E3Port Card: Microsoft E3 2013 Media Briefing
Welcome to the E3Port Card, where I take a look back at last year's Electronic Entertainment Expo to see which announcements came through as planned and which things we’re either still waiting on or never getting. Starting today and for the next four Fridays leading up the show, I’ll be analyzing every one of the five major media briefings from E3 2013 in the order they presented last year. Here’s what the schedule looks like:
MAY 12: Microsoft E3 2013 Media Briefing
MAY 16: EA E3 2013 Media Briefing
MAY 23: Ubisoft E3 2013 Media Briefing
MAY 30: Sony E3 2013 Media Briefing
JUNE 6: Nintendo E3 2013 Direct
Today we begin with Microsoft, who showed off some of the hard-hitting software coming to their brand new console, the Xbox One. Has their lineup wowed us since last year’s show, or have we been left waiting for some big promises to be fulfilled? Read on to find out.
The show opens with a trailer for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, followed by Don Mattrick and Hideo Kojima on-stage to talk about the game.
It’s an impressive trailer introducing the open-world aspects of the next Metal Gear and showing off some new stealth moves, followed by Hideo Kojima taking the stage to talk about the game. However, I can’t confirm that any of this has come true because the game still isn’t out yet. Ground Zeroes released and impressed, but it’s not Phantom Pain. No dice. 0/1
Yusuf Mehdi takes the stage and announces an updated Xbox 360 console design.
Yusuf said it was available that day, and it absolutely was. +1. 1/2
Mehdi continues by announcing the Games with Gold program.
Mehdi mentioned two free game downloads every month, one from the first of the month to the 15, the other from the 16 to the end of the month. This has indeed come to fruition, and it did indeed offer Halo 3 and Assassin’s Creed II to start. +1. 2/3
All four of these games did launch on Xbox 360 in the following 12 months as Yusuf promised; they actually all launched within 8 months. +1. 3/4
Mehdi follows with a trailer for World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition. Victor Kislyi of Wargaming.Net then takes the stage to talk about it.
Kislyi boasts that World of Tanks 360 edition will have 15-on-15 team-based tank warfare. He also says that this version was tailor-made for Xbox 360 and its controller. He wasn’t lying. His only slip-up was that the game would launch in Summer 2013, but it actually launched in February 2014. I’m not going to hold that against him. +1. 4/5
A video featuring the studio Press Play debuts Max: The Curse of Brotherhood.
The indie platformer strangely enough launched first on Xbox One despite being part of the Xbox 360 part of the show, but as of April 9 both versions are out and available. +1. 5/6
The Max trailer is immediately followed by a new trailer for Dark Souls II.
No frills here, just raw footage from the game that’s famous for making players die over and over again. The game launched March 11 on Xbox 360 as promised. +1. 6/7
Phil Spencer takes the stage to start the Xbox One portion of the briefing, which begins with a trailer and gameplay demo for Ryse: Son of Rome.
Ryse launched with the system, and whether you enjoyed the game or not, the fact that it made its intended launch date cannot be denied. +1. 7/8
The Ryse demo ends with Crytek’s Cevat Yerli talking about the game, then as soon as he finished talking a surprise trailer for Killer Instinct plays.
Yep, Killer Instinct came back, weird pay model and all. I personally sprung for the $40 model because I wanted the original Killer Instinct Arcade too. +1. 8/9
Phil Spencer introduces Ted Price of Insomniac Games, who introduces Sunset Overdrive.
The trailer was cool, but we hadn’t heard a single thing more about Sunset Overdrive until this week when the first gameplay was shown. Granted the gameplay matched what was shown at the briefing, but the game’s still not out, so I don’t know if it’s actually what these videos make it out to be. I can’t give it to you yet, Microsoft. No dice. 8/10
A trailer for Forza Motorsport 5 immediately follows, touting McLaren’s inclusion in the game. A real-life McLaren then appears on stage, followed by Dan Greenawalt of Turn 10 Studios talking about Forza.
Everything that was promised here happened just as discussed. Not much more to say about it. +1. 9/11
Phil Harrison is next to take the stage and talks about seeking out “magical games” and studios to make them. He then debuts a trailer for Minecraft: Xbox One Edition.
We’re still waiting for Minecraft: Xbox One Edition, so I don’t know if the new upgrades to Minecraft are actually happening. No dice. 9/12
Sam Lake of Remedy Entertainment takes the stage to talk about video game/TV show hybrid Quantum Break, finishing with a new trailer for the game.
Here’s another game that I have yet to see anything new about since last E3. I’m thinking we’ll see more this year, but for now I can’t give this to Microsoft without more info. No dice. 9/13
A trailer for D4 from Swery65 then airs, showing a Telltale-esque game and calling it a “episodic murder mystery.”
