Xbox Live chief John Schappert talks about Microsoft's Japan strategy; prequel expansion to Bungie's shooter due Fall 2009; avatar-based XBL relaunch coming next month; Tekken 6 confirmed for 360; trailer inside.
When Microsoft launched the Xbox 360 in 2005, it spent millions promoting the platform across Japan. Stung by the first Xbox's poor reception in the island nation, the software giant spared no expense on a spate of flashy--and carefully choreographed--launch events. It even went as far as to divert inventory away from Europe and North America, where the system was in great demand and extremely short supply.
However, for all Microsoft's advances, Japan greeted the 360 with a collective shrug. Sales of the console were slow, with unsold units piling up on store shelves as bored clerks looked on. Then, the company attempted to seduce Japanese role-playing gamers by enlisting such high-profile Japanese designers as Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi and Q Entertainment boss Tetsuya Mizuguchi to make 360 exclusives. Unfortunately, the resulting crop of tepidly reviewed games didn't contain major bestsellers on either side of the Pacific Ocean.
Despite these setbacks, Microsoft continues to pursue Japanese publishers, developers, and gamers. This year, the company stunned the game industry by announcing that it had struck a deal with Square Enix to release longtime PS3 exclusive Final Fantasy XIII day and date on the 360 in Europe and North America. Microsoft also held a Tokyo 360 JRPG event where it showed The Last Remnant and the exclusives Infinite Undiscovery and Star Ocean: The Last Hope. Also on hand was Namco Bandai's exclusive Tales of Vesperia, a well-reviewed JPRG which was so popular that it helped the 360 sell out in Japan in August.
So what does Microsoft have up its sleeve today? That's what the journalists and analysts gathered in the International Conference Hall of the Makuhari Messe came to hear. On hand to tell the crowd will be John Schappert, Microsoft corporate vice president. A 16-year veteran of Electronic Arts, where he managed the company's dozen-plus internal developers, Schappert now heads up all Microsoft Games Studios, Games for Windows, and Xbox Live projects.
Today, anticipation was rife that the executive would be on hand to show off the progression of the upcoming avatar-based New Xbox Live experience. However, the crowd on-hand--who had just sat through a dry 90-minute presentation and discussion by Square Enix president Yoichi Wada and others--were also hoping for bigger surprises.
[12:05] The hall was packed to capacity to hear the execs from Square, Capcom, and Namco Bandai debate about the future of the Japanese industry, but half the crowd is now leaving.
[12:06] Room's just gone dark, and a trailer starts.
[12:07] Cue orchestral music and shots fro The Last Remnant.
[12:09] Looks of full CG battle shots now, intercut with some actual gameplay showing various character melee attacks and spells.
[12:10] People are now starting to trickle back in!
[12:12] Last Remnant dated for 360 on 20 November 2008. Looks to be a simultaneous release globally.
[12:13] Schappert's now on stage, boasting about the great lineup of games for the 360 developed in Japan.
[12:14] Schappert starts to lay praise on the legacy of Japanese games, stating his childhood heroes included Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto. He says everyone looks to Japan for inspiration.
[12:15] He says to go global and be successful, you need world-class development tools, good online, and a console that everyone can afford. No prizes for guessing what he's referring to.
[12:17] Here it comes: Schappert says the 360 is the best way for Japanese developers to go global.
[12:16] He says US sales have doubled, are up 62 percent in Europe up, and a five-fold increase in Japan ever since the recent global price drops.
[12:18] Slide now up showing worldwide purchases of Japanese games on Xbox was 1 million last year, up 60 percent on previous year. He predicts this year will break the billion mark.
[12:18] Schappert now chatting about Star Ocean: The Last Hope, another Square Enix game which is the first Star Ocean game on current-generation consoles.
[12:18] Room darkens again, and the Star Ocean: The Last Hope trailer starts.
[12:19] Voice-over states that man has began to look for new worlds among the stars, and apparently did it in 2087. The Space Reconnaissance Force is formed.
[12:19] Main character is Edge Maverick, the captain of the first SPF force. Shots of a starship bridge looking very Enterprise.
[12:19] Now there's actual gameplay, with what looks like your typical Square Enix attacks.
[12:20] Schappert's back on stage, where he says Star Ocean: The Last Hope is coming Feb 19 to Japan and March 3 in the US.
[12:20] Topic changes to Biohazard 5, better known as Resident Evil 5 to Western markets. A RE5 player now starts to play.
[12:21] Close-up of an African guy grabbing the hand of a mysterious hooded figure. The man starts to convulse, and an eerie red ooze creeps out all over him.
