Microsoft’s E3 2013 press conference was mostly Xbox One with a little Xbox 360 sprinkled in. Most importantly? It was almost all games.
The show was broken up into a few different territories and kicked off talking about the past/present about Microsoft’s platform before moving over to the future of the Xbox One. Of course, one common theme throughout was the catalog of games that will be appearing for the Xboxes.
And in that respect, Microsoft delivered.
The Xbox 360, still alive and kicking
First Don Mattrick, the President of Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft, took the stage and revealed that a ‘super slim’ version of the current-gen Xbox is indeed a reality. And actually, it’s available right this very minute. The new console looks a lot like the Xbox One, just a whole lot smaller.
Also very cool in this part of the presentation was the revelation that Xbox Live Gold subscriptions will transfer to the Xbox One. There was a decent segment of the gaming populace that was wondering if that would be the case, but honestly- it kind of had to be. What probably didn’t have to be is that current Goldies will be on the receiving end of two free Games on Demand downloads. So that was kind of neat.
As far as exclusive games still coming for the 360, Microsoft revealed that the rumored adaptation of the MMO World of Tanks is a reality and showed off a very neat looking platformer called Max: The Curse of Brotherhood.
Now back to your x-pected programming
Xbox 360 news aside, the Xbox One was the star of this show and Microsoft brought exactly what they needed to – games, games and more games.
As a precursor to the main show, Hideo Kojima and Konami showed up and gave players a great extended look at the upcoming Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. MGSV, which will see release for both the Xbox One and the PS4, will have a wide open world to play in. You’ll be able to play how you want too, with Snake being able to take advantage of all new stealth and action elements. Oh, and the graphics were stunning.
As for the rest of the presentation, it looked a little something like this:
- Ryse: Son of Rome finally reappeared after a long absence in the gaming world. Ryse takes place in ancient Rome and had a massive, epic warfare feel to it with some gorgeous visuals of a Roman assault on a barbarian stronghold. The game focuses on both one-on-one swordplay and commanding your forces in real time. Ryse also features a huge amount of quick-time events that I was initially turned off by, until it was revealed that these are ‘execution’ moves. Then they actually became kinda awesome.
- Killer Instinct then showed up and gave Rare fans what they wanted. The new KI is definitely familiar, but with some incredibly detailed fighters and arenas. Most importantly, at least to me, was that Rare kept that classic KI look- which I always likened to a hyper-violent Saturday morning cartoon.
- Insomniac showed off Sunset Overdrive, a cartoony, open world action title with a city overrun with some kind of nasty beasties. Oh, and a guy that has a record launching gun. Records, as in vinyl.
- Changing things up, Turn 10’s Dan Greenawalt then took the stage to show off Forza Motorsport 5. The game of course looks phenomenal, but also introduces new cloud-based features and a gameplay innovation called drivatar. The drivatar allows you to race against a computer AI that actually learns from other players online, so you can have a more realistic competitive experience offline. Pretty awesome stuff- and Danny really loves cars. Like really.
- Quantum Break was then shown by Remedy’s Sam Lake (Max Payne himself). We saw a little more about the story behind the mysterious game and saw that time itself is stoppable in the game. This is a necessary mechanic for exploring some of the crime scenes in the title and came off pretty cool.
- Swery 65 has a new title for the One called D4. It’s a murder mystery title featuring cel-shading.
- And now for something completely different as Project Spark took center stage. Spark sort of looks like a Little Big Planet type creation engine, but looks to have a much boosted range of options so that you can actually make games that play completely differently from one another. We saw the presenters build worlds with voice commands as well as smartglass integration and actually dive into that game within seconds to start playing even before the level was finished.
- Crimson Dragon was shown with a quick trailer (in which the sound failed) and looked suitably Panzer Dragoon-ish.
- Capcom then brought out Dead Rising 3, which will be an Xbox One exclusive. DR3 will have another brand new hero and will take place after a zombie outbreak has devastated a huge city. And if you think that means that there’ll be a massive amount of zombies on display, you’ve hit the nail on the head. The publisher also promises 100s of new weapon combos and zero load times.
- The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt is still looking just as good as ever and CD Projekt Red showed off some of the open-world gameplay and a bunch of really spectacular looking cut scenes and in game footage of Geralt in action.
- Battlefield 4 stormed the stage and again the sound system failed- only briefly though this time as EA was able to get things rolling fairly quickly. It’s a good thing they did too as B4 looks miles better and graphically sharper than the recently revealed Call of Duty: Ghosts. This just might be the one to beat as go the military shooter sub-genre.
- Next we saw a rouge-like called Below which looked like a real throwback to the original Legend of Zelda- just in higher-definition.
The show then started closing out with a trio of game announcements/teases. And we started with:
- A new, as yet untitled, triple-A game IP for the Xbox One. All we saw of the game was a lone commando (presumably) repelling down a photo-real skyscraper. It looked awesome, but unfortunately, that was it.
- Halo 5. Yep, you knew it was coming and here it is. teased in a CGI trailer where a cloaked character wanders through the desert, the Master Chief is quickly revealed as his hood blows back as a monstrous Forerunner construct emerges from the desert floor. Also – as an interesting side-note, there was no ‘5’ in the trailer anywhere. Instead the game was just called Halo, and it’s been officially announced for 2014.
- Last but not least, we saw the incredible looking TitanFall. Described as a multiplayer game with single-player elements, TitanFall was mighty impressive. Excellent graphics aside, the Titan mechs looked unlike too many ‘bots that I’ve seen before and were almost as agile and fast as the pilots. Also very cool about this one is that you can get into and out of your mech on the fly, so you can tackle situations as you want.
While that was it for the games, 15 of which were shown off for the Xbox One, Microsoft also revealed a few details about the Xbox One periphery that we hadn’t heard before as well as pricing and the actual release date.
- Smartglass integration is a big deal on the Xbox One. The app based system allows for all kinds of companion operations as it works with games including things like calling in pinpoint artillery strikes in Dead Rising 3.
- The Xbox One will also play very nice with Twitch and allow for DVR-ing, editing and posting of your gameplay on the fly and right from the console.
- MadCatz has a neat fight stick on the way for Killer Instinct, which is great is you’re a stick jockey.
- Pricing and availability for the Xbox One were something of a non-shock as they fell within what pretty much everybody thought already. The console will hit retail this coming November (no specific date as of yet) for $499.99 USD.
So that’s it folks, your highlights of the Microsoft Xbox One press event