– We're sitting tight, listening to a panel of reps from Capcom, Square Enix, and Namco Bandai discussing the current realities (crises?) facing the Japanese gaming industry. Appropriately enough, we're waiting for Microsoft's John Schappert to take the stage and deliver his TGS keynote. We'll keep taking notes here, and begin updating as soon as things get underway.11:03PM ET
– Finally! The lights are down and the screen is on. They're playing a The Last Remnant trailer. Very slick, as is to be expected from a Square Enix RPG.
– John Schappert is on stage, reminding us that TLR will premiere exclusively on Xbox 360 this November – the 20th to be exact. He thanks the preceding panelists for sharing their insight (read: We better pay more attention to Microsoft). Schappert brings up his background as a Super Famicom developer (dude's the real deal) – wants to help Japanese creators bring their games to the world. Says we need three key things.
– Need great tools, an online service (hey, how about Xbox Live?), and a console at a price "the world can afford." Nice little dig at the still more expensive PlayStation 3. "We think Xbox 360 is the platform best equipped to help Japanese developers bring their creations to the world."
Sales in Japan have jumped five-fold year over year, thanks in part to that recent price-cut. Sales are up 60% on Xbox 360 games relative to Xbox 1 games. Schappert claims consumers will spend $1 billion on Japanese Xbox 360 games. 11:11PM ET
– "Xbox 360 has emerged as the console for RPGs." Strong words, Schappert. Where's the proof? He's gonna show us – Star Ocean: The Last Hope trailer is on the screen.
– Star Ocean: The Last Hope will debut on February 19th in Japan and March 3 in North America. It's coming to Asia and Europe too so good for you guys. Enough RPGs, says Schappert. Let's make with the action. It's a trailer for Biohazard 5 (that's Resident Evil 5 for most of you). Mostly cut scenes here, but we're alright with that. This game looks good
This is the longest trailer we've seen to date. Lots of story elements here, some juicy
gameplay, and some familiar faces. Seeing how some of this co-op gameplay is gonna look (hint: good!). Some massive enemies. Oh great! Ninety-Nine Nights 2 ... since the first one was such a hit? No bother, it's coming whether you like it or not!
– He's got a surprise announcement. Another legendary franchise into the Xbox 360 family! Tekken 6 is available at launch on Xbox 360! Says the game will launch in Fall 2009. A great lineup for fans of all sorts of Japanese game genres.
Onto Xbox Live Arcade – "a beloved ecosystem" where classic games can find a new home. Taito is making Space Invaders Extreme and Arkanoid Live – updates of those two classic arcade hits.
SNK is bringing Metal Slug 7 for Xbox Live Arcade. Also King of Fighters 98 Ultimate Match, in Spring 2009. Also R-Type Dimensions – there's a Tozai logo on the ground there, the same developers bringing Lode Runner to XBLA. 11:28PM ET
– Xbox Live Community Games – bringing all that community powered goodness to Xbox 360. They've partnered with Japanese universities (as well as US ones, of course) to help bring games to the service.
There are more than 14m people online with Xbox Live. Speaking of what Microsoft can do with Xbox Live, we're hopping over to the New Xbox Experience. He says this is the "complete" New Xbox Expereince being shown for the first time ever. It's complete folks, and it's coming this fall. (Can we just have it now?).
The entire NXE is in Japanese – this thing is ready for Japan. We've got Avatars, Themes, everything you know and (want to) love. Awww, there's a BIG
avatar with a speech bubble saying "I'm a PC."
– New games channel, including the new games details page for "back of the box games details." We're into the Marketplace, browsing visually and says it's "much easier to find." We'll be the judge of that, thank you very much. He reminds us that we can ship for and download everything straight from Xbox.com.
Spotlight channel, "anything on the service that's popular and new." The best Xbox has to offer all in one place. Still too clumsy for you badass super gamers? The guide of course duplicates much of the current interface with the push of the Xbox button. Here's a release date: 26 countries, localized in 19 languages, coming on November 19th.
– Next in store for the Halo franchise: Halo Wars, being released "early next year" by the team who created Age of Empires (and, by the way, are currently being disbanded). Graeme Devine, Lead Story Writer for Halo Wars, is on stage telling us about the game, set 20 years before the beginning of Halo 1.
Watching a demo. We're building a base, a supply pad, a barracks. All being controlled with the game's easy-to-use "circle menu." A Warthog is on screen and, sure enough, it looks like it controls like a Warthog. Devine says getting that feeling just right was very important from day one. We've got one more announcement here: The Flood is in Halo Wars! Grossssss.
– Schappert says he hopes Halo Wars will help the strategy genre breakout on Xbox 360. "We're not quite done with Halo 3 yet." He's going to share the second part of the teaaser with us now. Drop pod hits a wall, security camera tracks it. ODST soldier climbs out. Halo 3 Recon! "New Hero, new campaign. Prepare to drop. Fall 2009!"11:51PM ET
– That's it, we're wrapping up here. Schappert says "thanks" and we're out. Thanks for reading along with us!