Jun 14, 2010

GA Live E3 Blog

 I know we said we wouldn't broadcast it but here it goes.
The briefing is about to begin. Exciting! Take your seats already!

Hey, it's the Microsoft logo. And a bunch of explosions. Looks like they're kicking off with a Call of Duty: Black Ops trailer. So far it's the one we saw a few weeks back. Oh well.
Keeping with tradition, the head of the studio (Treyarch in this case) is giving a live demo of the game. It's a segment in the tunnels of southeast Asia, filled with rats, roaches, and bad guys. Skipping ahead, we emerge in the jungle and hop into a chopper. What do you know? We're piloting this thing... The jungle is surrounded by some jagged cliffs and waterfalls. Looks good. Your gunner seems to be qualified, tearing into any boats and enemy helicopters you come across. The waypoint tells us we're heading toward the base. Uh oh, missiles are locked on us. No biggie as it turns out.
Microsoft's senior VP Don Mattrick is here, and he announced that all future map packs and add-ons for the Call of Duty series will be launching first on the Xbox 360. Timed exclusives, eh?

Now he's talking about Kinect. Why isn't he talking about last night's event? Hmmm...

Now Hideo Kojima is on the stage. He says he's going to be showing something new and unique for his first Xbox 360 project. The torch is being passed for Rising, he says, just as Snake passed the torch to Raiden in Metal Gear Solid 2. Shigenobu Matsuyama is Rising's producer. Now they're talking about cutting. And it's a trailer! A knife!

The trailer shows off Raiden as he stalks a hulking soldier and eviscerates him. The gimmick in Metal Gear Solid: Rising is that Raiden can use his sword to cut enemies and objects at will. Vans, pillars, and hapless dudes are fair game. Even watermelon. Looks good!

Phil Spencer is now on stage, and he says that everything that's being shown on stage today is an Xbox exclusive.

Cliff Bleszinski is here. Here comes a demo of the four-player story co-op!

It looks like.... Gears, with four players. We see a couple of characters swap weapons with one another before fighting a polyp-covered tentacle. Looks like some enemies are having trouble prioritizing which of the four players to kill. Seeing what look to be some new Locust types, with gnarly tentacles. Something big is at a door and it pounds through. Now it's up and over. Nice slo-mo before ending the demo. Oh, a new mode called Beast is being debuted on the floor.

Peter Molyneux is here for some Fable III action. Set your hyperbole detectors on, gentlemen...
Whoa, short and sweet. We see a short trailer that shows off the varying paths players can take in Fable III. Looks like all roads lead to revolution.

Next up is a live-action teaser for a new Crytek called Codename: Kingdoms. Dudes have swords and look ominous and dirty. Other than that, no info was given.

Now some Halo: Reach action. It's stuff from the campaign.

Well, it looks like Halo. There's a beach and some Covenant guys storming the shores. Pretty standard stuff until we get inside a building. The butt-rock soundtrack subsides, and it's decidedly more atmospheric. Something is ready to launch. It's you. In a ship. Now you're flying a ship in space! And it looks playable! Sweet! Forget what I said about it looking just like Halo.

Now it's time to talk about Xbox Live. Wait, those weren't fireworks accompanying the presenter's entrance. It's a bum mic. Problem solved.

Hey, Microsoft likes to talk about Kinect. Oh, it's hard not to type Project Natal. Signing in is as easy as waking in front of the unit. There is clearly some kind of initial setup, but it looks pretty slick. The new interface breaks content into a series of squares, two columns high by four across. It beats flipping through tabs. You can also access content by saying things. Saying Zune will bring up the Zune menu and let users watch their content. You have Zune content, right? Right?

Skipping through movies can be done with a wave of the hand, and you can say "Xbox, pause" to pause the movie. Saying "Xbox, play" resumes it. Kinect and Xbox Live is coming to every country the Xbox 360 is sold. And Xbox Live is coming to Windows Mobile 7.

Now Microsoft is going to show off Video Connect, its new video chatting service. Oh boy are pervs going to have a field day with this. At least they'll have a reason to step away from Uno. The presenter is going to chat with her sister in Texas. Say hi to Kristen. Or don't.

