Last year's Halo: Reach might have been the swan song for original franchise creator Bungie, but the famous first-person shooter series has plenty of life left in it.
At their E3 2011 press conference in Los Angeles, Microsoft pulled the wraps off two new Halo endeavors. A short teaser trailer marked the debut of Halo 4. Featuring the return of series staple Master Chief, the new game is due out in holiday 2012:
This year, however, will see the release of Halo Combat
Evolved: Anniversary, an HD remake of the original 2001 Xbox game that kicked off the series. It's due to release November 15th.
Microsoft also unveiled new experiences for its Kinect motion system. Sequels to best-selling Kinect titles Kinect Sports and Dance Central took center stage, along with kid-friendly titles like Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster and the newly announced Kinect: Disneyland Adventures, which brings the Mouse House to your house by letting Disney fans explore a virtual version of the famous theme park.
The company is also hoping to make Kinect a more meaningful part of more traditional titles. Mass Effect 3 from EA, Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier from Ubisoft, and RPG Fable: The Journey will all use the motion system's feature set -- incljding voice commands -- when they hit stores. And virtual Jedi Knights will soon get a chance to live out their Star Wars Kid fantasies by swinging lightsabers in the forthcoming Kinect Star Wars.
But it's not all dancing and Disney. More traditional gamers can expect to see Kinect becoming a more meaningful part of their favorite titles over the next few years. Mass Effect 3 from EA, Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier from Ubisoft, and RPG Fable: The Journey will all use the motion system's feature set -- including voice commands -- when they hit stores. And virtual Jedi Knights will soon get a chance to live out their Star Wars Kid fantasies by swinging lightsabers in the forthcoming Kinect Star Wars.
Microsoft's league-leading Xbox Live service isn't left out, too. Microsoft execs demoed deeper voice-command integration, partnerships with Youtube and the UFC and Bing search functionality, though perhaps most exciting is the ability to use the service to watch live TV on the machine, complete with DVR features. Key details -- such as the number of channels and how pricing will work -- are still unknown, but it's set to launch ths fall.
Even non-Kinect owners weren't left out in the cold, as Microsoft showed off a number of anticipated games for the Xbox 360. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 kicked off the presentation, followed by demos of the rebooted action-adventure game Tomb Raider, shooter Gears of War 3, and racing game Forza Motorsport 4. Microsoft will also be bringing PC indie smash Minecraft exclusively to the Xbox 360.