E3 2014: MICROSOFT Press Conference Round-Up
Phil Spencer, head of Microsoft’s Xbox division, stated in the opening minutes of Microsoft’s E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) press conference that this year’s presentation was going to be about “games.” It definitely wasn’t hyperbole, for 90 minutes Microsoft rolled out trailers, live game demos, game announcements, etc. that demonstrated the games which lay on the horizon for the Xbox One.
Words like Xbox 360, Kinnect, Applications, and living rooms had no place at this press conference. Taking a page out of Sony’s E3 playbook from last year, Microsoft sought to appeal to the gaming community by way of game content. While applications and TV functionality are selling points, the most important selling point is providing engaging exclusive titles on your console, and Microsoft showcased the Xbox One will have just that. Over 20 games were showcased during the press conference.
The first hour of Microsoft’s press conference was filled with games which Xbox One owners can look forward to experiencing in 2014. From CALL OF DUTY: ADVANCED WARFARE to SUNSET OVERDRIVE, Xbox One owners have a myriad of games to look forward to this year.
The last half hour was dedicated to games lined up for 2015 releases, games such as: RISE OF THE TOMB RAIDER, INSIDE and THE WITCHER 3: WILD HUNT. From the looks of it, there’s soon to be plenty of great games to play on the Xbox One — we better get our wallets ready.
Microsoft’s strategy was impeccable, practically perfect, they set out to prove their console was more than just an applications machine which played games — it’s a next-generation console worthy of consumer’s money. The Xbox One’s price tag is now $399, the console no longer comes bundled with the Kinnect, and a plethora of games on the horizon, it has now become a formidable opponent to the PlayStation 4.
Below I have showcased the “good” announcements that were made during the conference and the “average” announcements, for those who are unable to view or missed the press conference. The titles and announcements are ones which stood out and you’ll definitely want to keep on your radar.
There is no “bad” category because I believe that there was very little to critique. Microsoft proved that they are out to provide the best next-generation games for their console to make it the premiere next-generation console to own.
SUNSET OVERDRIVE is set to be released on Oct. 28 2014 and is shaping up to be a game which will be a must own for Xbox One owners. Insomniac Games has created a game that resembles a combination of RATCHET & CLANK, DEAD RISING, INFAMOUS AND CRACKDOWN. The gameplay demo showcased seamless gameplay, wacky weaponry, witty humor and a unique art work style that’s unique and easy on the eyes. The trailer shown during the press conference poked fun at the shooting genre and highlighted how humorous this title will most likely be.
HALO had some huge announcements at this year’s press conference. Xbox One owner can look forward to HALO: THE MASTER CHIEF COLLECTION which includes HALO 1-4 and an anniversary edition HALO 2, it’s set for release Nov. 11, 2014. THE MASTER CHIEF COLLECTION will included 100 multiplayer maps (every main series HALO map ever released), will run on 60 frames per second (fps) in 1080p resolution, and will come with 4000 gamerscore, all for $59.99. It was a brilliant strategy to introduce a new generation of people to the complete HALO universe while also placing Master Chief’s story on one console.
HALO 5 GUARDIANS also had a featured trailer which eluded to another Spartan which will be featured in the narrative. The story is still unclear but it would seem that Chief and this unknown Spartan’s paths are connected.
Also, mentioned was HALO NIGHTFALL, a live-action series which will serve as a lead up to HALO 5: GUARDIANS. A beta for HALO 5 will open in December, and when the game launches multiplayer will have dedicated servers and will run at 60 fps.
EVOLVE is a game by the creators of LEFT 4 DEAD and while not much was shown at the press conference, this is a game you’ll want to keep on your radar. Set for release on Oct. 21, 2014, EVOLVE takes the concept of LEFT 4 DEAD’S four-man team system and adds a fifth player who plays an alien. If the four-team kills the alien or vice versa the game is over.
ORI AND THE BLIND FOREST
This game looks beautiful, almost something straight from Studio Ghibli. It reminds me of the PlayStation classic, JOURNEY. It looks to have a very intimate story and potential to be a great indie game. I’m excited to play this platformer come holiday 2014.
Super Ultra Dead Rising 3 Arcade Remix Hyper Edition EX Plus Alpha (Yea, that’s the name!)
