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Wednesday July 11, 2007 3:54 am

E3 2007: Microsoft’s Press Conference Recap And Impressions

E3 Microsoft Bringing It Home

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend E3 this year – instead, I’m on vacation in Cape Cod, using awful hotel Wi-Fi to watch streamed press conferences. Not the most glamorous way to take it all in, but exciting announcements, great games and new details are welcome no matter how you hear about them.

Here’s my personal transcription (in very brief form) of all the announcements and showings, along with some reflection on what Microsoft had to show.

Peter Moore played Rock Band with some of the developers. Nothing particularly exciting; it’s exactly what we expected it to be – that’s not a bad thing, though.

Viva Piñata: Party Animals announced. Think Viva Piñata crossed with Mario Party. It can’t be worse than Fusion Frenzy.

Mass Effect is shown. It’s coming out in November, and will be the awesome. Yes, the awesome.

Jeff Bell shows off a new title to 360, Scene It, which will be built from the ground up and will come with four controllers designed for the game specifically. All for the price of a regular retail game.

Naruto is exclusive to 360. I couldn’t care less, myself, but in Japan it could be big.

Madden runs at 60FPS as we already know, Jeff Bell plays Reggie Bush for a bit, all the while with a very painful attempt at trying to screw with the other. I clapped in my hotel room when this portion was over.

7 million Xbox Live members, and Microsoft predicts there will be 10 million by next E3.

An Xbox Live Arcade montage is shown off, including games such as Marathon, Sonic, Hexic 2, Every Extend Extra Extreme, Tetris, Sudoku, and a bunch of others. Sonic and Golden Axe are both available tonight on Xbox Live.

Disney stuff is coming to Xbox Live Video Marketplace, including Tarzan, Hercules, Atlantis, Waterboy, Unbreakable, Coyote Ugly, Déjà vu and more, all in HD. All available tonight.

Canada and Europe are getting the Video Marketplace later this year.

Europe is getting the 360 Elite.

Project Gotham Racing 4 is demoed. It now features bikes, and the weather effects and new locales are shown off. A new feature includes being able to share both pictures and videos with friends.

Lost Odyssey is shown, maybe Final Fantasy fans will get their RPG fix from it. My money is on a resounding no, though.

Two new titles coming to Games for Windows: Gears of War (even Shane Kim admitted how much of a shocker that one was) and Viva Piñata.

CliffyB shows off Gears for PC, which will have new achievements, maps, and modes. The game will run on both XP and Vista.

Xbox Live is going to be integrated with Unreal Engine 3, so future games with the engine built in will likely be supporting that. No word on Unreal Tournament 3, though.

Lots of GFW titles shown off with the GFW branding, including Hellgate: London, Crysis, and World in Conflict.

Call of Duty 4 looks great as it a trailer and demo is run. We’ll be getting an online multiplayer beta, more details at http://www.charieoscardelta.com (C-O-D, get it?)

Splinter Cell: Conviction, that exclusive 360 SC game, is shown.

Peter Moore talks about the episodic content in Grand Theft Auto IV, and implies that PS3 won’t have any when he says that the 360 is the only place to “get the complete GTA experience.” Two episodes by next Spring.

Resident Evil 5 trailer shown, this is the only game shown at the conference that isn’t coming out in 2007. But it looks like it’ll be worth the wait.

Assassin’s Creed has a demo shown with some awful commentary which made me want the demo to stop soon. Which it did; good for people listening, bad for those wanting to see more AC. (What was there looked very cool, though.)

Peter Moore mentions Star Wars and its impact, and then talks about something that’s about to be shown being worked on by the director of the delayed Halo movie, WETA (the team behind Lord of the Rings) and Bungie. Halo-oriented stuff shown, including a warthog, assault rifles and other familiar looking goodies. But no Chief, in the Master or Mister form.

Following the video, Peter grabbed a new Xbox 360 from behind a desk and I swore he was about to introduce a new SKU, but it’s simply a Halo 3 Special Edition 360, which is coming this September along with Halo 3 themed accessories.

Peter outlines all of the games we’ll be seeing on 360 this year. Lots of good stuff, but no revelations, really.

Single player Halo 3 trailer shown, with fantastic music as always and brief clips of some battles. Cortana is shown very briefly; she falls over. HA! THAT’S WHAT YOU GET FOR MAYBE BEING A TRAITOR! Ahem. We see Sergeant Johnson. Really big ships shown, and what is apparently Earth being burned by Covenant ships.

The End. We didn’t get any huge announcement – no price drop, no new SKU, no Metal Gear Solid, no Final Fantasy, no Games for Windows Live developments, no Peter Moore tattoos. but lots of great stuff. I guess with all of the success Microsoft is having, it’s hard to be really blown away by something that isn’t a bombshell, but across the board this was a pretty nice showing.

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