E3 ‘09: Microsoft Sets the Stage - Project Natal Unveiled
Coming into today, many people had guesses on what either Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft had to offer at their individual press conferences, but few could have guessed just how impressive Microsoft’s press conference would actually be (and that’s coming from a huge Sony fan). Microsoft not only introduced the next, exciting wave of traditional software; Modern Warfare 2 footage, a new arcade game from Cliffy B. and company, and Alan Wake, but also revealed new technology in the form of Project Natal - a medium which may change the world of gaming as we know it.
Starting off the recap of today’s events is Metal Gear Solid. Yes, everyone, my favorite PS3 exclusive franchise is no longer a PS3 exclusive. During Microsoft’s press conference Hideo Kojima snuck up on stage and announced that the next “Metal Gear”, entitled “Metal Gear Solid: Rising” will appear on the Xbox 360. After showing a brief trailer it seems that Raiden will be returning to center stage for the latest entry in the Metal Gear Solid franchise. Any other details were absent as no date, price, or news on whether the game would actually show up on PS3 were given. the game comes with the tag line “Lighting Bolt Action.” What the refers to is anybody’s guess, but rest assured, time will answer all questions.
Not comfortable with being overshadowed, Bungie made an appearance and brought along not one, but two Halo games. An actual gameplay demo of Halo 3:ODST was shown and a short trailer for “Halo: Reach” also made its way to the show floor. “Halo: Reach” would seemingly be a prequel based on the planet Reach. A novel, Fall of Reach showcased the planet and its eventual destruction by the hands of the covenant, all of which took place before the first “Halo”. If ODST wasn’t exciting enough, fans who pick up a copy will gain access to a multiplayer beta for “Halo: Reach.”
Of course, many more announcements were made, but those above were the biggest for Microsoft and its 360. Other games seeing a debut were Left 4 Dead 2, new footage of Modern Warfare 2, an impressive demo of Splinter Cell:Conviction, Crackdown 2, a killer demo of Alan Wake, and last but not least, Forza 3.
Out of all of these, “Splinter Cell: Conviction” really blew me away. It’s no secret that the game has had some rocky, developmental setbacks, but the footage that was shown was intense to say the least. Sam Fischer is back and he’s playing by his own rules this time, trying to get to the bottom of his daughter’s disappearance. The gameplay shown had Sam infiltrating buildings, lurking in the dark, and going headshot crazy. At one point Sam had taken an enemy hostage and tried obtaining info from him, but he quickly becomes cornered and his hostage tells him to put down his gun if he wants to know what happened to his daughter. Perhaps “Conviction” will let players make game-changing decisions on the fly. Conviction was also announced as an Xbox 360 exclusive set to debut this fall.
But by far the most impressive moments of Microsoft’s conference came at the end with he introduction of their new motion technology: Project Natal. Motion control rumors for the Xbox 360 have been running rampant for about a year now, and Microsoft delivered what could possibly lead to a technological revolution. What’s really special about Project Natal is the controller - it’s you! You’re body acts as the sole object of control and your movements, actions, and voice are all picked up by the Project Natal camera. The tech demos shown were truly impressive. One demo acted like a 3d breakout. Closest to the screen was the player’s translucent avatar, balls from the opposite end fly toward the player and it was their task to kick, punch, or do whatever it takes to stop the balls from going passed you. What’s remarkable is the amount of precision the Natal camera had. Every movement of the player was picked up by the camera and really aloud for fluid motion onscreen.
the absolute, most impressive video of the conference came when Peter Molynuex was brought on to show what his studio, Lionhead Studios, could do with the new technology provided by project Nadal, and the results were amazing. I won’t spoil anything for you, just take a look at the video below.
And as always keep it here for more TGH E3 ‘09 coverage as the rest of the game will have interviews, and much more from the show floor all week long. And don’t forget to check in tomorrow as Nintendo and Sony try to outdue Microsoft in their respective press conferences. Keep it real TGH’ers