The largest video game expo in the world, E3 is about to start tomorrow. However, in their pre-show briefing Microsoft has shown its hand with things both small and massive that they hope will excite gamers and further the Xbox brand.

The most important announcement when it comes to game titles was the news of the Metal Gear Solid franchise is making the move to Xbox with a game titled Metal Gear: Rising. We will also see a sequel to the zombie splatter fest Left for Dead and Final Fantasy XIII will finally be released next year.

Another much talked about but endlessly delayed title, Splinter Cell: Conviction was shown too, with a release date slated for a release around August this year, in the US. Forza Motorsport gets its third iteration around October and the supernatural thriller Alan Wake was shown to be release in October 2010.

Fans of the Halo universe will be pleased to learn that we will once again get a chance to enter the world of master Chief in another new Halo titled called Halo: Reach which is set in a time before the first Halo game but after the RTS title Halo Wars.  It was announced that those that purchase the upcoming game Halo:ODST will get a code to play the Beta of Reach when it is ready for testing.

The RockBand franchise will be fleshed out with a title devoted entirely to The Beatles.  Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, Olivia Harrison and Yoko Ono were on hand at E3 to talk about the game which has music reworked for the gaming format including studio chatter never before released.



Tony Hawk also took to the stage to show off the new direction he is taking with his Skateboard franchise.  The new title will feature a Skateboard peripheral device that the gamer can ride. Apparently it will be able detect minute foot movements so the rider can perform actions like kick flips and whatnot.  Whether it will be a game worth playing or yet another mediocre Tony Hawk title remains to be seen but jumping on the WiiFit bandwagon may just be enough to help the franchise regain its crown as king of skating games.

Other titles announced were Crackdown 2, Shadow Complex and Joy Ride.

As if social networking wasn’t already taking over our lives, Microsoft also announced that plans are underway for Facebook and Twitter to be accessible from the Xbox 360.  Also, users in the US will be able to access live television as well, without the need of any further equipment. 

The biggest announcement, or at least the one everyone seems to be talking about, is for Project Natal, a new controller-less system for game interactivity.  For more on Natal, check out our story here.

Next year looks interesting for Microsoft with a good mix of anticipated sequels and exclusive titles.  Bringing Metal Gear and Final Fantasy to the Xbox 360 could potentially hurt Sony, who are lagging behind in the current console race so it will be interesting to see what they come up with in the next couple of days when they have their own press conference.  Hopefully they will have more than just their resigned PSP on offer as they really need something exceptional to draw people to the PlayStation 3.

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