Going into E3, a lot of people were talking about how important it was that Microsoft did a good job with its press conference. A lot of high expectations were placed on Microsoft going into this year’s E3, and the company performed admirably.
As I myself even said, Microsoft needed to focus on the games – 100% on the games. And that’s pretty much exactly what they did. After a few years of disappointing press conferences focused on tech and features that the Xbox is getting, it was entirely refreshing to have a conference that showed us nothing but video games. That’s why we’re all here after all, isn’t it?
What Did They Show?
Right off the bat, we got a great look at Metal Gear Solid V with an extensive demo and trailer. It was quite a surprise to see the unveiling of the new Metal Gear Solid at an Xbox conference but the game looks fantastic both graphically and in terms of gameplay.
After that, Microsoft just kept bombarding us with a wave of game trailers and announcements.
Before the Xbox One news, we got a little info on what’s coming up for the Xbox 360. It was announced that the free-to-play game World of Tanks would be making its way to Xbox Live, still free to play for gold members. A redesign for the Xbox 360 was announced to be available today – making it look a little more like the Xbox One – and even a “Playstation Plus” kind of system was announced for Live users. Gold users will now have two free game downloads a month from a selected list of popular Xbox titles. Trailers were shown for a new platformer called Max and the Curse of Brotherhood, as well as for Dark Souls 2.
After that was out of the way, it was time to move onto the main attraction: anything about the Xbox One. And, boy, did we get a lot to think about today. The first game shown off was Ryse, a game which you may remember was announced for the Kinect a couple years back at E3. The game has changed directions now and looks to be a hack-and-slash set in ancient Rome. While the game was visually stunning, I feel a little unsure of how it might play. The gameplay seemed pretty uninspired and very quick-time based but, of course, this is just a first impression.
After the lengthy Ryse demo, we were surprised with the announcement that the Killer Instinct series would be returning exclusively on Xbox One. As cheers rang out among the crowd, a brief trailer was shown and, later on, we were shown a quick match integrated with the Xbox One’s use of game DVR to record gameplay, as well as the use of a Twitch TV app.
Moving on, Microsoft surprised us with a new partnership between them and Insomniac for the first time ever, bringing a game called Sunset Overdrive to the Xbox One. Although it was a just a teaser trailer, Sunset Overdrive was overflowing with Insomniac’s usual charm and wackiness.
Although we’ve already seen a lot about it, next up was Forza 5 with a quick look at an interesting smart-AI system that the game will be employing, as well as a new trailer.
Then Microsoft threw a bunch of game announcements our way. We saw a proper trailer for Quantum Break and, as is custom at this point for next gen games, it looked phenomenal. Remedy’s new game definitely has my interest. Minecraft was announced for Xbox One, as well as a new indie game called D4. After that, we saw some impressive stuff: a new IP called Project Spark, a demo of Dead Rising 3, the first gameplay trailer for The Witcher 3, and a new indie game called Below.
The briefing ended with a bang with two amazing announcements shown off. A new Halo game was announced and will be coming to Xbox One in 2014; although they didn’t say Halo 5, I would assume that this is the case. In addition, the world premier of Respawn Entertainment’s first game Titanfall was released, and it sure does look good.
Microsoft also told us some much needed information about the Xbox One. It will be releasing this November, at a price point of $499 in the U.S. Microsoft points are now being taken away in favor of real currency, and the friend list is being greatly expanded.
How Did They Do?
All in all, Microsoft put on a damn good show. They didn’t take any time away to talk about TV integration or anything, although they did touch on how smartglass integrates into games very briefly. Other than that, this was a briefing entirely about the games, and Microsoft made a strong case for the games coming to Xbox One. From a new partnership with Insomniac to the announcement of a new Halo and the amazing premier of Titanfall, this was an impressive show. Although, a few technical difficulties did hamper the fun at points.
After attending all of the conferences today, at this point, I would have to say that I’m leaning more towards the Playstation 4 and Sony sure blew it out of the water with their conference today. However, I certainly can’t deny that Microsoft made a compelling case for me today, at least on the software side.