As I type, I'm currently sipping on a really rubbish cup of tea, wearing my wife's dressing gown for some reason, and I'm very, very cold. And tired. I've just sat through the Microsoft E3 conference and this is my report - there were a few surprises, some brilliant demos, and a handful of incredible, incredible GIF opportunities.
Plenty of big name franchises made appearances, and some looked spectacular.
BOOM RAIDER The Tomb Raider reboot was practically a picture perfect E3 demo. A gorgeous, linear demo gave us our first look at in-game footage. My thoughts? The game looks set-piece driven, but in a good way - in an Uncharted way.
The demo did a fantastic job of making me feel intensely claustrophobic - the James Bond-esque calm we're used to seeing from Lara has been replaced with youthful panic and terror. It's written all over the game, from the camera angles, the voice work, to the way the set-pieces are managed. Make no mistake - this is by far the darkest entry into the Tomb Raider series yet. Apparently there are more open, large sections in the game - if the development team manages to mix up the pacing, this could be the best Tomb Raider yet.
THE BIG GUNS Modern Warfare 3 did its thing - and looked polished, if a little uninspired. Mass Effect 3's Kinect capabilities seemed similarly bland, voice commands to manoeuvre through dialogue trees and squad commands.
The game itself, however, looked incredible.
I was a little taken aback, however, by just how creative Ubisoft is being with its Kinect capabilities for the new Ghost Recon game. Of all the Kinect integration into 'core' games, Ghost Recon did the best job of creating a unique, truly immersive experience. Very excited to see how this works in more detail.
AUSTRALIA! THAT'S WHERE WE COME FROM A major part of Microsoft's E3 conference was devoted to the ways in which Kinect will revolutionise entertainment in general. LIVE TV and voice control via Kinect was the major focus. Attention was drawn to the fact that TV services are now a global thing, with Foxtel in Australia getting a shout out.
Of course, it felt a little hollow considering the fact we don't have proper voice control via Kinect yet. Surely an announcement can't be too far away.
MINECRAFT... ON 360? WITH KINECT? This was easily the biggest surprise for me, personally. Minecraft on 360 makes a lot of sense - but with Kinect? It's difficult to see how this will work, but I would love to see some sort of integration with menus and the actual crafting side of Minecraft. Can't wait to hear more on this development.
KINECT OVERLOAD Inevitably, the horde of franchise, core titles made way for a barrage of Kinect titles. Most of which, besides Tim Schafer's Sesame Street, seemed a little uninspired. Kinect sports in particular, looks like the kind of game I will absolutely, positively never touch in my life. There were some incredible GIF opportunities, however. I look forward to seeing them hammered into the ground over the coming days and weeks!
HALO? IS IT ME YOU'RE LOOKING FOR? The announcement of Halo 4 was left to the end, and was shown in the form of what looked like a CG trailer. Development in being handled by in-house Microsoft studio 343, and while we're a little tentative with regards to another studio taking the reins, it'll be interesting to see what a fresh set of eyes will do for the series.
Being perfectly honest, however, the trailer showed practically nothing. Explosions... Master Chief... Cortana... more explosions. End.
It is worth noting, however, that Microsoft was keen to emphasise the fact that Halo 4 was the beginning of a new trilogy, which presumably means that a Halo 5 and 6 are also on the way. At some point in the future at least.
In a strange way, the announcement of a Halo: Combat Evolved remake really got me excited. The game is being completely 'remastered' and will include online play with the multiplayer maps from the original. Considering that I still consider the original to have the best multiplayer of the series, personally this is a welcome announcement for me.
But besides the Halo announcements - this conference was all about Kinect. The Minecraft announcement was a surprise, but hardly a show stopper. Not the best Microsoft E3 conference I can remember, but far from the worst.