Microsoft’s E3 2014 Press Conference – Overview

Good ole’ MS had a lot to prove at E3 this year, particularly after how their TV, TV, TV, sport and TV conference went down last year. Phil Spencer took to the stage to discuss the benefits of the next-generation of console and how ‘you are shaping the future of Xbox and we are better for it’.

He noted that this entire briefing would be dedicated to games (unsurprisingly that garnered the biggest cheer from the audience), talking about historic franchises and new IP.

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare opened the show and Microsoft were quick to note that Xbox users will be the first to exchange their pocket money for downloadable content. It all starts innocuously enough, as innocuous as being dropped into a warzone can be.

The drop ship is taking a hammering, the high production values are on show and the game is being ‘played’ on stage. You get a look at an augmented soldier, alongside Mitchell (the MC) using jump jets to secure position over the enemies.

They use this gameplay opportunity to show off switching grenades, with one a more tactical option, highlighting the enemy’s positions behind cover to a flying drone that seeks out enemies. The trailer draws to a close with a comrade’s hand getting caught in a jet, you try to clasp the door open but he throws you from the carrier as the ship takes to the sky and explodes in a fireworks display of scrap metal.

As you’re dragged from safety, you can see Mitchell’s arm lying in the road, covered in blood (implying all sorts of Star Wars-esque augmented robo-arm opportunities).

Forza 5

Dan Greenawalt from Turn 10 was up on stage next, bigging up the success of the Forza Franchise. ‘1 million a week are playing Forza’ (granted we’re not told how many of those are still playing Forza 4, but he does note that those of you whom have upgraded to Forza 5 will have access to the nὓrburgring for free from today.

Forza 2 Horizon

For those looking for something new, Dan then announces Forza 2 Horizon which will premiere the Lamborghini Hurricane alongside dynamic weather, a fill day to night cycle and 1080’s worth of P-ness (since we care about numbers).

Drivatars are already playing in Forza Horizon 2 (lucky bastards) and you can create a club of up to 1000 members. Get ready for the roadtrip of your life when Forza Horizon two launches on September 30th.

This is proceeded by a trailer that features a staggering amount of drifting (you know, for a Forza game) alongside lots of shots of spinning rims and opening doors.

Evolve

Turtle Rock Studios got their spot in the limelight next, partially so that the Beta and DLC could be touted as a first for Xbox One, before showing off gameplay.

Imagine Left for Dead against Cthulhu, since that’s what’d unfolding in the trailer. 4 classes are on display – Assault, Trapper, Medix or Support (who looks suspiciously like Blitzcrank) – or play as the beast himself.

Assassin’s Creed Unity

Vincent Pontbriand is on stage next, showing off the latest in the Assassin’s Creed franchise. Set in 18th century Paris, players will form a brotherhood in the heart of the French Revolution and the key thing is that this brotherhood will be made of your friends.

That’s right for the first time you’ll be able to play with 3 friends in the Ass Creed universe. The trailer itself showing off the parkour, stealth kills and map traversal we’ve come to expect from the franchise, you know until another player shows up.

These players navigate a large crowd, killing the guards and inciting a riot. As they make their way into the mansion of the target, we get a look at a cover system (complete with stealth kills) and the ability to use the flamboyant actions of your friends as a mean to distract guards.

The screen later splits into 4, before showing the team leap into the room assassinating the guards and leaving the Marquis to the (not-so) mercy of the mob outside.

#MyFavouriteGame – My First Game

Short interjection where numerous developers mention their first games.

Dragon Age Inquisition

Bioware we’re showcasing Dragon Age Inquisition on stage next, highlighting the thematically dark themes and practising some intense combat.

We got a look at Archers, Mages and Warriors, each utilizing various skills to clear the enemies in their path. Some of which were dragons, there were lots of dragons. Combat itself features a lot of manoeuvrability, with characters flipping, somersaulting and dodging the attacks of the enemy.

Dragon Age Inquisition is set for release on October 7th.

Sunset Overdrive

Insomniac took this opportunity to show off quirky 3rd person shooter, Sunset Overdrive, an Xbox One exclusive set for release on October 28th.

It started with a CG trailer, showcasing the games unique sense of humour and setting the scene (a contaminated energy drink has turned people into mutants) and asking players whether they can save Sunset City – the answer being ‘of course you can’ it’s a video game.

