E3: Microsoft Conference Wrap Up

Here is just a quick round-up of what we saw during the Microsoft Press conference at E3. The highlights included Metal Gear Solid: Rising, Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 and Xbox 360 exclusive titles such as Splinter Cell Conviction and Left4Dead 2 and the Microsoft’s partnership with Facebook and Twitter! Microsoft however stole the show with the announcement of their ground breaking controller codenamed Project Natal.

This year Microsoft decided to skip the numbers and just show what gamers want to see, world premiere trailers and info.

The press conference kicked off with Tony Hawk revealing Tony Hawk Ride as well as the final version of the skateboard controller. The controller includes infrared so that you can reach for grabs, lift it up, etc, just like you would with a real skateboard.

The Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 trailer and Infinity Ward team were next. They also showed some single-player gameplay footage and it looks INCREDIBLE! The gameplay footage started out with you following your comrade as you ice-climb up a mountain and almost fell off when you miss timed one of your jumps. They then began to take out enemies while using the blizzard as cover. The presentation ended with you hopping on the snowmobile and taking out enemies while you escape the compromised mission. The game and environmental effects are looking absolutely fantastic. CoD: Modern Warfare 2 on the Xbox360 will be getting the first two map packs released for the game before any other console or platform.

Square Enix showed off Final Fantasy XIII for the Xbox 360. They announced last year that the game was coming for the Xbox 360, and this year they presented the first gameplay footage from the game. The battle scene has been revamped, and they showed it off with two of the heroes during a boss battle. There are now four separate timer gauges. They also announced that they are targeting an autumn 2010 release date.

Once Final Fantasy XIII was done, Microsoft showed off the Xbox 360 and Xbox LIVE exclusive titles.

First up was the Epic team, including Cliffy B and Donald Mustard from CHAIR Entertainment. They introduced us to Shadow Complex, a side-scrolling shooter that runs on the Unreal 3 Engine and you can not only shoot your enemies, but you can use the environment to take them out. With over 10 hours of gameplay, they promise that there will be a lot of replay ability as well as some killer boss battles. This one is going to set the Xbox Live Marketplace on fire.

A trailer for Joy Ride was shown, and it was announced that the game will be FREE! It’s coming this summer and will allow you to actually put your avatar behind the wheel to race your friends.

The new trailer for Crackdown 2 was displayed. No additional commentary on this one… They just had the trailer and no presenters. Looks awesome though.

The first trailer for Left4Dead 2 was shown to the press, and it looks particularly brutal. The new trailer hinted at new zombies, as well as new weapons, including a chainsaw! It’s set for a November 10 release date. Sadly nothing was mentioned about the eagerly awaited Half Life 2: Episode 3.

The new trailer for Splinter Cell: Conviction was shown by Ubisoft. They’ve changed it quite a bit, and showed it off during their E3 demo. Sam’s on a personal mission now and is trying to find out who killed his daughter. The story is revealed in real-time. Driven by his emotions, Sam is the ultimate predator. The new “Mark & Execute” ability was shown, and it looks particularly nasty. New weapons include an EMP grenade.

The gameplay demo for Forza Motorsport 3 looked pretty good. Including an all new graphics engine running at 60 frames per second, one button driving and in-game rewind, it’s looking pretty powerful. Some of their new community features were announced including car customizations, tuning and video editing capabilities.

Bungie dropped Halo 3 ODST on the press with some new gameplay footage. The demo takes place a few weeks before Halo 3. You’re an Orbital Shock Trooper and have been separated from your team after being dropped. ODSTs have access to a few weapons that Spartan’s don’t, including sound suppressed weapons and a low-light visor to help you see.

Halo Reach was announced with a teaser trailer, which didn’t give any details except that it will launch in spring 2010. When you buy Halo 3 ODST you’ll get an invitation to the multiplayer Beta!

A gameplay demo was presented for Alan Wake and it is going to scare your socks off. The presentation video took place outdoors, and looked pretty creepy WITHOUT the sound effects and narrative. We also got our first look at the in-game combat and gunplay. Alan Wake will be available autumn 2010.

Microsoft is re-launching its video service with full Instant 1080p HD and all movies and TV shows will be available without any discs, downloads or delays. They are also doubling the number of countries that their video service will be available in. Instant On 1080P will be launching in spring. With most of these countries from Europe and the new Seacom cable I really hope that we would be able to make use of this feature in the new future.

They’re also adding the ability to watch videos with your friends through Xbox LIVE Party. The presentation included a movie screen playing a movie and people’s avatars sitting in front of the screen watching it.

Microsoft announced that Facebook has partnered with them and they gave the first glimpse at the Facebook experience on Xbox Live. You can see both your Facebook friends AND your Xbox LIVE friends together, as well as share and view photos straight from your Xbox. One of the new features is Facebook Connect, which allows you to post screenshots to your profile.

In addition to partnering with Facebook, Microsoft is partnering with Twitter. You can post directly to Twitter from your Xbox 360.

Both Twitter and Facebook are coming to the Xbox 360 this spring.

The big announcement during the press conference was that the Metal Gear Solid franchise will be coming to the Xbox 360. Metal Gear Solid: Rising is on its way to the Xbox 360 and they capped it off with a teaser trailer for the upcoming game. They didn’t say much, but they did say that it is a completely new Metal Gear experience starring Raiden and not Solid Snake.

Microsoft announced that there will be a new controller for the Xbox 360. So what’s the new controller? You! Codenamed Project Natal, the “controller-less” control recognizes voice and motion. The presentation included some martial arts and a racing game that required one user to drive and another changed the wheels during a pit-stop. The controller features full-body motion capture and will allow the ability to scan items to use in-game (the video featured a teenager scanning a skateboard and then riding it in-game). It even went as far as showing a teenage girl picking out a new outfit that her friend recommended over video and browsing through the Xbox LIVE movies with their hands.

Microsoft also showed a clip of a project Lionhead Studios has been working on named Milo. Using the Project: NATAL motion and vocal sensor, a lady named Clair was able to interact with Milo like he was a real person. They held a conversation like they knew each other for years and could sense when each other was feeling nervous and lying. Clair was also able to move water by moving her hands in front of the motion sensor and even drew something on a “piece” of paper and handed it to Milo.