[12:21] Angry crowd of zombies on the street, who appear to be led by a man wearing sunglasses and speaking on a megaphone. He orders the execution via wicked beheading of a prisoner.
[12:21] Now lots of fast shots of zombie attacks.
[12:22] Shots of game hero Chris Redfield taking on a Neo-looking dude who seems to have the ability to appear and disappear.
[12:22] Now our heroes are on a ship being attacked by giant tentacles.
[12:22] Final shot is of the gravestone of Jill Valentine.
[12:23] Ninety-Nine Nights II is coming to 360, Schappert says, as an exclusive.
[12:23] One more surprise announcement to come apparently.
[12:23] Room goes dark, and a Namco Bandai logo appears.
[12:23] Holy cow, its Tekken's very own Jin Kazama.
[12:24] Looks like Tekken 6 is coming to the 360. Cue fanboy joy and outrage.
[12:24] Schappert makes it official that Tekken--"the number one fighting franchise in the world"--is coming to 360.
[12:24] Release is set for fall 2009.
[12:25] Schappert shifts topics to classic arcade titles, and now starts to speak about Xbox Live Arcade.
[12:27] Schappert says Taito's Space Invaders Extreme is coming to XBL. Also in the works from Taito is Arkanoid Live, which has 120 stages, online coop, and versus modes.
[12:28] Moving onto SNK, Metal Slug 7 is coming to XBL. Ditto King of Fighters 98 Ultimate Match, which is set for spring 2009.
[12:28] Now a trailer for R-Type Dimensions starts, which takes classic R-Type levels and looks to shift them into modified 3D environments.
[12:30] Schappert now starts to talk about Xbox Live Community Games, saying they have partnered with a dozen universities in Japan. They've had more than 1,000 submissions globally, including many from Japan.
[12:30] Schappert says more than 14 million members are now online on XBL.
[12:31] He now starts to talk about the Xbox Live Experience, an expanded tour of which is now available via GameSpot's Feature Preview.
[12:31] First screen is the avatar selection screen, showing a group of avatars that can be chosen as a templates.
[12:33] Schappert goes through some customization options. He's created a rock-star wannabe with spiky hair and dark glasses. He then takes a picture of his new character, which can be used as your avatar picture.
[12:35] Now Schappert is talking about creating your own themes.
[12:36] He shows off the new games channel, which scrolls game pics in a cascading manner.
[12:37] The presentation is similar to recent posts on the official Xbox Live Blog describing the NXE.
[12:38] Now Schappert is showing off the mini-blades, and how it works compared to the rest of the new Xbox Live Experience.
[12:39] Schappert says the new Xbox Live will be coming to 26 countries, 19 languages localized, and will be coming on November 19. Mark that date folks!
[12:40] Now he's switching to what's next for the Halo franchise. Nope, not a new Master Chief game, but more on Halo Wars.
[12:41] Graeme Devine, lead story writer for Halo Wars, takes to the stage. He's going to show off some gameplay from the campaign.
[12:42] Halo Wars is set 20 years before the start of Halo 1, and he reiterates that you can command the entire UNSC arsenal when they it was its peak to take on the Covenant.
[12:42] Onscreen, two elites are having a conversation, telling them to open a massive gate. In the distance, a UNSC soldier asks, what does this mean?
[12:43] Actual gameplay starts, with a dropship dropping off a large base to get the game started. Now with the base built, Devine starts to build barracks, power stations, and more.
[12:43] All of these commands are being input via a radial menu which pops up onscreen.
[12:43] Warthogs and soldiers are now being created from the base.
[12:44] Devine goes through some command options, showing the crowd how to select and move units.
[12:45] He's selected all of his units, which now include a massive Scorpion tank, and gets them to storm a nearby Covenant position.
[12:45] Now he shows off how to call air strikes from the orbiting starship Spirit of Fire, which makes quick work of some Covenant troops.
[12:46] A Covenant Scarab appears, apparently the most powerful unit the bad guys can muster. Devine focuses all of his attacks on the armored unit.
[12:47] Devine now says that zombie-hybrid Flood race will definitely be an enemy you'll have to take on in Halo Wars, showing a quick snippet of some Flood facehuggers streaming out of a mound.
[12:47] Schappert's back, saying Halo players have logged on more than 1 billion of hours on Live.
[12:48] Still more Halo news. He says "We're not done with Halo 3 yet," linking it to the mysterious trailer which debuted two weeks ago.
