[E3 2009] Microsoft’s E3 Press Conference Recap

I’ve just finished watching G4’s live showing of the Microsoft E3 press conference. Not setup for live blogging and I can’t bring myself to hop on the Twitter bandwagon, but here are my thoughts on the conference as I incoherently typed out while watching the show. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. What did you think of Microsoft’s presentation?

Conference starts with an animated Rock Band: The Beatles video, it’s the game’s opening cinematic. World premier game demonstration. Harmonix “house band” demos the game playing the song “Day Tripper.” It’s Rock Band with The Beatles music as expected, nothing too surprising to see. First trailer and 10 songs unveiled next. Not a Rock Band fan so this doesn’t knock my socks off, but I’m sure this is pretty exciting for RB fans. Ship date is set for 9/9/09. Full Abbey Road album to be available as DLC shortly after launch. Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr take the stage and show they know nothing about the game. Crowd seems to grow awkwardly silent as they ramble on.

Moving on into the presentation, sales charts and graphs are cast aside. MSoft proceeds to show 10 world premier games and “revolutionary new experiences for everyone.”

Tony Hawk takes the stage to demo Tony Hawk Ride, the new game with the skate boarding controller. World exclusive trailer unveiled. Again, doesn’t interest me too much. Don’t need another special controller to use for one game. If I wanted to really skate board, I’d go get a real skate board.

Up next is the trailer for Modern Warfare 2 that’s already been shown online. Infinity Ward is now on to demo the game. Snowy level, starts high up climbing a mountain. Ice climbing looks pretty cool. Just watching it gives the sense that your character could fall at any time. Skips forward a bit to a section on solid ground. Cool gun with a built-in radar on the side is shown off. Skips ahead again to some action on an airport runway. Leads to a snowmobile escape sequence. Looks intense, just as you’d expect of an Infinity Ward gam. Demo ends. Two Modern Warfare 2 maps confirmed as timed exclusive to Xbox 360.

Square Enix comes on next to show off Final Fantasy XIII. World premier of the game running in real-time on 360 hardware. Very impressive graphically. Four active time gauges. Battle system look dynamic. Odin summon spell demoed. Spring 2010 US release date targeted, but not confirmed.

Everything else 360-exclusive from here on out. Cliffy B takes stage to show next Epic game. It’s a new XBLA game from Chair Entertainment. It’s Shadow Complext. Side-scrolling action game, sorta like Metroid and Bionic Commando Rearmed. Looks awesome, but the controls seem like they may not be tuned all the way yet. 10-hour campaign promised. Game is coming out this summer.

Joy Ride shown off next. Kart racing game using imported Avatars. Free to download and free to play, so that’s cool. Coming this winter to Xbox Live.

Crackdown 2 revealed next via CG teaser trailer. Then a CG trailer for Left 4 Dead 2, coming November 17th to PC and 360. Splinter Cell Conviction CG trailer shown next. It’s a great trailer!

Ubisoft follows up with a demo of Conviction. Game looks AMAZING! Appears to have the pacing and quick-hitting action of a Bourne flick. Mission objectives show up in big letters on walls in the environment. Keeps the narrative flowing without breaking to pause menus, but looks kinda distracting. Game due out this fall exclusively on Xbox 360.

Turn 10 comes on to show off Forza 3, coming in October. “Definitive racing game of this generation,” as the presenter says at least five times. Visually stunning. Over 400 cars from 50 manufacturers. Touts player-created content over XBL. Create paint jobs. New video editor. Create and share home videos.

Halo 3: ODST world premier demo comes next. Game starts weeks before Halo 3. Two new sound-suppressed weapons and visor options. Looks like a darker, grittier Halo. Story unfolds via flashbacks to other ODST characters. Looks good but nothing that special. New co-op game mode, Firefight confirmed. Game will ship September 22nd.

Top secret Halo project revealed. It’s Halo: Reach. Coming in 2010 from Bungie. Buy Halo 3: ODST, get into the Reach multiplayer beta. Just a teaser trailer, no real information.

Alan Wake shown off after a long time in hiding. Seems a lot like an Alone in the Dark game. Typical horror experience, roaming around a dark environment guided only by the beam of your flashlight. Will ship spring 2010.

New music service confirmed with last.fm. Instant access to millions of songs. Free for gold members later this year. Improvements to Netflix implementation announced. Live TV through Sky coming to UK. Relaunching video download service with upgraded video quality to full 1080p this fall. Watch movies in Live Party with others online in virtual movie theater rooms with your Avatars. Partnership with Facebook announced. Don’t care. Twitter coming to XBL as well. Again, don’t care.

Kojima comes out!!! Metal Gear Solid Rising, the next installment in the MGS series, confirmed for Xbox 360. Not specified as an exclusive, so it’ll surely be coming to PS3 too. The series moving forward will apparently no longer be exclusive to PlayStation either. Teaser trailer unveiled. Lightning Bolt Action is the game’s awesome subtitle. Kojima promises a completely new MGS experience with this one. The long-rumored Xbox 360 port of MGS4 is nowhere to be seen, so I think we can all let that rumor die at this point.

Rumored motion control device revealed to close the show. As rumored, it’s a camera device called Project Natal. I’ve seen this before, it was called the EyeToy. Obviously this is far more advanced, but still it’s the same concept. It can scan objects and facial mapping. Voice recognition. Tracks full 3D movements. Steven Spielberg enters to chat about it, as if that somehow gives the device credibility. Some early prototypes demoed. Dashboard navigation shown, Minority Report style. Next demo is a called Ricochet, it’s like a 3D Breakout. Next demo is Paint Party. 3D art demo, use body to paint on a giant canvas. Change paint colors simply by voice recognition. Peter Molyneux comes out to show off a demo he’s been working on using Natal. Created a boy named Milo who you can interact and talk with in real-time. The technology is absolutely incredible, but even if it works just as it’s shown it’s still not something I see myself ever using that much. I like controlling games with a controller!

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Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!