Isn't he dreamy? This, ladies and gentlemen, is Thomas Godaj, winner of the fifth season of Deutschland sucht den Superstar, which is essentially the German version of American Idol. I'm told that, unlike the American contestants, Godaj here actually has musical talent. I would have come to our country's defence but come on - Taylor Hicks? Really? I bet he couldn't belt out Billy Idol's "Rebel Yell" near as well as Thomas did, which is exactly how Activision's Games Convention 2008 press conference came to an end...but how did it begin?
It actually began rather nicely, considering I was passing by the front of the mob as they began letting people in, making me one of the few...the proud...the seated. Of course I was seated in such a way that the teleprompter was in the face of just about everyone I took a picture of, but boy was that seat comfortable.
The conference kicked off with a recorded video of the woman who does the voice of the Black Cat in Spider-Man: Web of Shadows welcoming us to the press conference, which confused me a bit as I could think of several other people more suited for the duty who were actually there. Then came a series of trailers...Spider-Man: WoS, Guitar Hero: World Tour, Call of Duty: World at War, the theatrical trailer for James Bond: Quantum of Solace.
Then Joerg Trovvain, Activision's VP of European publishing took the stage, telling us all how pleased Activision Blizzard was to have the Blizzard part of them in attendance. He speaks on the importance of online gaming - a $US 6 billion industry last year poised to become an $US 8 million industry this year, and of course most of that goes to Blizzard.
We see a trailer for The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of Dragon, which gives me happy little shivers as I dream of better Spyro games past, and then things go all formulaic on us. Central European VP Xochilt Balzola-Widmann shows us the trailer and talks up Call of Duty: World at War, mentioning COD4 as many times as possible to try and get us to think of both on the same level. Her accept is adorable...she says they have a "gorgeous boof". I want a gorgeous boof too.
She shows a behind-the-scenes clip from Star Wars: Clone Wars, which features George Lucas, who really shouldn't be allowed to comment on the Star Wars properties ever again at this point. I just can't take the guy seriously.
Then comes the formulaic "Here's X to show you Y" bits of the presser. The Co-designer of James Bond: Quantum of Solace comes on to talk about the game, announcing that they've signed on the original cast as well as some of the cast members from Casino Royale to provide voices and likenesses, and then shows us a gameplay clip that had me scribbling "Gears of Solace" in my notebook. Cover system, running and gunning, button-pressing moments, etc.
Next in the parade is Daniel Suarez from Treyarch, telling us about Gary Oldman joining the cast of Call of Duty: World at War, talking up the title and showing us some gameplay footage that completely fails to impress us nearly as much as COD4 originally did, but at least there's plenty of blood.
We get a few announcements about Guitar Hero: World Tour, namely the Wii Mii Freestyle mode and PS3 Rock Band compatibility, and then we get to Brian Bright, the project director at Neversoft for the title, who comes on stage to show off the music creator mode in exhaustive detail, and I do mean exhaustive. The creator looks very interesting and I can't wait to get my hands on it, but fifteen minutes of explaining it to a crowd who weren't there specifically to learn about it seemed a bit overboard. If only they had a German pop idol who could spice things up a bit...
All in all not a bad showing. A few nice announcements, some interesting gameplay footage, and a finale that had anyone not from Germany smiling and nodding in time to the music to avoid revealing that they had no earthly clue who Thomas Godaj was. Now we know!