[12:49] Trailer starts, shots of New Mombasa being absolutely carpet bombed with capsules for Orbital Shock Drop Troopers.
[12:49] The city is now in ruins, and one capsule breaks through a building.
[12:50] It's Halo 3: Recon, with a new hero and a new campaign!
[12:51] It's a prologue apparently, seen from the eyes of a UNSC ODST marine who has crash-landed behind enemy lines.
[12:51] From the trailer, the soldier carefully lifts himself from the capsule, and has to hide to avoid a company of brutes patrolling the area.
[12:53] The last shot is the lone ODST--sporting armor very similar to the Chief's--alone in a ruined city.
[12:54] Halo 3: Recon is set to hit Fall 2009. That's a bit later than expected.
[12:57] And that's it! For more on these and other games, check out GameSpot's full coverage of the 2008 Tokyo Game Show.
Shivercraft.. kinda agree with u about avitars.. its gonna make it more family kind of thing though that isn't completely a bad thing
Meh, not a big Halo fan, much too slow for my taste (gimme some timesplitters, yo) and is it just me or is the new avatar thing kind kind of silly. Feels like they are trying to kind of do the Home/Second Life thing. Oh well, nothing really unexpected, nice and safe on the MS front, I see.
the new halo will be awesome i hate those guys that say that the halo series suck just die please itīs more than just a game go play stupid games on the PS3 then..
if it's anything like halo 3 this game will own. if it's anything like halo 3 online this game will own BIG TIME.
just saying for ctg867 that ODST's are not Spartans or related to the S1 program your referring to the take the Spartans from GREECE back in ANCIENT times as the first Spartans, they are called Spartan II because the Spartans were the best of the best
I had a hunch that Tekken 6 would find itself on the 360 but I had no idea it would release day and date with the PS3 version. If Sony wants to win this generation, they need to do a better job of securing their exclusives. Darkride: Are you saying that Microsoft isn't doing a better job at keeping most exclusives exclusive? (At least timed?) Sony's is having serious problems getting even timed eclusives to stick for some reason. I don't know why
ahh thank god its no mastercheif! just a normal soldier in the wrong place at the wrong time! not some massive guy who is extra strong and can jump extra high!
you moron its not going to be an expansion. They're gunna do a crysis warhead and create a totally separate parallel running game.
Omg 2009 what a ripoff,I know these things take time but seriously bungie it doesnt take that long to make an expansion.
LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL fall...............2009 good one bungie, you know what you should do next. make the game end in a cliffhanger thus have no ending. halo 1 to 3 had sh**ty endings im sure this will too. also "it is a separate game diff from halo3" is that why the game is called Halo 3: Recon???
Live is 50 bucks a year over here...and you get 13 months for it. Anyway, this looks really cool and all but I was hoping for something either about the other Spartans or after Halo 3. Either way, the lineup looks great and I can't wait. Wish I had money for more than Gears 2 and WotLK :-(.
AWC, you should get your facts right. ODST's are not in fact Spartan-1's. The very first "ODST's" were deployed a full 400 year's before the Spartan program was initialized. (they were very very primal compared to what they are now) The ODST's of 2552 are suicidal, homocidal, maniacs who love killing anything and everything. They live for battle and would love nothing more than dying in battle. (Think USMC on massive steroids) dont insult gamestop if you come out looking retarded.
Killer2401 So fanboys, hows the 360's 2009 year looking now? ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- It's lokking ggggrrrrREEEAAATTTTTT!!!!!!!!!!!!
@Hurlytime if you are going to buy a 360 buy a Elite, and yes Live is worth it...60 dolars a year i pretty cheap if you aske me
Hurleytime - 1). Yes. It's fantastically good value. Once you try it (which you can do for free for 48 hours with many games), you'll be instantly converted. Within a couple of weeks, you'll wonder how you ever did without it. I own as PS3 too, and PSN is dick by comparison. 2). Yes. Without a hard drive, you'll miss out on most of the benefits of Xbox LIVE. And the drive's really not that expensive. 3). Good question... I'd have to say, not many. There's Fable II coming soon, of course. And the Forza Motorsport games are excellent (though GT5 is probably going to be better). For me, the 360's worth buying for LIVE alone. It's beautiful. No kidding.