Capcom is making fun of itself here. With games like STREET FIGHTER IV, SUPER STREET FIGHTER IV, SUPER STREET FIGHTER IV: ARCADE EDITION AND ULTRA STREET FIGHTER IV, Capcom is showing that it understands how ridiculous those names are. They’ve found a way to incorporate that realization with a comedic title which doesn’t take itself too seriously and looks very enjoyable. It resembles FAR CRY 3: BLOOD DRAGON, and if it’s anything like that it’ll be worth purchase. Do yourself a favor and check out the trailer, it’s hilarious. This title is out now!
CRACKDOWN “NO. 3”
When the original CRACKDOWN was released on Xbox 360 it looked stunning. The trailer shown for the upcoming third CRACKDOWN game, which is just titled CRACKDOWN as of right now, was shown at the press conference looked spectacular. This is a Xbox One exclusive that I can’t wait to get my hands on and see more trailers of. It great to know that this game actually exists. No release date has been set as of yet.
RISE OF THE TOMB RAIDER
TOMB RAIDER was a fantastic game, one of my favorites of 2013, and this brilliant directed trailer for it’s upcoming sequel has me excited to see Laura Croft’s story expanded. Holiday 2015 is when people can get their hands on the TOMB RAIDER sequel.
THE WITCHER 3: WILD HUNT
THE WITCHER 3: WILD HUNT might be the game that truly starts to define what is capable in this next-generation of gaming. Set in a vivid and gorgeous environment, everything from gameplay to dialogue between characters will astonish you. It will be a must play when it hits shelves Feb. 24, 2015. Just check out this gameplay trailer to understand the hype that surrounds this game.
LIMBO is a fantastic game — if you’ve never played it, do yourself a favor and play it. Of course, after reading this. Playdead’s next game, INSIDE, looks to be a game that will be of the same caliber as LIMBO. While the trailer showcases the game’s aesthetics, it’s not fully clear what the game is about. This game will debut on Xbox One in 2015.
This is Xbox’s independent developer program that enables game developers to self-publish on Xbox One. There were more than 15 titles shown in a trailer Microsoft put together to show the games which are currently a part of this program. This is program is a step in the right direction when it comes to indie games.
CALL OF DUTY: ADVANCED WARFARE
Starting the press conference CALL OF DUTY: ADVANCED WARFARE was predictable, but made sense. It’s a blockbuster franchise that has become stagnant. The gameplay featured at the press conference introduced people to what a next-generation CALL OF DUTY game will look like, it’s stunning. While new gameplay mechanics are inciting enough for me to give the title a chance, I’m still burnt out on this series — the same gameplay has been force feed to us for years. Throughout the trailer Michael Bay moments are abundant and the level demoed was linear. The game releases Nov. 4 2014.
ASSASSIN’S CREED UNITY
ASSASSIN’S CREED has become a franchise much like CALL OF DUTY, we get a new tittle every year. Much like CALL OF DUTY, I’m burnt out on this series. With that said, ASSASSIN’S CREED UNITY looks spectacular, and it looks to have refined its gameplay by adding cooperative play. The thing is most of the impressive games at this press conference were the ones which had no connection to the last generation. ASSASSIN’S CREED UNITY and CALL OF DUTY felt like business as usual which isn’t appealing — this is a new generation and that calls for new ideas. Surely this game will be good, but it might not be the next-generation game we deserve. No release date was announced.
Tom Clancy’s THE DIVISION
There was a running theme throughout Microsoft’s press conference, cooperative gameplay. Most games had cooperative gameplay to some extent. TOM CLANCY’S THE DIVISION is a game where communication with your team will be key to succeed in missions. It almost has a BORDERLANDS feel to it because of the experience gained by defeating enemies. I’m indifferent about this title, it looks fun, but feels like a rehash of the shooter genre we’ve all been playing since CALL OF DUTY: MODERN WARFARE 4. If this game contains a good narrative it could set itself a part from all the other modern shooters out there. Release date: 2015.
A reboot to a cult classic, I’m intrigued to see how this game develops given the fact that the E3 trailer provides little information. Nonetheless, this title is an Xbox One exclusive and could prove to be a successful reboot. No release date was announced.
Microsoft’s press conference earns a 10/10 in my book. It was full of surprises, great looking games and a sense of vision for the consoles future.
Be sure to stay tuned for all the big announcements at the 2014 E3 event!
And if you missed it: