Monday, 15 June 2015

Microsoft E3

Well Microsoft delivered one of their biggest E3 shows ever. Almost every games was an exclusive, timed exclusive or had exclusive features.

Halo 5
We got to see more of Halo 5's campaign. The level they showed of showed the last covenant base under siege from the arbiters elites. We followed Spartan Locke and his fire team (so much Nathan Fillion goodness here) as they try tracking down Master Chief. The level was certainly cinematic and was very impressive.

We also got a look at a new multiplayer mode "Warzone". This 24 player mode seems to of taken a cue from Titanfall as both Spartan teams arrive in pelicans but the comparison doesn't end there, Warzone maps are the largest MP maps in Halo's history and depending on the level features either covenant or Promethean AI forces. Much like Respawns title the goal here was to merge the  best of story and multiplayer modes.

Abe: I really liked what I saw here.

Next up was an all new Xbox first party game "Recore". developed by Megaman creator Kaji Inafune and Amature studios who are the very same guys who made Metroid Prime. Only the following trailer was shown with zero details given. Recore seems to be about a young girl on a desolate world populated by robots.

Abe: With so little shown its hard to be excited but the talent involved shouldn't be ignored.

360 on Xbox one
Its finally happening. Microsoft will be bring it's 360 game to Xbox One both in digital and disc form. Apparently this will be an emulation (much like the 360's backwards compatibility) and only requires the original developers/publishers to give the ok. Zero work on their part.

This feature will combine the "best of both worlds" you'll be able to play with 360 owners online but also have access to Xbox One features like Twitch, Screenshots and the like. The system is currently live for those in the previews, the rest of us have to wait till "the holidays". It seems MS is banking on this feature as a few upcoming games (Fallout and Rainbow Six) also unlock their 360 games.

Abe: unrelated news I have an 260 up for grabs.

New Pad
This was a surprise. We knew about the "new" pad before E3 but it appears that the headphone jack enabled X1 pad is only a refresh. There is also an new Elite pad. This is intended for serious gaming and eSports. The controller features an concave D-pad, taller sticks, button mapping, togglable hair triggers allowing for faster fire and rear paddles. The analog sticks can even be switched out for smaller units.

Abe: this is a pretty awesome pad but i imagine the cost being kinda high and I cant help but feel this will unbalance the online much like the modded pads on 360.

Fallout 4
This was a surprise, Bethesda already showed half hour of gameplay a few hours ago why was they here on Xbox stage? well turns out they had an exclusive feature for Xbox One and this is a biggie. Mods are coming to Xbox One! The PC mods will be made available for FREE to all Fallout X1 players.

Abe: This is huge! Mods are the one of the big reasons why people choose PC gaming over console and will no doubt help microsoft sell the X1 version of PS4.

EA Access & PVZ GW2
EA access is adding two new games to it's vault Titanfall and Dragon Age Inquisition. EA reconfirmed that every upcoming EA release will launch one week early on EA Access.
EA also announced an brand new Plants VS Zombies game; Garden Warfare 2. EA promises that this will be the most over the top and crazy shooter. EA Access is free for this week.

Forza 6
We didn't get a giant amount of details but we got a trailer and some details like night and rain racing, 24-player car multiplayer and 450 Forzavista cars and will launch September 15th.

There was an awful lot of great indie games shown, far too many to go into detail here. Big news as that xbox is getting it's own version of early access where players can buy still developing games. However unlike Steam's system all xbox early access games must have demos. Elite Dangerous and DayZ are the first games in early access on Xbox. DayZ's creator also teased his new game "a MMO not built on coding or script but physics and biology"

Gears of War
Gears of War Ultimate was announced, similar to Halo Anniversary on 360 this will be just the first title but instead of graphics being updated, they have rebuilt the games engine, Modernizing the gameplay in the process. It also features all the additional content from the PC version and has an all new multiplayer engine. Ultimate will arrive in August and a Beta will be running this week.

Gears 4 was also shown off and instantly caused Gears 1 flashbacks with its light horror angle. Gears 4 has an all new cast and so far the enemies are beastal but they do seem to have some Locus like design elements. Gears 4 will be 2016's christmas title.

Rare's Back
Rare looks like it's getting over its Kinect issue and is back making games, Continuing the theme of old for now, new later. They announced Rare Replay, 30 of Rares games (sorry no Goldeneye 64) from across their 30 years at a budget prices of $30 (we don't have UK pricing but I sense a pattern here), will feature titles from the SNES, N64, Xbox and 360 eras.

Next up might be my favourite (its hard to say, everything was so good) but Rare also debuted a brand new game "Sea of Thieves" A shared world, first person adventure game. A better description would be Pirates Online. Check out the above trailer.

Microsoft announced yet another VR partnership, this time with Valve. We don't know the details like the Oculus deal. They also reconfirmed they are still working with Oculus. MS also showed of Minecraft running on hololens. At first the Hololens player was playing Minecraft through a blocky portal in a wall with their friend also playing via Surface tablet. But then the Holo player stood up and rendered the game world on the table. The table top model continued running in real time as the other player continued playing the traditional game.

The Holo player was able to scroll the "model" around accessing more of the game world, even able to raise it allowing him to peer into the model revealing the inside of the buildings and exposed a cavern underneath. The holo player also has access to the PC commands and was able to strike TNT with lightning to expose the cavern.

Microsoft delivered even more than I've posted here, the Indie games deserve a look in. Phil Spenser stepped on stage and promised Xbox One was getting the best line up of games Xbox had ever seen. It's hard to deny that. The remarkable thing was there was very little multiplatform games with Dark Souls 3 being the only game that didn't have any form of Xbox extra.

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