Liveblog: Microsoft’s E3 Press Conference


10:20 – Take your seats, everyone. We’re starting in five minutes. Sitting with Wired’s Chris Kohler who told me a whopper of a rumor. If he’s right, man…this is gonna be nuts.

10:24 – Hmm.. something that looked suspiciously like the Rock Band logo just flashed on the screen. Perhaps that rumor is right…

10:25 – Lights are coming down. Here we go!

10:26 – Cartoon versions of The Beatles play A Hard Days Night and run from fans. There’s a band kit on stage with The Beatles logo on the drum. More Beatles cartoon, more classic tunes.

10:27 – Well, no huge surprise, this is the world premiere of The Beatles Rock Band. The cartoon we just saw is the game’s intro. Very slick.

10:30- On 9/9/09, Beatles Rock Band launches the same day the band’s entire remastered catalog is being released.

10:31 – Harmonix’s Alex Rigopulos and pals play Day Tripper. They’re really quite good.

10:33 – Giles Martin, music supervisor for Harmonix takes the stage to talk about how the game will bring music history to life. The game’s track list will include: I Saw Her Standing There, I Wanna Hold Your Hand, I Feel Fine, Day Tripper, Taxman, I Am the Walrus, Back in the U.S.S.R., Octopus’s Garden, Here Comes the Sun, Get Back. The in-game representations of the band members are spot on.

All You Need Is Love will be an Xbox Live exclusive downloadable track. All proceeds from the downloads will go to Doctors Without Borders.

10:39 – Dhani Harrison, Olivia Harrison, and Yoko Ono come out to take a bow for their contributions to the game.


10:40 – “Whoever thought we’d end up as androids?” asks Paul. “God bless, peace and love, enjoy the game!” says Ringo.

10:41 – Poor John Schappert has to try and follow that. But he promises 10 world premieres of games we’ve never seen. Hotness.

10:43 – Tony Hawk comes out to show off the final design of the controller for Tony Hawk Ride. Looks just like a real skateboard, just a bit shorter. Oh, and no wheels. That’s kind of a big difference. “I think this is going to deliver an entirely new physical, social kind of gaming, says the Birdman. Here comes the trailer. Let’s look, shall we?

10:46 – Huh. You really do move around on the board as you’re standing on it. Turn it, grab it–or if you’re a total newb, just lean. Variety of difficulty and skill levels.

10:47 – Next trailer is brutal as hell. Looks gorgeous…soldiers run through tunnel as it collapses, helicopters fly low, bombs explode, Modern Warfare 2. Nvember 10 of this year. Holy flaming cow, this game looks amazing. Oh, sweet,some Infinity Ward guys are gonna show us a demo. I cannot express enough how gorgeous this game is.

10:51 – Soldier edges along a snowy ledge. Switch to first person as he scales a frozen mountain face. Whew…made it to the top. Jump to another ledge, climb some more, almost fall off. Another snowy section, taking out the enemy with a machine gun. Visibility is crap in the snow storm.

10:54 – Uh oh, things have gone awry. Gotta make a run for it and gun your wayout. Aaaand shoot the guys on the snowmobiles. They will eff you up.More killing of enemy soldiers, and then we hop on a snowmobile of our own.

Two Modern Warfare map packs will be released on Xbox Live first.

11:00 – Time to take a look at Final Fantasy XIII. Actual gameplay this time, not just a pretty trailer. It’s been twenty years since the first FF was released. Feel old?

We join a boss fight midway through. One major difference in the combat is that there are four different time gauges. Conjuring the summon monster Odin. The game sure is lovely, and looks very much in keeping with with previous installments. Looking for a spring 2010 release. And that’s it for FFXIII.

11:02 – Time to get to the exclusives. And who’s up first, but CliffyB, who’s here to announce Shadow Complex, an XBLA title. No, seriously. And the mics have gone out. Exploration punctuated by moments of combat. You’re in a massive underground complex in a kind of 2d sidescroller. Kind of reminds me of Out of This World. Is that what I’m thinking of? Oh, hey, big boss fight. Definitely pretty for n XBLA game. Due out this summer.

11:05 – Next up is another XBLA title, Joy Ride.An all new avatar racing game. The emphasis here is on the social interaction.I’m underwhelmed, but it’s a free game,so that’s not bad. Due out this winter.

