Live Blogging Take Two

Waiting for T2 press event to start. I had heard he wouldn’t be here, but new boss Strauss Zelnick is on hand…

Wondering who T2 pissed off to get such an ungodly (8AM) start time. Here we go. Zelnick onstage, says his remarks will be brief. Reminds us once again that no recording devices are permitted. “I will hunt you down,” he jokes.

Introducing Sid Meier to talk about new Civilization Revolutions franchise for consoles/handhelds. Running trailer for Civ: R… Sid is onstage, gotta love the guy. Showing some game play. Says the “revolution” in the title refers to bringing Civ to next-gen consoles. Says console players don’t want to read manuals, just want to get into the game. Not sure if that’s a backhand compliment or not. Game looks great, not sure what system they’re showing it on. Sid says release next Spring.

Zelnick now introducing 2K Sports crew with All-Pro Football 2K8. Showing trailer… looks a little arcadish, talking late hits, etc. Visual Concepts onstage. Game looks great. First 2K football game since 2006, took a shot at Madden:

This is not watered-down, league-approved football…

Said that players can speak, something NFL would not permit, so look for trash talking, QB’s calling plays, etc. 240 former players such as Staubach, Payton, Butkus, Marino, etc. Online games will feature a real sports ticker from Stats, Inc.

Yipes! My Joystiq buds had trouble getting admitted. It is crowded in here.

Zelnick back onstage introducing BioShock. “I hope you’ve digested your breakfast,” he quipped. Game designer says, in French accent:

Pardon my French, but we call BioShock the shooter with lots of cool shit…

Zelnick back on to intro what everyone came to see: GTA4.

This is the first public live demo… Rockstar has raised the bar with every edition of the game…

Showing the two already-released trailers, now here comes the live play… unfinished code, placeholder music. A purposely short look… Nico in Times Square… a T2 employee is prowling for the room for cameras now that GTA4 is running…  Nico driving around Liberty City in a black 4-door sedan… drives to the waterfront, water, shading looks amazing… calls a friend for weapon, no voice-over yet…. And that’s it!

Zelnick back on for wrap-up, no mention of Manhunt 2, but we didn’t really expect one.

We’re at this incredible inflection point for the industry…

I wait around, congratulate Sid Meier, who is just a total gaming icon and a helluva nice guy. He says the demo was running on Xbox 360.

Introduce myself to Zelnick, who is cordial but not chatty. Same with Ben Feder, Zelnick’s CEO.

We’re getting kicked out of the room because THQ has a presser right after T2’s in the same spot. As I file out the staff is handing out Rockstar-shirts. People are scarfing them up. Look for these on Ebay within the hour, I’m guessing.

On my way out (I’m blowing off THQ because I have some GP stuff to do) I run into Chris Grant, Kyle Orland, and four other guys from Joystiq.  My pal Dean Takahashi from the San Jose Mercury-News was there and has posted his impressions.

Finishing this up over toast and coffee in the restaurant in the Fairmont’s lobby. Trying extra-hard not to get marmalade on the keyboard.

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