Microsoft’s E3 Press Conference review
The Microsoft E3 Press Conference opened with Phil Spencer (Head of Xbox) promising a showcase of video games only for the duration of their press conference. That is exactly what they gave us. From start to finish the press conference was filled with nothing but video game trailers, teasers, and gameplay footage. Here is a recap of everything that was shown.
Call Of Duty: Advanced Warfare
The game is set in the future with all sorts of new tech and gadgets. The cut scene began in a five person drop pod crash landing into a sky scraper. Immediately following we are show new UI built directly into the gun and a much sleeker sight for guns increasing peripheral vision. Also the use of jetpack-esque boosters allow slowed decent from heights which can also be used to propel yourself to advantage points. While no gameplay with mechsuits is shown, you are immediately shown a mechsuit walking down the street. Just before a cut-off the player rips a car door off to use as a shield against a swarm of drones.
From there the gameplay skips forward to a firefight showing a solid grouping of new technology including: a marker that works with your hud to tag enemies, shield drones that stay in front of you, a lower your shield when you aim down your sight, and grenades that locate nearest enemies and use a propulsion system to move towards said enemies.
Next up on Microsoft’s showcase was Dan Greenwalt from Turn 10 Studios to showcase Forza. Greenwalt first thanked Forza fans for playing their games and stating new content that has been released; including the brand new Nurburgring, a 16-mile circuit free for Forza 5 players today (6/9). Greenwalt then passed it off to Ralph Fulton to show off Forza Horizon 2.
Fulton began buy pointing out the game would showcase a brand new music playlist and a 200 car selection for its new game. The game is said to introduce a full day/night cycle with dynamic weather on the Xbox One for full graphical simulation. He also states that your Forza 5 drivatar is already playing Horizon 2 for you. The social clubs that can be created in Horizon 2 will support up to 1000 players allowing many friends and clans to group together to make the best clubs online. The game is announced to release on September 30th.
Next Evolve made a brief showcase of the four new character’s available to the four hunter classes shown by Turtle Rock Studios previously on their YouTube page dedicated to Evolve, and a new previously unnamed monster; or at least unannounced evolution for the monster. The game is said to have an exclusive Xbox beta and first play DLC.
Assassin’s Creed: Unity
Next up Vincient Pontbriand (Senior Producer at Ubisoft) took the stage to showcase the brand new Assassin’s Creed game. This game is set to release exclusively on next gen consoles, so if you want in better start planning for your system. Unity will be set in 18th century Paris right in the middle of the French Revolution. Unity is said to allow players to create their own 4-person ‘brotherhood’ with friends online.
Immediately the gameplay trailer starts showing the old AC movement system we love and the ability to move inside, open windows, and go through buildings. Once on the other side of the window, your assassin moves into the crowd and another assassin join the crowd; marked by a symbol to keep track of him. A quick synchronized assassination moves the crowd into a guarded mansion allowing the two assassin’s to climb a wall and enter the building where they are joined by a third assassin. After a brief look at the target, a fourth assassin joins and picks a locked door. Finally, the assassin’s join up one last time in an atrium and begin their assault towards their target. After a short split-screen filled with multiple assassinations, the four assassins converge on their target and activate a cut scene throwing their target to the mob.
Dragon Age: Inquisition
After a brief video intermission a teaser for Dragon Age: Inquisition showcased various medieval, magical, and beautiful landscapes. Many fast paced fight scenes involving magics, dragons, demons, and many abilities. Just nothing else new but the visuals though.
The next video beings with a soldier taking cover from enemy fire behind a crate in a modern realistic shooter setting. Shortly after, a character wearing a very punk rock clothing style crashes into the room from a closed door. The character makes quick work of the group of enemies using rail sliding, wall running, and very cartoon-ish weaponry. The character introduces you to Sunset City, and explains that a contaminated energy drink into mutants causing survivors to scavenge for items from anyone and everyone. After the video game character asks you to step up and play the game (literally), Ted Price (founder and CEO of Insomniac Games) stepped on stage to talk about Sunset Overdrive. With a brief explanation of how two factions are fighting each other and waves of mutants to reach a roller coaster on the far side of the amusement park, he begins a gameplay demo.
