July 19, 2008 (Los Angeles, CA) - Activision made a big to-do about their withdrawal from the Electronic Software Association (ESA) and with it the year's premiere media event, E3. However, it seems they just couldn't stay away. On Tuesday night, they rented out an old church not far from the Los Angeles Convention Center to preach the merits of their fall line-up.
Comedian Nelson Diaz stepped up as master of ceremonies, though his scripted marketing-speak was hardly a showcase for his comedic talents. Mike Griffith took the stage for the requisite business talk, touting the success of Guitar Hero: On Tour and pumping the high profile Vivendi merger.
Griffith also teased the audience with allusions to Singularity, Raven's new time manipulation-based shooter, Singularity, Marvel Ultimate Alliance II, and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, based on the new movie, but showed precious little. They ended the segment with some talk of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, a sequel to their movie licensed hit from last year.
There has been much trepidation about developer Treyarch's return to the driver's seat of the Call of Duty franchise, but Mark Lamia took the mic with a confident swagger to let us know it would all be okay. His demonstration focused on what he called "competitive co-op" where stat-tracking put those playing alongside each other in competition. The game uses the Call of Duty 4 engine and seemed to have a similarly cinematic feel. The Pacific setting may have been done by many competing franchises like Medal of Honor, but it is at least something new for Call of Duty.
Next, Activision unveiled a bit more about the next game in their ongoing Spider-Man series: Spider-Man: Web of Shadows. This time there would be no movie tie-in, freeing the developers to create an original story about a symbiote invasion. A major focus in this title is going to be the mid-air combat, which looked incredibly stylish, and seems like a huge step up from the underwhelming fighting of the previous games.
Quantum of Solace was next, and we were treated to a look at the trailer for the newest James Bond movie. Keith Snelgrove, who had previously partnered with Electronic Arts in maintaining the Bond franchise, said that he felt that this could be a new beginning for Bond games, and marked a reboot for the series just as the Casino Royale film rebooted the movies. In fact, the game would encompass the stories of both of Daniel Craig's Bond films. With this new, more physical 007, Activision is using the Call of Duty 4 engine to create a more intense, action-oriented game. It's a mix of first-person and third-person action with a Gears of War-like cover system, stealth elements, and some good old-fashioned running and gunning. The showing was impressive, but we worry if trying to push this title out for a simultaneous launch with the film will prove to be a mistake with little real payoff. After all, the most successful Bond game to date, GoldenEye 007, was released nearly two years after the film.