Microsoft E3 2013 Press Conference Wrap Up
When we took our seats at Microsoft’s E3 2013 Media Briefing, the first thing we thought was, “Man it sure is green in here… green like money!” We're sure Microsoft had the same corny joke going through their head as they prepared to show us everything about the Xbox One that the official Xbox One reveal unfortunately didn’t show. Microsoft held back the big guns for this event. If the Xbox One was going to wow the gaming public despite its questionable DRM policies, this was the time.
Konami, oddly, was the first to take the stage with Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain, with Snake riding a horse through an open world landscape. Snake was able to use his horse for cover until he found a Jeep which he then used to brave a dynamic sandstorm. Snake then perched on a rock, spying on his enemies from behind, before sneaking in the back of a truck to get closer to the enemy encampment. The trailer then showed a time passage system and some Assassin’s Creed like parkour elements. The rest of the trailer was cinematic, showing off old faces like Otacon and Ocelot as well as new faces, like Eli a sniper, Ghost Face a man with a hidden face in a suit, and Code Talker an old blind man who just has to be some sort of oracle like figure. Announcing MGSV for Xbox One was an amazing way to start off the convention, as Xbox fans have been wanting to play the traditionally Sony exclusive franchise for ages.
They then announced that 13 next generation titles shown at this conference would be Xbox One Exclusives, but before that, they are taking a look back at the Xbox 360. First, the Xbox 360 will be redesigned to look more like the Xbox One. It’s smaller, quieter, and is on sale… today! They announced that gold memberships on the Xbox 360 will not only carry over to Xbox One, but gold members will get two free game downloads every month. The first two will be Assassin’s Creed 2 and Halo 3. It’s just like PlayStation Plus, but comes bundled with LIVE, which is still needed for online play.
The next reveal was a new Xbox 360 title World of Tanks. The popular PC title will be coming to Xbox 360, except the tanks have rocket jets. Awesome! The game will be tailored to the Xbox 360 control scheme and will allow you to participate in 15-on-15 tank combat. The title will release this summer.
Two more games were then revealed for Xbox 360, The first was a new title from Press Play called Max: The Curse of Brotherhood. It’s a game with a Pixar like animated quality, about a brother who accidentally uses dark magic to banish his brother to a nightmare dimension. Now he has to save him using what appears to be a variety of different platforming abilities.
The other Xbox 360 title was one that was plastered all around the convention center, Dark Souls II. The game showed a variety of different weapons, including a one handed broad sword and offensive shield. Aside from that, the game looks hard and is sure to make gamers throw their controller out the window when it releases in 2014.
The rest of the conference was devoted to the Xbox One and the games that would be coming to the console shortly after launch. They started with a new IP, Ryse, which looks like the roman equivalent of God of War.
The game trailer started with shots of an awesome narrator talking about gods and ancient times. It then cut to a scene of a roman centurion leading a legion of troops into battle from shore. The game almost looks like it took a cue from Dynasty Warriors, as your troops continue to battle around you giving you support as you go. However, the game also has several crazy environmental effects including crashing boats, balls of fire raining down on you, and ambushes by enemy archers. The combat looks pretty basic, allowing you to parry opponents attacks and then kill them with quick time events. However, the game also lets you control an entire legion at once, creating walls of shields and rains of javelins as an entire troop. Ryse is being developed by Crytek and will be available as an Xbox One launch title.
The next exclusive title for the Xbox One is Killer Instinct! No really, KILLER INSTINCT! They didn’t show much about it, except for Jago, Glacius, and Saberwolf and the ability to do ludicrously long combos. There appears to be a “combo meter” underneath the hit-counter which fills as you create your combo. When it fills completely the combo breaks. Moves still change their properties based on where you use them in a combo. This is gonna be a huge one for the fighting game community.
Insomniac is now developing for the Xbox One, and has revealed their new title, Sunset Overdrive. The trailer immediately kicked off with parkour that would make Mirrors edge jealous. The main character ran and jumped on ledges and windows while shooting what appear to be strange alien zombie like creatures with a shotgun. Other characters then joined him, with weird things like cola shooters and record flinging guns. It’s the new generation’s Generation X.
The next title announced was Forza Motorsport 5, complete with a McLaren racing car rising up from the floor! The game will do away with A.I. and will instead introduce something called a Drivatar. Essentially, it’s an A.I. that learns how you race, and then propagates online. So all of your opponents will be based on real opponents. You also learn credits for what your Drivatar does in other people’s games.
Minecraft is the first indie title that was announced for Xbox One. It’s unclear whether or not the game will play any differently from the Xbox 360 Minecraft, but the Xbox One edition sure looks prettier. It also said that it would have bigger worlds and more options but it’s also unclear what this means.
Now, Microsoft is finally ready to explain Quantum Break, the strange TV show/full motion video game that was shown at the Xbox reveal. Apparently, playing the game creates your own personal TV show. The TV show changes based on your actions in the game, which is based around a failed science experiment that time stutters and freezes like a broken Youtube video.
The next title is an, “episodic murder mystery” which looks a bit like a moving comic book. Unfortunately, all we got was a short teaser and not much more.
Project Spark is the Xbox One’s answer to LittleBigPlanet, a game development platform that is entirely based on user input. The system can be controlled entirely by your voice and the Kinect. This allows you to get huge generalized landscapes set at the right time of day in the right environment as you like. You can then use the Xbox SmartGlass to edit your surroundings with paint like tools. You can then edit objects inside the game, giving them brains or simplified A.I.’s.
You can do the same with enemies, allies, abilities, and more. You can even program in-game events. The games that you make using Project Spark seem to be third person action games by default, but you can tweak the goals of the game as well. Smart Glass users can even edit the terrain around you as you play. All objects, games, environments, enemies, and more are shared across the Project Spark network and can be remixed at will. The trailer showed the engine making platformers, side scrolling shooters, twin stick shooters, RTSes, music games, tower defenses, space sims, and more. It seems very powerful.
They next showed off the next generation Xbox SmartGlass which allows you to control your games from your smart device. This gives you features such as searching for matches, organizing your game collection, and more. You can also view other user’s game feeds through the SmartGlass and search for other matches while playing different games. For example, they showed someone looking for a Killer instinct match while playing Ryse. They then showed the movie editing features and the ability to live stream your games on Twitch.TV.
The final game shown was Crimson Dragon, from the creators of Panzer Dragoon. It looked like a pretty awesome dragon based shooter though the trailer had some audio issues. Not much else was revealed.
Dead Rising 3 was revealed next, with yet another new hero, Nick Ramos. The outbreak takes place in a city much like Los Angeles. The game looks far grittier and much less cartoony. The trailer showed the main character climbing on the top of rooftops trying to get to a safe house downtown. He is able to break windows to travel through houses and tear off pieces of the environment to use as weapons. He can also craft new weapons just about anywhere. There seems to be a bigger focus on gunplay, which is fitting for the Xbox One. There are also GTA-style driving segments where you get to mow down zombie hoards in a car, but you will have to fight off some clingers that manage to grab on to the hood. Using the Xbox SmartGlass you will be able to call in artillery support and bombings. It almost looks more like a Call of Duty game than Dead Rising. Dead Rising 3 will be an Xbox One exclusive.
The Witcher 3: Wild hunt will be coming to the Xbox One and will feature 100 hours of gameplay and will be completely free roaming and non-linear. You can also control the game via Kinect voice commands. They showed off a new trailer which showcased some gameplay.
Battlefield 4 took the stage next, running in a glorious 60 FPS. The first thing you noticed is that the game was absolutely beautiful. This is the smoothest FPS we have seen yet. The lighting effects are gorgeous and the set pieces are like nothing we have ever seen. The trailer showed off co-op gameplay on a sinking aircraft carrier which breaks completely in half with planes falling past you as you fight. The game lets you use guns with multiple scope and ammo types, switching from a red dot sight to a sniper scope in the middle of battle. The battle then took to the seas, allowing you to command boats with rear mounted turrets. Battlefield 4 will be getting its first map pack on Xbox One before any of the other consoles.
The next game revealed was Below, a new indie title which, believe it or not, is a rogue-like game. It’s essentially a top down adventure title with some interesting dual stick shooter elements. The environments are pretty but much of the gameplay is still unknown.
Black Tusk is also developing a new AAA title for the Xbox One.
The next trailer was an interesting teaser showing off a mysterious character in a cloak walking through a desert. Suddenly, a huge robotic angel like figure rises up from the sand and the cloak blows back to show Master Chief! Yes, a new Halo title is coming to the Xbox One, and it too runs at 60fps. The game will launch in 2014.
Respawn Entertainment was the last company to take the stage showing off their brand new shooter for the Xbox One, TitanFall. It’s a sci-fi shooter with jet-packs, parkour elements, and giant robots. It’s an interesting title that seems to have several modes of control including vehicle, on foot, and in robot combat modes offering trade offs between power and maneuverability. You can even climb on top of other giant robots to get at the pilot or the engine. It’s certainly something different from the military shooters we have been seeing so far. TitanFall will come out in Spring 2014.
Microsoft Points are now gone. You now just pay using normal currency. You can share your Gold account with other people. Finally, you are no longer limited to 100 friends only on your buddy list. The console will retail for $499 this November. Pre-orders for the console are opening up today.
The Xbox One definitely redeemed itself after an incredibly lackluster reveal. If players give it a chance they may find there are some really interesting titles to play and the console has a bright future, if DRM doesn’t hold it back. Even so, Microsoft’s press conference was an impressive start to E3.