The demo shows free open world movement, a collection of guns, including a fireworks launcher, a standard SMG-esque gun, and even a freeze canon. The character also breaks a vehicle off one of the rides to cause a massive explosion on a group of enemies. Shortly after, a massive mutant shows up and starts a battle with the character which leads to the character sliding around on a roller coaster track shooting any enemies in the sky, on the ground, and even on the track in front of him. The game is set to release on October 28th exclusively on Xbox One.
Dead Rising 3 DLC
The next video in the Microsoft showcase features a person running from zombies into an abandoned bar towards a Capcom arcade cabinet. The cabinet shows the four protagonists of the Dead Rising universe then immediately pushes them into various Capcom character outfits, including Zangeif, Chun Li, Felicia, and more throughout the video. The video showcases many of the costumed heroes and heroines performing various super-moves based of their costumes, including: Akuma’s air hadoken’s, Rio’s Matsu Hadoken, Zangeifs Pile driver, and many more. There is even a giant M. Bison Zombie that the four characters have to face off against.
The video is obviously making fun of the Capcom gaming catalog and even shows it by naming the DLC: Super Ultra Dead Rising 3 Arcade Mix Hyper Edition EX Plus Alpha. The DLC is available now on Xbox one without the need of owning Dead Rising 3.
The stage was then passed to Alex Rigopulos (Founder and CEO of Harmonix) who briefly talked about the history of Dance Central‘s stats and history. Then about Disney’s Fantasia: Music Evolved which, like the movie, will set players into the shoes of a wizard’s apprentice as they use motion controls to create remixes of various songs. He also went on to speak about the new upcoming Dance Central Title: Dance Central Spotlight.
Dance Central Spotlight is a digital only title that will be constantly updated weekly with new songs almost immediately after they release. Both games are set to release this fall with Dance Central Spotlight exclusively on the Xbox One’s marketplace.
Next, David Eckelberry (Game Director for Lionhead Studio’s) stepped forward to show off the newest installment to the Fable Universe: Fable Legends. The trailer for the game begins in Brightlodge, the central hub of the game. The video also showcases four of many heroes that will be playable in the game. Fable Legends will feature 4-person adventures leading them through various dungeons and maps to find treasures abound. Each hero has their own set of abilities that can work with each other.
There is also a 5th player that takes the role of the villain and will be given a top-down perspective of the dungeons, allowing them to move monsters, set traps, and even summon spells to damage the heroes and stop them from completing their quest; much like a dungeon master in table-top RPG games. Fable Legends will have a multiplayer beta available exclusively on Xbox in the fall.
After another brief intermission, a video display a cartoony hero slaying various monsters before he reaches an endless expanse of nothing. He then asks where the rest of the game is. A small pixie come flying in and flutters around the expanse creating a castle with ballistas, canons, and archers ready to stop anyone who tries to lay siege. The game then transitions to a desert as the pixie returns and spawns a massive bone dragon to fight a heroin who has arrived at the location. The video then moves to showcase many of created video game content from multiple genres, from platformers, to action adventures, to puzzle, and even FPS. At the end of the video we are visited by an old familiar face, Conker as he arrives and cuts through the Project Spark sign with his chainsaw saying “Almost 10 years without a new game. Guess we’ll have to make our own.”
While Project Spark is nothing new to the Xbox community, being able to see some created content to showcase just what is capable in Project Spark.
Ori And The Blind Forest
Immediately following that was another beautiful work of art featuring a large dark palette creature finding and caring for a small brightly lit creature. Soon after there was, what I assume, gameplay footage of the smaller creature jumping and dashing through a 2.5D world using all sorts of environment based movement to navigate over waters and various other areas. The end of the video tugs at the heart strings as the creature approaches the larger creature in an attempt to first feed, then awaken him.
One more brief intermission precedes the chant from the Halo series intro music. We are then shown a video of one of the cut scenes from Halo 2 when Master Chief guides a bomb through space to a Covenant ship orbiting Earth. A voice over comes on telling an unknown character named “Agent Clark” that in order to find Master Chief he must forget the stories. After the video ends Bonnie Ross (Studio Head of 343 Industries) takes the stage telling that Halo 5: Guardians will be about Master Chief’s personal journey to find his own answers.
