Microsoft Finally Announces Serious Kinect Games For Serious Gamers — Star Wars, Mass Effect 3, Even Minecraft

Alright, finally. Microsoft released the Kinect last year with games that turned out to be to nothing more than virtual parlor games. But today at the company’s E3 2011 presser, they took the wraps off the first round of games that finally seem to be meant for gamers — you know, gamers as in people that enjoy virtual killing and such. The headliner? Oh it must be Star Wars Kinect.

This is actually the second time that Star Wars Kinect “debut” at E3. Microsoft used the title through a highly-scripted demo to launch the Kinect at last year’s E3. Well, it’s finally available and will launch…they didn’t say. Presumably it will come before next year’s E3. If nothing else, all the lightsaber swinging looks to be a good core workout.

EA shared the stage with Microsoft today where they announced Mass Effect 3 — with Kinect support! “It’s all about kick-ass action” Mass Effect 3 still uses the 360’s controller, no silly movement support here. However, EA built the game around Kinect’s voice recognition support, which gives the gamer a more immersive experience. You’ll be able to talk to your team members, give commands, and simply read the on-screen dialog rather than selecting the phrase with the controller. The whole experience was demo’d on stage, and, honestly, it seems to be a novel extension of gaming with just a controller.

Ghost Recon is getting in on the Kinect fun as well. All future titles in the serious will support Kinect. Until then, Ubisoft built a fun add-on called Gunsmith that allows players to customize the inner working parts of the game’s guns, which allows for millions and millions of different combinations. Voice support is included as well, “Optimize for range”, well, optimizes the given gun for longer range. No word when this will hit, but man, watch out LIVE, you’re about to get millions of new firearms.

RYSE by Crytex and Microsoft Studios promises to take you into the heart of the Roman empire with full motion Kinect support. No launch date or further info was announced but man, I can’t wait to kill someone with a short sword.

Expect a bit of Kinect in Forza Motorsport 4, too. Info wasn’t flowing from the stage, but the on-screen demo teased voice integration and head tracking, which when combined with a traditional controller or wheel, should bring welcomed features to the staple racing game.

Fable The Journey will launch full motion support. All your actions, spells and effects are controlled through what at least seems like a rich control scheme. The game launches sometime next year.

It’s not all action games, though. Oh no, even Minecraft is getting in on the Kinect fun and is hitting the 360 this coming “winter.”

Besides the so-called hardcore games, Dance Central 2 is also on tap, which will hopefully induce Nicholas, who now works for the man (Peter Ha) at The Daily, to break out the macarena once again.