Hello and welcome to X06! Peope are pouring into the hall, taking their seats in a typically plush venue on the outskirts of Barcelona. For once, it looks like it might even start on time!
With our Tokyo jetlag still a very present memory, Microsoft's gearing up to keep our eyelids from drooping with its annual showcase of Xbox and Windows software. X06 takes place in Barcelona today and tomorrow, and the high point for you from a frothing on the Internet perspective will be this evening's press conference, starting at 6PM BST. As ever, we'll be on hand to provide live-text commentary on whatever's announced - with Gears of War, Halo 3 and a number of new titles likely to make an appearance. Read along!
Amongst the deadening sounds of wobbly techno, we can see various Gamertags displayed on the vast screen in front of us. Horus, Gimpster, Stinkster. The Droog. I'm not even making this up.
Mr Fiddler. DocFoz. Vader. Come on guys, you can be more offensive than that!
... Do you think Mr Fiddler is Gary Glitter's Gamertag?
Industry luminaries flank the Eurogamer posse. Oooh look, there's Amy and Simon from EA! And Rob Cooper from Ubisoft. They're luminaries!
The bass throb continues to wobble its way into hundreds of skulls. I may be sent into a trance-induced coma in a minute. No sign of proceedings getting underway early, unsurprisingly enough. Eight more minutes of pounding bassline.
Intrepid Ant. Dr Zoidberg. Cyberclone. Add these people to your friends list and see if they're real. And then give them negative feedback. Be evil.
The hall is about 90 per cent full now, so there shouldn't be too much of a delay - a first for any event we've done Live Text from. Except Ken Kutaragi's speech last week, but we're all trying to forget that, aren't we?
Microsoft also wins brownie points for the lack of stupid security men brandishing torches and demanding that we all switch off our laptops. Hurrah!
Oho! Things are occurring. Sexy girls in golf visors are lined up at the front of the stage...
Actually, Kristan reports that he might be mistaken about the "sexy" bit.
People in suits are scurrying about checking mobile phones and running backstage. It's all very exciting. The girls in visors are handing out something - chances are it's sweets, but it looks like condoms. Hard to tell. God, I hope it's not condoms.
More stupid user names. Shockymonkey, Katkill. What's with the animal abuse?
On mature reflection, Kristan has decided that the visor girls might be cute - in the dark. We're not sure what that means. Or what he's planning.
The stage itself has two podiums on either side. The left one, as we look at it, has two pads on top of it with two 360s standing monolith-like on either side. The right one has four 360s arranged artistically.
They've put the text cues up on screen! A foolish mistake! Let's get a SNEAK PREVIEW! ... "Hello everyone. I'm Chris Lewis, and welcome to Barcelona." Bah. "It's great to see so..." It's gone. We assume that line ended "many pale skinned individuals in one place."
Lights are down! A terrible ballad wafts out - with a massive Europop bass throb. Self-styled music buff Kristan is clawing the walls and threatening to off himself.
A Rare logo on screen. It's Banjo!
We see a scribbly environment, with a fully rendered Banjo trying to get out of a pencil-drawn door - then the screen gives way to a lush rendered scene.
"Banjo is back!" the text informs us. And here's Chris Lewis on stage.
He's the Regional Vice President, doncha know.
Hi Chris. He says he's "priveliged" to be a part of the Xbox team since before launch. It's reflection time, according to Chris - who's recalling X01, the first X event in Europe. He admits that they had a lot of work to do - but fast forward to today, and "we've come a very long way."
Every publisher is making "amazing" games. 1.3 million Xbox 360s in Europe to date - and five million worldwide by the end of June. This is a faster roll-out that anyone else in history has managed, he claims - and reiterates the 10 million unit projection for this Christmas.
Xbox 360 sales account for 60 per cent of home console revenue in Europe right now, he says.
He mentions the new territories getting 360 for Christmas - Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, and South Africa (which I'm sure he knows isn't in Europe - it's one of the "EMEA" territories though).
60 minutes to go, he says. With Xbox Live kicking off the presentation. It's the premiere online service, servicing a community of millions... And he can't resist a sly jab at others for copying their features.
"We're not complacent," he says. They will continue to innovate, challenge and entertain. Building a community has been realised - gamers are responding in droves, the community is growing and growing. 60 per cent of users connected, compared with 10 per cent on Xbox 1.
There are 1500 pieces of downloadable content - 57 million downloads to date.
Kane and Lynch (that's the new game from Io, from memory) is making its debut exclusively on the 360. Crossfire, from Pivotal, is also debuting on the 360 and Windows.
