E3 2008: The Microsoft Press Conference
Written Tuesday, July 15, 2008 By Dan WebbView author's profile
E3 hasn’t even officially started and there has been a hell of a lot of tears of joy and bloodshed already. The Microsoft Press Conference was a showpiece if I’ve ever seen one... It had everything. It had the usually spiel about how Microsoft pwns everyone *yawn* but eventually, we got down to business when Don Mattrick handed the reigns over to Todd Howard, game director of Bethesda Games Studio, as they got the ball rolling with the much anticipated Fallout 3. One by one the big games rolled and we had to pick our jaws up off the floor more than once. Rather than bore you to tears, welcome to the Microsoft Press Conference summary in bullet form courtesy of Xbox 360 Achievements.
Fallout 3 - Preview
• Fallout 3 was introduced with a short trailer that in the words of Howard shows the “harshness and the humour of the world of Fallout 3.” This trailer will soon be available on the Xbox Live Marketplace for all to marvel over.
• Visuals are stunning. Can switch between first- person and third-person modes.
• Perks are available that add to entertainment values such as “Bloody Mess” which lets people die in “ridiculously violent ways”
• Can use the Pipboy 3000 to listen to radio stations out in the wasteland.
• The “Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System” is available so that you can queue up attacks on enemies rather than using the manual aiming and firing.
• 100 hours of gameplay and a wide open world covering Washington D.C.
• Very, very gory and bloody.
• Huge array of weapons, our personal favourite is obviously the “fatman” which is a mini nuclear bomb catapult which is hugely destructive.
• “Exclusive” and “substantial” downloadable content for the Xbox 360 version.
• Resident Evil debut on a Microsoft console .
Resident Evil 5 – Preview
• Visuals are simply fantastic.
• Step in to the shoes of Chris Redfield investigating a bio-terrorism incident.
• Online co-op mode confirmed.
• Teamwork is essential to overcome the amount of enemies and obstacles that you encounter throughout the game.
• Shows a new variation of one of the tougher enemies from Resident Evil 4.
• Game will release on Friday March 13th in Europe and North America. Japan will see the release of the title on March 12th.
Fable 2 – Preview
• Fable 2 is “finished”.
• Online co-op is unveiled.
• Ambient orbs allow you to invite your friends in to your world when you come across them at any time.
• World is bright and vivid.
• Marriage returns, invite your friends round to meet the family. Children return and will grow up as well.
• Fable 2 will be available sometime in October.
Gears of War 2 – Preview
• Light effects are out of this world especially the way it pierces through the obliterated buildings.
• Whole array of different sized locusts and enemies.
• Can pick up a locust shield off the floor when they drop them.
• Flamethrower looks like great fun.
• The dismountable mini gun turret looks impressive as it mows down wave after wave of locust.
• The ending of the preview would indicate that you get to ride a Brumak.
• New mode revealed – Horde – 5 player co-op mode where players can work together to take out wave after wave of locust.
• November 7th is revealed as the release date for this Xbox 360 exclusive.
General Xbox Announcements• Two new partners – NBC (TV) and Universal Studios (Movie).
• 2 new HD partners to add to the library for Europe – MGM International and Constantine.
• Dashboard makeover (part of fall update).
• Avatars confirmed (part of fall update).
• “Live Party” announced. Stay together as a party throughout games and chat as a group and such.
• Xbox Live Primetime unveiled.
• Netflix partnership announced with the ability to share your library with your Xbox Live Party.
For a more detailed analysis of this part of the presentation, take a look at our separate feature here.
XBLA Game Announcements
• Geometry Wars 2 Retro Evolved is announced (not really an announcement since we unveiled the achievement list last week sometime but hey, we’ll take it.)
• Galaga Legions – a follow up to the original will be available sometime throughout August.
• Portal Still Alive – a 2008 exclusive for Xbox Live Arcade with new test chambers, available in the fall.
• South Park Xbox Live Arcade game announced.
