June 1, 2009 (The Galen Center, Los Angeles) - After last year's surprises at Microsoft's Keynote, we can't help it but expect lots of exciting announcements. All we know is they've just announced the Zune HD and also a new video service for Xbox LIVE users. Other than that, we can only hope they have several cool games in the works for the Xbox 360, and maybe even a new IP or two.
**Want to know what happened?**
Check out the play-by-play below for up-to-date info on the Press Conference.
10:23 - Five minutes till the conference starts. The theater is filled with exciting green lights, circles, and three big screens where we just saw a flash of a music game we don't know about. Wonder what it is?
10:28 - Intro video for The Beatles Rock Band. Looks like fun! It'll be released on Sep. 9, 2009, the same day as a compilation of remastered Beatles songs will be launched.
10:30 - Alex and the Harmonix are here live to celebrate the launch of the game with the song "Day Tripper."
10:33 - Giles Martins comes onto the stage to talk about the game and show us the first official trailer of the game. "I Want to Hold your Hand," "I Feel Fine," "Day Tripper," "TaxMan," "I Am the Walrus," "Back in the USSI," "Octopus Garden," "Here Comes the Sun," etc. are some of the featured songs.
10:37 - The entire Abbey Road album will be available for the game and "All You Need is Love" will be Xbox 360 exclusive.
10:38 - Paul McCartney and Ringo Star take the stage. Amazing surprise! They didn't have much to say, but they're definitely excited about the upcoming Rock Band title.
10:41 - John Schappert, Corporate Vice-President of Microsoft is here to talk, and he promises not to show charts. Instead, he says we can expect ten world premieres, new experiences for everyone, etc.
10:43 - It's Tony Hawk's turn; he's showing us a revolution in the franchise, Tony Hawk Ride. The game will be packed with a sweet skateboard controller with sensors and a lot more, promising to be the most intuitive Tony Hawk game yet.
10:48 - Looks like we're still in Activision mode, as an action-packed Modern Warfare 2 trailer takes over the screens.
10:50 - Jason West and Vince Zampella, from Infinity Ward, head onto the stage to talk about their game. Gameplay footage is shown. Ultra-realistic visuals show Captain MacTavish and the player's character climb up an ice wall before penetrating an enemy base.
10:55 - The game looks amazing to say the least, so fans of the franchise should be pleased. Looks like there'll be a lot of vehicle integration into the fighting such as snowmobiles. The audience at The Galen center can't help it but cheer. Also, they announce two map packs for the game will be available on Xbox 360 first.
10:58 - Yoshinori Kitase and Motomu Toriyama, producers of Final Fantasy XIII enter the stage. First, they talk numbers, but then they give us the goods with a trailer showing exciting gameplay footage. They describe the combat style as different from the past. On the trailer, the protagonist fights a Mansvin Warmech, who ends up turning into a very ugly beast! The game will be released in Spring 2010.
11:03 - Cliff Bleszinski, Creative Director, and Donald Mustard, Design Director of Epic Games came to show us their new game, an arcade shooter title called Shadow Complex. It'll be released on XBLA this summer.
11:06 - An interesting new trailer shows us an upcoming game for Xbox LIVE called Joy Ride. It'll be a fun racer that'll feature the Xbox Avatars as characters. The best part is it'll be free to download and free to play!
11:08 - Another trailer full of action... Crackdown 2! But wait, there's more! Zombies. Zombies and... Left 4 Dead 2. Talk about surprising! The game will be in store shelves Nov. 17, 2009 for Xbox 360 and PC.
11:10 - Here's a Ubisoft 360 exclusive. If you enjoy action titles with amazing visuals and lots of bullets, be ready for Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Conviction! Maxime Béland (Creative Director) and Alexandre Parizeau (Producer) are here to shows us an exclusive E3 demo. One of Sam Fisher's new abilities is mark... and excute. Plain and simple! The game will feature somewhat of a sandbox style, allowing Sam to sneak his way into buildings, hide in the darkness, and then attack.
11:17 - Forza Motorsport 3 trailer! Dan Greenawalt, Game Director of Turn Ten Studios enters the stage next to a shiny new Audi A8. He promises Forza Motorsport 3 to be the "definitive racing game of this generation." He claims it's the largest and best-looking racing game, with 400 cars from 50 manufacturers. Users will also be able to create and upload videos thanks to the built-in video editor, and the online play should be very solid as well. Look out, Gran Turismo! This game will hit game stores in October 2009.
