SANTA MONICA, Calif.--With the dust still settling from day one of the E3 Media and Business Summit, THQ held its press conference at the Fairmont Hotel. The publisher has a number of brand-new games it could focus on, including two new Destory All Humans! games, the just-revealed Darksiders, and De Blob. It could also give the audience more in-depth looks at previously announced games like Conan, Frontline: Fuel of War, Stuntman: Ignition, or the Supreme Commander follow-up.
As attendees enter the conference room, they are presented with a bit of "Best Grillz" bling, a shiny strip of "jewels" meant to be placed over one's teeth. Though it isn't a mouth guard by any stretch of the imagination, the faux teeth say "UFC" on them, referring to THQ's recently acquired Ultimate Fighting Championship property. The crowd is filing into the conference room a bit late, and they're looking to start ASAP, so it's about time to get rolling.
[9:31] THQ's Liz Pieri comes to the stage, and quickly introduces one of the WWE Divas, Candice Michelle, who appears on stage with a title belt. She is joined shortly by fellow Diva Michelle McCool.
[9:32] The two pose and smile on stage while their theme songs play, then approach the podium. Michelle says they're here to promote SmackDown! vs. RAW 2008, and that Raw is going to kick SmackDown's butt. The Divas say they came to play, and they're going to go at it with the Wii version of the game.
[9:33] "The following contest is scheduled for one fall. On the way to the ring, from West Newbury, Massachusetts, weighing in at 248 pounds, John Cena."
[9:34] And his opponent is Triple H, but his entrance is cut short.
[9:36] McCool and Michelle mimic Cena's "You Can't See Me" and Triple H's crotch-chop taunts with the Wii, and the game reacts accordingly. "This is just dumb," the play-by-play announcer says. "You don't win a wrestling match by taunting your opponents."
[9:37] The two play on stage for a while, exchanging punches and moves for a while until a referee comes on stage and breaks them up.
[9:38] The referee is THQ's senior vice president of marketing, and he gets a surprisingly loud round of applause.
[9:40] He's here to show how THQ is creating mayhem on all major platforms for years to come, he says. He talks about WWE and the company's new Pixar games, Cars: Mater-National and Ratatouille. He brings up Conan and introduces a trailer.
[9:41] Conan is shown with a massive bladed staff, fighting a dragon, cutting his way through hordes of enemies with contemptible ease, and generally just being a bloodthirsty barbarian.
[9:42] Now it's time to talk about original IP. Here's Kelly Flock, executive vice president of global publishing, to talk about what's new at THQ.
[9:44] Dressed in a non-executive-like T-shirt, Flock introduces Frontlines: Fuel of War. "Given the new requirement that any given publisher have at least three military simulators in development at all times, this is our first one," Flock deadpans. "We'll have six more next year."
[9:45] Flock intros one of the Frontline developers to talk about the game. He mentions the diversity of the single-player campaign and takes the audience through a trailer and a demo of the game.
[9:46] The trailer shows a squad of soldiers prepping to go into a hostile base and take out an ICBM. The squad has an embedded journalist with them, offering an interesting wrinkle to the story.
[9:48] To start the demo, the player jumps into an attack chopper and quickly takes out a tank with a barrage of missiles. The helicopter deploys a soldier in the base, and the developer notes the intensity of the combat in the ensuing firefight, saying it was a focus for the team.
[9:49] The player calls in a cluster bomb air strike to take out a fortified tower, then tells an gunship to obliterate a tank and other artillery.
[9:50] The last assist equipment he shows is a remote controlled little helicopter that flies around firing tiny missiles at soldiers. Flock takes the stage back and intros Destroy All Humans! Path of the Furons.
[9:52] Flock intros John Knowles from Sandblast Studio to show off the Xbox 360 version of the game. Knowles says the game will take place in cities based on Las Vegas, Hong Kong, Hollywood, Paris, and another world far, far away.
[9:53] The game opens with the alien Crypto running a casino in Vegas when he is eventually called to a kung fu monastery to seek enlightenment.
[9:55] There, an alien monk tells Crypto about his psychokinetic ability, and offers to teach him more. It doesn't go well, so Crypto says, "Let's get ready to rumble" and proceeds to beat up a posse of monks with his mental powers, which let him lift up enemies and then stick them to one another. "Also back is the classic anal probe."
[9:56] Crypto then uses the temporal fist, which allows him to stop time and reposition people and objects to set up an impromptu game of "Monk Bowling" with unwilling monk pins and a giant boulder bowling ball.
[9:57] Knowles talks about how the time-freezing ability lets players mess with objects to set up Rube Goldbergian chain reactions and play with the game's sandbox qualities.
[9:59] Crypto then jumps into a new flying saucer that has a death ray that leaves persistent scars across the world, a plasma cannon, and homing "seeker drones." The tornado-tron also lets Crypto create a tornado and direct where he wants it to go. Speaking of "high fidelity destruction," Knowles shows that Crypto's death ray can carve a smiley face into a skyscraper, and it will stick around until the building is destroyed.
[10:01] He wraps it up with a shot of the Quantum Destructor, a bomb that lets Crypto take out four city blocks at once. Flock comes back on to talk about the racing genre. "We have 12 racing games in production, like every other publisher," he jokes. Juiced, Stuntman, MX vs. ATV are a few of THQ's.
[10:04] Flock fires up a trailer that shows a bit of Stuntman and the fake movies it will feature, a Juiced trailer showcasing the lifestyle aspects of the game, MotoGP's weather effects and crashes, and finally, a teaser for MX vs. ATV Untamed set to overly dramatic music, and ending with a December 2007 announced release date.
[10:05] Flock says he's tight on time, so he's going to go over the next few quickly. He introduces one of the developers on de Blob to talk about the game. It's a live demo that shows the amorphous main character's abilities.
[10:09] An evil force is draining a city of all its color, which de Blob tries to restore to the world. The developer shows off the control scheme and moves the blob around collecting paint and then adding color to the buildings of the city. As he adds color, the music changes in response and liberates the citizens by doing things like finding his way inside a courthouse, which then turns into a music hall. Each color adds a different instrument to the soundtrack, so the composition of the city affects the audio experience.
[10:10] He shows off a bit of combat that has the blob leaping into the air and then crashing down on inky enemies. As the demo ends, the audience applauds and Flock returns to introduce Darksiders.
[10:11] David Adams and Joe Maderera of Vigil Games talk about the game, which puts players in the role of War, one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse.
[10:13] They show some concept art of the various characters in the game and talk about the comic-inspired style. They say the game will be very open-ended, allowing players to navigate the world as they choose, and they talk about the many locations they'll eventually find their way to.
[10:15] They show off some gameplay footage, as the main character at an early stage in the game takes on a massive hellish beast. There are a few action sequences that take the action through scripted cinematic sequences (sort of like God of War).
[10:17] They talk about how the main character advances during the game, and can eventually pick up cars and buses. They go through a few of War's weapons, from his main sword to a chaingun, but they say his steed Ruin will be the most destructive.
[10:18] Finally they introduce current light-heavyweight champion, Quentin "Rampage" Jackson, to show off UFC.
[10:20] Jackson asks how the crowd is doing tonight, then realizes it's morning and apologizes. He also says he's a big gaming freak and then asks the THQ execs to hook him up with the games they showed in an intimidating manner.
[10:22] They show a clip of Rampage versus the Ice Man in a back-and-forth brawl, and Jackson howls as it ends. The clip appeared prerendered. Jackson takes exception to how much offense Chuck "Ice Man" Liddell got in during the clip.
[10:22] Jackson says goodbye to the crowd and the show is over.