E3 2009: IGN's 360 Trends and Predictions

Find out what gaming's biggest show has in store for 360 fans.

May 14, 2009 - Microsoft is notoriously bad at keeping its E3 secrets. We knew about the Avatars coming to Xbox 360 well in advance of the show. Rumors of Gears of War 2 being announced at GDC 2008 came well in advance of the actual announcement. This year is no different with hints at a 3D motion camera as the major announcement.

That won't be the only substantial piece of news to come from Xbox 360 this E3.

Microsoft exec Don Mattrick has promised an E3 presence that will, "will completely transform how people think about home entertainment." This sounds like talking points that could describe last year's show when MS announced Netflix integration into Xbox 360 and Avatars.

Microsoft has the hardcore audience locked down with the likes of Halo and Gears of War, but still struggles with mainstream gamers. Expect the big announcements to once again be focused on the casual gamer, particularly with the aforementioned 3D camera.

The hardcore gamer won't be totally ignored, of course. Microsoft has kept its mouth shut in the early parts of 2009 and so have most of the third-parties in preparation for what appears to be a monster showing at E3. The Xbox 360 release schedule for this fall looks slim right now but don't expect it to stay that way for long. Major first-party and third-party games are going to be put on display for the first time and many of them will be out before the year's end.

Would it be E3 without a little Halo?

Newly acquired BigPark will unveil its first game. Halo 3: ODST will be on display and Epic will likely show off the latest Gears of War2 add-on. If the past is any indication, Microsoft will put several bit third-party games on display during its press conference as well. Modern Warfare 2 and Splinter Cell: Conviction seem like natural bets. The same goes for Harmonix's The Beatles game.

The Xbox Live Arcade will get some lip service, but Microsoft has never given it much attention during press conferences. Some new games will be announced and a highlight video will be shown that gives us a first look at others. A bigger focus will likely be put on the Primetime service that is launching soon with 1 vs. 100.

Turn the page for five Xbox 360 related E3 predictions and don't forget to keep your eyes on the E3 Expo hub page for the latest.

Lionhead's Fable II has been out for a while and two bits of downloadable content, Knothole Island and See the Future, are out on the market, so it's safe to say the game is a known quantity. Since it would make sense for Microsoft to want to keep Xbox 360 owners excited about its upcoming lineup, it wouldn't be all that surprising to see an announcement regarding an in-development game from the first-party studio. So what could the project be? According to comments from Peter Molyneux at this past GDC in San Francisco, it might have some similarities to Valve's Portal, though the concept of objects passing through portals may be expanded upon. In the story from GDC, Molyneux gave the example of an orange passing through a portal-like mirror. Upon exiting on the other side, the orange's physical dimensions had been altered. With a potential for the integration of portals into online play, whatever Lionhead's working on does sound interesting, and E3 2009 seems as though it could be a likely venue for everyone to hear more.

If Microsoft senior vice president for Interactive Entertainment Business Don Mattrick is to be believed, the company is going to have some big announcements at this year's E3 2009. To directly quote Mattrick, "Microsoft is gearing up for a big presence at E3 which will completely transform how people think about home entertainment. We're excited about the momentum that is building in the industry in anticipation of our June 1st media briefing, which will kick off E3 in blockbuster style." This seems to indicate something big will be uncovered at the company's press briefing, currently scheduled for Monday June 1st. Will whatever's revealed live up to the kind of expectations Mattrick is trying to set? Or is it just corporate hype-speak? We'll see.

Alan Wake, where have you been? It's been a long while since developer Remedy, of Max Payne fame, first talked about its project. We've only seen bits and pieces in the long years since, and have been eagerly awaiting a chance to really see and play the game. This E3 2009 might be the time when the curtain is finally pulled back on the psychological horror title to give us a better idea of what exactly it is, in addition to an indication as to whether or not it'll be any good. We're certainly hoping for the best, and knowing it's coming from Remedy and the studio has apparently been given quite a while to work on the title, there's little reason to doubt even after a reveal that Alan Wake will be something worth getting excited about.

Rumors have been running rampant around the Internet about a possible Metal Gear Solid 4 announcement for Xbox 360. Is anybody surprised? The same rumor pops up before every major and minor press event that Konami is in any way associated with. We do know that Kojima Productions, the studio responsible for the Metal Gear franchise, is making an announcement this Friday. Our money is on that not being a Metal Gear game for Xbox 360. The rumors of the PS3 exclusive finding its way over to Xbox 360 are growing tired and stale. If you want to play the game, dish out the cash and get a PS3. Stop holding your breath for it to come to Xbox 360.

This one seems like a given. Rumors of some kind of motion sensing device coming from Microsoft have been making headlines for over a year and now it looks ready to happen. Even the Wall Street Journal reported on a motion sensing 3D camera, set to be announced by Microsoft soon. The camera is purported to be more accurate than past cameras such as the PlayStation EyeToy or the Microsoft Vision Camera. This extra fidelity will enable players to interact with games by moving arms or legs, similar to the Wii only without a controller. Instead, the peripheral will simply sit near the television and record player movement. It may sound like an EyeToy, but the 3D nature of this camera will allow for a much more robust set of features and more realistic interactions with what is going on in the game.

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