E3 2009: x360a's First Day Begins with a Bang!
Written Monday, June 01, 2009 By Dan WebbView author's profile
In a day where we struck out three times from a live blogging standpoint, Microsoft reasserted themselves as the console leader for hardcore gamers by wowing the crowd with a whole plethora of announcements. It was also a day where Ubisoft and EA failed to captivate audiences in what seemed like a day of misguided focus.
With Microsoft kicking off the day of press conferences from the Galen Centre in downtown LA, they came at fans across the world thick and fast – “forget the figures and stats, let’s talk new selling points for the console in the near and distant future.” In a concise 95 minute presentation, Microsoft unveiled a ton of upcoming 360 console exclusives including Left 4 Dead 2, Crackdown 2, Forza 3 and even Halo: Reach which is very much an unknown quantity at this present moment in time, but exciting nevertheless.
The year’s show stopper needed to be big after last year’s Final Fantasy shocker and the announcement of Metal Gear Solid Rising was certainly just that. Bringing the once exclusive franchise to the Xbox 360 is, as Don Mattrick commented, a title that completes the Xbox 360 library.
It wasn’t all about new beginnings however, with Microsoft bringing titles like Alan Wake and Splinter Cell: Conviction back from the dead and giving them extremely impressive demos. Throw into the mix the unveiling of Microsoft’s motion capture device, Natal, and some social networking and media extension apps for the Xbox 360, and Microsoft left the ensuing audience impressed to the nth degree.
The atmosphere in the slightly chilly Galen Centre was one to revel in with journalists and industry individuals being bombarded with round after round of impressive announcements and unveilings. Despite a few mic problems and Natal looking impressive but not without its bugs, Microsoft will chalk this one down as a win.
The EA and Ubisoft conferences paled in comparison as part of their focus on teen brands left onlookers on wondering who they thought would be watching it. EA, as they did last year, ran through the titles one after another and gave The Saboteur a good showing. The other highlights included a slightly extended version of the GameTrailers’ Mass Effect 2 E3 trailer we saw last week and ... well, you get the idea. It was simply a regurgitation of games we’ve seen a lot of rather than anything truly new and exciting, except the Star Wars MMO which we believe is PC only at the time.
The Ubisoft press conference went on for nearly 2 hours and took 35 minutes to show the first real game trailer or footage. Next generation journalists (yes, I’m saying the Wii isn’t next gen) were left waiting for an hour to see their first title and after the same run through from the Microsoft conference for Splinter Cell Conviction, last year’s re-released Ruse trailer and a short, but pretty awesome Assassin’s Creed 2 trailer, you couldn’t help but feel a little underwhelmed.
Celebrity seemed to be the in-word of the day with all three of the big boys using them to promote their products. Whether you’re talking about the cameo appearance of Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney at Microsoft’s morning build up, or the short but amusing appearance of Pete Sampras at EA’s, they all added to the spectacle. Of course, Ubi wanted in on the action as well with James Cameron and Pele (yes, frickin Pele!!) on hand with the witty Joe HcHale on offer to fill in the gaps.
All in all it was a good day to own an Xbox 360 with a massive amount of awesome titles on the way (a lot of those exclusive as well) and some pretty impressive technology coming at us. Microsoft can walk away with their head held high after another impressive showing and one that will have Sony and their leaked plans wondering what they can do to get noticed. So with the press conferences out the way for us, we look forward to spending the next 3 days looking at some of the great titles in action and seeing whether the hype in some of them is justified.