E3 2009: Microsoft Press Conference

Hey everybody! The big day is finally here: E3 2009! To kick things off, we’ll be covering all of the announcements from Microsoft’s Press Conference this morning, and tomorrow morning will be Sony’s.

Unfortunately, due to some corporate happenstance, I’m unable to attend E3 this year, so I’ll be posting links to all the pertinent stories going on, and gathering all the Microsoft information and posting it in this very spot, so keep refreshing this post!

Alex Rigopolous and Van Toffler come on stage, showing an animated intro to te Beattle’s Rock Band.

They remastered all of the tracks to give gamers the best experience. Here are 10 of them:

1) I Saw Her Standing There
2) I Want to Hold Your Hand
3) I Feel Fine
4) Day Tripper
5) Taxman
6) I Am The Walrus
7) Back in the USSR
Octopus’s Garden
9) Here Comes The Sun
10) Get Back

Beatles Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney are on stage, talking about how great the visuals look. Sadly, no performance.

Tony Hawk reveals skateboarding game, RIDE, which uses a skateboard shaped peripheral to better simulate riding a skateboard.

Infinity Ward gets up on stage and reveals a new gameplay trailer of Modern Warfare 2.  There will be 2 Modern Warfare 2 map packs released on Xbox LIVE.

Yoshinori Kitase and Motomu Toriyama from Square Enix are on stage talking about Final Fantasy XIII. They show off a real time gameplay trailer of the summoning of Odin. They are targeting a Spring 2010 release.

Now for the Xbox 360 exclusives!

Epic Games comes on stage and announces Shadow Complex, a 2D/3D action game. “It’s the first Epic Xbox Live Arcade, filled with tons of exploration” This is a nice-looking Metroidvania game. Shadow Complex on Xbox Live Arcade this Summer.

The next game is Joyride and it comes to you from … BigPark” the newest member of the Microsoft Game Studios family. “You can see that Joyride brings a new social experience” to the kart racer. “It will be free to download and free to play so everyone can enjoy it” “you can guy cars” and more to customize the game. Coming “this winter” to Xbox Live.

Crackdown 2 trailer! “The city is infected, you are the cure.” Looks like CG. Super cop chasing a criminal and then shooting him in the head. Oh no, some new kind of super monster enemy explodes out of the sewer! Literally.

Trailer

Left 4 Dead 2 coming November 17th.

Multiplayer gameplay video

Splinter Cell Conviction Trailer shown. Sam is now clean cut (no more hobo beard), playing a piano, and having flashbacks of his family. He has left the organization he worked for, and is now being hunted by them. Game is coming Fall 2009 exclusively on the Xbox 360.

Trailer

Forza 3 announced. No release date given, but they reiterate three times that it is “the definitive racing game of this generation.” Good to know.

Surprise new Halo game from Bungie hitting in 2010 called Halo Reach. Not much else is shown about the game, but there will be a multi-player beta included in Halo 3: ODST, which releases September 22 this year.

Trailer

Alan Wake gameplay is shown. Looks to be episodic in nature with taglines reading “Previously on Alan Wake,” and “Tonight on Alan Wake.” The video shows Wake chasing after a character named Rusty while the action is being narrated by Wake, a la a novel. Next he’s being chased by a horde of monsters, who seem to overwhelm him, forcing him to retreat. He slow motion kills a monster with a flare gun, causing a big explosion. Confirmed for a Spring 2010 release date.

Trailer

Schappert: “You’ve just seen an incredible lineup of exclusive games on Xbox 360. Today I’m proud to announce that music is coming to Xbox Live” thanks to a partnership with Last.fm. And best of all Last.fm will be available to Xbox Live gold members later this year for no additional charge.”

“Netflix has been a huge hit for our US members” and now they’re going to make it even better. Notably, by adding movies to your queue straight from the NXE – no computer required. Not in the US? They’re bringing Sky to the UK. “Live television delivered to a gaming console with no additional hardware needed.”

The XBL Facebook app meshes very well with NXE. Imagine if Facebook were run by NXE, that’s exactly what it looks like.

Finally, Hideo Kojima, the creator behind Metal Gear Solid takes the stage and announces Metal Gear Rising, which will be releasing on the Xbox 360.

“It’s great to be finally standing here on teh Xbox 360 stage. I’m bringing the Metal Gear Solid franchise to Xbox 360. I can confirm that next major release will be called Metal Gear Solid Rising and that development is currently underway for Xbox 360. We can’t wait to see what the next game holds for Solid Snake. But I didn’t say anything about Solid Snake.”

“Unfortunately, I can’t say more now, but I can promise you it’s a completely new Metal Gear experience.” Schappert: “Kojima-san, with Metal Gear on Xbox 360, we can finally say our platform is complete.”

Trailer

Next up is “Project Natal,” a motion sensing camera that will work with all Xbox 360s.

Creative director Kudo Tsunoda takes the stage: “Don challenged us to think beyond.”

The avatar moves the same way Kudo does. It’s actually very reactive, though it is a little stilted.

Kudo’s talking smack on Wii: “This isn’t the kind of game you end up on the sofa using some kind of preset waggle commands.” Oh, snap!

They’re onto Paint Party. He’s making a pool splashing motion to “throw” paint onto the canvas. He can change colors by simply “saying” the color. “White” “Dark Brown”

Peter Molyneux from Lionhead takes the stage to reveal their latest project. “We’ve been playing around with it at Lionhead for a few months now.”

Claire interacts with Milo, walks with him, talks with him. She’s interacting with him in a pretty impressive way – “grabbing” the goggles they throw at him, or dipping her hands into a lake. Claire draws a picture of a fish on real paper and ‘hands it’ to milo, who takes it from her, instantly generating it in the game world.

And that’s it! I have to say I’m pretty surprised at some of the things revealed at this press conference, and that is to say, pleasantly surprised. I was concerned at what the 360 was going to bring to the table in the future, as it looked like Sony was simply steamrolling them with game after game announcement, but it’s nice to see that MS isn’t just taking it on the chin, and are fighting back.

Still, Microsoft only has 5 or 6 first and second party game studios releasing games for the 360, and Sony has 20 first party, and 10 second party studios cranking away on PS3 games. Needless to say, the ball is in Sony’s court, and I’m eager to see what they bring to the table at their press conference tomorrow morning.

I’ll be covering all of the games revealed today as best I can over the next few days as details are given, so stay tuned!

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