I’m not
going to blog a massive piece of text about Microsoft’s press conference that
essentially opened E3 2007. It was broadcast live, and you can scan the loads
of coverage that have already been blogged for all the tiny details. With one
notable exception, the only games shown were 2007 releases, most of which we’ve
already seen extensively. The exception was Resident Evil 5, which on our
boards has already been dubbed the City of God Edition, which is fairly
accurate. This trailer looks pretty fantastic, taking place seemingly in a very
poor African town, and will hit Xbox Live on July 26.

Housed in
a high school amphitheater (go figure — Santa Monica High’s amphitheater is
more tricked out than
Atlanta‘s HiFi Buys) Microsoft’s 2007
press event was a little different from those in recent years. But only a
little. Still built on trailers and sales figures with some base showmanship to
link it all together, this wasn’t exactly the entertainment event of the year.

before anyone hit the stage, the Rock Band atmosphere was hard to miss.
Ampitheater, stage lights, giant PA. A full band setup graced the right side of
the stage, and there was enough fake smoke to fill a dozen shitty rock clubs.
Stage left, meanwhile, stood four clear tables. Three were occupied by the
current 360 SKUs, with the fourth ‘mysteriously’ empty. What a letdown that the
new SKU would turn out to be a lame Halo Special Edition. As some heckler
yelled tonight, ‘but I just bought my Elite!’ Peter Moore did not seem amused
at that, nor at the Special Edition’s chilly reception. Yeah, it’s green.

At least
the event opened with rock, or something like it. Corporeal (aka ‘five Halo fans from
Illinois’) were introduced to play the Halo theme live on stage. It was…loud, I
guess? Comment from a friend: "This is so Michael Flatley." Pretty
much, Ben. Cute girl playing violin, but a pretty disappointing use for the
band setup.

Moore’s comment: "When they heard
the music of Halo, they heard rock."

 But the
Rock Band demo was definitely live. Jamming with Harmonix employees, Peter
Moore couldn’t play to save his job, but I appreciated seeing a demo that
wasn’t canned; you could really see how the game might play, a rarity for this
sort of event.

Peter Moore-ism: "This is the greatest holiday lineup in videogame

And while
that’s some tasty exaggeration, it’s not totally off base. Between Halo 3,
BioShock, Mass Effect, Splinter Cell Conviction, GTAIV, PGR4, Call of Duty 4,
Lost Odyssey, Beautiful Katamari and several others, the 360 has a damn fine
set of games.
Moore knows it, and expects Madden,
GTA, Halo to drive up to a third of game sales for the end of the year, along
the lines of IGN’s prediction. I expected him to announce that they’d canceled
all other games. Why bother, after all?

And Halo
3 was obviously the show capper, such as it was. The live action short with
effects by WETA could have been called Three Minutes That Prove Why This Won’t Work
As A Feature
. The new Halo 3 gameplay trailer looked a lot more promising,
though — this is the first Halo single-player campaign that has me even
vaguely hooked, and I’m looking forward to checking out more tomorrow and


Notice I
didn’t mention Assassin’s Creed in that list of games. It’s still coming this
year, but the demo looked terrible. I can live with wonky hit detection at this
stage, but the ballyhooed crowd behavior looked on par with GTA. Not good

The new
controller: The Dildo, to go with SceneIt? Four phalluses (each featuring a big
red button) and the game for sixty bucks. Better than a night in Bangkok.

Bush was trotted out to promote Madden. Hate the game. Dig the tweaked
interface, though.

Duanadal is hitting Live. My first networked multiplayer love, in fine form.
Can’t wait.

now has an agreement with Disney to bring their library to Xbox Live. All of
the anciallary studios, too. The Queen downloadable in HD? Oh,
hell yes!

The Lost
Odyssey trailer put me to sleep in 20 frames flat.

If you
waited to play Gears of War on Windows you were smart – new content, a game
editor and new multiplayer mode. FIVE new solo chapters. 360 owners are

Call of
Duty 4 looks great in trailer form, but the chapter chosen to demo wasn’t fast-paced
enough for this venue. I expect it’ll play better than it showed, though, and
I’m still looking forward to it. Also: exclusive 360 multiplayer beta, coming

Halo = Star Wars? Yeah, right.