He mentions the recent Xbox Live week, which gave the Gold service to users free of charge for a week, and boasts about the X06 live coverage on the service. Now, on to Xbox Live arcade. Ten million downloads surpassed to date - and Sensible World of Soccer is coming to the 360 on Live Arcade. You'd know that already if we hadn't had to turn off exports on the main site to run this live text. Doh!
Actually, to be clear, there's going to be a 360 version of Sensible World of Soccer, as well as a Live Arcade port of the old SWOS. In other old-game news, Doom is also coming to Live Arcade.
Doom, Lumines Live, Contra, Ultimate MK3, Small Arms, Gyruss, Mutant Storm Empires, Totemball, Defender...
... Assault Heroes, Heavy Weapons... Quite a few, then! And not all retro stuff too, which is nice. Some good stuff in there really.
SWOS coming next year.
Doom on Live Arcade from TONIGHT!
And now here's Peter Moore. I wonder what he's got tattooed this time? My money is on a tramp stamp with Banjo's face on it.
The power of a console is equal parts Software, Hardware and Services, he says. He promises that the 360 will deliver on all three points.
First, the games - he reiterates that they're going to do native 1080p. Your friends, your lifestyle... These expand and evolve your gaming world in entirely new ways.
The proof of the pudding is in the tasting. He says that every time we speak to him. Peter LOVES pudding. There'll be 160 hi-def games on the console by Christmas (I bet he absolutely adores Christmas Pudding, especially). There'll be something for everything, regardless of age, skill or budget.
Here's the Gears of War spiel. Cliffy B is on stage, wearing thankfully little leather but a t-shirt which says "Royal Rock" in a font that makes it look like "Royal Cock". No comment. He looks more like Beck than ever, though.
Lucky sods at X06 will get to play drop in and drop out co-op in Gears of War tonight! And now, rolling the footage...
Lots of crouch and fire action. Gooey blood. Immense amounts of detail being shifted about.
The enemies appear to be using cover very intelligently, which is nice. Hard to tell in a video how scriped that is, of course. It sounds like a bloody earthquake in here, too - aliens rising from the ground itself, accompanied by evil music and bone shaking sound effects. Lots of low, guttural monster sounds.
(Yes, Kristan did just call it "evil music" - I'm not sure if he's been reading Chick Tracts or something...)
Our armour-clad marine chap says "sweet" - yep, it's an Epic game. Now he's mashing up some alien scum with a chainsaw attached to his gun. Is that standard issue these days? Still, niiiice.
Footage is over. It does, as Moore is happy to point out, look pretty amazing.
As we know, it's out on November 17th here, the same day as the PS3 would have been out if... Oh, let's not reopen that wound, shall we? Novemeber 12th in the States.
Moore is back and standing in front of a big map of the world. The blood, sweat and tears were worth it. Presumably the puddings, too. "When Microsoft makes a commitment, we deliver on it." That's why we're all using PCs running Windows Vista now... Oh, let's not reopen that wound either, shall we?
He's talking about the experience in Delhi, where it's the first console ever to launch in India. They've launched in 32 countries in less than a year.
Now he's reeling off the big hitters - Trusty Bell for Japan (Eternal Sonata over here), Madden in the USA, FIFA in Europe.
Forza 2, Lost Planet, Lego Star Wars 2, Gears of War, FIFA 07, Crossfire (which looks like a very typical FPS), The Darkness, Viva Pinata, Alan Wake, Battlestations Midway, Fable 2, FEAR, Fusion Frenzy 2
Splinter Cell Double Agent... NBA 2k7... Halo 3... Tony Hawk's Project 8... Kane and Lynch... Tiger Woods... Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball 2... WWE SmackDown vs Raw 2.... Crackdown... Mass Effect
It's still going! Winning Eleven / Pro Evolution Soccer 6.... Need for Speed Carbon... Stranglehold... Virtua Tennis 3... Rainbow Six Vegas... Sonic... Team Fortress 2... Shrek the Third...
And that's your lot on the trailer avalanche. Good lord. "Something for everyone," says Moore - which is a cue to show off Viva Pinata again. God.
Two million viewers, yadda yadda. It's different, check; groundbreaking, check... And now here's a trailer.
Unlike the one we saw at Leipzig last month, this one runs at more than 10 frames per second. It looks quirky, alright - and a bit silly, if I'm honest. It has the worst theme tune EVER... Make it stooooop...
Phew. Peter's back.
He talks about the two and half hours to see Blue Dragon at TGS this week. It's proof that the masters are still at the top of their game (or that the game wasn't in a big enough room, at least). It's coming to the US and Europe in 2007 - and now it's trailer time!
This trailer makes it look like a big budget animated movie - suitably epic.
Lots of mechanical things rising their way out of the ground, a purple headed man looking suitably evil... Yep, that'll be Akira Toriyama at work (the art, not the purple headed man - I don't think Toriyama has a purple h... I'm not even going there). Characters tremble with fear!
