What better way to get the big announcements for the upcoming year out then by throwing your own conference? Microsoft is having their annual big X party and this time Barcelona is the place of choice to host the X06 event. The biggest and probably most important thing at this event is Microsoft’s press conference of course. If you’re one of the few people that didn’t catch the live stream on Xbox.com then don’t worry; we’ve got it all written down for you.
Conference starts off with Banjo and Kazooie, Banjo is back! Chris Lewis (regional vice president) takes the stage. Banjo and Kazooie are coming to Xbox 360. Marketing chit-chat ensues. Fastest selling console ever, 5 million sold blablabla.
Statistics time. 60% of all 360 gamers online, that’s 50% more than on Xbox 1. 80% of the connected consoles are downloading content. Kane and Lynch will debut exclusively on Xbox 360 and Vista. Crossfire, another Eidos title is exclusive as well. Sensible World of Soccer is coming to the Xbox Live Arcade, like we already knew, with full online support. Doom as well. An XBLA trailer is shown sporting Doom, Lumines, Contra, MK3, Small Arms, Gyruss, Mutant Storm Empire, Defender, Assault Heroes, Heavy Weapon, Sensible Soccer and Totemball footage. Doom is available tonight.
Peter Moore takes the stage. Games in native 1080p are coming. He said Barcelonaton, don’t you guys just love it when high honchos use hardcore gaming inside jokes in big conferences like these? 160 games will be available in High Definition this holiday. CliffyB takes the stage to continue what he started at E3 earlier this year.
CliffyB plays another mission from Gears of War, the game is fully playable in Barcelona with drop-in/drop-out co-op. Peter Moore takes the stage back, takes a quick jab at Sony by saying that Gears of War is coming to Europe 5 days after the US launch, not 5 months. He talks about the India launch we reported on earlier. After that we get a montage of some upcoming 360 games including The Darkness, Lost Planet, Crossfire, Viva Pinata, Gears of War, Alan Wake, Fifa 07, Battlestations: Midway, Forza 2, Shadowrun, Fable 2, FEAR, Fusion Frenzy 2, Splinter Cell: Double Agent, NBA 2k7, Halo 3, THPS8, Kane and Lynch, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07, Dead or Alive Xtreme 2, WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2007, Crackdown, Mass Effect, Virtua Tennis 3, Stranglehold, Rainbow Six: Vegas, Sonic, Team Fortress 2 and more.
Viva PiÃ±ata talk ensues. Moore talks a bit about the deal with 4Kids.tv. Coming to Europe next year. A full blown Viva PiÃ±ata trailer is shown. Blue Dragon images are shown and apparently it was quite successful at the Tokyo Game Show with people waiting in line for over 2,5 hours. It will be coming to North America and Europe in 2007, thanks Peetah! Another trailer is shown, cute stuff!
Bungie. “Expect to hear something about Halo 3 by the end of this year”, says Moore, oohhh spooky. A Project Gotham Racing 4 CGI trailer is shown. Some car (a Ferrari) drives true a city with some weird smoke shader on it. Doesnâ€™t look in-game. Ah, now we’re getting somewhere. A Grand Theft Auto 4 logo is being shown with an Xbox Live logo next to it. Two epic episodes are being released within months after the release on the Xbox Live Marketplace exclusively. Hours of new material is promised. No footage.
Assassin’s Creed producer (and babe) Jade Raymond is introduced to the stage. Nerds across the globe get hard ones. Itâ€™s the first ever live public demo and it is looking amazingly smooth! Butter smooth animations, really lively environments but it has some pop-up. Jade did warn us about some glitches though since itâ€™s an early build. The character climbs up the wall of some building which looks very impressive. You can hold on to anything that sticks out more than two inches. You’re free to pick your own path to go about things, GTA style.
Bioshock is announced to be exclusive to Xbox 360 and Games for Windows. Lengthy trailer is shown, big applause after that. Lost Odyssey is coming to Europe and North America. The producer comes on stage and the game is being shown for the first time outside of Japan. Not that interesting. After that we get some shout outs to Capcom and Keiji Inafune.
Western games time again. We get some new Splinter Cell: Double Agent footage with the standard North American movie voice-over. The bits where Sam is infiltrating a cruise ship looks good. The next installment of Splinter Cell, the one after Double Agent, is announced to be exclusive to Xbox 360 and Games for Windows.
The HD-DVD add-on is going to cost 199USD, 199 Euros or Â£129 in the UK. When it launches in November 2006 it wonâ€™t be available simultaneously in every country. Theyâ€™re starting with the US, UK, France and Germany, the rest will follow later. Every HD-DVD player will be bundled with the 360 media remote and the HD-DVD release of King Kong. The Games for Windows stuff follows which I won’t bother you with. Peter promises a big marketing campaign with a special in-store display etc. Too bad we’re not a PC gaming site.
After a lengthy Games for Windows montage we get a Marvel Universe Online trailer. Marvel Universe Online is a PC/360 exclusive MMORPG made by Cryptic Studios; the people who made the acclaimed City of Heroes. No word on cross-platform but I wouldn’t be too surprised if it was. Moore announces a long time partnership with Peter Jackson (that guy from Lord of the Rings, who’s doing the Halo movie) but we’re not a movie site either so I won’t bother you with that either. Bungie is working on content beyond Halo 3. He’s talking about the Halo RTS called Halo Wars.
Chris Lewis gets back on stage to close the show. Another Megaton. Ensemble Studios, the people who did Age of Empires 1,2,3 and Age of Mythology are going to do a real time strategy game set in the Halo universe. An impressive CGI trailer is shown. A slide saying ‘all the action you just saw will be available for download very soon’ pop ups. That’s it folks, now go enjoy Doom on the Xbox Live arcade.
Editor’s Note: Please note that this was all written down while watching the stream, there might be a few spelling errors or grammar issues, we’ll fix them and we’ll include links on the go - Nino.