By Neil Schneider
Last night, we got to check out X’10 Canada. It’s a private demo of Microsoft Games titles due out this holiday season, and the top offerings by third parties like Ubisoft, Electronic Arts, Bethesda Softworks, WB Games, and more.
Microsoft was all about Kinect, and devoted an entire floor for people to swing their bodies and jump up and down. There were some innovative ideas on display, though I see this targeting kids more than adult gamers. Future content will determine how this ultimately gets positioned.
Let me be clear that this was an Xbox event, and was for console enthusiasts only. That said, I would have really liked to see something in 3D. While Sony has done far more chest beating in this arena than Xbox, I’m convinced it would have been a strong attention grabber for the journalists on-hand and made the games look even more innovative.
I got to check out Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood on Xbox. Sorry, no 3D here. However, enhancements to the game include stronger AI, the ability to fire special weapons like cannons, and horses that you can ride through the city streets. If Assassin’s Creed 2 on PC is any indication of the potential 3D experience, Brotherhood should be equally exciting!
Bethesda Softworks had Fallout: Las Vegas on display. In this case, you play a courier who awakens after being…er…shot in the head a few times. Their representative told me that no optimizations have been done for 3D on console or PC. At least none that they have been directly involved with. However, our review showed Fallout 3 to be a surprise hit in 3D. If they could just sharpen a few things up on PC…
Meanwhile, Electronic Arts showed off NHL 2011, Dead Space 2, and Need For Speed Hot Pursuit. It all looked very cool, and I hope they work well on PC in 3D. NHL 2011 is going to be console only, so I don’t anticipate much in the way of 3D prospects here – at least not yet.
WB Games’ Fear 3 looked pretty interesting. The level I tried lets you take control of a mech and go blasting. It’s a very different feel from the Fear I remember, and I don’t know how true to the franchise it’s going to be. We’ll have to wait and see.
Going in, I knew that 3D wasn’t going to be a hot button, so I instead wanted to get a feel for how much people knew about it. The Sega rep was the most knowledgeable, and expected some future titles to have 3D support. While EA as a company is very active and interested, it hasn’t impacted the game designer for Dead Space 2 yet. The Ubisoft representative…not so much. Bethesda Softworks seemed to be the most informed, but his experience was from remembering our review of Fallout 3 and from demonstrations by Nvidia.
Walking through the rows of games, the potential for the 3D seemed obvious. Listening to the representatives talk about how they are trying to tweak their work to be more interesting, I thought to myself how they really just need to bring things to another level. Everyone was so excited to check out my out of date 3D camera, why was the answer so evasive to them?
I don’t think the gaming industry has anything against 3D, they are just ill prepared for it. I think they need to get with it, while they still hold all the cards. For an industry so dependent on innovation, a lot of work still needs to be done.
However, let me end this report on a high note. I really didn’t have enough time to try Halo Reach properly, and I just figured I would get the same 2D viewpoint anyways. This morning, I received a glimmer of hope via Google Alert that Halo Reach was demonstrated in stereoscopic 3D at GamesCom!
Looks like someone at Microsoft is waking up to the potential that 3D has to offer. Perhaps X’10 will look different next year?
CORRECTION! Turns out the Halo Reach display was a marketing gimmick by Toshiba. Perhaps a 2D to 3D on the fly conversion? Who knows. However, it seems the potential of a 3D Halo really awakened some interest. Even a media goof helps prove my point!
Share your thoughts below!