Microsoft’s E3 Press Conference
Wow! What an incredible day yesterday was for video games. With so many different announcements it would be impossible for me to cover them all in one article, so I’m going to break them up by conference and will start with the first conference of the day; Microsoft.
I tuned in to the entire conference so will try and go through everything in a chronological order. Unsurprisingly, Microsoft kicked off with some more Halo 5: Guardians action. We got to see a pretty detailed campaign trailer for the upcoming shooter, which you can see below.
In addition to this campaign trailer, we got news of a new multiplayer mode called Warzone. This will be the largest competitive mode in Halo to date, with a 12vs12 battle featuring both human and AI units in the epic new maps coming to Halo 5: Guardians.
Next up we saw a new IP in the name of ReCore. ReCore is the latest game from Keiji Inafune — creator of Mega Man — and it features a woman with her pet robot dog. We were teased a Spring 2016 release window. The trailer, which can be seen below, is very much a teaser so not a huge amount to go off so far. Inafune working on the game excites me and I’m always happy to see new IP coming to consoles.
Now was time for the big mic-drop of Microsoft’s conference, backwards compatibility. Yes your Xbox One will now be able to play up to 100 of your favourite Xbox 360 titles. This was an awesome announcement that game very much out of left field. How practical it is for me personally, I’m not sure, but it is a big deal for lots of people. It was confirmed that 100 titles will work when the service launches later this year. It will be available right now for preview members. We don’t yet have the full list, but we did see Mass Effect be used as the demo, so we can assume that is on the list.
Staying with hardware, Microsoft then reveal a new elite controller for their Xbox One. At the time the trailer just came and went, but we have since learnt that it will retail for $150 (so probably about £120). This price is pretty steep, so this controller is likely to be for the hardcore only. I like the additional features, such as the paddle triggers, swappable components etc. but I’m not sure if I’ll be picking one up.
Fallout 4 was next to make an appearance on the stage. I won’t go into huge detail, as I covered the game yesterday, but the additional features coming to the Xbox One is the ability for PC mods to be useable on the console, and the game will come with a free copy of Fallout 3 at launch. Both of these are decent coups, which may help sway people who play on both consoles.
EA were then given some stage time to talk about their Xbox One exclusive service, EA Access. I already think this is a really good subscription service as I get access to full versions of various EA games. This library is getting even better with the addition of Titanfall this week, and then Dragon Age: Inquisition later on this summer. I never got a chance to play the latter, so I’m super pumped that I can now get it for “free”.
So about halfway through the conference, it was clearly time to lower a brand new Ford GT from the rafters. This only meant one thing, time for Forza Motorsport 6. We got a glimpse of the game’s beauty with a new trailer, which also confirmed that weather effects will make an appearance in this year’s entry. The game will launch on September 15th this year. As a long time fan of Forza, I’m super pumped for this game, and September can’t come quick enough.
Next it was time for Ubisoft to come on stage and talk both The Division and Rainbow Six Siege. I won’t go into huge details as they will be covered in the Ubisoft conference, but we got details that Xbox One will be getting first access to a beta for The Division in December this year. Xbox One owners also get a nice benefit with their Rainbow Six Siege purchase, with the game coming with free versions for both Rainbow Six Vegas and Rainbow Six Vegas 2, by way of the backwards compatibility feature. Maybe this will be a feature that other games can use in the future too?
Gigantic was the next new reveal on stage, which could well be Xbox One’s next MOBA. We didn’t get much information other than the trailer and that a Beta will be available this August.
ID @ Xbox became the next feature with several games getting snippets in a montage trailer. I’m going to focus on two of the most exciting. First up is Tacoma, the new game from Fullbright — makers of Gone Home. Similar to Gone Home this appears to be a first person experience. While note exclusive, it will be coming first to Xbox One.
Next up is the incredible-looking Cuphead. This is a new platform game coming to Xbox One, but it looks exactly like a 30’s cartoon. The artwork is fantastic, and that alone makes me excited for the game. We can expect to see Cuphead some time in 2016. The trailer is below.
Rise Of The Tomb Raider was next on stage to show off a gameplay sequence. The trailer didn’t do a huge amount for me personally, but I can understand why they would show something like that. The big news was that the game is set to release on 10th November, which is the same day as Fallout 4. They are totally different games, but I could see this hurting the sales of Rise Of The Tomb Raider. Here is that gameplay trailer:
Rare then came out and gave us two reveals. First up was Rare Replay, a collection of 30 classic Rare titles in order to celebrate their 30th anniversary. This is due to be released for Xbox One on 4th August.
Next up they showcased their new game, Sea Of Thieves. To me this appears to be an MMO pirate game. I do like pirates, but the idea of an MMO game just doesn’t interest me at all. I want single player experiences. The game is set for a Holiday 2016 release window and yesterday’s trailer can be seen below:
Fable Legends was next up, but I have zero interest in a free to play Fable game. I’m still not sure why it even has the Fable name attached to it. The game will be available this year for Xbox One and PC.
We got a quick demo of Microsoft’s augmented reality headset HoloLens. While I am still to be sold on how it can be used to benefit video games, I will say that the demo was awesome. Rather than explain it, I’ll just let you check it out for yourself.
Closing out the show, as you can probably guess by now, was Gears of War. First up was details of Gears Of War: Ultimate Edition, the fully remastered version of the original Gears Of War in all its 1080p 60fps beauty. This will be available on August 25th. I know that the rumours had heavily indicated that we wouldn’t get the trilogy but it is still disappointing see. After Halo: The Master Chief Collection and Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection, this release looks light on content.
After this quick overview, they shifted their focus to their new game, Gear Of War 4. We got a pretty sizeable gameplay trailer, which you can watch below. I’ll let you enjoy it for yourselves, but I have to say I was very impressed by what we saw. It felt like a slightly darker take on the series, but I’m sure we will get more information in the lead up to its Holiday 2016 releases.
And breathe! There was a lot to unpack during that 90 minute conference, but I have to say as a whole it was a very good conference. There were some great surprise announcements to go with what we already expected. I will try and get the details up for Sony, Ubisoft and EA later on today.
Have a good one.