E3 2011: Ryse Preview

Ryse trailer shows off bloody Kinect combat in the Roman era during Microsoft's E3 2011 Press Conference.

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The Kinect was a huge focus for Microsoft during its E3 press conference this year, which included a number of stage demos, feature reveals, and trailers. One such trailer was for Ryse, a new game developed by Crytek and published by Microsoft Studios. A grim narrator and visual carnage set an M-rated tone, while quick intercuts between a living room and a view of first-person combat showed that Ryse is likely to be one of the bloodiest Kinect titles yet.

The trailer begins by panning along the litter-strewn ground of a city. As we follow a stray dog picking its way through an alley, the painted graffiti on the walls morphs into animated 3D models. Temples and chariots visually accent the voice-over as a stern narrator speaks about two Romes: one of soldiers and sport, the other of squalor and the struggle for survival. The dog encounters a bloody arm and looks up to see people running in terror. One person stumbles and is run through from behind by a soldier wielding a sword, just as the narrator speaks about two sides to power: order and justice. "A kingdom so divided cannot stand," he intones, as the camera pans up above rooftops to reveal hundreds of soldiers fighting alongside the Tiber River. Rome is clearly being torn apart by war, and a catapulted fireball flies into view to accent the scale of the conflict.

Then the trailer transitions to give us an idea of how Ryse works from a gameplay perspective. The camera flies down onto a bridge, and an enemy soldier approaches, sword in hand. Quick cut to an actor in one of those sparse living rooms no one actually has, who strikes a pose indicating he is ready for combat. He moves his arm in a quick sweep, and we see blood blossom out of the enemy's chest. Back to the living room, we see him execute a quick thrust and then what looks to be a shield bash performed by holding his arm parallel to the screen and shoving it forward. A look back at the enemy confirms this, as he puts his hand to his bloodied face as if to confirm that his nose is broken. The player then performs a dramatic kick evocative of Gerard Butler's iconic "This… is… SPARTA!!" moment from the movie 300. (The narrator did say "This is Rome," after all). The enemy is stunned, and the player executes his final move, which appears to be an overhand throw. The camera flies toward the enemy's face, but we are spared the gruesome result as the trailer quickly cuts to black (and delivers a very squishy sound effect, in case you were wondering how that fight turned out).

The trailer for Ryse concludes with the phrases "You are the controller. You are the warrior," in keeping with Microsoft's Kinect language. Ryse certainly looks to be one of the bloodiest Kinect titles yet, and one of the first to receive an M rating from the ESRB. The visuals and sound effects seemed geared to reinforce the brutal action, and the realistic-looking enemy bled profusely during combat. Only time will tell how far Ryse will go to deliver a mature Kinect experience, but folks looking to get gory with their motion tracking should keep an eye on GameSpot for more news on Ryse.

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