Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Post Microsoft Conference Thoughts

Well, some of my guesses didn't come true, but many of them did. I am quite shocked they didn't show even a small bit of Fable 2 (unless I missed it), maybe it is farther off than I was hoping. They also didn't show off Bioshock, which I thought they would show just because it is a showcase game coming out in just over a month. The price cut wasn't announced and there was no timed exclusive of any of the 3 games I put up.

Outside of that I think the Conference was pretty good. Microsoft took a decidedly straight path tonight. They showed off a lot of live gameplay (Rock Band, Madden 08, Assassin's Creed, Project Gotham Racing 4, Call of Duty 4 and Gears of War PC).

Some of the above didn't come off well. The opening with Corporeal playing the Halo Theme was extremely bad. It was quite sad because they gained fame (and the invitation) from their excellent YouTube video. Maybe it was jitters because at the end of the Conference they sounded much better. Then Peter Moore goes into Rock Star with a group from Harmonix and the singer ABSOLUTELY SUCKS. That was horrendous and makes the microphone part of things that much more iffy. To add to the embarassment, Moore screws up his solo when it comes up. That was bad.

Assassin's Creed also did not show that well, although I missed a good portion of it. I've been reading messageboards and things seem to be very negative on this game when related to fighting. Ubisoft has a lot of money riding on this game and quite a few years of development on it, I hope further play (maybe a demo will come on Xbox Live this week) will reverse things.

I'd have to say Call of Duty 4 and Project Gotham Racing 4 probably had the strongest showings live. I think Gears of War on PC is going to piss a lot of people off if the additional sections aren't included in an Xbox Live DLC in the future. At least it is going to run on Windows XP as well as Vista. Maybe Microsoft is easing up on trying to make things Vista only until all the kinks of DX10 can be worked out.

EA didn't come out to announce anything, but it was stated that all the EA Sports games will run at twice the speed of last years, meaning 60fps. Hopefully there will be no slowdowns, but this is going to be a HUGE difference to the mainstream sports fans that have waited to get next gen systems. The Xbox 360 looks that much more interesting running these games at 60fps versus the PS3 versions that run at 30fps.

Other stuff shown was a new Viva Pinata party game, a short montage for Mass Effect (coming in November), a short teaser of Resident Evil 5, showings of new Xbox Live Arcade Games (2 of which are live tonight) and a montage for Lost Odyssey (no release given). I really liked the last one, it looks really good and I hope it makes its supposed end of the year release.

And of course the night ended with a WETA produced Halo short movie and a montage of gameplay from Halo 3. I think it looked awesome and it sounded like Saruman (Christopher Lee) is going to be a voice in the game. There were a few scenes with Master Chief and the Arbiter together. I wonder if we will be playing as the Arbiter again. I am going to guess Bungie will not leave us hanging in this game and chances are it will be the longest game out of the 3.

In the end I think the biggest disappointment was no announcement of a price decrease. They did show off the new Halo 3 Xbox 360 coming in September (I bet it will have the 65nm chips in it). They could still announce one at some point here. I think Microsoft feels they have a strong lineup of games through the holiday season and don't think Sony has anything to counter them until at least 2008 (we all know MGS4 and Killzone 2 aren't going to make it this year). They may watch Sony's conference tomorrow and see if there is anything to worry about. If not they may hold off on the price drops.