The Average Gamer

E3 2013 – Microsoft Press Conference Summary

Halo - Xbox OneIn the eerie green glow of the Xbox logo, Microsoft’s press conference revealed their plans for the future. Xbox One will launch on 21st November 2013 for £429 in the UK, €499 in Europe.

Kojima productions opened the conference with scenes from a beautiful pre-rendered trailer from MGS V, The Phantom Pain. showcasing the open world, we saw Snake hiding from travellers by hanging off the side of his horse, crouching behind chest-high walls and flinging himself into the dirt. He sounds and acts a lot like Jack Bauer. Hideo Kojima popped out on stage for 10 seconds to tell us that MGS V will have smartglass features.

Xbox 360:
Yusuf announced a new model for the Xbox 360 with a rectangular design to fit the aesthetic of the Xbox One.

Xbox Gold will get a new programme from July 1st 2013 will receive two free game downloads per month, starting with Assassin’s Creed 2 and Halo 3, because those certainly aren’t available for a fiver in every pre-owned retailer. Still, they had to respond to PS Plus somehow.

We saw a trailer of tanks. Tanks everywhere, blowing up buildings, bushes and each other. Wargaming have created a special Xbox 360 version of World of Tanks. It’s not dudes shooting in space after all. Victor Kislyi came onstage to confirm that it will have 15 vs 15 tank battles, tuned specifically for the Xbox 360 controller. As with the PC version, the game will be free-to-play, coming this summer.

Two completely unrelated trailers were shown. Max: Curse of the brotherhood is a kid-focused platformer. In an abrupt change of tone, they followed this with Dark Souls II, presumably so that the core gamers wouldn’t have time to work themselves into a frenzy over more than 30 seconds of games not targeted at them.

Phil Spencer came out and read some meaningless buzzwords to introduce Ryse: Son of Rome. This third-person battler followed the Roman soldiers as they stabbed, dismembered and QTEd their way across the beach to destroy a tower. As you must have in any Roman war game, the defending archers loosed volleys of arrows, allowing our intrepid invaders to hunker under their shields. It’s very pretty and filled with slow-mo combat finishers to maximum gore porn. Cevat Yerli popped out momentarily to tell us that it’s built on the CryEngine and exclusively on Xbox One.

Killer Instinct:
It’s coming exclusively to Xbox One. There was a trailer.

Ted Price announced Sunset Overdrive, an open world shooter “facilitated by the cloud”. A smug, cartoony youth wall-ran across billboards, swung around cables and batted the head off enemies filled with orange goo.

Forza 5
Some other guy from Turn 10 told us about the Drivatar for Forza 5. It learns how you drive and races for you. Uh… okay. Nah, it’s not quite that. Rather than the developers creating driving AI, it tracks your racing style and uses that bring more realistic driving to your friends’ opponents behaviour. That’s actually kinda cool.

Phil Harrison popped out to try and convince us that Xbox supports indie developers. 200 of them across 7 years of Xbox.

Minecraft is coming to Xbox One. Bigger worlds and bigger multiplayer. Also better textures, by the look of the trailer. It’s depressing looking at my Xbox 360 world compred to some of the amazing stuff happening on PC but I’m not gonna buy an Xbox One for Minecraft. I have a gaming PC…

Quantum Break
Jack Joyce will be our white, male, ruggedly handsome hero who survived a failed science experiment that caused time to stutter and freeze. I’m not quite sure what “survived| means here. He’s immune? He walks into frozen explosions and drags people out for his own ends. Sounds a lot like Terry Pratchett’s Thief of Time but with few jokes and elderly monks. You should totally read that.

From Microsoft Studios, D4 features a protagonist who looks almost exactly like a cell-shaded version of Jack Joyce.

Project Spark:
Dave McCarthy and Claude Jerome announced Project Spark, a Kinect voice-controlled game/world builder that allows you to bark things like “show me rivers” to generate a world for your game. Coupled with SmartGlass, you can place items, houses and enemies. You can assign behaviours to items, so the team personified a rock, turning it into a pet that followed you around.

Project Spark will allow creators to build their own, or copy and improve upon other people’s worlds across Xbox One and WIndows 8.

Ashton the Xbox Community Manager with no surname demonstrated the Ryse Smartglass options. You can get instant realtime stat comparisons, leaderboards, achievements and all that stuff. Woo, watch your friend’s stats update! It’s like livestreaming, only… not. Torin and Ashton faced off against each other in an apparently-live demo of Killer Instinct, though the autocue did reveal that Torin was always going to win.

Xbox One will record clips and, allowing you to edit them and add voice-commentary through Kinect. I mocked the real-time stats updating but, as expected, Microsoft announced a partnership with Twitch for livestream. Built directly into the Xbox One, Twitch steaming will be available to everyone.

Dead Rising 3
Josh Bridge and Mike Jones announced DR3. Nick Ramos is our new stubble-chinned hero trying to escape Los Perdidos. It’s an open world, promising density with no load times. Nick can climb onto cars and shoulder-barge his wy through the squashy zombie hordes. You’ll have all the expected weapon combos and Nick can now call in artillery strikes, for some reason. I didn’t see a single ridiculous costume change though. I sincerely hope they’re not changing that silly tone.

John from CD Projekt RED introduced a gameplay-ish trailer from The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt on Xbox One. Geralt is as serious as ever, riding through and sailing over the open world, battling wolves in the forest and staring moodily at burning villages. There were no bare breasts or unexpected sex scenes. What kind of Witcher gameplay is this?

Battlefield 4:
After a few technical hitches, we saw a gameplay demo from Battlefield 4. soldiers ran around on a severely damaged aircraft carrier with firey explosions destroying cover and broken aircraft slipping across the deck. Our intrepid hero leapt into the water and swam to a nearby rescue boat, his journey culminating with a rocket in the face. The demo will be performed live at the EA booth during the show.

Phil Spencer announced Below, a rogue-like top-down dungeon explorer from the co-creators of Swords and Sworcery. Black Tusk is a Canadian studio creating a new game set in Shanghai during the fireworks. It will feature another dark-haired male hero knocking people over and waving guns around.

Bonnie Ross came onstage to remind us about Spartan Assault and Spielberg’s live-action Halo series. In 2014 we can also expect a new first-person Halo from 343 Industries runnig at 60 fps. That is literally all she told us about it. HALO! HALO! HALO!

Microsoft closed the show with a spectacular mech-filled trailer and gameplay demo from Respawn Entertainment. Some American protagonist bloke in the trailer wants to “make them pay”. It’s a multiplayer Battlefiled-esque game. I can’t think why there needs to be revenge motivation. Who needs a reason to kill the other team?

So yeah, the Xbox One. It totally has games.