Ted Price from Insomniac took to the stage here, mentioning that heroes are customizable and they’ll have access to unconventional weapons and special abilities (as we’ve come to expect from the makers of Ratchet and Clank).

We got a look at gameplay here, with tons of over the top explosions as the character battled his way across the amusement park. Destroying the environment and slaughtering enemies in what Matt described as an ‘orange juice survival game’ – and that folks, is box art quote if we’ve ever heard it.

 

Subset overdrive is not just about the campaign, 8 players can choice together as part of a ‘chaos squad’ earning loot in-game.

Super Ultra Dead Rising 3 Arcade Hyper Edition Something Something

Capcom are celebrating their 31st anniversary in style bringing old heroes into the world of Dead Space 3 in a 4 player co-op experience that’s available now and features the ability to cast a Hadouken.

Dance Central Spotlight + Disney Fantasia Music Evolved

Fans have been dancing along to over 220 million songs (good on you guys). They’ll also be a new digital only title (cause that’s how you can tell it’s a serious brand) coming this fall which will put new tracks into the spotlight faster than ever before. This is Dance Central Spotlight – jazz hands.

However that’s not all they had to show since Disney Fantasia Music Evolved is set to launch on Xbox 360 and Xbox One this October – and other than the pack shot of the logo, that’s pretty much all they were willing to tell us about.

Fable Legends

David Eckelberry from Lionhead was up next to talk about a new kind of role playing experience, based around a 5 player asymmetrical experience with the beta launching this holiday.

4 players are able to venture on quests, combining their unique skills to fell foes and progress through dungeons. However one player takes on the role of the villain, controlling to world from above, placing minions and traps to thwart the plans of these adventurers.

The story is defined by who’s stronger, the team work of these 4 heroes or the skill and cunning of the villain. You can sign up for the multiplayer beta at the Fable Legends website.

#MyFavouriteGame – Hybrid Game

Another short interjection where various developers discussed possible hybrid combinations.

Project Spark

Exclusive to Xbox and PC (don’t we love using the word exclusive for a game coming out on multiple platforms) Project Spark got introduced with a CG trailer that highlighted the games quirky nature and focus on user generated content.

It drew to a close with Conker making an appearance to tear through the sign before declaring that he’d have to create his own game (DLC, perhaps?).

Ori And The Blind Forest

Next up was a 2D platformer from the folks at Moon Studios, similar to Rayman legends but with a unique art style and some very nice music.

Halo 2 Remake

Speaking of nice music, some of Marty’s classic work was being showcased next. Alongside the iconic visuals of the MC himself dragging a bomb toward a covenant ship.

That’s right ladies and gentlemen, we’re talking Halo-fucking-2 here and if it wasn’t for the fact that the Chief’s exploits weren’t being watched by Isaac Clarke (not confirmed, but definitely a possibility), I’d have settled for Halo 2 and left it at that.

Halo 5 Guardians

Bonnie Ross from 343 took to the stage to shed a little light on the matter, noting that at the end of Halo 4 *spoilers* Chief had lost the person in the world who’d meant the most to him. He was questioning his goal, his purpose and was searching for the truth.

However he wasn’t the only one, there’s someone out there looking for him.

Halo The Master Chief Collection

But until then, on November 11th gamers can experience the entire Master Chief saga on Xbox One, that’s:

  • Halo: Combat Evolved
  • Halo 2
  • Halo 3
  • Halo 4

All through a unified interface and the ability to create custom playlists and combine these together. November will also be the 10 year anniversary of Halo 2 and for that reason the game will be getting the full anniversary treatment – updated visuals and the ability to switch between these at the click of a button.

There’s over 100 multiplayer maps, every map ever released on Halo’s 1 through 4 running on their original engines at 1080P alongside a staggering 4000 gamerscore up for grabs.

Included with this is Halo Nightfall, a cinematic experience that serves as a prelude to Halo 5 Guardians that’s directed by Ridley Scott.

The multiplayer beta for Halo 5 Guardians will start in December and will be available to those who’ve purchased the Master Chief collection.

Inside

We got a look at indie next (since no AAA developer wanted to follow Halo) and what we got was Inside, a 2D platformer with a similar aesthetic to Limbo, set in a dystopian world.

It’s set for release in 2014 and led into ID@Xbox’s indie showcase.

