Microsoft entered the fray with an early morning start to the major conference day of E3 2015. As everyone trudged into the venue and took our seats we realised that this day was going to be big. Let’s see what Microsoft and Xbox have brought to the table this year.
HALO 5: GUARDIANS
RELEASE DATE: 27 October 2015
PLATFORM: Xbox One
Peace is shattered when colony worlds are unexpectedly attacked. But when humanity’s greatest hero goes missing, a new Spartan is tasked with hunting the Master Chief and solving a mystery that threatens the entire galaxy.
Leading with your most anticipated title is a surefire way to get people engaged from the start and Xbox did just that with Halo 5: Guardians. In addition to the above warzone trailer there was also an extended campaign demo that was shown during the conference. The campaign demo depicted the latest group of rag tag Spartan IV’s as well as Agent Locke exploring the level and fighting an increasing number of opposing forces. It seems like Agent Locke will be teaming up to fight against a variety of Promethean and Covenant enemies on his quest to hunt down the Master Chief.
A variety of weapons were used throughout the demo including the upgraded battle rifle and shotgun to weapons like the plasma cannon with its charge up and detonation ability. It will be interesting to see how Agent Locke fits into the Halo series and if it could possibly have an effect on future titles.
RELEASE DATE: Spring 2016 (Australian Fall 2016)
PLATFORM: Xbox One
How else to follow up after Halo 5 then to announce an exclusive new IP in ReCore. With names behind such as the former Mega Man producer Keiji Inafune and ex-Metroid Prime developers from Armature Studio, Recore was set to interest people right from the get go. The trailer depicts a desert-like environment and follows a female protagonist and a series of robotic buddies which all seem be powered by a crystal core of some kind. Unfortunately there isn’t much to be found on ReCore at the moment but it’s definitely a nice change in pace for Microsoft.
ALL THE TECH UPGRADES
Whether it be hardware or software, Microsoft seem to want to upgrade things as much as possible and this year is no different.
Xbox Elite Controller: Trailer
RELEASE DATE: October 2015
With extra adjustable features this looks like a great addition to the existing Xbox One peripherals. The ability to customise your controller is something that allows players to get the feel that is just right them or just right for the particular game they are playing. The controller looks to have swappable joysticks, optional hair triggers, an altered D-Pad, a 3.5mm jack for your audio needs and flappy paddles at the back where you can either rebind other keys.
Hololens: E3 Conference Demo
RELEASE DATE: TBA
With a live demo of Hololens there wasn’t a better pick for a game to demo than Minecraft. Allowing players to have an overview of their own world while still being interactive is something that is completely unknown to previous iterations of the game. The Hololens will picked up hand gestures, voice commands and localised positioning to make the best experience possible. I am going to wonder how other games can implement the same features into them.
Backwards Compatibility: Anouncement
RELEASE DATE: Now for Xbox Preview members. Full release is scheduled for fall 2015 (Australian Spring).
One of the best things to come out of the Microsoft conference was the announcement of the backwards compatibility feature for Xbox One. Now you will be able to either stream or play your old Xbox 360 games on your Xbox One and relive all the old memories you had with those games. After inserting an Xbox 360 disc into your Xbox One console will register and activate the compatibility process. The full list of available games can be found HERE
RELEASE DATE: September 15th, 2015
PLATFORM: Xbox One
Shifting into center stage was Forza 6 and they introduced the game by lowering a GT40 into the middle of the conference floor. I think that as entrances go that was a pretty good one. Racing games always seem to push the graphical boundaries when it comes to consoles and Forza 6 is no different. You will be able to compete in 24-player races across 26 world-famous landmarks. It should be interesting to see how it compares to Forza Horizon 2.
There was a decent chunk of the Xbox conference dedicated to the ID@Xbox program and there are some really cool things that will be coming in the not to distant future. The main games features during this segment were Cuphead, Beyond Eyes, Ashen and Tacoma which all featured different art styles and unique features that maybe them stand by themselves against the AAA games.
Along with this Xbox have announced that they are introducing an early access system for indie titles that will allow players to buy into the game before release (Similar to Steam early access). The difference here though is you don’t have to outlay money straight away. It looks to be working on a trial period and if you like the game you can purchase it later.
RISE OF THE TOMB RAIDER
RELEASE DATE: November 10, 2015
PLATFORM: Xbox One, Xbox 360
Lara Croft’s experience of the supernatural on Yamatai has been covered up by the organization Trinity. In order to prove she is not insane Lara becomes obsessed with finding the truth behind myths around the world
Riding on the success of the previous reboot, Lara Croft is back and is ready to kick some tail. Now scaling mountains of crumbling ice she must combat the harsh conditions and prevail against all odds. Unfortunately it looks like the date that they have chosen for release is going to be conflicting with Fallout 4 so it will be interesting to see what happens on the games release.
DARK SOULS 3
RELEASE DATE: EARLY 2016
PLATFORM: Xbox One, PlayStation 4. (PC not confirmed)
Known for delivering a high level of unrelenting challenge to gamers, the next chapter of the Dark Souls saga returns with Dark Souls III. Developer FromSoftware returns to create a new blighted world for players to explore. The embers of a once proud kingdom set the stage for this new adventure.
Said to be the last in the series, Dark Souls 3 is making its way onto consoles in early 2016. Without a confirmed release date and a teaser trailer without gameplay it’s had to charge but they have gotten every other Dark Souls game right so I don’t see why this one would be any different. More information should come this week.
Sea of Thieves (Teaser)
RELEASE DATE: End of 2016
PLATFORM: Xbox One and PC
The freedom of pirate life awaits in Rare’s next adventurous voyage!
Rare Replay Collection
RELEASE DATE: August 4 2015
PLATFORM: Xbox One
Celebrate Rare’s 30th Anniversary with a jaw-dropping collection of 30 iconic games, lovingly presented for Xbox One.
With games like Perfect Dark, Conker’s Bad Fur Day and Banjo Kazooie I don’t think there’s a better pack to buy.
GEARS OF WAR 4
RELEASE DATE: Holiday 2016
PLATFORM: Xbox One
We’re finally getting our first look at Gears 4 one the Xbox One. Marcus is no where to be seen and the two new characters seem to be a little slower paced but just as gruff. With thin, dark corridor sections it could lead to some pretty intense situations. There also seems to be a new set of monsters to fight but with the same awesome guns. You can’t really beat a machine gun with a chainsaw on the front.
I would have thought that more time would have been spent on the Halo series with it being their biggest franchise but they seemed to move on to other things fairly quickly. With the release date coming up in under 6 months it seems that 343 Industries are keeping a lot of things close to their chest. I guess with the amount of leaks that occurred before E3 maybe it was a smart move to keep things under wraps?
The backwards compatibility feature is great for some but it seems a little too late for me to be able to use it. It will be cool if I can add 360 games to my library and pay for each separately but we will have to wait to see what kinds of games will be updated in the available list.
I think that Microsoft has done a great job with this conference. They stuck to actual gameplay being shown and kept things flowing nicely between different genres and features. Everything hardware related seemed to be well received and it will be great to see how things like Hololens will be implemented into various games and possibly Windows 10 once it officially drops in July.
For all the trailers linked here and more, check out the Xbox Youtube channel.
To watch the Xbox conference in full you can view it HERE.