Microsoft’s Gamescom conference, news and thoughts

gamescom-2014

Ah Gamescom, the second biggest gaming show of the year! It’s opening it’s doors in the traditional way, press conferences from the usual suspects – we’re are going to be focusing on the two biggest presser’s Sony and Microsoft. We expect shots to be fired and they should be great shows that are hopefully full of gameplay videos and surprises. However the reality is usually very different from expectation – no doubt Sony and Microsoft will find news ways to disappoint…we will cast out these negative feelings and remain optimistic. Microsoft; it’s over to you.

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Microsoft Conference (12/08/2014 1pm GMT)

Microsoft have the dubious honour of going first, this is both a blessing and a curse. On one hand they get their news out first and cash in on the excitement of the crowd; one the other hand they could be overshadowed by newer news and forgotten. They have to have a cracking show to avoid that.

The BIG news.

Microsoft unleashed the Kraken with the bombshell that Tomb Raider will be an XBOX EXCLUSIVE. I sense there will be many unhappy PS4 gamers out there; me included! I dropped more than a few f-bombs at the announcement. Third party exclusives are now a thing guys, whether this is a good or bad thing? Only time will tell, I hope this isn’t a trend setter.

Evolve will have a BETA in January and it will be on Xbox first, same with all Evolve DLC. To me this isn’t that big a deal, PS4 got the Destiny BETA first and that is arguably the bigger release of the two games.

Halo 5: Guardians BETA will run from December 29th – January 16th (3 Weeks!!) and will be focusing on small maps and 4v4 games.

Quantum Break gameplay looked really good, some interesting ideas in there and a Roman Reigns superman punch. Good stuff.

The news Microsoft wanted to be big.

Halo 2 remastered will have Sanctuary as a re-imagined map. This was one the biggest cringe moments – guy from 353 studios announced it and waited the whoops and claps from the crowd, that never came. Fact is, nobody cared. And this ambivilance ran through the entire Halo portion of the show.

The Halo channel, not sure why this is a thing. Is there anyone out there who wants to watch ‘making of’ documentaries of Halo? Or the absolutely terrible ‘Forward onto Dawn’ (or as one of my mates called it ‘Forward onto Yawn’ LOL) maybe the Ridley Scott TV show won’t suck completely, let’s just say i’m not holding my breath.

COD:AW gameplay Vignette – followed exactly the same formula for every other COD game, soldier guys in an on-rails action section followed by something collapsing and soldiers saving each other from falling. Graphically it looked ok i guess, hardly mind blowing. It looked exactly like I thought it would, and judging by the crowd’s silence everyone else was under-whelmed too.

Bits I enjoyed.

The aforementioned ‘pop’ at Sanctuary; if only because it highlighted that you should never take crowd reaction for granted – people won’t always react the way you want them too.

Sunset overdrive trailer. Those boys at Insomniac games have absolutely nailed each trailer for their xbox exclusive, this was utterly fantastic “fizzco cover up begin” lmao.

Phil Spencer’s announcement that “[he was] So glad tomb raider can join the list of xbox exclusives, holiday 2015 (screen has two games on it, including tomb raider)” good one Phil!

The trailer for Screamride looked excellent and funny.

Quantum Break looked excellent.

And dude from Oni and the forgotten forest announcing “Exclusively on Xbox One (and PC)” – that dude looked like he threw up in his mouth a little – made me laugh.

Overall

1 thumb up. The first section focused far too much on multi-platform games (8 minutes of COD was overkill) but picked up with the bombshell announcement that Tomb Raider was exclusive, and it continued with Indie announcements, Sunset Overdrive trailer and Quantum Break gameplay. The presser lost all thrust during the Halo section, which was dire. Between lacklustre announcements and poor delivery from the girl off 353 studios (seriously she was the best they had?). Microsoft should’ve blown my socks off, in the end I had a tingle in my toes. Disappointing.

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