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July 11, 2007
E3 News- Microsoft Press Conference

Microsoft's press conference at E3 was held this evening, and for those who did not get to see it, I've got a rundown of much of the things that occurred over its duration. (Note, timing is handled in Central Standard Time)

Rock Band
The event was really kicked off by Peter Moore, chuck full of enthusiasm, singing quite badly along with Harmonix to a song they were performing on stage to introduce Rock Band. Once that settled, Moore began the standard issue run-down of features, which included: the ability to play using a bass, drums, and even a microphone. He went on to say that the game will have a nice and varied library of songs, including new and classic artists, such as: The Strokes, Nirvana, Black Sabbath, and The Who.

He concluded this segment by stating that more bands would be arriving within the week and that individuals may even create their own "virtual bands" with, as he states it, 'friends around the world'.

Project Gotham Racing 4
Touted as an evolution of the series, Brian Woodhouse explains that it challenges players to race with "speed", "daring", and "style." Continuing that motorcycles are a new vehicle element in the game, which feature manufacturers such as: Honda, Suzuki, Ducati; and these will have dynamic play elements such as riding along side cars, pulling "wheelies", and sliding. Also featuring over 120 iconic vehicles, such as: Austin Minicooper, Dodge Viper, Ferrari Enzo.

Furthering that the game also showcases St. Petersberg, Shanghai, and Macau, at a total of 10 locations. As well, featuring dynamic weather effects which also allows for 'daring moves' during races. Concluding that players can share photos and videos with their friends, in "PGR On Demand".

Assassin's Creed
Ubisoft Montreal's Jade Raymond explains that the title is set in Jerusalem during the 3rd Crusade (however, this presents some mystery as visual 'glitches' suggest otherwise). Also explaining that a major focus of the game is the crowd, an interactive artificial intelligence which plays a major part during the game. As well as a completely interactive environment, where a player can utilize their surroundings to climb and swing to choose their own path through the game.

She goes on to point out the ability to create distractions to help your progress, before leading into the combat system. Continuing with the combat system, it is explained the basis is a very 'realistic' system of well-timed combinations, and counter-attacks, and using the enemies animations to time these counter-attack. As well as using the environment to augment your tactics during a battle, and even multiple weapons.

She concluded with a description of the "chase AI", saying that the enemy of this specific sequence has his own personality, and that no two chases will be the same. Furthering that if you fall behind he will wait and taunt you, and that if you come too close he will throw things at you, as well as having to contend with the previously mentioned crowd; which becomes a dynamic obstacle.

Halo 3
To conclude the evening, Moore announces that there will be a new, special edition, console for Halo Nation, which is a dark green affair to match the Spartan armor, and fitted with spots of bronze, outlining the disc drive and hard drive, as well as similarly themed accessories, coming world wide in September.

Concluding with more self-promotion and self-congratulations.

My opinion:
Frankly, the whole event kind of seemed like a waste of an evening. I am not against Microsoft or anything, far from it, more that the shit I was hoping they would cover was, for the most part, ignored. Fable 2, Eternal Sonata, Blue Dragon, Resident Evil 5? Just to name a few. You show me Rock Band, I show you a person who doesn't really care; although I know goc's quite interested in it, although I can't help but think that he may have wanted to do without Moore's attempt at singing and mishaps as much as I did, for all the segment was worth.

Then there's PGR4; they've had a standing franchise for awhile now, but really all I could hear during this part was how they were trying to condense the whole game into buzz-words and name brands, "speed", "daring", "style"? "Minicooper", "Viper", "Ferrari"? I am not really a PGR fan, or a fan of racing for that matter, but I've always thought the franchise held up well, but this was just silly. Although, I can give them some head-way, considering they had all of what... ten minutes on stage to really give the goods? I can see how limited time can stifle the creative mind, but I wonder if they could see it too.

Looking at Halo 3, there's another franchise I don't give a flying fuck about, and the "special edition" console isn't doing much to change this opinion. I've never been a great admirer of the games, nor have I honestly cared how they were marketed. Even at that, I did see the promise of the first title, which was considerably innovative for its time and in its genre, and left its mark on gaming as a whole, but it's beyond that now, and I don't think we'll see Bungie making such a large impact again. But hey, that's just me, you Halo fans should enjoy yourself, but here's the question I've got, am I the only one who thinks the special edition console looks like complete shit?

Finally I am going to touch on Assassin's Creed. I did it last, because, well, I wanted to. I've watched a couple of videos, and watched the one that was shown tonight a few times after the conference, and I've got to say that this title looks amazing; I am not really one to swoon over graphics, as I generally don't care how a game looks as long as I enjoy it, but Assassin's Creed is one of those that really just got me to "wow" there, which is saying something.

The explanations of the game were all very clinical at best, though. Even so, Jade managed to break up the pace well with little sparks that indicated she was... uh, actually alive. It also seemed like a cluster fuck of comprehension, though, as she clearly stated where the game takes place and when; but due to oddly placed visual glitches presents the mystery that, maybe, the title is a lot more than what we see and are lead to believe, and that alone just gets me interested. Not to mention the gameplay as a whole.

Truth of the matter is that I hadn't followed the title, really, even after it was announced for the DS. I'd grown an interest for it then, mind, but it wasn't until now that my interest really peaked and that I am actually looking forward to Assassin's Creed now.

