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Microsoft E3 Predictions

June 7, 2010

With E3 just a week away I think it’s time to start thinking about what we may see at the Microsoft press conference twofer. The first will be devoted to the coming out of Project Natal at an event that seems to be shaping up to be more of a good evening with some video games tossed in thanks to a Cirque de Soleil show. The next day will be more of what we’re used to with the big stage, enormous screens, and loud trailers. Let’s take a look at what I think we’ll be seeing come June 13th and June 14th .

Major Franchises on Natal

It’s hard to see Natal surviving without some AAA titles utilizing the device. With EA, Ubisoft, Activision, and others all developing games for Natal I expect that we’ll see at least one or two major franchises come to the device to try and entice core gamers. Which franchises…I’m not so sure. I’d like to see Madden get some new features with the motion controls or Ubisoft working that into their Rainbow Six or Ghost Recon entries, allowing players to use voice and hand signals to control their squad.

Burnout Paradise being played on Natal.

New Rare Game

Microsoft purchased Rare way back but they really haven’t done much for them. Kameo was a launch title and we got a new Banjo Kazooie game but other than that they’ve been pretty quiet. With Natal and a new approach towards casual gaming I expect that Rare will be launching a new E or T rated franchise to try and fill a much needed gap in the line-up.

Rare recently updated their logo to something edgier...

Project Gotham Racing 5

Since Bizarre Creations is now with Activision we haven’t seen a new entry into the acclaimed Project Gotham Racing series. Word slipped out a few months back that Turn 10, developers of Forza, were recording sound from a Tesla Roadster for both Forza 3 and Project Gotham Racing 5, which hasn’t been announced. It’d be great to see this series return, possibly using the Natal controls seen on Burnout back when it was being demoed on TV.

Microsoft needs a more accessible racer opposite Forza.

Updated Xbox Live Functionality

With the original Xbox Live service being taken offline, the barriers for the 360 version have been removed. I expect that Microsoft will announce a new set of Xbox Live features like an updated friend’s list and maybe even some more integration with such things as Twitter and Facebook.

New Halo Entry

Finally, I think that we’ll be seeing a new Halo game. Since Gears of War 3 will be finishing up next year and Halo: Reach is launching this Fall, Microsoft’s two biggest franchises will be without any new installments. And now that Bungie is getting comfortable with Activision development will be put squarely on the shoulders of 343 Industries and Microsoft’s internal development team. This will be a great opportunity for them to branch out with the story and focus on some of the earlier stuff, like the Insurrection or the Rainforest Wars.

Halo is Microsoft's cash cow and they need to keep interest after Halo: Reach.

I have to hand it to Microsoft. Normally we hear whispers and rumors about what we can expect to see at E3 but there’s been nary a word coming out of Redmond. Whether or not that’s a good thing is still up in the air but it should make for a genuinely surprising press conference on the 14th.

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From → Video Games

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