11:25 - Halo 3 ODST trailer is being shown. From what we can see, a rookie pilot is having some travel to land an aircraft. He ends up making it, and Joe Staten, Creative Director of the game explains how you'll take on the role of this rookie, weeks before Halo 3. The audience seems excited about the addition of the original Halo pistol. Missions in the game will lead you through the points of view of different ODSTs while you investigate the origins of New Mumbasa, eventually piecing together the narrative of the title. New gameplay mode has also been added: Firefight. 9.22.09 is the release date.
11:30 - But, this is not all Bungie has in store. Another team has been working on a new title... Halo Reach, available sometime in 2010. For those who can't wait, when you buy ODST, you'll get a special code to join the beta of Halo Reach.
11:32 - Same Lake, Lead Writer of Alan Wake, comes onto the stage to show us yet another Xbox 360 exclusive. The game's presentation has a definite movie style. Gameplay footage shows Alan Wake, the protagonist, exploring the dark (and extremely creepy) outdoors in the look for his friend Rusty and his missing wife Alice. Unexpected groups of enemies seem to come out of everywhere, and Alan, without letting go the flashlight, must overcome these dangers or fears before... Spring of 2010.
11:40 - Back to the Xbox 360. Last.fm is announced as a free radio service with direct streaming from your Xbox 360. Also, the Netflix service will now be manageable right from the console, without having to use the PC to add instant play titles to the queue. In addition, Netflix will be available in 18 countries. Microsoft has also signed a partnership with Sky to bring Cricket and Premiere League soccer to Xbox 360 users in Ireland and the UK. All this will be happening in instant-streaming, 1080p HD.
11:44 - Last but not least, there's a new partnership many of you will appreciate: Facebook. The interface shows how you can link your Facebook friends with their Xbox 360 gamertags. Also, you can look at your friends' pictures directly from the 360. You can also easily post updates and check out your friends' posts. In Facebook Connect, you'll be able to take pictures in-game and post them directly to Facebook. This will become more and more common in upcoming games. Tiger Woods will be including this feature.
11:48 - Twitter, along with Facebook, will also be coming to Xbox LIVE this fall.
11:49 - Senior Vice President of Xbox, Don Mattrick, takes on the stage to gives us one last crucial piece of the puzzle: Metal Gear Solid! Hideo Kojima jumps onto the stage and announces the introduction of the Metal Gear franchise to the Xbox 360! Metal Gear Solid Rising is the name of the first game. Not much is said about the title, except "Sneak In" and "Raiden is back." The presence of Solid Snake was questioned, and Kojima seems reluctant to share more, so I guess we'll have to wait and see!
11:53 - Don starts talking about motion controls. He then talks about making "players" the controller in order to have no barriers. Is this possible? He thinks so and shows us a trailer where players perform the motions without holding any hardware whatsoever. Fighting, racing, action, sports, you name it! Even facial recognition is supported and, of course, video chat. But how is this done? With a camera. Project Natal is announced. There's no word as to when it will launch, but Don promises it'll be the future of the Xbox 360. A new era of gaming on the Xbox 360, without even launching a new console.
12:00 - Yet another celebrity in this complete event! Steven Spielberg comes onto stage to talk about interactive entertainment. He talks about his excitement with the new project. As a creator, he was already envisioning new ways of using this new interactive experience. It's definitely been done before, but technology is now ready for this new era of gaming.
12:07 - Kudo Tsunoda, Creative Director of Project Natal jumps in to share his excitement as well and shows us a few demos where players control the gameplay with their bodies. There's a voleyball- style game called Ricochet and also an interesting title named Paint Bucket that focuses on the user's creativity.
12:11 - Now someone we didn't expect in today's conference: Peter Molineux, creator of Fable and Fable II! A demo video shows some very realistic footage where players interact with virtual nature in a whole new way. This new concept will be shown behind closed doors this week, so look for our hands-on impressions soon!
12:13 - Don Mattrick now speaks his closing comments. Exciting exclusive titles, HD video and audio streaming, Project Natal, and more await on the Xbox 360.