Gamers were wary of Microsoft’s new console when the Xbox One announcement was filled with talk of TV, sports, and Kinect. Tensions on gaming forums were raised even more when the new console’s draconian DRM policies were confirmed last week. Now, Microsoft is betting that a strong lineup of games will win over those those who are not yet onboard with its vision of next-generation gaming.
Microsoft began its E3 2013 conference by showing off a new CG trailer for Metal Gear Solid 5, featuring glimpses of the characters that will be seen in the game. Though not an Xbox One exclusive, it set the tone for a conference filled with games that Microsoft believes will excite core gamers.
The future of the current generation of Xbox was front-loaded to get it out of the way. The Xbox 360 has been redesigned to look similar to the Xbox One. The new Xbox 360 is available starting today. Xbox LIVE Gold members will also be receiving two free game downloads per month from July until December, as long as they don’t unsubscribe. The choice of free games will include Assassin’s Creed II and Halo 3.
A few upcoming Xbox 360 titles were then announced, including World of Tanks, a free-to-play tank battle game, and Max: The Curse of Brotherhood a platformer with a cartoonish art style. Other titles include Dark Souls II and Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII.
Phil Spencer then took the stage to kick off the Xbox One announcements.
The first title previewed was Crytek’s Ryse: Son of Rome, a historical action game set in Roman times. The preview featured a massive battle in which the player commands his own troops while hacking away at enemies. The game will be “exclusive” to Xbox One at launch, but the phrasing of the announcement implied the title might only be a timed exclusive for the console.
Next up was the much-rumored reboot of Rare’s Killer Instinct, though just a short preview was shown.
Sunset Overdrive was announced next. Made by Insomniac, the game is a “sylized, open-world shooter” in which game conditions can supposedly change constantly. The preview made the game appear to be a zombie shooter that features different, quirky characters.
The obligatory next-generation racing title was announced in the form of Forza 5. A gameplay demo was shown for the title, and the concept of a “drivatar” was emphasized. A “drivatar” can be trained and continue to race while the console is sleeping, earning rewards for gamers.
A new version of Minecraft, which became a mega-hit on the Xbox LIVE Arcade last year was shown next for the Xbox One.
Remedy studios then expanded upon the Quantum Break reveal that came at the Xbox One reveal two weeks ago. The game will be an Xbox One exclusive, and a new preview of the game shows that time in the game will be odd, as a science experiment has caused some objects to be frozen in time.
A cell-shaded game called D4 was up next, though not much was revealed about it.
Project Spark was previewed next, a game-creation tool/game. Project spark was demonstrated using smartglass, with a tablet interface and Kinect being used to create simple level designs. Characters and enemies were then populated into the game world, showing how Project Spark can be used to create personalized game experiences.
The new details about Xbox One’s connectivity were previewed next. Smartglass featured heavily, with tablet apps able to access game data from Xbox LIVE, including recordings, friend lists, and achievements. Ryse was demoed, showing how the Xbox one will be able to play one game while still matchmaking for another game.
A Killer Instinct match that was recorded automatically by the console was uploaded using the “upload studio.” Another was then streamed via Twitch, a feature that has been built into the Xbox One.
A few more details about Xbox LIVE were revealed before the final few game previews. Microsoft Points will be eliminated, and purchases will now be priced in local currencies. “Xbox LIVE Gold sharing” will allow family members to play online, even when the main Gold account holder is not logged on.
Crimson Dragon, a game from the creators of Panzer Dragoon series was previewed next, though the audio for the trailer was strangely absent.
Dead Rising 3 was announced to decent applause, and a preview for the game shows that it will be larger and more open-world than previous Dead Rising titles. Also, the game seems to be a bit more serious than other Dead Rising incarnations, with hundreds of zombies appearing on-screen thanks to the next-gen hardware.
The Witcher 3, which was already known to be a next-generation title for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, was previewed next. The Xbox One version of the game will take advantage of the Kinect and smartglass to help with spell casting and inventory management.
DICE was up next to preview Battlefield 4, with a gamplay demo running at 60 fps. After a few technical audio difficulties were ironed out during an awkward pause, some single player campaign footage showed that DICE is still chasing after the gameplay of the Call of Duty titles. The set pieces and shooting were familiar, though the graphics were noticeably fantastic. The Xbox One will be getting timed exclusive DLC content for Battlefield 4.
Below, a game from the creators of Sword & Sorcery, debuted near the end of the conference. It appears to be a moody dungeon crawler.
A game from Black Tusk was announced as an Xbox One exclusive, though it was made clear that the game will not be released during the new console’s launch window.
Of course, a Microsoft E3 conference wouldn’t be complete without a bit of Halo. A CG trailer featuring Master Chief served as an announcement of a new Halo game for Xbox One. The title Halo 5 was conspicuously absent from the announcement.
Pricing and release information was, thankfully announced during Microsoft’s conference. The Xbox One will be available in November for $499/€499/£429.
The conference ended with Respawn Entertainment’s Titanfall, the next-gen shooter title that leaked last week. The game features superhuman combatants that can battle with giant mechs called Titans.