Indie Showcase

Part of the goal for ID@Xbox was to promote the indie scene, to do this they’re offering free dev kits, free middleware options and giving indie developers the power to self-publish on Xbox One.

We then got a look at White Night, Earthlock, Cuphead, Hyperlught Draft, Lifeless Planet, Slash Dash, Fru, Lovers In A Dangerous Space Time (takes a deep breath) Comcept, Grave, Threes, Fenix Rage, Woolge, IDAR8, Hellraid and Below respectively.

#MyFavouriteGame – My Favourite Game

Finally actually talking about their favourite game, but the quote of the century goes to the guy who noted that ‘I’ve been dunking for 15 years’, that’s dedication.

Rise of the Tomb Raider

We got a premiere look at the new Tomb Raider title next, unfortunately just CG but it looks like Lara is undergoing extensive analysis in the wake of her ordeal. Visiting a psychiatrist and talking through her problems, which could have happened though the truth of the matter is etched into her words.

‘We become who we’re meant to be’

Witcher 3 Wild Hunt

John Mamais from CD Projekt Red took this opportunity to showcase some gameplay footage from 10 hours into Witcher 3 Wild Hunt, tracking a griffin.

During this sequence Geralt tracks the blood left behind, before encountering and dispatching a group of bandits. He uses his sword to deflect arrows, brutally dissect enemies all before making the plays that will see him escorting a woman to safety – after completing his mission.

Geralt can leap across gaps, pulling himself up onto cliffs and engaging enemies in brutal combat. Part-way through his encounter with the Griffon, Geralt loses his sword before with-drawing a runic embellished blade.

Phantom Dust (Whatever That Is)

Ken Lobb is on stage next, tells us that he loves E3 and that he’s spend 12 years at Xbox. That has also loves the idea of rebooting old games, that he enjoyed his work on killer instinct.

After that he announces, Phantom Dust – a CG trailer that unfolds with two superpowerly afflicted characters engaging one another in battle.

‘The Battle For Reality Begins’

#MyFavouriteGame – Hours Played

Lots of developers comparing the amount of time they’ve spend on games, a lot of comparisons and competitive edges on display.

Tom Clancy’s The Division

Ryan Barnard is on stage to tell us a little more about the story behind the Division – paralysed by the release of a virus on Black Friday – whilst the bar at the bottom proudly proclaims that once again Xbox users can be the first to spend on DLC.

We get a look at gameplay showing off players making their way through the subway system, with a virtual HUD system presenting data in a unique fashion. After making their way into the streets they encounter a number of hostile factions and alter their skills on the fly to deal with them, this erupts into open gunfire using various tech and skills to defeat their foes.

As they arrive at the base of operations – midtown south – one player declares ‘good game guys’ as we’re informed that The Division is set for release in 2015.

Scalebound

Hideki Kamiya from Platinum Games is on stage next, talking about a new exclusive set for launch on Xbox One. What follows is wonderful CG trailer that blends Nu-Dante (circle Nu-Devil May Cry) with Monster Hunter.

Our protagonist is running from numerous monsters whilst carrying a large sword on his back, then there’s lots of dragons and a monster fight. After this it becomes blatantly apparent that he’s got a weird arm (kind of like Nero from not-so-nu-Devil May Cry 4). This allows him to transform into armoured scales as a hydra appears in to distance.

We also see the title once, before watching the hero ride into battle on the back of a dragon, before showing us the title again (good thing too, I’d kind of forgotten).

Crackdown

David Jones is up on stage and throwing numerous buzz words at us, ‘reimaging open world gaming’, ‘whole new campaign and multiplayer experience’ and to note that it’s coming exclusively to Xbox One.

Pacific city is back in a beautiful CG video that features the various skills we’ve come to expect from the franchise in a high adrenaline extravaganza that ends with a character driving a van up a falling building, only to have the fuel tank shot by a sniper and for the entire building to be catapulted into another building thus killing the target – simple right.

There’s no number on the end of this one, meaning we’re talking reboot ladies and gentlemen.

Montage

Phil Spencer drew the conference to a close with some bold statements (as we’ve come to expect) and a montage of pretty much everything we’ve seen before (though they did slip a Gears of War logo in there).

Stay tuned to the website, Facebook and twitter for more of our coverage from this year’s E3 and tell us what you’re most excited for in the comment sections below.

Written by: Cryss

Avid video gamer, freelance journalist, community manager and aspiring editor.

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