E3 2016 Conference: Microsoft
Xbox One has come a long way since it’s announcement and release almost three years ago, and the 2016 E3 press conference asserted that fact. It has become more and more apparent that Xbox has truly become more about the player and experiences that Microsoft and Xbox can provide.
Xbox One S
Straight out of the gates, the new slim version of Xbox One, the Xbox One S was announced. It features a sleeker, slimmer design, up to 2TB of storage,an internal power supply as well as 4K Blu-Ray video output. It will also feature a new and improved controller. The console will launch in August for $299.
Xbox Play Anywhere
Another huge announcement for Xbox was the ability to own and play a game on both Xbox One and Windows 10, without dolling out extra money. If you buy the game on Xbox One, it will be playable on your Windows 10 PC and vice versa. Xbox Play Anywhere will also feature cross-play gaming, and the highly anticipated upcoming Microsoft exclusive Gears of War 4 was used as an example. You will be able to play, co-op, multiplayer as well as Horde Mode in cross-play between Xbox One and Windows 10.
Gears of War 4
A gameplay demo of Gears of War 4 was showcased, which featured voice actress, Laura Baily as one of the players of the the demo. The gameplay featured some interesting co-op mechanics, but overall it was what you would expect from a Gears of War game. Action, lots and lots of action.
A new sleek-looking Gears of War 4 Elite controller was also unveiled.
The fighting game has been very popular on Xbox One, with more popular characters such as Rash from Battletoads and Arbiter from Halo being introduced. The developers of Killer Instinct announced that another popular character will be added to the lineup in the form of General Raam, of the Gears of War franchise.
Forza Horizon 3
We all knew that a new Forza Horizon was coming, and boy did the folks over at Playground games deliver. The game will feature different race types and cars ranging from Supercars to dunebuggies. Forza Horizon 3 will be set in Australia, and will feature drop in and play mechanics that are all available at a press of a button. You will be able to enjoy the campaign mode with up to four friends, and the game will have a dynamic weather and day/night cycle, which is shared among your friends. The game will launch on 27 September 2016.
We finally got a bit more info on ReCore, which was announced at E3 last year, although info is still a bit sparse at the time of writing. A gameplay trailer was shown, with some elements such as third-person shooting and platforming, which seems to be a big part of the game along with some puzzle solving. Hopefully we can get some more info during the rest of E3.
Final Fantasy XV
Next up was a stage demo of a boss fight in Final Fantasy XV, which is the first proper of the game. It features an epic battle with a massive titan. It was a little bit confusing, and following what was going on was a little bit difficult, but man was it is an epic-looking fight. Final Fantasy XV is slated for a 30 September 2016 release.
The Division: Underground
Ubisoft managed to give us a bit of a look of new upcoming Expansion DLC for the popular online RPG in the form of a new trailer. Not a lot of information was giving, and we can assume we will find out more at the Ubisoft conference a bit later.
We didn’t receive much more info on Battlefield 1, but it was showcased again. It was stated by Dice that the idea was to create unique and memorable experiences that takes place at the dawn of all out war, during World War I. The game will feature dynamic weather and an ever changing world, which means no two experiences will be the same, whether it’s an epic 64 player match, or a dramatic single player experience.
The same trailer as what was shown at the E3 conference was showcased, which can be viewed over here.
New features on Xbox Live
One of the biggest announcements of the evening was some added features of Xbox Live, such as background music, a new language system that is not region specific as well as Cortana intelligence. Microsoft also announced that of the most requested features will become available on Xbox Live, including Clubs on Xbox Live, Looking for Groups on Xbox Live and Arena on Xbox Live.
Clubs will feature community based groups that share certain interests, while Looking for Groups will connect people playing similar games with each other. Arena will be the easiest way to find and compete against others in the same game, and games such as EA’s Fifa will become available to Arena in the near future.
The developers of Minecraft announced it’s new “Friendly Update” which features gameplay being shared among your friends on multiple platforms, including iOS, Androis, Xbox and Windows 10. We also so Minecraft being supported and played by John Carmack on the the Oculus Rift
Xbox Design Lab: Wireless Controller
A new type of controller was announced at E3, one where you the player can effectively design your own controller the way you want it. It features over 8 million unique combinations. It’s not currently available locally, but hopefully more information will be made available as the week progresses.
From the creators of Limbo, comes a new, interesting looking game called Inside. There was really no other info provided, except for it releasing towards the end of the month (29 June), and that Limbo will, as of now, be made available for free to all Xbox One owners.
Indie Gaming on Xbox with ID@Xbox
Indie gaming has come a long way, with some of the best games being released each year being smaller, more personal type of games. Microsoft continues to show its support for these wonderful indie developers and their games.
We Happy Few
We got a good look at the wonderfully disturbing game called We Happy Few. The game looks to be a psychological thriller, and in my opinion the one game I am probably the most excited about after the show. It looks to be very different from what we’ve experience up until now, and the wait to play the game is also not very long, since it releases on 29 June.
The Witcher 3 released to universal acclaim last year, and with it game the in-game card game called Gwent. Since then fans have been begging CD Projekt Red to release a stand alone version of the game. Well, since they’re not the type of guys to disappoint, CD Projekt Red announced the stand alone version of the card game with a trailer that showcases some of the features of the game.
It was announced that Tekken 7 will be coming to PC and Xbox One in early 2017, and it will feature an all new story mode. It was also announced that Tekken Tag Tournament 2 will be available to Xbox Gold members for the remainder of the week, for free.
Dead Rising 4
The open world zombie slaying simulator was announced at E3 this year, with Dead Rising being confirmed for both Xbox One and Windows 10. The trailer’s got a bit of a Christmas theme to it and it will appropriately be released for the holiday season of 2016, which is later this year.
Next up, we got a bit of gameplay in the form of a stage demo of Scalebound. The stage demo showcased one of the biggest bossfights Platinum Games have ever created. The gameplay seems a little bit underwhelming and the trailer is a bit of a mess, that features a very strange soundtrack choice. It is something that stage demos featuring bosses can suffer from a bit since we don’t really have a lot of context. It does look cool, but more information will be needed before we can start making conclusion on this one.
Sea of Thieves
One of the highlights of the show was definitely Sea of Thieves, and we got a wonderful gamplay trailer that featured people that never played the game before. The trailer showed some of the different things that can be done in the open world game including island exploration, drinking and getting drunk, sailing and some pretty awesome looking naval combat.
State of Decay 2
The open world multiplayer zombie survival game series returns with State of Decay 2. A reveal trailer was showcased. It will once again take place in Trumball Valley, but not much more regarding the game has been revealed yet.
Halo Wars 2
Microsoft announced that Halo Wars 2 will be releasing for both Xbox One and Windows 10, and that it will be playable at E3 all week long. They also announced that a Beta will be available for the duration of E3. Halo Wars 2 has been delayed and will be released on 21 February 2017.
Phil Spencer closed out the evening with the biggest announcement of the evening. Project Scorpio, which is essentially a next generation console. According the Spencer, the new Xbox will be the most powerful console ever built, and will feature true 4K gaming at the highest frame rate possible, especially if VR gameplay comes into play, and will host a performance of six teraflops. It’s going to be rather powerful. It will be available at the end of next year, and it was stated that the current Xbox One, and Xbox One S will not be left behind. Spenser mentioned that all accessories will be compatible with all consoles.
That concluded the show, and it was overall a very good offering from Microsoft. There’s plenty to look forward to, and more details regarding the Xbox One S as well as Project Scorpio will probably be made available as the week at E3 goes by.