You can watch movies with your friends. Would you do that? Who would do that? Oh well. You can do that if you want. Also, Kinect will track you if you step to the side of the unit. If you think you can lean out of the frame and pick your nose, think again.

ESPN is coming to Xbox 360. If you enjoy watching sports on your television, this is possibly good news. More than 3,500 live sporting events are coming in just the first year, many of them in HD according to these guys from ESPN. Viewers can do things like root for their team and see the results in a poll. Saying "Xbox, replay"

shows off a replay from a game from a different angle. Trivia also pops up on the screen from time to time, and you use your voice to give your answers. "I don't know, I don't really know much about sports," presumably shuts your system off. SPORTS!

It's free to all Xbox Live Gold members, though!

Now it's time to see six of the 10 launch games for Kinetic. Seriously, it's hard not typing Natal.

Kinectimals is the tiger simulation shown last night. It looks cute. It's hard not to make comparisons between it and Nintendogs. Almost as hard as not typing Natal. I want to pet that tiger! Now they're jumping rope! I can't even stand cats, and I want to play this dumb thing. I'll blame it on having kids or something.

Now it's time for Wii Sports Kinect Sports! The Avatars are losing their minds, even though the games haven't started.
Unlike at last night's event, we got to see some head-to-head action. If you like running in place next to your friends, this is going to make your head spin.

Kinect Joy Ride is up next. The presenter is using an imaginary steering wheel. I bet you could use the wheel from Mario Kart Wii and not feel quite so foolish. You can do flips! Flip! She's on her last lap and is in fifth place. Scratch that. Third. She's saying "boost" to boost. The race ends with her in third. Riveting!

Kinect Adventures, it's now your time to shine. Oh, this is the one where you hop on a raft and try to grab imaginary balls. And you duck and jump. If this game isn't free, Microsoft has lost their minds. I wonder if having really long arms is like cheating in this thing. Oh, sorry. The last one was on a platform. Now they're showing off the raft. It's a lot like the platform only with more water and less stability. These girls are really getting into it. It's too early to say "Whoo!" Kinect takes pictures of you while you're playing it, and you can post them on Facebook in case you have too many friends or something.

Now it's a commercial. People are running and stretching and throwing paint. Now they're dancing. Punching balls of paint is probably great exercise. Lots of high-fives are being exchanged. Your Shape Fitness Evolved is the game, and it's from Ubisoft.

It scans your body and shows you as an orange blob. That should inspire you to lose some weight. Players can choose a personal trainer tailored to their goals or take martial arts or yoga classes. People look like those machines that see through clothing in airport security. It's still better than seeing an Avatar, oddly enough. It shows the calories you've burned on the side of the screen. Now she's punching the crap out of a wall of cubes! Oh god there are so many cubes! Now it's yoga time. Players are inexplicably purple in this segment. Must be a zen thing. Skeletal guides show you where to move your body, and your limbs turn green when you're hitting the right moves. It looks like nice, immediate feedback for novices.

Hey, it's that dance game from Harmonix. Dance Central is...a game about dancing. Harmonix's Alex Rigopoulos says they've wanted to make a dance game for a long time, but they've been held back by technology. Now they can do it with the power of Natal. ***. I mean Kinect. Everyone is laughing at this poor guy demoing the game. Keep on dancing indeed.

We're wrapping it up... but wait. It's coming out November 4. More than 15 launch games will be available. Didn't they say 10 before?

Lucasarts is bringing Star Wars to Kinect. It's like a rail shooter with a lightsaber.
It looks almost exactly like the footage from last night's live demo. Suspiciously so, in fact. Hmmm...

Turn 10 Studios' Dan Greenawalt is here, minus his giant beard. Looks like you can pretend to drive a car with your hands. Is this a new game? Why did I buy Microsoft's wheel again? Whoa, car dudes are going to love this. Using Kinect, people can walk around the imaginary space around a car and see it from various angles. Miming a door opening opens the door of the onscreen car. Squat down and check out the tires. They didn't announce what it was, but it's coming in 2011.

There is an Xbox Slim behind us.

Now they're going to announce it. 250 GB Hard Drive, wi-fi built in. $299. Coming out this week.

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