And now it's back to being all serene. Piano backing music... A really very lavish sequence.
Kristan opines that "Rob is currently wetting his pants, and Tom will buy it on import for no apparent reason." The latter may be true, but the former is a complete lie - I only wet my pants TWICE at TGS, so I'm getting much better.
Moore's back on stage. Still no tattoos. GET THEM OUT!
He mentions the raft of upcoming games such as Mass Effect and Alan Wake - and further ahead, Fable 2.
Expect to hear more about Halo 3 by the end of this year.
And now - PGR 4! A trailer, woo!
The bass in this place is quite something. Kristan's face just wobbled alarmingly, he reports. That'll be the botox, no doubt.
And here's a lovely rendered Ferrari! Which is very nice, but we'd rather hoped to see some game. Shots of a car driving at mental speed over a landscape that rips up as it goes... That's your lot.
Peter's back again.
He repeats the October 16th USA, October 17th Europe date (in 2007, before you get wildly excited). The team at Rockstar will also release two more episodes of the game online within months of release, with hours of entirely new gameplay.
Moore asked Rockstar to "throw us a bone" apparently - and each of those episodes will be exclusive to the 360! That's quite a scoop. I wonder how big the money hat they swapped for the bone was?
Next up, Assassin's Creed.
The game's producer, Jade Raymond, is on stage, along with Christophe from the design team. This is to be the first ever live demo of the game in public. Exciting!
They do admit that pop-up will be there at this stage in development.
First scene - galloping along on a horse. Holy shit, the detail is staggering! Riding into a medieval town; the rider jumps off the horse and runs into the town. This part is just like the E3 demo.
He's deliberately bumping into people, showing off the crowd dynamics.
It shows how people react, and how you can draw attention to yourself if you want. You're in complete control, and can go anywhere in the environment - he's just climbed up the walls to look around the town of Acre.
The town is based on historical documents. There is no level design, as such - it's all just one massive free roam.
Now they're using the character's "intuition" skill - the screen glows in a blurry way as you scan the crowd from a high vantage point looking for your target. There are various ways to do things from here - Jade shows off "Social Stealth." You won't attract much attention if you do this...
Now we see a stylish assassination where the action chops around. Chaos ensues!
You can break things dynamically to create a barricade. They show you being cornered, and demonstrate how the realistic combat works.
You can't take a hundred blows - you need to take a defensive stance. Oops! He's dead!
Moore is back, and complaining about the cheers Jade got. Sorry, Peter - she's female and cute. Your lovely beard just doesn't cut it.
Next up, Bioshock - which is now exclusive to the 360 and Windows. That's a killer signing for Microsoft! Roll the trailer...
There's a real 30s quality to the voiceover, which is nice. First we see the underwater city, and pan into the luxurious art deco interior. Here's the frightened little girl we saw at the E3 demo... If this is in-game, expect to be blown away.
The girl's Big Daddy protector attacking and pinning you down in first person - the deep groaning sound effects are immense. And now, something really rather gross has evidently just been implanted into us, Matrix style through our belly button... Massive applause as the trailer ends.
This looks like a real killer app for the 360.
Moore's back to talk about Lost Oddysey. Launches in Europe and North America are confirmed.
This is a work in progress and is unoptimised, he points out. It's a "truly unique and amazing experience"... He's got a pad in hand, so it looks like the demo will be part-realtime.
First, of course, the jaw-dropping intro - this is familiar from TGS. A massive battlefield, with lots of armour clad warriors chopping one another to bits. Right up there with Squeenix' best efforts...
Yep, this is the TGS footage - the fallen warriors are resurrected by magic, and the battle continues to rage. Cue to our hero, the lithe chap wearing rather less armour, but kicking arse all around him. Possibly not wearing 100 kilograms of iron is helping - who can say?
Beautiful blend through to real-time footage. The frame-rate here is shaky, definitely, but the detail is awesome. Think Ninety-Nine Nights, but without the blurry background and with more detail.
The gameplay is different, though - it's turn based, and you select attacks from a menu. It blends back into more cut-scene, and then back out to real-time again - looking totally seamless. Now he's facing off against a massive war machine...
And so, armed with a piddly little sword, he pulverises the war machine. There's a flash of purple electricity and flames, as it all falls apart. Epic! And silly. But still - epic! He's running and jumping about 100 feet in the air to finish the rest off.
Massive applause. Yes, we're all suitably impressed.
Moore's back- and confirms that we'll be playing Lost Oddysey later. There's no confirmed or even hinted release date, though, aside from "next year."
More lost things! Lost Planet next! Xbox 360 - officially the console with the most CARELESS developers. Retrace your steps - where did you last have your planet / oddysey / head ?
