Microsoft made bold claims about how many games they were going to show off during their conference; they weren’t kidding. A large quantity of games were shown, although very few were actually played, for it was primarily one trailer after another (although only a couple of CG). In addition were some pretty big announcements that might just convince many people to give the Xbox One a go, eventually.
Here is what went down: *Any dates given are for the US, EU releases may vary*
Halo 5: Guardians
It’s not too surprising that Microsoft started its show with Halo. Although the Chief was not the focus, instead it was on the squad trying to hunt him down, for he has gone AWOL. We got a good look at returning Nathan Fillion as Buck who is one of the soldiers going after the Chief. We were shown live gameplay footage of 4 player co-op, which will be drop in/drop out. Unfortunately what was shown didn’t look very interesting and I wouldn’t be surprised if the section shown is not in the final game. We do know that the Arbiter is also returning, as are the Promethians from Halo 4. It is set to launch the 27th of October 2015.
A new game by Keiji Inafune (Mega Man, Dead Rising, Lost Planet) and some of the developers involved in the Metroid Prime Trilogy. The trailer showed a girl wandering through a desert with her robot dog and is then attacked by other robots before the dog sacrifices itself to save her. She then puts the orb it leaves into another robot that happens to be there. The trailer gives very little away, and as it is a CG trailer I’m hesitant to pay it more attention until more concrete information is released. It is slated for 2016 and is also being developed by Microsoft Studios.
This is possibly the biggest announcement of the conference. The Xbox One will soon be able to play Xbox 360 games! That includes games you purchased through the Xbox store and games you own on disc, and it is free to be able to play your old games (although why wouldn’t it?) in addition online games from the 360 will still be supported. This will start around Christmas this year. The caveat being though that only 100 games will be supported at first.
Microsoft also revealed a new controller to complement the existing Xbox One controller. This new elite controller features various configurable components allowing the user to modify it to their preference. It won’t be for everyone, but it will also sought after by “pro’s” and perhaps those who physically struggle with the current layout, which could be a great bonus.
Peter Moore came on stage and made a few announcements. Most were related to EA Access, its subscription service that provides quicker access to its games as well as discounts. He announced that Titanfall and Dragon Age Inquisition will be coming to the vault (where the free games are) and the vault will also be open to all Xbox Live Gold members for this week.
He also revealed Plants Vs Zombies Garden Warfare 2 which we knew about but now we have a trailer and know it will be coming next spring.
Do you like cars? Well Microsoft lowered in the new Ford GT and had Henry Ford the third (who is a person not a car) on stage as well. Also the game comes out on the 15th of September.
Dark Souls 3
Another game we knew was coming and Microsoft were able to beat Sony to showing the first trailer. No mention of any exclusives, just that it is coming early 2016.
Tom Clancy’s The Division had a new trailer which actually showed off very little that was new, aside from a new corny subtitle “When society falls, we rise”. They also highlighted that both Rainbow Six Vegas games will be playable again due to the backwards compatibility, but added that both will come free with Rainbow Six Siege.
This new game that is exclusive to WIndows 10 and Xbox One is remarkably colourful, and looks like it is a moba. We know that it is a free to play game and there is a beta in August.
Microsoft again highlighted their indie credentials, and this year it is strong. There are too many to cover them all but the highlights are:
Tacoma, which is from the creators of Gone Home. Here you are exploring an abandoned Moon base trying to discover the truth of everyone’s disappearance. Will be first to Xbox One and WIndows 10.
Beyond Eyes is a game where you play as a blind girl who is exploring the world around her. First on Xbox One and Windows 10.
Cuphead. This is the game that looks like a 1930s cartoon that you might have seen screenshots of before. It somehow looks even better, it is exclusive to Xbox One, but seems to be multi platform as far as home computers are concerned.
Xbox Game Preview
Aka Early Access. In fact the person on stage even made that comparison. The difference is that people will be able to try out these games first for free before they decide to pay anything. There are only a few titles that will be available through this service and a couple that will be available include Day Z and Elite Dangerous.
Rise of Tomb Raider
What was shown off didn’t really do it any favours, as it has the same tumbling and environmental harmful aspects that the previous Tomb Raider game had; except this time with more snow. It will be released Christmas this year, although no firm date. Also it is being called an exclusive, not a timed exclusive?
Were you expecting a new Battletoads or Banjo game? Well you’re out of luck as Rare have packaged up 30 of their previous games (that aren’t owned by Nintendo or other license holders) into one collection. 30 games for $30 (likely £30 and €30 because America doesn’t know how exchange rates work).
Sea of Thieves
Rare did have a brand new game to reveal which is a pirate game. Picture an even more colourful Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag with less stabbing and you get the idea.
No new information aside from confirming that your data for the game will be present when played on both Xbox One and Windows 10.
Last week Oculus announced a partnership with Microsoft in that all Rift headsets would come with a Xbox One controller and that the Rift could be used with Xbox One. Today they confirmed that you would need a Windows 10 PC to support this feature.
Microsoft also announced a partnership with Valve and their VR, but this was in relation to Windows 10.
Hololens and Minecraft
Microsoft followed talk on VR to its own headset which they called mixed reality. They proceeded to showing off Minecraft in combination with the Hololens which was very impressive and will likely be one of the lasting reveals from the show.
Gears 4 and Gears of War Ultimate Edition
Yes Gears 4. Not Gears of War 4 or thankfully some almogomation such as Ge4rs of War. They showed off gameplay with two new characters as well as new enemy types that made it seem more like other action horror games. It’s not scheduled to be released until around Christmas 2016 so will likely be quite different by then.
They also confirmed the remaster collection of the previous games that were available on the 360 (even though you’ll be able to play them on the Xbox One eventually) these will be 1080p and 60fps.
Were you wondering about Creackdown, Scalebound, Quantum Break etc? Well Microsoft will be talking about those at Gamescom later in the year.
Also I must give Microsoft credit for the gender diversity present on the stage and in the games themselves.