E3 08: Liveblogging Microsoft’s press conference

E3 has begun!

Well, actually it’s supposed to start tomorrow, but that hasen’t stopped Microsoft from holding their press conference a day early.

Hit the jump for the up-to-the-moment going ons.

Update: Conference over! Whew, there sure was a lot of typing for me. Here are a couple of highlights from the Soft’s presentation:

  • Avatars confirmed, way to keep a secret guys.
  • Totally redesigned dashboard coming, you can form parties with your friends, launch games for everyone (like in Home), watch videos and look at pictures together.
  • Lips shown off, lets you play any song off your ipod/Zune, new motion sensative mic.
  • LOTS of bands/songs in Rock Band 2.
  • Lots of people are getting movies, tv shows, and music off the Live Marketplace. New partners announced.
  • Final Fantasy XIII coming to the 360! Guess Ron isn’t looking (quite) so crazy now, is he.
  • MOAR

Go ahead and read my observations after the jump for the full run-down of what happened, along with news about several more games like Fallout 3, Fable 2, Resident Evil 5, You’re In the Movies, and more.

12:32 – Conference begins!

12:33  – Exec on stage, missed his name because I only hasd like a minute to set this post up. Thanks for the advance notice guys. Asks “can Microsoft continue to deliverdeliver”?

12:34 – B&W footage starts up. Looks like Fallout 3

12:35 – Yep, it’s a Vault-Tec commercial. Another Fallout 3 teaser, shows the main char for like a a second.

12: 36 – Bethesda devon stage. Says they learned a lot fromOblivion. Going to show a live demo!

12:37 – Walking around outside of Vault 101. “Non one ever enters or leaves,” ooh, spooky. Shows PIP Boy 3000 menus. Looks nice.

12:38 – Can be stealthy, combatitive, persuasive. Shows of VATS, shoots some random guy. Awesome death sequence.

12:39 Shotgun blows off a dude’s leg

12:40 – Turrent hacking, huh. Now where have we seen that before? Robotic tanks patrol the wasteland. Apparently they have a weakness towards rocket launchers

12:41 – The Bortherhood of Steel has taken over the remains of the Pentagon. Mini nuclear bomb catapult! Totally pwns some guys and their helicopter. I want one of those

12:42 – Fallout 3 will have DLC. Exclusive to 360 and PC

12:43 –  Resident Evil 5 producer comes on stage. First time a game int he series will be on a Microsoft console. Showing demo!

12:44 – Takes place in Africa, Kijuju (sp?). Chris has joined the BSAA, new orginization.

12:45 – Chris’s new partner, Sheva shows up. Online cop-op confirmed! She’s also part of the BSAA. Africans keep their valuables inside barrels. Sheva takes out some guys up close while Chris snipes.

12:46 – Some more running and gunning. Sheva shoots a lock so that Chris can bust open a door from the other side

12:47 – Cutscene. The chainsaw mainic guy with the burlap bag on his head shows up. Demo ends. 🙁

12:48 – Coming out Friday 13, March 2009 in Europe and North America. Peter Molyneux comes on stage

12:49 – Fable 2 is finished, takes place 500 years after Fable Cutscene. Bird flying over the snow covered landscape. Big Castle town.

12:50 – Bird poops on kid’s hand. Apparently this is considered as lucky as finding a 4 leaf clover. Wat

12:51 – Peter shows his character and the dog. Walking down a path. Albion orbs represent your friends playing, go up to one and invite them and they’ll show up, no lobbies. Cool

12:52 – Hero/world changes depending on how you play/what story choices you make. Shows his wife, four year old son.

12:54 – Peter leaves, Gears of War 2 trailer starts. Hi Dom

12:55 – Cliif Blesiensky comes on stage. Locust are sinking whole cities now.

12:56 Marcus and Dom looking at a giant Locust sink hole. Locust show up, they proceed to shoot. Use the new body shield mechanic.

12:59 – Locust with flamethrower! New creeping enemies that explode wheny ou kill em. Floor breaks away, Marus and Dom are ok. Marcus uses the Hammer of Dawn.

1:00 – Marcus uses a huge gatling gun against a Brumak that showed up. Cool explosions

1:01 – The team goes up a lift, lots of enemy fire. Cool flame effects. Marcus performs a much cooler pistol whip. They’re going to ride the Brumak!? Demo ends

1:02 – New GOW2 online mode called horde. Five people take on increasingly difficult swarms of Locust forces. Available November 7

1:03 – Tom comes back on stage. Talks about how gaming is huge. 48 billion dollars will be spent this year ongmaing, gaming beats out all other forms of entertainment.

1:04 – “In terms of hardware, we’re in awesome shape.” Ahahahahaha

1:05 – Says that the 360 will sell more consoles this generation than the PS3.12 million people on Xbox live.

1:06 – New member every 5 seconds. More than 1 billion dollars spent on stuff off Xbox Live.

1:07 – 10,000 movies and television shows. Live Marketplace is now the largest on-demand provider of movies and TV shows. New movie parter (Universal Studios) and TV parter (NBC).

1:08 – Shows some clips on NBC shows and Universal movies. Europe gets stuff from MGM and Constantine Films

1:09 – John Shappord comes out. Says this generation of consoles chaged home entertainment the most. Bigges, most revolutionary chages happening on-line.

1:11 – Showing some new features! Looks like avatars were real afterall, they look a lot like Miis. Have more accessories. New dashboard

1:13 – Rare designers talking about avatars. They tryed to make them “stylized” and more personal. “where else besides Xbox Live can you experience something like an avatar…” HAHAHA!

