kicks off with Microsoft’s press conference. This year is special due to the new generation of gaming-consoles (sorry Nintendo) being just months away. A new line of machines from all the big manufacturers and new marketing lines being spread to the consumers ears, trying to weigh them towards spending their hard-earned money on their products. And here we have Microsoft pushing their upcoming console the Xbox One, the one (it’s actually the third console in Microsoft’s line-up of gaming-systems) stands for being the ONE system you’ll need as it bring together all the entertainment needs you’ll need into one box.
Opening up with Konami’s famous stealth-franchise Metal Gear Solid 5 we get introduced to the idea of Solid Snake riding a horse. Kojima has always been influenced and tried to unashamedly bring his love for movies into his games and here we see what happens when the incoherent Metal Gear story goes to the wild west.
He’s now able to hang of the side of the fully equipped horse in full sprint and hide from his enemies. We also get to see a lot of Kojima studio’s gameplay ideas for the new installment. Some of the stuff could be cool but if this is anything like MGS 4 you’ll make it all the way through the game without even touching any of these “filler” gameplay ideas, such as the iPod or the ungraspable (at least I thought it was) melee-system.
MGS V: Phantom Pains has also been quite a controversy due to the fact that the old voice actor David Hayter has been replaced for movie/tv-star Keith Sutherland.
Afterwards they took it a step back to talk a bit about the soon to be retired Xbox 360 and why it’s not retiring quite yet. A new version of the system will be in stores and purchase-able right now. Lower priced, quieter and with a new look the newest 360 version could be a gateway for the families who haven’t tried Microsoft’s product yet or as a stepping stone for those who want one.
They are also upgrading the Xbox Live Gold-subscriptions, now offering two games per month for free to everyone starting off right now with 2007’s Halo 3 and 2009’s Assassin’s creed II. Sony also offers something similar to their Playstation plus-subscribers. I think it’s a nice addition, though I doubt they’ll be play-able after the month is over.
Games won’t be taken away from the old system to be released on the new either with some 360 titles being shown. The multiplayer tank-game World of Tank will be free-to-play on the system. Also a new franchise Max the Curse of Brotherhood, a platformer wherein Max must go on a journey for his lost brother. And a sequel in the morbid RPG-action Dead Souls series, now with more sword-wielding armors and deaths. These three games could be fun, they don’t seem to out-there with a nice free-to-play European made tank-game, kid-friendly platform-game and the third game in a proven hardcore franchise.
Now with all the 360 behind us we can look forward into what games will show of the performance and power of the X-box One. Starting with a launch-title Microsoft presents us with, Xbox one exclusive, Ryse: Son of Rome a new brand of melee third person game. The level they showed shows the Romans storming the beaches of their enemy, invading their castle. It’s a Crytek developed game and the team known for their graphics-heavy games seems to have put a lot of thought into the facial attributes of these ancient warriors. The game continues with the warriors pushing forward until they reach a wall and have to take defense positions to protect themselves against incoming arrows, fight and command. Moving forward carefully to not get hit they eventually invade the castle and massacre everyone inside.
Then they presented us with a short teaser trailer for an upcoming reboot of the mid 90’s fighting game Killer Instinct.
Insomniac takes to the stage and presents their upcoming title Sunset Overdrive. A colorful cartoon-looking fast-paced parkour-shooter. This one seems interesting and original, shame that we didn’t get to see anymore of it right now.
With elegant music playing in the background and a car from McLaren on stage, one of the developers behind upcoming Xbox exclusive racing game Forza 5 talks about how nice it feels to drive in this new installment. The cars look and feel real and you’ll be able to drive cars, in real-life, only driven by a hand-full of people.
New features for the fifth game in the series now takes your stats and transforms it into a “drive-atar” (they put drive and avatar and mashed ’em up for some reason) which will populate other players games. You will no longer simply be playing with AI, but AI enhanced with stats and driving performances of other players. Your drive-atar will also win you races while you’re not playing.
Microsoft wants to let you know they haven’t forgotten about all them smaller indie-titles you love so much. Even though they have all these grand titles they also make time for smaller less-known games. Introducing the Xbox one edition of Minecraft, now with bigger worlds.
Finish development studio remedy (known for Max Payne and Alan Wake) gives us a look at an upcoming new title, Quantum Break. In the sequence the player walks through a space where time stands still, walking past a cloud of broken glass towards a girl suspended in air.
Also a short trailer for a cell-shaded Japanese developed D4 let’s you know that Microsoft isn’t all about the western world but brings games from all over the globe to one console.
