E3 2007: Live blogging Take-Two Interactive’s press conference

I’m currently sitting in a dark room in the Starlight Ballroom, located in the Fairmount Miramar in California. The Take-Two Interactive press conference, which is conveniently starting at 8 o’clock in the morning. Because, you know, we’re all not exhausted.

But we’re here on very little sleep because Take-Two Interactive is worth it — The Darkness, Grand Theft Auto IV, BioShock … some of the biggest IPs in the industry right now. So what do they have to show? Hit the jump for the live blog.

Bad news: no photography allowed! OH NOES! 

They’re currently introducing Sid Meier’s Civilization Revolution. They’re playing the trailer, something we’re actaully all familiar with. As far as I know, this is nothing new. It’s made up entirely of CG; I’m seeing no actual gameplay, just a lot of talk about a groundbreaking, new Civilization experience. Not sure what that means, but I have a feeling Meier is here to tell us. 

Meier is on stage, but he’s not talking. We’re seeing another trailer – “Rise as a peasant, fight as a warrior.” Here we go — a live demo.

“This is the game I’ve always wanted to make,” Sid Meier.

The game will be coming to next-generation consoles and handhelds, something we alerady knew. Meier feels there’s no better way to introduce gamers to the world of RTS gaming. The game itself looks like a very typical RTS, but the game itself is impressive-looking enough, with large characters and bright colors. 

The units on the screen battle, and due to a victory, the attacking units are upgraded — they receive helmets. there will be nine different upgrades per unit.

“Game of the Week,” something new to the game — players can download a seed/scenario for a single-player game. Players can test their single-player skills against one another; multiplayer will be supported as well, of course.     

Going to war with Cleopatra! More units are battling, this time with Egyptian archers. Jumping forward now to modern times. There are “four” different ways to win the game; for example, you can have a military victory. We’re shown tanks and, in this scenario, a rocket is fired into the air and as it lands, takes out a nearby group.

Technology is another way to win — a space station is built and a rocket is launched into space.

The Civ demo ends with a victory dance, which varies based on the method you used to win. Now we’re on to All-Pro Football 2K8, which is going to be demoed live. But for now, we’re watching that Chali 2na ad spot … I definitely didn’t have to wake up at 8am to see this. 

In stark contrast to the hip-hop themed ad campaign, it appears that a Deftones song is playing over the in-game menus. There are over 240 legends in the game — Joe Montana, etc.  

The legends in the game are broken into three groups – gold, silver, and bronze tiers, based on their ability. We’re seeing the team customization — customize your jersey, your logo, your team name, all of which can be brought online.

A game is fired up and the stadium is pretty crazy, if nothing else. This particular stadium has gigantic cobra statues, for instance. 

This is not “watered-down, league-approved football.” This is “real” football — injuries, celebrations, things you can’t do with a license. The game itself looks OK, but the frame rate seems to suffer a bit, which is probably not the best news for a football game. The players themselves look awkward when up close; the textures on the jerseys look crisp, but these faces and animation don’t seem much improved since last-gen.

I have to be honest with you guys — I don’t know anything about football. It’s played with a ball, and it doesn’t involve using your feet to do very much but run, punt, and kick field goals. I don’t get it. Maybe 2K Sports should have a separate press conference for their sports titles. The game comes out next week. 

Oh, hello! It’s BioShock now this is a game I can get down with. So far, we’re not being told anything we don’t know. “A genetically enhanced FPS.” Now we’re seeing the trailer for BioShock; I’m sorry I can’t take pictures of this, but you can go back in time about a year and download the same trailer if you want, just so you can follow along. I’ll sit through this, but only because I know there’s a live demo to follow. Well, that and I have nowhere else to go.

The games opening … mid-Atlantic, 1960s. A plane crashes into the water. After the title fades,  we cut to a first-person view of drowning under water, gasping as you make your way to the top. You see a lighthouse in the distance, so you make your way there. 

It’s gorgeous, droplets of water splash on the screen as you make your way out of the water. Inside the lighthouse looks amazing. You climb into a sphere and make your way down through the ocean, as you descend toward Rapture. 

We’re shown a 1940s-style video as we make our way down. “From the desk of Ryan.” Explaining why Rapture was created — a city where artists would not be censored, where scientists would not be held back by morality. We’re given an overview of Rapture and it’s almost indescribably gorgeous.

‘Now, for the cool shit.” They’re quickly explaining all of the plasmid powers. Electrobolt is used to take out lights, as well as electrify water, frying enemies. Jesus, this game looks good. The sound design is also incredible. You hear faint sounds of cries, beeps, and more. 

The demo is cut short — running out of time. Seriously. Come on.

Here comes a live demo of Grand Theft Auto IV … oh goodie. First, though, we get to watch those two trailers we’ve seen and dissected dozens of times over.

We’re looking at unfinished code — voice acting, textures, lighting are all unfinished. The music is also a place holder, so I’ve been asked not the mention it. Assume it’s Fergie’s “Fergilicious,” but it’s not. 

Nico Bellic is in Star Junction, the game’s version of Times Square. The game just looks … wow. This is not the Grand Theft Auto you’re familiar with. This is incredibly real, incredibly detailed. The population doesn’t appear up to par, but I’m sure this is going to change. Nico walks up to a car and hops right in. Crusing around the city reveals even more gorgeous details, from the trees, to the lights, this game even in this unfinished state looks excellent.

Nick drives towards a pier, and you get a view of another party of the city — the bridge skyline you’re familiar with from the game’s first trailer. Nic picks up a cell phone, it pops up on the right side of the screen … looks like a smartphone. He makes a call to Little Jacob and uh … what.

The demo just ended. That’s it. “That’s all we have to show you today.” Uh. Say what? Jesus.

That’s the end of the conference; they’re saying their thank yous and wrapping things up. Seriously. What just happened? There had better be some coffee and snacks outside of this room, for reals.


Nick Chester