Perhaps the biggest genuine surprise at X06 on Wednesday, other than our mate Adam actually buying a round, was the appearance of Peter Jackson, genius movie director extraordinaire and all round nice guy, who Microsoft wheeled out on stage and introduced as the saviour of the future of entertainment. Or something like that.
Jackson, as we told you yesterday
, has formed a games development studio out in New Zealand, called Wingnut Interactive, to explore partnerships with Microsoft Game Studios.
And, whilst debate rages on in the SPOnG office over whether or not the deal is something for gamers to genuinely get excited about, or whether or not it's all so much PR puff, you cannot avoid doffing your cap to Microsoft for managing to pull it off. It certainly puts Nintendo's recent conference celeb appearances to shame (Tim Henman anyone?).
In a round table discussion at X06 with Peter Molyneux and Bioware's Greg Zeschuk, Jackson said a little more about his reasons for wanting to make games as well as his changing opinions of movies. Seems he's getting a bit Bored of the Rings.
Wingnuts first major project will be a totally new instalment of Halo, in association with Bungie. Its second, as-yet-unnamed project is said to widen the market to casual gamers as well as the hardcore (Christ, we're sick of writing that sentence now!).
Talking about movies, Jackson commented: "I've got to the stage now where I just end up catching something on DVD and I'm more excited about games coming out in the next 2-3 months than films."
'So what? We all feel that way' you may be thinking - but for a major Hollywood producer of Jackson's standing to make such a confession is quite something.
Jackson continued: "That created an awareness in me of the shift in entertainment options out there, and if I'm feeling that others are too."
His ideas for stories which are possibly more suited to an interactive environment as opposed to movies are what he intends to explore with Wingnut Interactive.
Speaking at the conference, alongside a beaming Peter Moore on Wednesday night in Barcelona, Jackson had told the assembled masses that Xbox 360 and Live "allows the storytellers of our time to express themselves in a new medium... From a movie-maker's point of view, it is clear to me that the Xbox 360 platform is the stage where storytellers can work their craft in the same way they do today with movies and books but taking it further with interactivity."
All interesting stuff, we're sure you will agree. We'll find out more about Wingnut Interactive's mysterious 'casual gaming' project as soon as we can.
You can see a movie of the panel discussion over on Team Xbox