Microsoft‘s E3 2013 press conference has come and gone, and with it comes a slew of gaming and system announcements. They had a lot of controversy surrounding Xbox One leading up to this conference, and they really needed to hit a home run to get people excited about this system again. Was it a home run? Nope, but they did show off footage of some exclusive games that look fantastic.
The conference started with footage from, believe it or not, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. It delved into the concept that the game will be an open world stealth game that will contain real-time weather and different modes of transport. What really jumped out to me about this game was how crisp and real the graphics looked. Many of the scenes took place in areas with a lot of sand and dust, and it felt so authentic. The video showed Snake using binoculars to get a view of many different landscapes and to even spy on some currently unknown people. This was a bold move on Microsoft’s part, as they began their conference with a swift jab at Sony by showing a game that has been exclusive to Sony for many years. The big deal about the game is how Kiefer Sutherland is replacing David Hayter as Snake, and although you only hear him briefly at the end of the video, he sounded great in the role. Watch the video below.
This then kicked off a mini segment in which they talked about Xbox 360. There are still many plans for this system, regardless of the release of Xbox One right around the corner. They are actually going to be releasing a brand new model of the system that resembles the Xbox One, and they say it is smaller and quieter than ever. This new model is available to purchase right now.
Additionally, people who have an Xbox Live Gold membership will receive two free games per month to play online starting this July, mirroring Sony‘s PlayStation Plus membership. Among the games they mentioned would be available from the get-go were Assassin’s Creed 2 and Halo 3. Fable III is already free to download as of today.
This then kicked off the official discussion of the new system, Xbox One. This segment kicked off with a demo of medieval action game Ryse: Son of Rome. The demo showcased some amazing graphics and brutal combat that involves both typical hack-and-slash and QTE events. This game will be exclusive to Xbox One and will be available at launch. Video below.
- Killer Instinct – Fighting game with a distinct visual style and brutal combat. You will be able to live stream matches on twitch.
- Sunset Overdrive – Stylized open-world shooter. It has a fantastic visual style that was both cartoony and mature, and the gameplay seemed to blend comedy and action. Video below.
- Forza Motorsport 5 – This one was no surprise. The classic racing game is being brought to the next generation and boasted a truly incredibly graphics engine. It even has an interesting feature called drivatar, which logs your style of play. They mentioned that your drivatar will be racing when you aren’t even there, which will earn you points.
- Minecraft: Xbox One Edition – Minecraft continues to be a huge hit, and that wont change on Xbox One. It didn’t show much, but the millions of fans are already sold on it.
- Quantum Break – They didn’t show as much of this game as I would have liked, but what I did see was very impressive. They mentioned how the game will blend both a live-action TV series and gameplay, and they showed one scene involving a situation where time appeared to be slowed down to a near halt. This game looks truly impressive, and could be one of Xbox One’s must-own titles. Video below.
- D4 – They mentioned next to nothing about this. All we know is that it is an episodic murder mystery with cel-shaded graphics.
- Project Spark – This was one of the more unique games. The whole game is created by you, as you create the landscape and all of the things that happen in it. As daunting as that seems, it worked very fast and fluidly, and the amount of control you have over the environment looks amazing. The demo showed you making a pet rock that transformed into a giant mech that blasted away enemies when a battle started. This was created entirely by the player. Video below.
- Crimson Dragon – A brief video was shown, and the audio went out, so this one is still a big mystery. All we really know is that it is from the creators of Panzer Dragoon.
- Dead Rising 3 – This game looked amazing and is without question one of my most anticipated games for the system. Dead Rising has now become an open-world zombie game, where everything is a weapon and every area is accessible. You can customize the weapons you find in the game to do things like tape a flashlight to your gun to traverse darker areas. The world is absolutely huge and is completely overflowing with thousands of zombies in every direction. They showed huge and open environments and smaller, crowded areas that you are able to bounce back and forth from seamlessly with no load times. It ended with the speaker calling in artillery support to take out a huge crowd of zombies. It will be coming out this fall. Video below.
- The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – The popular RPG series is coming to Xbox One, and will contain more dark and mature gameplay. The speaker said that it has over 100 hours of gameplay, and has optional voice support to cast spells and manage your inventory.
- Battlefield 4 – This one started out as a mess, as there were technical difficulties that caused them to have to start the whole video over because there was no sound. The gameplay looked fantastic and the graphics were amazing, as the gameplay took place on a ship and at the end showed some sea combat. Video below.
They then showed another brief peek at an exclusive game… the new Halo! The video was awesome, as it showed a person wearing some kind of cloak and hood over his head. He was walking through a desert and found some kind of necklace. Eventually, the hood comes off and it is none other than Master Chief! All they really said about it was that the Halo experience will be enhanced by the cloud service, dedicated servers and 60 FPS. They also said it’s coming in 2014. Video below.
Then came a really big announcement that will no doubt anger many consumers: the Xbox One price point. Xbox One will be released this November for $499. That is a whopping $100 higher than what recent predictions were saying, and definitely is a hard sell for the average consumer. It’s unknown what the PS4 will cost at this point, but predictions have said that it will be cheaper. If it ends up being a lot cheaper then that could spell the doom for this system in the early stages.
They ended the conference with a final exclusive preview for a game called Titanfall. This game mixes both FPS ground and mech gameplay. It showed the ability to be able to propel yourself in the air and jump off walls. The gameplay was really intense and frantic, showing many scenes where you are fighting both humans and giant mechs, and jumping on the backs of the mechs to shoot their weak points. It is called Titanfall because your mech is called a titan, and you can call one in that is dropped down from aerial support to help you in battle. Titanfall is coming spring 2014.
That wraps-up Microsoft’s press conference. They showed off some really impressive games for the system, and didn’t do anything so bad to stir up more controversy. In fact, the only controversial thing about it was the price point for the system. Still, I don’t think they really did anything that will really change the atmosphere surrounding the system and the current controversies. There are still a lot of questions about privacy and the users own control over what they can and can’t play, and nothing was said to put a stop to any of that. There is still more E3 to come, so hopefully we get something that deals with those things soon.