Project Spark is a game where you can make your own world. Fully Smart Glass and Kinect integrated you can make a world in minutes and jump in and play around in it within seconds. It’s a very fantasy style game, looking like Fable. In the world that you’ve built you can give different objects different traits, the player in the live demo on stage made a rock come to life and help him in his battle against some attacking goblins.
It felt a lot like Microsoft’s version of Little Big Planet. You’ll be able to create your game and adventure through it in the characters third-person view. Ending on a montage of different created games one different from the next spreading over multiple genres.
Xbox live is now enhanced with the addition of Microsoft’s tablet support Smart Glass. You will with Smart Glass be able to, while your playing one game, search for other people to play multiplayer with in another. Then when Smart Glass has found a match for you, you can jump directly from your current game and start playing multiplayer in the other. The example they showed on stage was a player playing Ryse, telling Smart Glass to set-up a versus match in Killer Instinct.
You will also be able to see yours and your friends different stats and compare how far you’ve come and what you’ve accomplished. Microsoft’s Live component also gets an upgrade in that your game will be recorded through, what they called, Xbox-DVR, making it possible for you to share your gaming achievements with your friends. They also announced that with a partnership with the game broadcasting site Twitch, can stream your gaming live.
Microsoft are also leaving their virtual currency for real money. So you don’t need to re-fill your points anymore.
Crimson Dragon is a rail shooter where you, mounted on a dragon, fly and shoot different targets and objects. The game was online shown with a trailer, which had the misfortune to get viewed without any sound at the press conference. A release date hasn’t been mentioned yet.
Latest addition to the zombie action game series Dead Rising, who’s landmark features has been packing in a lot of zombies for you to kill with your hand-made weapons. Dead Rising 3, doesn’t seem to differentiate itself too much from the previous two games in the series, with the exception of it now being set outdoors in a city. There are no more load times, you’ll be able to walk, or drive, from one point of the map to the other without any loading time interruptions, which from what I’ve heard is a huge improvement for the series. The demo for the game finished with the player using Smart Glass to call in an airstrike to help him clear a bridge of zombies. It will be available for the Xbox one only this holiday season.
The third and final part in the Witcher story-line was shown with a trailer. This is a huge game with hundred of hours of gameplay value with in a huge open-world game, or so they told us. I’ve never been a fan of the series or tried them out. What I now about them is being a PC-oriented game with advanced graphics. Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is scheduled to come out next year and will have exclusive Smart Glass and Kinect integration only with Xbox one, so in other words also available on PC and maybe Ps4.
Another none exclusive title with history as a PC-only game is Battlefield 4. Stockholm based DICE’s next game will be coming to consoles as well as PC and will have a time exclusive early access map-pack for Xbox one. The speaker also promised 60 frames per second graphics.
The demo they showed of during the Microsoft press conference wasn’t anything exciting, in my opinion (not nearly as exciting as what they showed during, spoilers, ea’s press conference). There where lots of corridor shooting and huge scripted set-pieces, which isn’t what I associate with the Battlefield series.
A trailer for the sequel to the indie mobile/tablet game Superbrothers: Swords and Sworcery was shown.
Another short trailer was shown for an untitled exclusive game from Black Tusk Studios was shown.
Yet another trailer showing of a cloaked figure wandering the desert was shown. Later it was relieved that the mysterious figure where no other than Master Chief the main character from Microsoft’s flagship, the Halo series. The game series is getting a Spielberg produced tv-series in the future though we can relax because the game series won’t stop with the 360 but will carry over to the new console. Enhanced with cloud support and 60 fps the game will get released in 2014.
Now, the thing you’ve been waiting for. Here comes the thing we wanted to hear. $499. €499. £429. This november! If you didn’t watch the press conference then just imagine a silent room filled with people. There were no applause, none. So to elaborate the new Xbox one can be purchased this coming November for $499 in American, €499 in Europe and £429 in Britain (probably 4999 kr in Sweden).
And to close the press conference Microsoft invited Respawn studios to show off their new game Titanfall. Titanfall is a multiplayer-only mecha first-person shooter. You can play either on foot or in a giant mecha-suit. They are to different play-styles being put on top of each others inside a closed arena. When your on foot your character is fast and can jump really long distances, it has a parkour feel. When you’re in a mecha though you are a huge treat to everyone on foot, but you can’t bother too much with them as there are other mechas for you to do battle with. The demo looked really great and it looks like a fun game. It’s coming spring 2014 exclusively to Xbox one.
And so the Microsoft E3 2013 press conference ended.