Microsoft has really hit some bumps all of a sudden, as I’ve also heard absolutely nothing about D4 since I watched this event last year. Again I feel like this will appear at E3 this year, but again I can’t give it to Microsoft yet. No dice. 9/14
Dave McCarthy from Microsoft Studios enters and introduces Project Spark, the build-your-own-game game.
The Xbox One open beta launched in March 2014, delivering on the world-building tools that this demo showed off. Microsoft is back on the board. +1. 10/15
Marc Whitten takes the stage to talk about the new Xbox Live, starting with a SmartGlass demo of Ryse: Son of Rome.
I don’t use enough SmartGlass to pay this much mind, but the features do work as advertised. +1. 11/16
The scene transitions to a Killer Instinct match integrating the Xbox One’s Upload Studio feature.
The Game DVR does work as shown here, as I’ve made a few personalized videos of my exploits… ahem. +1. 12/17
Whitten then announces a partnership with Twitch, allowing for instant streaming of games.
It wasn’t available at launch, but it’s available now for all of our streaming desires. +1. 13/18
Whitten then moves to Xbox Live updates, announcing expanded friends lists, Xbox Live Gold Sharing, and the transition from Xbox Live points to real money.
This all happened, and the system is currently in place. There’s not much more I can say about it. +1. 14/19
Whitten finishes by introducing a trailer for Crimson Dragon, from the team behind Panzer Dragoon and Phantom Dust.
While the game was impressive at E3, the microtransaction system that shipped with it was a major turnoff for most gamers. However, it did launch with the Xbox One, so technically Microsoft stills scores here. +1. 15/20
Josh Bridge and Mike Jones take the stage next to unveil Dead Rising 3, exclusively for the Xbox One. Highlights include massive hordes of zombies and on-the-fly weapon crafting.
The gameplay demo looks like it could have been part of the real game, because everything that was shown was available on the disc at launch. +1. 16/21
John Mamais of CD Projekt RED enters to talk about The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, confirming an Xbox One release.
I should be anticipating this game’s launch coming this fall, but unfortunately it’s been delayed to February 2015. Regardless, the game wouldn’t be out by now anyhow, so Microsoft doesn’t score here. No dice. 16/22
Patrick Soderlund and David Silverman from EA’s DICE studio take the stage to demo Battlefield 4. The demo initially didn’t load properly, but after some coaxing the game eventually began.
Part of me wants to award two points to this segment of the show, because Battlefield 4 did launch with the Xbox One as promised, but the game was so borked that nothing worked the way it should have, just like this stage demo. Alas, there are no double point awards on the E3Port Card, but Microsoft still gets the one nod. +1. 17/23
Phil Spencer reappears to tout some more new games, starting with Capybara’s roguelike game Below.
As much as I want to side with Phil and Microsoft here, the game still isn’t available to me, so I can’t give them the point here. Believe me, ever since this conference Below has been high on my list, but without it in front of me no points allowed. No dice. 17/24.
Spencer continues with a brief teaser trailer for Black Tusk Studios, one of the many studios Microsoft is working with.
While the video is impressive with its fireworks and building scaling, without context it doesn’t mean a damn thing. Hooray mysterious game, which may or may not be the next Gears of War, but no points here. No dice. 17/25
Spencer then rolls a trailer starting in a vast desert, following a cloaked figure walking toward a giant hole. A massive entity rises from the sand, causing the cloaked figure’s hood to fall back and reveal a familiar helmet: Master Chief. The trailer ends with “Halo for Xbox One. Coming 2014.” Bonnie Ross of 343 Industries then enters the arena, talking about the future of the Halo franchise.
That’s great, Halo is coming in 2014. However, we haven’t seen a single thing about this mysterious new (or remade) Halo game besides this trailer, which by the way doesn’t even name a true name for this Halo game. We’ll find out more in a few weeks, I’m sure. No dice. 17/26
Phil Spencer retakes the stage to announce the Xbox One launch specifics: November 2013, $499.99 in North America.
All turned out to be true. I waited outside of my local Best Buy on November 22 to buy my system. +1. 18/27
The conference finishes with a trailer and gameplay demo for Respawn Entertainment’s Titanfall, led by studio head Vince Zampella.
If you haven’t played Titanfall yet, you’re missing out. The game has impressed since it launched on March 11. Everything shown in these videos came through in spades. +1. 19/28
FINAL SCORE: 19 announcements fulfilled out of 28 total topics (68%)
Oof. That’s even lower than I had anticipated. To be fair, the Witcher 3 delay isn’t Microsoft's fault, but why haven’t we heard about or seen anything about the new Halo, D4 or Quantum Break? Why did it take until this week to see some more Sunset Overdrive? I certainly hope Microsoft has some big surprises planned for this year’s show. I’m afraid that they’re going to re-introduce a lot of what was shown here, thinking we forgot about it, and we’re all going to feel slighted again. We shall see.
NEXT TIME: EA goes under the microscope!