Against our expectations, Microsoftâ€™s keynote address presented by the bigwig John Schappert went with a bang yesterday morning at Game Developers Conference 08. Not only did Microsoft confirm the heavily-rumoured sequel to 2006â€™s Game of the Year, Gears of War, but it also inundated the press with a plethora of exciting announcements that go a long way to show that the Xbox 360 continues to be the must-have console for gamers.
The conference started off rather slow, with wave after wave of statistics thrown at the attendees. However, as Chris Satchel took the stage, the uninspiring atmosphere was soon over. Sparking the first surge of excitement was Microsoft announcing the latest addition to the Xbox Live â€“ Xbox Live Community Games. It can best be described as the Xbox 360â€™s YouTube. Though not yet available in all its glory, the service currently offers gamers trial downloads of community-created games as some sort of an appetizer of whatâ€™s to come further down the road. For more information on the user-made games now available for download, hop over here.
Next, a few words were said on the Zune side of things. The highlight of this subject was no doubt the news that people will soon be able to develop games for the media player with the XNA. Both first-gen and second-gen Zunes will support the new feature, though the latest version is said to be better suited thanks to the more appropriate controls. Microsoft noted that this was a very early announcement and more concrete details would be revealed in the coming months.
Turning the spotlight back onto the Xbox 360, Tim Sweeney, Epic Gamesâ€™ CEO and Technical Director, was invited to the stage to talk about Unreal Engine 3 and the improvements theyâ€™ve made since Gears of War. The tech demo that was soon shown was highly impressive to say the least. Check it out for yourselves below.
Tomonobu Itagaki then took the stage to give a demonstration of Ninja Gaiden 2. A new level was shown that featured new gigantic monsters, as well as a new weapon. Besides announcing the game is slated to ship to retail stores on June 3rd, the famed game designer also unveiled a brand new feature, that is the ability to record and upload clips of your blood-soaked videos to the Xbox Live for others to marvel at.
Moving on, it was Fable 2â€™s turn to wow the public. By giving a lengthy video walkthrough, Peter Molyneux demonstrated many of the gameâ€™s enticing features such as the newly announced offline co-op play for two players; whether or not the co-op play will be Live-enabled remains to be seen. In addition to the dynamic co-op mode, the Molynator announced that players will be able to experience Fable 2 before the gameâ€™s Fall release by means of buying Xbox Live Arcade games developed by Carbonated Games. This offer of various Fable 2 themed pub games will let players get a head start on earning currency for use in the full package when it launches later in the year.
Before wrapping up the show, a trailer was shown announcing Gears of War 2 (YAY!) exclusively for the Xbox 360, followed by Cliffy B appearing on the stage Gears-style. Apart from promising that â€śâ€™Gears of War 2â€™ is an even bigger, better, and more badass experience than the first game,â€ť nothing else was said on the game.
There you go dear readers! Now tell us what you think of all this in the comments section below.