E3 hasn’t even officially started yet and it’s already looking to live up to its previous glory. Microsoft started the day off with a bang and ended their own conference with a “Hmmm, neat” kind of feeling. Then EA came out and wowed in some cases but bored in others. Then, finally, Ubisoft held an “event” that felt more like a board meeting culminating in a pre-rendered trailer.
First up was the MS press event. They kicked thing off with a gorgeous and all around awesome trailer/opening cinematic for the upcoming Beatles Rock Band
. That was followed up with a live demonstration of the game, including the three-mic / three-part harmony. Then came a quick walk-on from Olivia Harrison and Mrs Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono. Once they waved and wandered off, the two remaining Beatles, Ringo and Paul came out to say a few words. I’ve got to hand it to MS, I expected a heck of a show this morning but seeing those two was a hell of a surprise. A few details of the game, 45 songs total as well as all of Abbey Road
for download at launch where discussed and then we moved on.
MicroSoft promised not to bore us with charts and figures (maybe they know something about Sony's briefing – June 2nd at 7pm!) - we were just going to be shown the goods. There where a few expected appearances like Splinter Cell: Conviction
as an exclusive to Xbox 360, and Halo: ODST
... as a multi-platform... I'm joking of course. There was also some-semi expected previews like Forza MotorSport 3
... with a live Audi!
But the real surprises, and really, the reason I get up so damned early to go to these things, were the complete blind-siders. Crackdown 2
was not something I had anticipated at all, and the reveal of some sort of monster/mutant enemy was a pleasant twist.
Cliffy 'B' and Epic/Chair's Shadow Complex
: 2D game-play with 3D graphics, and side-scrolling/ction platforming was another shock. Not just that they had been working on such a thing but that it looked so damned interesting. While I can’t speak for the story, the gameplay appears to be the crazy, beautifully rendered bastard child of Metroid
, Bionic commando
, and Contra
Another real surprise, and most exciting reveal of the whole thing for me, was the announcement that Bungie was already working on the next real Halo
. Assuming that this is the story of the Fall of Reach
(as told in the fantastic novel by Eric Nylund), it could well make up for the lacklustre story of Halo3
(For those who haven’t, I strongly recommend giving it, and the other two Nylund-penned novels, a read. Not just for Halo
fanboys, they really are damn good Sci-Fi.)
Little was revealed about the game other than its due out next year and there will be a beta system similar to what was done with Halo 3
, except this time with ODST
as the shoe in the door. I’m really hoping for the game to cover the childhood training of the Spartans but I’m not holding my breath.
Modern Warfare 2
– with a fantastic snowmobile ride! The Avatar-based Joy Ride
, and a few others rounded out the actual game announcements.
Again, I jest of course... there was the shock of seeing Kojima-san being lead on stage, looking slightly nervous (as if a Sony fanboy was going to snipe at him having first screamed “Hidaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyo!!!!”). He was placed front and centre to announce that Raiden would star in Metal Gear Solid Rising
on the Xbox 360. I'll be intrigued to see whether this news is met with “Meh” or “NoFwackingWai!”