Microsoft’s E3 Press Conference Round Up
[Header Image lovingly stolen from Destructoid]
Well, the first press conference of the big three has ended and now we’re left to pick up the pieces. At least I can begin on a high note by saying the presentation this year was better than their last attempt, which consisted almost entirely of numbers and statements of how awesome Microsoft is. However the fact that every single live feed went down simultaneously as the show was about to start was just fantastic, even our multi-talented and humble editor-in-chief Wardrox could not get access himself until a good 15 minutes in.
The stage opened to Beatles Rock Band, announcing a few of the tracks available (Taxman, Day Tripper, I am the Walrus to name a few), along with revealing that several vocalists can participate at one time along with the guitar, bass and drums. Abbey Road will be the first full album in a wave of DLC, with the track “All You Need Is Love” being an Xbox exclusive.
The best part of the entire Beatles Rock Band announcement had to be watching them get Yoko Ono out on stage and thank her for her input to the game. You heard that right, Microsoft officially are indebted to the woman who destroyed The Beatles, AND they allowed her input into the game based around their music. Paul McCartney and Ringo Star were then dragged on stage for what I can only assume was one of the highest paid 30 seconds of their lives.
Tony Hawk showed off his new game, Ride, along with its “revolutionary” control (fake skateboard deck with sensors built in). Nothing that we hadn’t really seen before, just a short trailer with real footage cut in to make it seem more “hip”.
We were then treated to the delightful Modern Warfare trailer that has been around the web already, followed by a rather short demo of actual gameplay. It looked pretty much identical to CoD 4 but with more snow. One possible addition to some of the weaponry was shown, a fold-out motion sensor with screen built into the gun that the demonstrator was wielding. Could be interesting if they remove the minimap, but I sincerely doubt that. Also timed exclusivity on the first two multiplayer map packs.
A Japanese man came on stage and said words that made no sense, luckily there was a nice lady resent who could translate his incoherent ramblings. Apparently Final Fantasy XIII is still coming to the 360 and he was just making sure that we were all aware of that fact.
Cliffy B, sorry, Clifford Bleszinski (wearing an awesome Bill Gates t-shirt) along with some poor fellow with a broken microphone demoed a new Xbox Live Arcade game being developed by Epic Games called Shadow Complex. It looks to have visuals similar to Bionic Commando Rearmed and gameplay akin to that of Metroid. The 2D shoot-em-up places emphasis on using the environment to take out your enemies and what look like big, over the top boss encounters. Oh and he has a grappling hook gun, IT’S NOTHING LIKE BIONIC COMMANDO, HONEST.
The next thing to debut was what I would call Microsoft attempting to justify the avatars, whilst milking you for a few bucks of course. A kart-style racing game called Joyride, that is apparently going to be free to download and play but will have costs associated with extra cars, tracks, etc.
Crackdown 2 was next, giving very little information, other than a plot twist that sees an infection of some kind spreading throughout the city. I was a huge fan of the first crackdown, and so long as they don’t fuck it up somehow this is definitely one to watch for me (even if they are going with the general “I know, stick zombies in it, people LOVE zombies” approach). I also totally called this trailer in the first couple of seconds of it showing, the original Crackdown announcer’s voice is ingrained into my very soul.
Back to back with the Crackdown 2 trailer was Left 4 Dead 2, touting four new survivors, new campaigns, new special infected and most importantly; new melee weapons. Personally, I can’t wait to get chainsawing the infected horde, even if the next instalment has been announced so soon after the first. Incidentally that link up there points to an exclusive preview with RockPaperShotgun that has a TON of info on the title.
I’ve never been that great of a fan of the Splinter Cell series, I’ve always been a Hitman man myself. But, this looks set to change with the announcement of Splinter Cell: Conviction, as it seems Ubisoft are taking Splinter Cell in a new direction. By that I mean taking Hitman, slapping on some tac goggles, adding Sam Fisher’s repertoire of gadgets and ninja-like moves and calling it a day.
Forza 3 was shown, with fantastic sponsorship by Audi. Seriously, they had a car on stage with the guy talking and another three in game during the 20 seconds long play test that we saw. Lots of “community” features added, basically you can make other people do all the work of tuning / painting your cars so you can just drive. They also seem to be going away from their hardcore simulation market with the introduction of “one button driving” and also a “time rewind” feature should you crash.
ZOMG HALO. ODST will consist of several intertwining stories shown through various different soldiers’ viewpoints, and don’t worry the ODST have some hugely innovative weaponry that the spartans didn’t. Silenced weapons will be making their first appearance in the Halo franchise along with the reappearance of the pistol from the first Halo, complete with insta-kill rounds and scope of course.
That isn’t all though folks, a ridiculously short and obscure trailer for Halo: Reach, which can only be based on the Halo novel “The Fall Of Reach” was shown immediately after. Want to play the new Halo before anyone else? Then buy Halo: ODST and receive a multiplayer beta code a la Crackdown and Halo 3, which was the last time we saw this sort of fiasco.
We finally get a taste of what the much hyped Alan Wake will be like. Alan is asleep and his ghost story is coming true, oh no he woke up and it was all a dream. Phew, dodged a bullet there. The trailer was full of splash screens with statements such as “Tonight on Alan Wake”, etc that made me think that this could possibly be some horrible Truman Show style mess with a horror twist. I really hope I am wrong.
Last.fm, Sky TV, Facebook (wooo Bejewelled Blitz) and Twitter are all coming to Xbox, with their own specially branded sections on Live so you can now listen to the radio while you tweet about the football match that you are watching on Sky TV. Joy. Along with this the entire video section of the marketplace is getting the Zune branding, most likely in an effort to actually get the Zune name out there without having stifled laughter present in some form.
Hideo Kojima announced an apparently Xbox exclusive title in the Metal Gear Solid series starring Raiden called Metal Gear Solid: Rising. I’m no Metal Gear fan so this meant nothing to me but I’m sure someone somewhere must be excited?
And now finally we come to the headline event, Microsoft’s own version of Nintendo’s waggle, presented by a guy who looks like the world’s biggest douche. Dubbed “Natal”, the unfortunately named interface is a lot more Minority Report than Nintendo Wii, offering use of the “best controller of them all”, your own body. Natal has an extremely impressive demo reel, but I doubt any of it will be 1/10th as impressive in your own home without all the behind the scenes fiddling. However if the skateboarding controls work nearly as well as in the demo video then Tony Hawk’s ride is screwed along with the pure innovation in its controller.
As a closing to the press conference Peter Molyneux of Lionhead Games showed off a little something that the team at Lionhead has been playing with for the past few months; “Milo”, a virtual young boy that interacts with you in a very real way. Milo puts to use Natal’s face and voice recognition software so you can supposedly talk to Milo as you would any other person. I’m afraid I couldn’t really get behind this idea, mostly because I was too busy thinking of a witty way to interlink Molyneux with small boys, but also because I don’t believe it has a snowball’s chance in hell of working well at all.
News Tags: 360, alan wake, avatars, bejewelled blitz, cliffy b, crackdown, crackdown 2, E3, Epic Games, facebook, Final Fantasy, Halo, hype, innovation, joyride, kojima, last.fm, Left 4 Dead, Metal Gear Solid, Microsoft, milo, Modern Warfare 2, Natal, odst, reach, ride, Rock Band, shadow complex, sky, the beatles, Tony Hawk, Xbox, yoko ono
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