After FFXIII, the conference switched to 360 exclusives, leading with Epic (developer of Gears of War 2) who revealed their first Xbox Live Arcade title: Shadow Complex. This one looks like one of those two-and-a-half-D side-scrollers with, per design director Cliff Bleszinski, "tons of exploration and intense combat." The campaign's supposed to be over 10 hours long "with a lot of re-playability" and "some pretty cool boss battles as well." Look for Shadow Complex on Xbox Live Arcade this summer.
Joy Ride, a racing game by Big Park (one of the newest member of Microsoft Game Studios) was on next. Take the desert-scapes in the Road Runner cartoons and mash 'em in with Speed Racer and you've got the vibe. Microsoft called it a "new social experience with the energy of a kart racer," plus a personal angle (personalize cars, upgrade them etc.). Oh yeah, you can share any race track with a friend, regardless of whether they purchased it themselves. Coming this winter to Xbox Live.
Crackdown 2 announced: "The city is infected...you are the cure." A dude in armor goes rooftop-hopping. "Our enemies have nowhere to run...just remember, neither do you." Shortest trailer I've seen in a long time, which is why I've out of things to say about it.
Left 4 Dead 2
Left 4 Dead 2 announced and previewed: The trailer was basically what you'd expect. Zombies everywhere, heads exploding, bodies ripping open, swarms of bloody forms scrambling over fences. Narrated by a survivor, who ties off with: "And if we run out of bullets, baby, they gonna wish we hadn't." Cue chainsaw sound effect. Coming November 17.
Splinter Cell: Conviction
Stoked for Splinter Cell: Conviction (aka "The Fugitive: Sam Fischer")? Max Beland and Alex Parizeau from Ubisoft Montreal took the stage to talk about the game, stating that "Sam has changed, and this time he's on a personal mission." Uh-huh. So what about the gameplay? We got a peek: Sam smacking around a bald guy in a bathroom as story-related video played in black and white on the wall around him. "The story unfolds in realtime," said Beland, suggesting there won't be cutscenes or breaks in the gameplay -- it'll all unfold around you seamlessly instead. It looks like Sam's actions are going to be much faster, too, i.e. more violent, and -- since he's a guy who's just lost his daughter -- enthusiastically lethal. The demo revealed a new action called the "mark and execute."
"Each environment is built like a small sandbox," said Beland, referring to the game's focus on freeform tactical play. Looks like there's significantly better environmental awareness, too. Shoot down a chandelier and enemies react more specifically, referencing what you've done in some detail, or use broken glass to peek under a door. Coming this fall exclusively for Xbox 360.
Forza Motorsport 3
Next up, racing: Shipping in October, Forza Motorsport 3, which looked so photorealistic I'd say Gran Turismo 5's in trouble, or at least in for a fight. Design guy (missed his name) claims it'll have "the best graphic and physics" of any game on any platform (because no one's ever claimed that!). Forza 3 ships this October.
Halo 3: ODST
Bungie dropped by next with Halo 3: ODST. The demo launched with a couple tough-quipping marines, i.e Gears of Halo 3. "Welcome to the city of New Mombasa, weeks before the start of Halo 3," said Microsoft. You play a rookie orbital drop shock trooper separated from his team. You're on your own, working through lots of wide open areas, and you have to "stay alert for unexpected help." ODST troops apparently have access to gizmos Spartans don't, like a low-light visor and two new sound-suppressed weapons. You'll flip between different ODSTs, eventually, tackling different mission types too (the demo revealed two ODST's trying to blow a bridge). This one launches September 22.
Hello top secret Bungie product! "From the beginning, you know the end," began the trailer, before showing a planet that looked like Earth viewed from high orbit, with frantic radio messages and wild explosions going off across the surface. The game's name: Halo: Reach. Halo prequel? "Falls 2010," meaning it's coming in 2010, or the fall of 2010, or maybe that's code for a hidden waterfall in the game where they hand out magic candy. You pick. The hook: When you buy Halo 3 ODST, you'll get an invitation to the Halo: Reach multiplayer beta.
Alan Wake was demoed for the umpteenth time, all in-game footage. In case you've lost track, the game's a story about a writer whose supernatural scribblings are inexplicably coming true. The demo showed footage of Alan arriving at a meeting point at night, walking into a wrecked house and catching hell, literally. Alan battles Smokezilla from Lost? Something (invisible?) was flinging stuff at him, but maybe I missed it. It looks like Alan can slow down time (or maybe his enemies can?) and target them with a tricked out flare gun. Also: Tons of lighting effects, heavy duty particles, and crazy flare bleed in darkened environments. Alan Wake will "see light of day" spring 2010.