Vasot- Thank god that Master Chief is not the main hero again This is refreshing I agree with you there Vasot not adding the chief in is a good move from bungie as it allows more freedom in terms of the story as the halo universe DOES NOT REVOLVE AROUND THE CHIEF!!! THE MAIN STORY IN THE HALO UNIVERSE IS ABOUT HUMANITY FIGHTING TO SURVIVE AGAINST IMPOSSIBLE ODDS!!! -a message to halo fanboys there- because it wasn't just the chief fighting it was thousands of marines fighting against the covenant as well remember. Myself personally playing as one of the ODST's (I'm no expert but I think they act like some kind of special forces unit I'm not sure though >_>) Is gonna be ACE because well for starters (3 things). 1. I liked the overall look of them (read they look cool to me), they remind me of somthing you would see come out of a military future force weapons (Ghost Recon anyone) program. 2. They aren't some flippin tin-man who has as about as much personalty as a stoned goldfish! They're a highly trained, well equipped, well motaveted PEOPLE not bloody tin-men PEOPLE meaning much better in terms of what kinds of characters they can portray (please have obligtary sexy female sniper xP ) and what emotions they can show hate, fear, love etc. Not to mention being able to portray a sence of brotherhood between the squaddies and of course some fun poking camaraderie and strong heart to heart moments. (the film Saving Private Ryan hit these 'notes' perfectly for me) 3. As you can tell I wasn't really a big fan of the Chief I found the marines far more interesting. Oh as a side note - Gamespot please do a bit of homework coz' if you did you would realise that the ODSTs were infact the very first spartans (before the UNSC added cybornetics and the like into the equation to create the likes of the Chief) so of course they would look similer if you stood them side by side.
So I am a PS3 owner. With the recent game announcements and price cuts, I am STRONGLY considering getting a 360. I have 3 questions: 1) Is a gold subscription worth it? 2) Is an HDD worth it? 3) What exclusive titles besides gears and halo are must-buys? Btw, if they cut the price of A) the console again, B) the HDD again, or C) get rid of the subscription fees, I am 100% buying it.
-Unsurprisingly their spending a good amount of time talking up games like The Last Remnant and Star Ocean, along with trying to convince the audience that the 360 is the best choice in Japan. -Also a nice presentation on Resident Evil 5 (even though I can't bloody stand the series and the fact that RE5 hasn't changed it's awful controls from RE4). Then onto the Ninety-Nine Nights II announcement (first wasn't all that good so well see how this turns out). -Now the announcement of Tekken 6 coming to 360, which is big news. Though that release date is such a mistake. Bring the thing out during next summer like Soul Calibur IV and you'll sell. Otherwise you'll end up like Virtua Fighter 5 was last year and be crushed during a holiday rush. Anyway, well see how this port stands up to the PS3 version. -The announcements of Space Invaders Extreme and Metal Slug 7 are awesome. I'll be buying both as long as they're both $10 and they put a bit more content into Metal Slug then they did with MS3. Couldn't care less about the stupid Community Games thing. That's gonna be such a disaster. -The 14 million number is complete crap. Unless they state otherwise, that number includes all Silver accounts, trial accounts, banned accounts, and inactive accounts. Give me a number for all the people who are actively paying Gold subscriptions to XBL and I'll give you credit for it. But until then, I still consider WoW to be larger the XBL is. -So glad they spent such little time on the dashboard update. Avatars suck. Custom themes could be cool. And if the mini-blades aren't dumb down for my grandparents, and therefore unusable, then they'll be a plus as well. -Now onto Halo Wars. I have no clue as to why they didn't show this off at E3, but at the very least here it is. Glad to see it coming along, if I have the change for it I'll definitely make this a priority pick up around launch. Though how the hell is the Flood gonna work? We didn't know about the Flood until the events of Halo 1. Given this takes place before that, the only way this would work is if you played as the Covenant right before the humans got to the Halo ring. -Yea, Halo 3: Recon is a prologue, but not a prologue to the series, just a prologue to Halo 3, given that the trailer obvious took place during the events of Halo 2 right when the Chief left Earth. I'm telling you right now, if you know anything about the fiction and what they've announced, the ODST you play as is actually a Spartan, but from the the original program S1 program, not the S2 program the Chief was a part of. Oh and for the record, the Chief WILL make an appearance in Recon, even if you don't play as him.
sounds awesome. halo has really needed some drastic change (for the campaign mode, not multiplayer) and I really think this is it. I can't wait to hear more now
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!No master chief this stinks oh well new main character kool lol!............ =)
Hopefully more Recon content is released at TGS, I'm doubting it though. ~ Dave http://www.h3recon.com
GoldenRamoth, of course it's 360 only! Microsoft is the publisher. The new is great. Halo Wars and the expansion is going to be awesome.
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Where's Master chief stupid odst guy who dose he think he is takeing over master chief anyway master chief could kick his ass any day
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