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Welcome…To The World Of Tomorrow

electronicentertainmentexpoNope, it’s not a Futurama post, but rather a run-down of some stuff from yesterday’s E3, with some pretty amazing videos.

Day One of the Expo kicked off with presentations from Microsoft, EA and Ubisoft, with some overlap between them, but a whole host of impressive trailers and videos…and some not so impressive.

We’ll start off with the least impressive of the bunch and Ubisoft: Microsoft and EA were both tough acts to follow, but Ubisoft really didn’t give much away. A witty introduction from TV presenter Joel McHale led to Ubisoft’s director’s dicussing their attempts to cross media barriers and offer a multimedia approach: director James Cameron took to the stage to discuss Ubisoft’s involvement in his upcoming Avatar movie and the tie-in game. In what is probably the most disappointing and lengthy discussion ever, Cameron spoke at length about the film’s plot and effect, along with his hopes and expectations for the game…and showed nothing.

ubisoft

Thirty minutes into the Ubisoft presentation and there’d been no game footage or trailers whatsoever. After some footage of Red Steel II for the Wii and an ad for Shaun White’s new game, my interest waned and I turned off…from what I’ve heard, I didn’t miss much.

eaUbisoft’s presentation seemed so poor because they were following in the footsteps of EA, who managed, at the very least, to appeal to their market: the opening trailer for “Dante’s Inferno” was somewhat out of place when followed up by a presentation for EA Girls’ line of games, including the Littlest Pet Shop line. Some technical issues overshadowed the showing of “Need For Speed Shift,” with its ‘revolutionary’ in-car view.

In sporting games, Madden football is going down the on-line experience route, including PC and iPhone based apps to connect at all times, and Pete Sampras was on hand to show off some more Wii Motion Plus usage for EA’s tennis game. But then came a barrage of new footage for “Mass Effect 2,” “Brutal Legend,” “Dragaon Age” and “The Saboteur.” A bunch of nerds individuals took to the stage with lightsabers to announce the Star Wars MMORPG “The Old Republic”.

xbox-360-logo

But the most impressive showing was easily the opening presentation from Microsoft, and what a presentation it was, with more celebrities and awesome showings than you could shake a stick at, not just from the gaming world:

  • The presentation began with some footage from The Beatles RockBand, including appearances on-stage by Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and (separately) Yoko Ono.
  • A number of technological advancements were highlighted, including sreaming movies-on-demand in 1080p high-def, linking to last.fm. Actress and self-proclaimed geek Felicia Day took to the stage to discuss XBox 360 linking with Facebook and Twitter.
  • Amongst other gaming announcements and footage was “Metal Gear Solid:Rising” coming to the XBox 360, two, yes two new “Halo” games (“O.D.S.T.” and “Reach”,) the long-awaited “Alan Wake,” and another franchise coming to the XBox, “Final Fantasy XIII.” 
  • There was also footage from “Modern Warfare 2,” “Left 4 Dead 2,” “Crackdown 2,” “Forza Motorsport 3,” “Splinter Call: Conviction” (also showcased at the Ubisoft panel), “Tony Hawk: Ride” (with its skateboard peripheral) and two new XBLA games, the avatar-using driver-themed (and free) “Joyride” and Epic Games’ 2D offering, “Shadow Complex”

The most interesting aspect of Microsoft’s presentation, however, was the announcement of their own motion control system, Project Natal. Much more than just a user interface, Natal supposedly removes the need for a controller, but also heightens the user interface with voice recognition and opportunities to involve yourself in the gaming environment. The interface is easier to show than describe, and although only at its “vision” stage, the potential for its use is impressive.

A number of big names had something to say about Natal, chief amongst them being Stephen Spielberg. It was a short few words (unlike Cameron’s 15 minute rant of saying nothing about anything) but meant that Peter Molyneux (the man behind Lionhead Studios and the “Fable” games) got to take the reins and introduce Milo, an amazing interface, but also the first step towards fully realising Haley Joel Osment being an annoying cyborg in “A.I.”

Nintendo and Sony will be giving their own presentations today: it remains to be seen if they’ve been blown out of the water, or have something equally interesting to fight back with.

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  1. Hedgie
    June 3, 2009 at 2:13 PM

    Now that is an MMO I can get behind. I do love my WoW (at times) but the overwhelming majority being dickbags does detract from the game’s fun immensely. I’ve tried a few others and they always fail to deliver on what I’m looking for – see .hack//sign – and even Star Wars Galaxies was beige at best, what with SOEs involvement.

    We’ll have to see how it pans out but I do like BioWare.

  2. dan
    June 2, 2009 at 3:38 PM

    People have no idea just how lucky they are not to have seen Ubisofts conference.

    Great round up to what was overall an interesting first day. I’m hoping some more footage on Alan Wake, Crackdown and Left 4 Dead 2 come out over the next few days.

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