• The original Banjo Kazooie title will be available on the Xbox Live Arcade at some point.
Scene it? Box Office Smash Announcements
• Box Office Smash will now go global via Xbox Live meaning you can play online with friends and add new content to keep the game fresh and exciting.
• This title makes use of Microsoft's avatars.
“You’re in the Movie” Announcements
• Make short campy B movies for your friends and family to enjoy.
• Features brief mini games and improvisations that are edited in to brief movies.
• Takes advantage of the Vision cam to project you on to the big screen.
• The mini games take the footage that was just captured and creates a mini movie from it. Very, very innovative and clever.
• Game will ship with Live Vision camera this holiday season.
Guitar Hero World Tour Announcements• Includes a “wireless drum kit with symbols" and an “innovative touch slide guitar”.
• Online band career.
• 8 player battle of the bands.
• On disc - “Greatest number of master tracks from the best bands ever”.
• More than 85 songs.
• Music studio will allow gamers to make and share music with people around the world
• Special announcement 1# - REM track pack featuring 3 songs from their new album will land on Guitar Hero before anywhere else.
• Special announcement 2# - As well as exclusive Van Halen and The Eagles, tracks Metallica’s highly anticipated “Death Magnetic” album will be downloadable content in its entirety at the same time the album is released, this will be on both Guitar Hero 3 when it launches and Guitar Hero World Tour in the fall.
Lips Announcements• First game that will let you sing to songs from your own music collection.
• First game ever to feature wireless mics that lights up according to your performance, and is also motion sensitive.
• Ships this holiday with loads of different genres covered.
• Duffy will be a featured artist on the game. Probably with “Mercy” like she performed at the conference.
Rock Band 2 Announcements
• Rock Band 2 will premiere exclusively on Xbox 360 this September, not in Europe though we presume.
• 84 songs on the disc which are all master copies. We see that Guitar Hero World Tour had to go one better... Literally. 85 instead of 84. How juvenile!
• Guns N’ Roses – “Shacklers’ Revenge” – First track off the Chinese Democracy album will feature in Rock Band 2.
• Bob Dylan – “Tangled up in Blue” will also feature in Rock Band 2.
• AC/ DC make an exclusive appearance with “Let There Be Rock” – They were the single most requested band by the Rock Band audience.
• For the full track listing, see here.
• All Rock Band DLC is forward compatible with Rock Band 2.
• If you own the original Rock Band, you can export almost all the original tracks so the need for disk swapping is eradicated.
• At the end of the year there will be over 500 songs available to play and they will continue to bring new tracks every week which will only accelerate towards the end of the year.
Square Enix Announcements• Infinite Undiscovery – Xbox 360 Exclusive. Available on Sept 2nd (NA), Sept 5th Europe and Sept 11th (Japan and Asia).
• Star Ocean – The Last Hope – Coming to Xbox 360 Spring 2009. First available trailer available today only on the Xbox 360 Marketplace.
• The Last Remnant – Xbox 360 premiere this holiday season before any other console.
• The Last Remnant is launching worldwide on the 20th November.
• The game will also feature on the Games for Windows platform.
• In the biggest shock of the showcase, Square Enix President Yoichi Wada returns to announce that the previously exclusive Final Fantasy XIII will be released on the Xbox 360 at the same time as the Playstation 3 version.
That’s pretty much every key point from the 90 minute presentation. Obviously the big news was seeing the PS3 exclusive, Final Fantasy XIII getting a simultaneous launch, but to get tid bits about co-op in Fable 2 and Resident Evil made us warm inside. The Guitar Hero World Tour adding one more track than Rock Band 2 made a few of us roll our eyes at the petty antics, but there is one thing for sure, there are plenty of music/family orientated titles to keep us busy around the holiday period. Of course, the dashboard, come fall of this year will be totally different as well... Wow, everything is changing... But change in this respect is nothing but a good thing. Congratulations to Microsoft on a well presented and powerful action plan. We look forward to another year ahead with so many fantastic titles.