend: New Gods

Ascend: New Gods, Signal Studios’ (Toy Soldiers) latest game, was revealed today with the above trailer that aired during Microsoft’s pre-E3 2012 media briefing. The cinematic trailer is full of blood and gore — the main character does a lot of stabbing and then flies through the air towards a Titan in a scene that channels God of War 3. Speaking of the main character, he is a member of Caos, “a gigantic race of mighty warriors.” The player-character’s appearance, weapons and armor will all be upgradeable.

Signal says that an ancient prophecy has predicted that the Titans’ reign will come to an end and whichever of the Three Gods is triumphant over them shall rule over mortals in their place. The player must choose one of the (the chaotic goddess of darkness, the zealous god of light or the manipulative lord of the void) to serve as a champion for in this war being waged to bring about the end of the Titans’ rule.

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