11:07 – Ohhhh, snap. “The city is infected. You are the cure.” It’s the trailer for Crackdown 2. Just a brief glimpse, no gameplay. Now we’re in the Big Easy, blowing away zombies. What is this? LEFT 4 DEAD 2, BITCHES!!!!!!

11:14 – Now we’re going through a demo for the next Splinter Cell. Sam can always hide from his enemies in the darkness, and take advantage of the shadows to set up attacks. New EMP grenade. Ok, so he’s a badass when it comes to stealth, but what about charging in, guns blazing? Yep, pretty much a badass then, too. Someone has killed Sam’s daughter,Sarah, and he’s a wee bit pissed, y’see. Splinter Cell Conviction will be out this fall, exclusively on the 360.

11:18 – Forza Motorsport 3 shipping this fall. It’s inspired by “all things cars.” The love cars is behind this, the “definitive racing game of this generation.”

11:27 – Now we’re looking at Halo 3 ODST. You play as a rookie orbital drop shock trooper. The action takes place three weeks before the events of Halo 3.

Having technical difficulties, gang. My ‘net connection is getting spotty. If this liveblog suddenly stops, that’s why.

You’ll flashback to play as other ODSTs to fill in the story of the game. So now you’re playing as Dutch. You’ll have access to weapons that Spartans don’t get.

So it’s Halo, but not the same old, same old. Lots of nice, big explosions, too. Aaaand that’s all we get to see now. Comes out Sept 22. But that’s not all. Another team at Bungie has been working on a top secret project. Which is….

…Halo Reach. Comes out 2010. The multplayer beta is included in Halo ODST.

11:32 – Wow, we’re going to see some Alan Wake now. Alan is a writer. His latest work, a supernatural thriller, is coming true. His wife is missing. And this is actual gameplay. Alan is searching a cabin at night. Something bad has happened here. And now some mysterious dark force is hurling cars and boxes at Alan.

Alan fights off mysterious shadow men with a shotgun. Light helps keep them at bay, so he repairs a generator. The voice acting is pretty good as Alan provides a running narration of his plight.

We’re assured the game is coming out spring 2010. Nothing personal, guys, but I’ll believe it when I see it. Alan Wake’s been about to come out for 8 thousand years.

11:39- is coming to Xbox Live. No additional charge for Xbox Live Gold members. Available around the world, too. Instant access to millions of songs.

They’re improving the Netflix interface, too.Now you’ll be able to browse right from your Xbox – no more having to put movies in your queue from your PC.

11:42 – Relaunching the video service as Zune video this fall. Full 1080p video. All movies and TV shows will be viewable instantly – no delays. Also making video content in 18 countries, up from 8. Instant On 1080p is what they’re calling it. Launching this fall.

You’ll be able to enjoy movies, tv, and music with your friends via Live Party.

11:45 – The Guild’s Felicia Day comes out to talk about Facebook coming to Xbox Live. It’s not quite the same Facebook, it’s been customized to fit with the New Xbox Experience. The interface is virtually identical to the NXE, just filled out with Facebook info instead. Can see updates, photo albums, etc.

Facebook Connect will let you post screen shots in real time to your Facebook profile.

Oh, lawd…Twitter on Xbox Live. You’ll be able to Tweet right from your 360, and see updates from all your friends.

Both Facebook and Twitter are coming to Xbox this fall.

11:49 – Senior VP Don Mattrick is here.


It’s already in development. Called Metal Gear Rising, starring Raiden. Nothing else to tell you at the moment – al we saw was a logo.

11:55 – Now we’re looking at the motion sensor camera that makes you the controller. Skateboard by mimicing skateboarding, race by pretending to drive. Facial recognition, video chatting with you pal. Voice recognition. It’s controller free entertainment. “The only experience you need is life experience.” Dude, if this works half as well as the promo video we just saw, it’ll be like living in the future.

Codenamed Project Natal. When it launches, it’ll work with every existing 360 and every future 360.

Ok, my battery is going, so I’ll write about the Natal stuff later. I assure you, it is incredibly cool. It’s not about reinventing the wheel, as Steven Spielberg put it, it’s about getting rid of the wheel entirely. It’s all just tech demos right now, but the potential is obvious and huge.

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