She then announces Halo: The Master Chief Collection. The game will have all four of the core games: Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, Halo 2 Anniversary, Halo 3, and Halo 4. She then passes the stage to Dan Ayoub (Executive Producer of 343 Industries) who states that since Halo 2‘s anniversary is coming up, it will have the same graphical update, and ability to switch between the new and old visual settings just like the Combat Evolved anniversary. The multiplayer will feature a selection of classic game modes as well as new combinations of previous favorite game modes and is built completely on the Halo 2 multiplayer engine. While some of the maps have been slightly changed they are still just as pretty as they were before.
The Master Chief Collection will have all maps released across all four games, including the DLC maps, creating a list of over 100 maps. All of which will be played on their own respective engines depending on the game they were released on.
Bonnie Ross then retakes the stage to talk about Halo Nightfall, a new live action video series that will be included in The Master Chief Collection in preparation of Halo 5. The series is said to follow a new character on his journey that will lead up to the events that will unfold in Halo 5. The final point of her announcement is that the Halo 5: Guardians‘ multiplayer beta will be available during the holiday season to all who own The Master Chief Collection.
Phil Spencer Returns to the stage to say that all the games shown will be available by the end of the Holiday season. He goes to say that the following games will be available through 2015 beginning with a game that has been in development in the last four years from the makers of Limbo named Inside.
After that, Chris Charla (Director of ID@Xbox), a project created by Microsoft to help Indie Developers self-publish their own games on Xbox, steps on stage to speak about upcoming indie games for the Xbox One. The following video showcases brief clips of various indie games, including a few well known beautiful games.
Rise of The Tomb Raider
An intermission proceeds then a new video give a first look at the new game, Rise of the Tomb Raider, to follow the previous reboot of the franchise.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
The stage is taken by John Mamais (Executive Producer at CD Projekt RED) and a play tester to showcase The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt‘s gameplay footage of the game’s protagonist hunting a griffin. Upon locating the griffin the player tags him with a crossbow bolt that causes the griffin to bleed and leave a trail to follow. The trail leads the player next to an herbalist’s house that is under attack. After quickly dispatching the attackers, and a brief conversation with the herbalist, the player continues to track the griffin to the top of a mountain and engages it in battle. The video ends with a cut scene of the protagonist returning to town with the head of the griffin tied to his horse.
The announcer then introduces Ken Lobb (Creative Director at Microsoft Studios) who gave a short speech about his time as a game developer. He speaks of his love for rebooting classic video games and introduced a teaser for Phantom Dust, a remake of an original Xbox game produced and directed by the director of Panzer Dragoon.
Tom Clancy’s: The Division
Another intermission, then Ryan Barnard (Game Director for Tom Clancy’s The Division) took the stage to showcase more gameplay for The Division. The video starts in a subway station and moves through the tunnels towards a base that needs to be secured. The group of protagonists engage in a firefight using several gadgets to tag, distract, and immobilize enemies. Once the area is secured, the video pans out and Barnard thanks the audience before giving the floor to the next person.
Hideki Kamiya (Game Director for PlatinumGames Inc.) took the audience’s attention to show off their new game, Scalebound. The teaser begins with a person running through a forest being chased, and is cut off by a dragon. The creature chasing him catches up and the dragon immediately begins attacking the creature alongside the person. The person body begins to cover itself in dragon scales allowing him to cast various magics at the creature until he and the dragon slay it. Shortly after, a giant Hydra rises and multiple dragons, each with their own rider, head towards the hydra.
David Jones (Co-Founder of CloudGine) came up to introduce the newest installment to the Crackdown series. The teaser begins with a drone attempting to shoot at a criminal playing pool in a penthouse suite. After the bullets bounce harmlessly off the glass the drone is shot down. A group of three agents then begin a plan to take out the boss by destroying a building, driving a tanker practically encased by explosives up the side of said building, detonating the tanker, all to send a large piece of it into the penthouse.
Phil Spencer took the stage one last time to thank the audience for their feedback on the Xbox and that they plan to continue to work towards building a console based on what people’s feedback all so Xbox will be the only place for people to play the most anticipated video games. That may be a tall order for himself and the Xbox team but I’m sure they are going to try.