Lots of boasting about the various awards and the single and multiplayer demos for Lost Planet.
Now, moving from east to west - on to Splinter Cell Double Agent. Never seen before footage...
Lots of gravelly voiced stuff from the bloke that plays the President in 24 again. Sam mutters that "no one should have to make these choices."
The movie voice guy drifts into self-parody with talk of "mercenary, SOLDIER, spy, DOUBLE AGENT!!!!" Looks great, though - let's hope it delivers.
Double Agent is EXCLUSIVE to Xbox 360 and Windows.
Good grief, another exclusive deal - although no details of these are being announced, so we don't know if they're permanent or just for a certain amount of time.
Now we're talking about Forza 2 - it's got the best physics simulator, the best graphics, running at 60FPS, and it'll be playable later.
Ah, we thought this was coming - the HD-DVD add-on.
When you're ready for it, you've got the emergent format of choice available to you, Moore says. More than twice as many movies as Blu-Ray.
Over 50 titles available by Christmas. And the price...
199 Euros. 129 quid. Mid-November in the UK, France, Germany and the USA. The media remote will be bundled with it. And a movie, too - King Kong.
"Makes the perfect compliment to your gaming experience" says Moore, and it runs at 1080p too. "We leave the choice in their hands."
Now we're moving off Xbox 360, and talking about Windows. Crysis, Age of Conan, Hellgate, Flight Sim X, Halo 2, Lord of the Rings Online...
A safer experience than ever before. Microsoft committed to Windows as a gaming platform - and the trailer reel kicks off...
Halo 2. Company of Heroes. Alan Wake, Flight Sim X, Crysis, Age of Conan, Rail Simulator (choo-choo!).
Hellgate London, Lego Star Wars 2, Shadowrun, Zoo Tycoon 2, Lord of the Rings.
That's yer lot!
Moore is back. It's Live Anywhere time, folks!
A simple to use interface that's consistent across platforms - and it all kicks off with the release of Shadowrun early next year.
Another title to use Live Anywhere will be a new Marvel licensed title from Cryptic Studios... Called...
Marvel Universe Online.
Shots of Spidey, Hulk, and others.
No gameplay footage - but since it's from the City of Heroes gang (hey, weren't Marvel suing them only a few months ago?), you can have a good guess.
Moore is talking about a new long-term partnership with Peter Jackson. Wow, that got a BIG cheer.
It's almost like the US has invaded, with the amount of whooping going on behind us.
Here's the man himself. It's good to see that Jackson's millions don't extend to buying fancy shoes.
He believes that there's a new form of entertainment here. He's interested in telling stories that can be steered with technology - a new way of telling stories that doesn't involve film.
He decided that the Halo universe is the best place for him to start... But what he's working on is not Halo 3, he emphasises.
We're not talking about traditional videogames here at all, in fact.
He had so many ideas for stories where now, instead of making a film, you interact directly... Frankly, he doesn't sound sure what it is, but he sounds very excited about it. It's definitely a headline-grabbing move.
Tech has got to the point where movies and games can blend... Fran Walsh is joining in. She will help to create these entertainment forms - they just need to come up with a name for it first!
Moore is wrapping up for Jackson - he says that he can't wait to see what they come up with. It's a landmark, he says.
The new company is Wingnut Interactive (Jackson's movie company is Wingnut Films), and they'll be working on a new Halo series - as well as an all new series of their own.
Chris Lewis is back to wrap things up. Kristan says that Chris Lewis wears very nice, expensive smelling aftershave, but he's still going to have a tough time following Peter Jackson.
"It's very clear that 360 is leading the world into the next generation..."
Oh, and ONE MORE THING. I guess Microsoft must watch those Steve Jobs keynotes too.
Ensemble Studios - working on another sci-fi adventure title of sorts. It looks like an icy Halo, from first impressions - with shades of Predator about it. All rendered, mind you.
Ships descend from the skies, firing.
Well, there you go.
Lots of thrilling looking sci-fi space antics between space craft and ground-based aliens, very dark, very metallic, and very much in keeping with the art style of Bungie.
Short, sweet trailer... And that's that. No date.
And that's your lot, folks! There couldn't be more of a contrast between this and Sony's keynote last week - it's been all about the big-name games here in Barcelona, and all the better for it. Lots to get excited about.
The house lights are up, the music is playing, and Microsoft has had, by some margin, its most impressive X-event keynote ever.
Kristan is off to forage for a drink and play some games in evening heat of a Mediterranean autumn. Back in the UK, we're wrapping ourselves in animal furs and wondering if Starbucks is still open. Thanks for tuning in, as it were - and look forward to our impressions of the games from X06 over the next few days!