Microsoft Gamescom Conference

Hi everyone! Apologies that I’m a bit later than expected, but let’s breakdown Xbox’s awesome Gamescom conference that took place yesterday.

The show opened with a new gameplay trailer for Remedy Entertainment’s third person shooter, Quantum Break. The trailer shows off some incredible visuals and clever gameplay mechanics that shows us how we can bend time to our advantage. It wasn’t quite the early release I hoped for, but April 9th at least gives us confirmation of when we can expect to get our hands on the finished game – looks like this is what will compete with Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End next Spring.

In his opening speech, Phil Spencer indicated that this Gamescom conference would build on E3 – which showcased Xbox’s 2015 line-up – by giving us a glimpse of what is to come in 2016. This trend continued when we got our first look at Crackdown 3. The trailer was actually more a developer diary, but it seemed that the over-the-top action that the series was famous for still remains. I found Crackdown and Crackdown 2 to be ok games, but felt they became repetitive fairly quickly. Hopefully this is something they can address this time round.

Closing out the trilogy of AAA exclusives was Platinum GamesScalebound. Studio head Hideki Kamiya took to the stage to showcase gameplay for the upcoming action-RPG and, I must admit, it looked very impressive. Any game where your best friend is a dragon gets my attention, and the battles looked fairly intense. We can expect to get our hands on this game in Holiday 2016. You can check out the gameplay below:

Following this we got a couple of hardware announcements for the console, which included some additional backwards compatibility information — the announcement that blew everyone away at E3. The service will be available — for free — to all Xbox One owners in November. We got a list of all third party publishers supporting this service and most big names were there, with one exception – Activision. What a shock, Activision are not supporting a service that, in theory, could lose them some money. There may be a genuine reason why they are not yet on-board, but right now it just screams money-motivated. This is despite Call Of Duty: Black Ops II being the most sought after title to receive such support.

xbox-one-backward-compatibility-publishers-support

One quick additional service coming in the November update is TV DVR. The announcement itself was a big enough surprise, but to find out it would be a free service is even better! For me personally it won’t make a huge difference as I already have this ability via my Sky box, but it is just another positive to the every expanding list of features that the console offers its owners. An additional bonus is that you can then download these recording to any Windows 10 device, meaning you can take your TV recordings pretty much anywhere.

The next section of the conference brought Castlevania creator Koji Igarahi to the stage to reveal a new character for his upcoming game, Bloodstaind: Ritual of the Night. While his whipcracking skills left a lot to be desired (if you watched the conference you will get this reference) there is no doubt that this man knows how to make a video game. I am definitely keeping an eye on this one.

A similar theme continued as we got our ID@Xbox segment. There were multiple games announcement but the stand out games were Ron Gilbert’s new point-and-click adventure game Thimbleweed Park, dinosaur survival adventure Ark: Survival Evolved, city-building game Cities Skylines, and We Happy Few – one of the creepiest looking game I’ve ever seen. Despite the creepiness it most definitely has caught my attention! Trailer is below:

Next was Cobalt – the next project from developer Mojang. This game definitely looks pretty different to Minecraft, but I personally didn’t see anything that made me instantly excited about it. I’ll let you judge for yourself:

Homefront: The Revolution also got a gameplay trailer and this was definitely one that appealed to me more. I haven’t played the previous Homefront games, but I’ve heard good things about them, so must try and find time for them at some point. I say find time, but realistically that isn’t possible. Anyway here is the trailer:

The next big gun to hit the stage was Halo 5: Guardians. The focus this time was all centred around multiplayer and how Halo could have a potential future in eSports. I like Halo but I’m more interested in the campaign and not what multiplayer has to offer, especially from a professional standpoint. That being said, I could really see Halo 5: Guardians being the start of FPS eSports on consoles – it is primarily PC orientated at this time.

Rounding out the Halo news was a pretty sweet-looking Limited Edition Xbox One. The console, which can be seen below, will come with the 1TB hard drive and will launch on October 20th – one week before Halo 5: guardians.

halo5xb

Forza 6 Motorsport was up next and we got to see how glorious the racer looked in the rain. Wet weather racing has been a much requested feature by fans of the series, and it is finally arriving this year. I can’t wait to play this next month, it is probably my most anticipated of the first party line-up!

Closing out the 2015 line-up was another look at Rise Of The Tomb Raider. The trailer gives us a brief overview of the ability upgrades, hunting and exploration, before then turning its focus to a valley that is under enemy control which we must decide how to defeat. This appears in multiple open-world games today, such as Far Cry 4. To check out the 6 minutes of gameplay, be sure to check out the video below:

Phil Spencer closed out the briefing with a “one more thing” moment as he announced Halo Wars 2. This strategy game based in the Halo universe is actually being developed by Creative Assembly, the studio responsible for the Total War series – so some serious pedigree behind them! The cinematic trailer looked cool and, with such a developer behind it, I’m actually excited to see how this game turns out. I would guess that this will be another game they look to have cross-play with Xbox One and Windows 10.

And breathe! Quite a long one today, but Xbox had a hell of a conference – I haven’t even covered everything! I’ll be back tomorrow with more Gamescom news.

Matt