To continue our E3 month we will be using the next few posts to go back over the major press conferences and reflect on what we have seen transpire.
As a note I will not be putting these posts in the context of other companies press conferences. I will be treating them as an entity by themselves – with a little hindsight thrown in of course, nothing worse than reading the incoherent ramblings of an excited gamer (I’m sure you all go enough of that on my twitter feed during the conferences).
In my Microsoft predictions post I stated that “I expect MS to hit hard this year” and I was proven right on this; they did indeed hit hard. So hard in fact that they easily had their best conference since 2007 – in parts it was incredible!
What I got right
1) There were a number of things that I predicted correctly in my previous post, the first was perhaps the most obvious (it leaked) but it was the re-designed controller for Xbox One. The “elite” controller is heavily modifiable with magnetic thumb sticks & d-pad, adjustable triggers, new mappable triggers, trigger locks and a memory toggle for your own presets. Retailing at $150 it is not cheap; but Microsoft claim it will offer “pro-level precision”.
Time will tell if it is a genuine improvement over the original and; more importantly, if it is worth that massive outlay! Microsoft also announced that there will be a 1TB version of the console released at Christmas.
2) Rise of the Tomb Raider/Halo 5/Forza 6 all got release dates and trailers, and they looked exactly liked you imagined them, which is no bad thing. All three games looked incredibly and will make Xbone owners positions this Christmas very enviable!
3) Xbox Now is officially a thing. Ok, ok it isn’t actually called Xbox now but I did call a method of playing your Xbox 360 titles on the Xbox One in my post! I just never imagined that they’d patch in the ability to run the discs and play it natively!
Is this the reason the Xbox One is so massive? It houses the innards of the 360 as well? My God who knew?! This is a very exciting prospect for all Xbox One owners, however the current list of compatible games (are MS sure they meant natively?) is very small and composed of mostly Rare titles. MS promise 100 titles by Christmas – and took a dig at Sony by stating “we won’t charge you to play the games you already own” – gloves are off!
4) ID@Xbox had a massive presence fronted by ‘Cuphead’ (on its 3rd E3 now – seriously, release it) and while it still looked stunning, the actual gameplay shown was the most mundane I’ve seen from it thus far. They also had a sizzle reel of the upcoming ID@Xbox titles and some looked incredible!
What I didn’t see coming however was the BIG announcement (and not one I was pleased to hear) that Early Access is now available on Xbox One – even console owners can play games that are unfinish and may never be finished; HURRAY!
5) EA Access reach extended this week ALL Xbox owners can access the EA Access and play all the titles that are there – obviously in the hope of attracting new customers to the program that offers value for money.
6) New IP announced ‘Recore’ looked incredible! Inafune’s latest title that we know very little about; but I did call that in my prediction post (got the count wrong though, i really wanted 3 – but Spencer said that they’ll announce more at GamesCom).
7) Gears of War 4 announced with a gameplay demo played by Rod Ferguson. To be honest, while the game was graphically superb I was very underwhelmed. It looked like more of the same, even the set up of the new enemy was incredibly reminiscent of the reveal of the Lambent Wretchs in GoW 1. Very disappointed.
8) Gears of War remaster dated for the 25th August and it DOES come with a GoW 4 BETA (that I anticipate will be christmas time like the Halo 5 BETA). Again though I am very disappointed that it is not a trilogy remaster, it seems exploitative to say the least. This does look like a proper remaster though – like the TLoU: Remastered, this will sell Xbox Ones I’m sure of it.
What we didn’t predict
1) Holo-lens looking absolutely incredible. This reveal was a classic E3 moment, I was watching the guy play Minecraft projected unto a wall and was like “meh”.
Then he uttered the words “create world” and I had to pick my jaw off the floor! It was fucking incredible and it made me believe in the future of gaming, I have seen it for myself and it looks ridiculously exciting and amazing!
Don’t believe me?
2) Rare Replay was announced and it is an absolute stonking deal! In Rare Replay you get 30 Rare games for $30 to celebrate their 30th birthday! It has all the games you could hope for ‘Banjo Kazooie’, ‘Banjo Tooie’, ‘Blast Corps’, ‘Conkers Bad Fur Day’, ‘Perfect Dark’ and I could go on. It is a brilliant pack and you’d be a fool to miss out on it. Releases August 4th
3) Fable Legends being free-to-play and on Windows 10. It looks terrible and seems to be an exercise in shoe-horning a gaming fad into an existing franchise and it just looks awkward and dull. Poor Fable is getting battered by MS recently.
The interesting thing here though is that it’s labelled at the end of its trailer as FTP and on Windows 10 (and it wasn’t the only game) this is an interesting development and means we can enjoy some of these “exclusives” without buying an Xbox One. This will undoubtedly make the gaming division more profitable, but is it good for business as it could risk a cheapening of the Xbox brand.
4) Dark Souls 3 being unveiled by Microsoft was an interesting event! From software have a very good working relationship with Sony; I don’t think many people would have predicted MS to unveil DS3 to the world. It seemed interesting although it was just a pre-rendered video; the architecture and world looked like a mix between DS and Bloodborne and I’m sure fans of the original titles would have been hyped beyond belief. It also got a date of Early 2016.
For me this was an absolutely cracking show! Microsoft came to E3 2015 with a very clear goal; to blow Sony out of the water with sheer number of games. All their big franchises were present and correct and they came out swinging. Although strangely there was no Call of Duty reveal during this conference and that was strange.
As I said in the beginning this was undoubtedly their best show since 2007 and highlighted their intent to deliver hit games to their fan-base and it was an unmitigated success.
I do remember at the time thinking that Sony would have to have something special to top this show; I was worried for them…
What did you think of the MS press conference?
Impressed, disappointed or indifferent?
Tell me in the comments below!