E3: Microsoft Keynote - Part 2
Monday, July 14, 2008 12:00 AM
The second part of Microsoft's keynote speech saw the 'revelation' of a new dashboard and avatar system for Xbox Live, something that has been talked about for a long time before this 'announcement'. Ah well.
However, it did look significantly different to before, perhaps too different. The new avatars were cartoony and very ... casual and Wii-like. The whole interface looked very simplistic and the worry is that it will be too simplistic in the long run. Has Microsoft gone TOO casual?
We don't usually bother with the more 'media-oriented' elements of Xbox Live, but this could be of interest to some of you. The Prime Time channel was demonstrated, with Endemol contracted to make Xbox Live game shows, which you can then play online and win 'real' prizes.
A flood of games were announced after this: Uno Rush, Geometry Wars 2, GW Waves, Galaga Legions, the new Portal game (as an Xbox Live Arcade exclusive, annoyingly), a new South Park game.
Next up was the announcement that the first community-generated games would be coming soon to Live. A Netflix deal was announced, so subscribers can download movies from Xbox Live.
Shane Kim then turned up on stage, talking about third-party games, like Prince of Persia and Mirror's Edge. Of most interest would possibly be the fact the GTA IV downloadable episodes would still be coming at the end of this year, despite recent rumours and speculation.
One of the new games, called 'You're in the Movies' involves a curious putting-you-in-the-picture type of action. It seems like you mimic the on-screen actions of the action on-screen and you then end up "in the movie". The crowd isn't lapping it up and neither are we.
The president of Red Octane hopped onto the stage, talking about the next band-specific title in Guitar Hero: World Tour series. This one, of course, features thrash metal titans, Metallica. The interesting news is that their entire new album will be available for the game - hopefully it will be listenable, unlike St Anger.
Lips, the development team being headed u[ by Keiichi Yano, will be out before Christmas. Feted as a rival to Sony's SingStar, to which it bears an unnerving resemblance, the game allows you to sing along to your own music. It will be motion sensitive too, incidentally.
Rock Band 2 will be an Xbox 360 exclusive in September, but we already knew that. If you want more info on that, go here.
All of the original game's tracks will be compatible with the new game, by the way ... which is nice.
The president of Square Enix was up next, declaring his undying love for Microsoft. Of course. Anyway, he is also there to take about Last Remnant, Infinite Undiscovery and Star Ocean, all of which will be on the 360.
Infinite Undiscovery will be out on September 5th in Europe, Star Ocean following a little later in early 2009. Last Remnant will be out on November 20th, with a PC version following the 360 'exclusive'.
The final announcement debunked the rumours of Halo 4, but what it did reveal was that Final Fantasy XIII would be coming to the Xbox 360, which is pretty massive news.
"The day we have all been waiting for has arrived ... the Xbox 360 version of Final Fantasy XIII ... is planned for release." You have to imagine your own rolling thunder and flashing lightning at the end of that, by the way.
Square Enix believes the 360 version can get the game to more people in North America and Europe, even though the PlayStation 3 apparently has sold more units on the European mainland.
Anyway, that's your lot. I'm tired and am going to get a drink. Toodle pip!