All in all, Assassin's Creed could almost make up for the spectacle of self-congratulation that was exhibited tonight.

This is a list covering a lot of the evenings discussions as they had occurred.

10:39PM (CST) - Harmonix introducing Rock Band.
10:42PM (CST) - Peter Moore describes Rock Band, and the Rock Band experience in detail.
10:47PM (CST) - Mass Effect release in November 2007.
10:47PM (CST) - Economics of the videogame industry and growth. In detail about third-party title sales.
10:50PM (CST) - Self congratulation.
10:55PM (CST) - Jeff Bell introduction. description of 360's "SceneIt". New controllers, new trivia questions. Controller designed for "Everyone".
10:55PM (CST) - "SceneIt" will include 4 controllers and the game for the price of a regular 360 title.
10:57PM (CST) - Jeff Bell blows Naruto. Naruto comes to the 360. "Naruto: Rise of a Ninja".
11:00PM (CST) - Jeff explains that EA games are faster, and better, and stuff then EA games they bragged about last year.
11:03PM (CST) - Madden '08 launching in August 2007.
11:03PM (CST) - XBox: 7m member community. +1 every 8 sec. +Self congratulation. Desires to surpass the 10m mark quickly.
11:07PM (CST) - Explanation about content/offering of XBox Live. Expendatures by members. Both in HD and SD. Disney content on XBox Live.
11:11PM (CST) - Vice President Corporate Office Shane Kim introduction.

11:14PM (CST) - Project Gotham Racing 4 has "Speed", "Daring", and "Style". Racing fights?! Pulling a wheelie?! 120 iconic vehicles. Austin Minicooper. Locations: St Petersburg, Shanghai. Dynamic weather effects. Share photos, and videos, in community, "PGR On Demand". PGR4 in September.

11:21PM (CST) - Games for Windows: Viva Piniata, Gears of War on Windows. Gears of War + New content, editor, etc.
11:25PM (CST) - Vision of playing games. Sega, Eidos, THQ, partners for live-enabled titles.
11:30PM (CST) - Call of Duty 4 video. Call of Duty 4, going deep, and going hard.
11:33PM (CST) - Jason West, product lead, introduction. Call of Duty 4
11:38PM (CST) - Splinter Cell on the 360. Grand Theft Auto 4, October 16, 2007.

11:45PM (CST) - Assassin's Creed. Takes place in Jerusalem, during the 3rd Crusade. Interactive environments and paths, with choices. Stealth elements, with diversionary tactics. Interactive AI. Well-timed combination battle system, with counter-attacking, weapon choices, and environmental tactical based attacking. Dynamic obstacles, including crowd usage.

11:53PM (CST) - Halo 3 special edition console and accessories in September. End of year, Halo will be a billion dollar franchise. Holiday line-up.

Game List:
Assassins Creed (Ubisoft),
Beautiful Katamari (Namco Bandai),
Bee Movie (Activision),
BioShock (2K Games),
Blue Dragon (Microsoft Game Studios),
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (Activision),
Crash of the Titans (Sierra),
Dynasty Warriors: Gundam (Namco Bandai),
Eternal Sonata (Namco Bandai),
Fatal Inertia (KOEI),
Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock (RedOctane),
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Electronic Arts),
Lost Odyssey (Microsoft),
Madden NFL '08 (Electronic Arts),
Mass Effect (Microsoft),
Medal of Honor: Airborne (Electronic Arts),
Naruto: Rise of a Ninja (Ubisoft),
Nascar '08 (Electronic Arts),
NBA Live '08 (Electronic Arts),
NHL '08 (Electronic Arts),
Orange Box, The (Electronic Arts),
Project Gotham Racing 4 (Microsoft),
Resident Evil 5 (Capcom),
Rock Band (MTV Games),
Simpsons, The (Electronic Arts),
Spider-Man: Friend or Foe (Activision),
Splinter Cell: Conviction (Ubisoft),
Stranglehold (Midway),
Tony Hawk's Proving Ground (Activision),

XBox Live Arcade:
Boku Sudoku,
Bomberman Live (Hudson Soft),
Every Extend Extra Extreme (Q Entertainment),
Feeding Frenzy 2 (PopCap Games),
Geono (Eidos),
Golden Axe (Sega),
Hexic 2 (Microsoft),
Marathon: Durandal (Bungie),
Poker Smash,
Puzzle Quest 2 (D3 Publisher),
Sensible Soccer (Microsoft),
Sonic The Hedgehog (Sega),
Space Giraffe (Llama Soft),
Spyglass Board Games (Freeverse Software),
Super Puzzle Fighter 2 Turbo HD Remix (Capcom),
Switchball (Southend Interactive),
Tetris Splash,
Track and Field (Konami),
Undertow (Chair Entertainment),
War World (Third Wave),
Wing Commander Arena (Electronic Arts),
Word Puzzle,

Disney on XBox Live in HD:
Atlantis: The Lost Empire,
Bad Company,
Bringing Down the House,
Brothers Grimm,
Coyote Ugly,
Deja Vu,
Emperors New Groove,
Hunchback of Notre Dame,
Queen, The,
Sky High,
Winnie the Pooh,

-- lost in thought

Tags: News, E3, Microsoft, Press Conference

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