The first conference of E3 was from Microsoft. Going first is always a difficult position, because all eyes are alert and on you, and your competition has the opportunity to 1up you. Although Microsoft didn't have any new big games announced, they had enough information to reassure Xbox 360 owners that they'd made a great investment.
Oddly enough, Microsoft held their press conference at a high school.
8:32 PM - Five fans play Halo 3 music to start the show.
8:36 PM - Peter Moore steps out, thanks the fans for their performance. Announces that every game shown tonight will be available this year.
8:39 PM - Peter Moore demonstrates the anticipated Rock Band game along with others.
8:45 PM - Announces Viva Pinata: Party Animals, a new party game for the Xbox 360.
8:46 PM - Mass Effect Footage. Mass Effect gets a release date in November.
8:48 PM - Talk about numbers. Moore states that the Xbox 360 is outselling the PS3 two to one.
8:51 PM - Video montage of games to expect on the Xbox 360. Footage shown includes Beautiful Katamari, Lost Odyssey, Project Gotham Racing 4, Dynasty Warriors: Gundam, Naruto: Rise of a Ninja, Rock Bank, Half Life 2: The Orange Box, Harry Potter: Order of the Phoenix, Crash of the Titans, Tony Hawk's Proving Ground, Spider-Man: Friend or Foe, Madden NFL 08, Call of Duty 4, Stranglehold, Guitar Hero 3, Mass Effect, Fatal Inertia, Medal of Honor: Airborne, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08, Ace Combat 6, NHL 08, Assassin's Creed, The Simpsons Game, Splinter Cell: Conviction, Nascar 08, Eternal Sonata, Bioshock, Bee Movie Game.
8:55 PM - Microsoft Vice President Jeff Bell introduces an Xbox Live game similar to Scene It! The game comes with four controllers for the price of a single Xbox game.
8:57 PM - Microsoft shows off footage from Naruto: Rise of a Ninja, which will be an Xbox 360 exclusive.
8:59 PM - Bell reiterates the fact that Microsoft's sports titles will be twice as fast as last years.
9:00 PM - Bell welcomes onto the stage NFL star running back Reggie Bush (from New Orleans Saints), and they give a demonstration of the new NFL 08.
9:03 PM - Xbox Live Arcade coverage. New games coming to Xbox Live Arcade are Super Puzzle Fighter II HD Turbo Remix, Marathon: Durandal, Poker Smash, Switchball, Tetris Splash, Puzzle Quest, Feeding Frenzy 2, Wing Commander Arena, Space Giraffe, War World, Sensible World of Soccer, Undertow Hexic 2, Geon, Spyglass Board Games, Bomberman Live!, Every Extend Extra Extreme, Track and Field, Golden Axe, and Sonic the Hedgehog.
9:05 PM - Talk about the Xbox Live Video Marketplace's success. Reveals that Disney movies are going to be available on the Video Marketplace in high definition that night. Some shown include Tarzan, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Emperor's New Groove, Pooh's Heffalump Movie, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Hercules, Armageddon, Sky High, The Waterboy, Bad Company, Unbreakable, The Brothers Grimm…
9:10 PM - Jef Bell announces the Xbox 360 Elite is going to be available in Europe on Aug 24th.
9:11 PM - Vicepresident and corporate officer of America, Shane Kim, comes onto the stage. He talks about holiday titles, Forza Motorsport 2, and then Project Gotham Racing 4.
9:13 PM - He welcomes Brian Woodhouse and Craig Howards and they demo the game in front of everyone.
9:14 PM - In the footage of PGR 4 they reveal that motorbikes will be available for the first time.
9:15 PM - Alan Wake, Fable 2, Halo Wars, and Too Human are used as examples for how Microsoft has "given game creators the resources to shoot for the stars, take risks, and go for things other creators can only dream of." Lost Odyssey footage also shown.
9:20 PM - Games for Windows. Gears of War is coming to the PC with new content and a game editor.
9:22 PM - Cliffy B comes out to demonstrate Gears of War on the PC with new content, showcasing a co-op fight against a Burmak. Stops demo before ending to avoid spoilers. States that there will be five new levels in the PC version.
9:24 PM - Sega, Eidos, and THQ have signed on to support Games for Windows. Epic is also building Games for Windows Live support into the Unreal Engine 3.0.
9:28 PM - Talk about Windows Vista. Nearly ten million gamers are on Vista. Games that are on Vista include Crysis, Hellgate: London, Conan: Hyborian Adventures as well as Thrillville: Off the Rails, Spider-Man: Friend or Foe, The Bee Movie Game, Kane and Lynch: Dead Men, Juiced 2: Hot Import Nights, Viva Pinata, Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts.
9:30 PM - Call of Duty 4 footage is shown. A real time demonstration has a character making his way through a field, covered in camoflauge. The shadowing and graphics are really impressive. The character appears to be following orders from a person through radio contact. Developers announce that an exclusive multiplayer beta of CoD 4 will be coming to Xbox Live!
9:38 PM - Footage of the second GTA IV Trailer. Moore notes that all the trailers were running off of the Xbox 360 hardware and reiterates that the Xbox 360 will be getting exclusive episodic content.
9:41 PM - Surprise Resident Evil 5 trailer. Appears to be set in a spooky African village. A longer version of the trailer will be available on Xbox Live on July 26th.
9:43 PM - Jade Raymond comes out to showcase Assassin's Creed. New gameplay has the protagonist in ancient Jerusalem. Altair overcomes a roadblock by distracting guards with a person thrown from a roof. On the way to destination, a game glitch causes a slaughtered foe to get stuck in the air. Altair walks into a trap, where the player showcases Altair's fighting moves.
9:51 PM - Moore comes back, introduces footage from live action Halo movie. Footage shows a factory where UNSC helmets are being manufactured, Warthogs and weapons are being assembled.
9:52 PM - Moore shows off special edition Xbox 360 camouflage green console for the "Halo Nation".
9:54 PM - New Halo 3 trailer is shown. Voice states that "Your World will Burn". Footage shows a Brute kicking a human, various locations, Cortana in pain and clutching her head.
Microsoft had an interesting conference, with a few big announcements but no truly huge announcement. It's great to have Disney movies available on the Video Marketplace, and there were some good games announced for Xbox Live Arcade as well. While there were some good games shown, everything was already known about, since we had recycled GTA IV footage, new Assassin's Creed gameplay that didn't show anything new, and Gears of War coming to the PC. In all honesty, Microsoft seemed a little complacent this year, too confident in their position.
Viva Pinata: Party Animals seems like it could be an interesting party game if done right. It's good that Mass Effect finally got a release date (November), although it's a little later than most fans were hoping. The PGR 4 footage looked great. The Gears of War information is good for those that haven't played the game yet and were hoping for a PC version, especially with the addition of an editor mode. Call of Duty 4 looked really astonishing. Assassin's Creed, while still looking great, was a bit buggy.
CCC Co-Site Director