Microsoft E3 Conference Recap

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Microsoft just wrapped up their E3 presser, and while most of us knew what was coming, it was still pretty great.

Debuting were new looks and a few huge sequels, new Xbox One features, new hardware, and some returns of old favorites.

Let’s begin, shall we?

(All accompanying videos are courtesy of Xbox’s YouTube channel.)

The presentation opened up to a great fanfare using Hans Zimmer’s bombastic Man of Steel theme, with images of the big games, and a few lines from the voice actors in said games. It really set the stage for what was to come.

HALO 5: GUARDIANS

Right out of the gate, 343 Studio head Bonnie Ross is here to unveil some more of Halo 5: Guardians, and a first look at its gameplay:

Halo 5: Guardians was built with the Xbox One in mind, so it makes it entirely unlikely that an Xbox 360 version will be available, ESPECIALLY since the backwards compatibility feature looks to push gamers away from Microsoft’s aging last gen console.

Picking up from events of Halo 4, it seems the Master Chief has gone AWOL, and it’s up to Spartan Jamison Locke (introduced in the Ridley Scott produced Halo: Nightfall film) to find him. He won’t be alone. Locke is joined by three other Spartan IVs, including former Halo 3: ODST’s Edward Buck. Also returning are UNSC Infinity’s Captain Thomas Lasky, Infinity’s SPARTAN IV commander Sarah Palmer, and the Arbiter.

Squad commands look to be a new feature, as we can see Locke issuing commands during gameplay. Prometheans are back, and look to have brought some new toys/enemies this time. A Promethean fighter and new enemy class called Soldiers look to try and stop you. One fun thing to notice was that, during Halo 4, the Covenant and Prometheans spoke their language, and were not translated into English. With Halo 5, that doesn’t look to be the case, which is great because panicky Grunts will always make me smile.

Next up, 343 debuted the new multiplayer mode called Warzone:

This looks to be Big Team Battle taken to the extreme. 24 total players, with AI supporting you. It was interesting to see some color-coded Hunters, so it looks like you can call in some fun artillery.

Halo 5: Guardians will be released October 27th, 2015 (NA)

ReCore

Next up was a new IP from the Metroid Prime team and Keiji Inafune called ReCore:

Not much is known at the moment, but from the trailer, it looks like the cores that the robots are built around will be a major gameplay element, and you can maybe build up a small team to help you in the desert. Expect to hear more in the coming months.

While no explicit date is set, ReCore looks to launch in Spring of 2016.

Xbox One features

Phil Spencer was up next to talk about new changes coming to the system. It seems that Microsoft learned quite a bit form the lashing they took after last year’s E3. They made an effort to listen to its core audience, and re-focused back on the gamers. With that in mind, they dropped the news on all of us: your Xbox One will now be backwards compatible with your Xbox 360 games. Simply load up your Xbox 360 game into the One and you will then be able to download a digital version to your One, all without having to pay a cent. All Xbox One features will be usable with these titles as well, so screenshots/streaming/DVR will be usable.

Leaked last week were the new 1 TB console and the new controller. While the new console wasn’t discussed, we got a good look at the new Elite controller:

Insanely customizable, and a few re-designed features (that D-Pad), this looks to be another improvement to the already great controller.

Fallout 4

Bethesda’s Todd Howard was once again ready to show us more Fallout 4. While we did see a little more gameplay, there wasn’t anything new that we didn’t see during their own presser, except for one small detail. The modding scene has greatly improved Bethesda’s games on the PC, and it was one feature that many console gamers missed out on. Not anymore! Mods are coming to the Xbox!

EA Access

EA’s Peter Moore showed us EA’s new program EA Access. Sounds like it’s a console version of Origin… sort of. For $5 a month, members will be able to download EA games to their console and play them. Also included with membership is early access to games. For example, Madden 16 will be released August 25th, while Access members will be able to play it starting the 20th. Membership will also grant you 10% off of Xbox Store purchases for EA’s titles.

EA Access is open to all Gold members for free for the week.

Plants Vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2

First:

Second:

Forza 6

First off…the new Ford GT…my god, that’s pretty. Not much was revealed about Forza 6, but we do know that it will include more than 450 cars, and the 2016 Ford GT will be playable when the game releases on the September 15th, 2015.

Dark Souls 3

The next iteration of From Software’s Dark Souls series was revealed:

The Division/Rainbow Six: Siege

Here is the latest trailer (courtesy of Gamespot) for The Division:

The Division beta will begin in December.

Also shown was the latest iteration of the Rainbow Six series – Rainbow Six: Siege.

Included with Siege will be Rainbow Six: Vegas 1 and 2.

Gigantic

A new IP from Motiga, Gigantic looks to be a class-based action game, in which you can summon bigger guardians to fight….bigger things….? I’m not quite sure, actually. It does look nice though:

Indie Games

Microsoft’s new ID@Xbox initiative looks to bring plenty of games (GOAT SIMULATOR!!!) to the Xbox Console. Some games given the spotlight were the 1930’s playable cartoon platformer Cuphead, an open world co-op game named Ashen (got some Journey vibes from this one), and Beyond Eyes, featuring a blind girl using her four remaining senses to navigate the world.

Another new feature for Indie games will be a service that will allow you to play a trial of a game that’s in development, and then give you the option to purchase the game at the end of said trial. Ideally, Microsoft hopes to use this to allow the developers to be in touch with the gamers themselves, and be able to make changes based upon what works and what doesn’t.

Rise of the Tomb Raider

Crystal Dynamics returns with the sequel to their excellent reboot of the franchise:

We also got to see a bit of gameplay as well. We join Lara and Jonah (one of Lara’s shipwreck survivors from the first game) as they scale a snowy mountain looking for a city. Ice climbing, ledge traversals, and running from avalanches ensue, and Lara’s once again in a fight to survive.

Rise of the Tomb Raider is set for a Holiday 2015 release.

Rare

$30 will get you 30 Rare games:

I repeat, $30 will get you Perfect Dark, Conker’s Bad Fur Day, Banjo Kazooie 1-3, Battletoads, and MANY more.

Also unveiled is a new shared world pirate MMO, Sea of Thieves:

Getting a Pirates of the Caribbean (the music early drove it home I think) vibe off of this, but I suppose that’s the point.

Fable Legends

A new trailer, narrated by Game of Thrones’ Queen Cersei herself – Lena Heady – appropriately focuses on the villains of the game:

The free-to-play game will be cross-platform between the Xbox One and Windows 10. All purchases and progress made on one will carry over to the other.

Wearable devices for your face

Microsoft has partnered with Valve VR to help develop VR games, and have partnered with Oculus to allow you to play Xbox One games though Windows 10 with full Oculus support.

But who cares about that when we’ve got HOLOGRAMS, PEOPLE!!!

The Microsoft Hololens will allow you to interact with your games in new ways. Using Minecraft, Microsoft showed off some fantastic looks at what may be the future:

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Gears of War/Gears 4

The Coalition has taken over the Gears franchise, and to celebrate, they have rebuilt Gears of War from the ground up for this re-master. It will run at 60fps and at 1080p, and the 1-week multiplayer beta is open, starting NOW!

Also revealed was Gears 4:

Not much was expanded upon other than the gameplay trailer seen above, but it looks to carry over the fantastic cover-based shooting and active reload that makes the original games so fun.

Overall, Microsoft did a great job, and this fall looks to be quite an expensive time for gamers. I, for one, cannot wait.

Next up will be the EA conference at 1 PST.

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6 Comments

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