1:14 – New community channel. You can see your friend’s avatars standing around.  You can create a live party with eight people and chat

1:16 – Can stream photos with people in your party. Xbox Live Primetime lets you play with the Live community. Looks like mostly gameshow stuff. You can win real prizes. Launching this fall

1:18 – New game channel. UNO Rush announced. You can launch a game for everyone in a party. Wait, that kind of sounds like what Sony wanted to do with Home, doesn’t it.

1:19 – New Geometry Wars coming out next month on XBLA. Called Geometry Wars 2: Retro Evolved.

1:20 – Galaga sequel?! Galaga Legions shown. Lots of pretty lights. Available next month on XBLA.

1:21 – GLADoS is their guest speaker. 2008 360 exclusive, Portal Still Alive announced.

1:22 – Southpark game coming to XBLA.

1:22 – Shows some clips of XBL community games that are coming out this fall.

1:23 – Netflix partnership confirmed. Gold members get a Netflix subscription for NO EXTRA COST.

1:24 – You and your Live party can watch movies, TV shows, and videos together.

1:25 – Shane Kim comes out.

1:26 – Mentions some of the upcomming big name titles: PoP, Endwar, GTAIV DLC, etc.

1:27 – Trailer for Banjo and Kazooie: Nuts and Bolt. Shows the pair driving, flying, and running around. Looks colorful.

1:28 – Viva Pinata Trouble in paradise trailer. Arctic and desert locations added. Over 100 pinatas. Cards can be scaned via the Vision camera to add new pinatas. Luchadores are pinatas’ natural enemy?

1:29 – Trailer for a trivia game. Looks to be all movie based.

1:30 – The game is Scene It?: Boxoffice Smash. Will have DLC for new questions, uses avatars.

1:31 – You’re in the Movies announced. Being developed by Codemasters.

1:32 – About making short, campy B movies with you and your friends being the stars. Shane jogs inf ront of a vision camera, Has him running in wierd clown pants on screen. Getting pulled by a big rope. He gets a good score.

1:34 – John has to start swatting like he’s hitting hornets. Shows big bugs attacking him on screen. Gets 1900 points.

1:35 – Geneveeve’s (sp?) turn. She has to start dancing. There’s an outline for you to match your movements up with, also pose moments. Little markers show where to swing your hands at certain moments.

1:36 – Has a replay mode that takes all the segments everyone did and makes a little movie out of it. This made one about a reptile attacking a city.

1:37 –  Will have a director mode. The game will have a Vision camera bundled with it.

1:38 – 3.5 million songs downloaded off Live every month. Makes up 80% of all the songs downloaded off every (game?) platform.

1:39 – Guitar Hero: World Tour guy shows up.

1:40 – Shows the new wireless drum kit, new guitar and new game modes. Like eight player battle of the bands. Shows the music studio. GH Tools launching at some point apparently lets you share stuff, RM Track Pack fromtheir new album will be downloable before everyone else. Metallic’s Death Magnetic will be offered as full DLC when the album launches this fall.

1:42 – New music game trailer starts, probably Lips. Guy and girl having an awkward moment at a party. Guy starts singing into a microphone, then the girl starts up too. Clearly music can bridge any gap.

1:44 – Yep, it was for Lips. EBA and Gitaroo creator Keichi Anno of iNiS comes on stage.

1:45 – You can plug your Zune or ipod into your 360 and sing those songs. Comes with wireless mics that are motion sensitive.

1:46 – Cute blond girl comes on stage and starts singing. OH NOES! That statement makes me sexist like Dale. :p

1:48 – Still singing. Shows the notes and pitch chart you’ll need to follow on screen.

1:49 – Girl and Anno depart. Kim starts talking about Rock Band. Rock Band 2 will premiere on the 360 this September. Harmonix CEO comes out.

1:50 – Alex shows the entire Rock Band 2 setlist. IT’S TOO SMALL I CAN’T SEE ANYTHING. Everything will be a master track. Guns & Roses releasing that Chinese Democracy track we heard about yesterday. Bob Dylan song Tangled up and Blew will be in there, ACDC will be exclusively appearing in Rock Band 2. Let there Be Rock will be in.

1:52 – [Insert huge list of bands that will be in the game here.] Will have 20 bonus tracks available for free sometime this fall.

1:53 – All RB1 DLC will be compatible with RB2. Most all RB2 songs will be playable in RB1. Rock Band 2 will have over 500 songs. DAYUM.

1:55 – Square-Enix rep comes out. Uh oh, could this be the FFXIII announcement?

1:56 – He mentions Last Remnant, Star Ocean: The Last Hope, Inifinite Undiscovery.

1:56 – Star Ocean VI coming out in Spring 09. 2.8 million Star Ocean games shipped worldwide.

1:57 – Last Remnant coming out this holiday season on the 360 first. Trailer starts.

1:58 – Pretty boys confirmed! Wierd animal people, glowing symbols, only one line “There’s something about that guy.” trailer ends.

2:00 – Ships November 20 in NA, Europe, and Japan. Last Remnent will also be on Games for Windows. Wow, wasen’t expecting that. No launch date for the PC version.

2:01 – Another trailer starts up.  Somebody flying on some winged creature. Jetpacks and space ships. Probably Star Ocean.

2:02 – OH DAMN IT’S FF13 OH SNAAAAAAAAAAAP!!!11!1

2:03 – Little girl and bird thingy. Glowing blue stuff. nice green landscape, some mountains shown. Some of this footage is stuff we’ve seen from older trailers.

2:04 – Square guy says this is “the day we were all waiting for.” Thinks that releasing a 360 version will help them reach more people. Also, more $$$.

2:06 – Keynote ends with some loud music playing. Everybody getting up and heading for the exit. What’s the hurry guys?

Justin Villasenor