Perhaps still feeling the sting from criticism over last year's Xbox One reveal and E3 briefing, Microsoft’s Phil Spencer took the stage Monday morning and declared that this year’s event was all about the games. Phil wasn’t lying: this was the best sneak peek that Xbox gamers have had at gaming nirvana in several years. The 90-minute presentation was packed full of future goodness, and a handful of the right here and now.
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
Activision was the first to take the stage to show off its new Kevin Spacey shooter. The game appears to be set in the near future. The hardware was, for the most part, modern assault rifles but with high-tech optics, including a sight that lights up targets like holograms. The grenades have multiple choice settings...I highly recommend the smart grenades. The gameplay demo also featured some sort of spider tank, clouds of malevolent flying chainsaw things, and a lot of folks losing appendages. Is there hope for the definitive next-gen shooter? Xbox One players will get DLC for this game first.
Forza Horizon 2
Dan Greenawalt, who arrived at E3 in a Lamborghini Aventador, took the stage and declared that Nurburgring, laser-scanned and built brand new for Forza 5, drops today and drops for free! Holy fuck! The Green Hell has finally hit next-gen and Forza 5 is an actual Forza game after all. Well done, Dan...oh wait, there’s more.
Damn, it’s Ralph Fulton and he wants to talk about Forza Horizon 2. Sit down, Ralph: I want to see some screen shots of Nurburgring. Okay, Ralph just said that that Forza Horizon 2 will feature over 200 cars, including a new Lamborghini, the Forza 5 graphics engine, day/night driving, weather, open world drivatars, and car clubs. I will admit that the graphics look very good. We will find out on September 30 when Horizon 2 hits our consoles. Open world drivatars...God help us.
A quick trailer was shown, promising beta and DLC first for Xbox players.
Assassin’s Creed Unity
Ubisoft’s Vincent Pointbriand took the stage to show off a little Assassin’s Creed co-op magic. Set in 18th century Paris, during the French Revolution, AC Unity will feature four player cooperative gameplay. That’s kind of badass. The gameplay demo shows four assassins closing in on the Marquis de Sade’s dinner party while a peasant riot is broiling right outside the walls of his mansion.The assassins prowl the rooms and halls of the mansion, picking off guards, ultimately crashing the soiree and throwing the Marquis off the balcony and into the streets, where he promptly loses his head.
Dragon Age Inquisition
Ted Price from Insomniac showed off an amusement park stage from Sunset Overdrive...and it looked fun as hell to play. There was a lot of speed, some very unique weapons, lots of color and attitude, and...8 player co-op! Xbox players finally get a real Insomniac game, on October 28.
Dead Rising 3
Capcom, in celebration of their 31st Anniversary, has released the Super Ultra Dead Rising 3 Arcade Remix Hyper Edition which allows players to play as any old-school DR protagonist in a 4 player co-op arcade-style setting. Can you play as Chuck? Yep. You can even play as camera guy and what’s her name. This DLC hits the XB1 today...as in you can download it now.
Fantasia: Music Evolved-October 21 (XB1 & 360)
Dance Central Spotlight- September
David Eckelberg, from Lionhead, came out and narrated a little 4 player co-op level in Fable Legends. The game looked fairly impressive, and David didn’t promise a bunch of shit that the dev team could never deliver on, so that’s a step in the right direction for Lionhead. The thing that impressed me the most is that a fifth player can assume the role of the villain. The villain has sort of a top down view of the active map and can dynamically add traps and monsters wherever he or she desires. That’s a nice little gameplay twist. Eckelberg promises a multiplayer beta in time for the holidays.
So, apparently these guys are still way into Master Chief, because they are bringing The Master Chief Collection to the XB1. This collection focuses on the Master Chief storyline, and will contain all 4 of the numbered Halo games, with over 100 multiplayer maps and six brand new MP maps. Special attention is being given to the Halo 2 Anniversary with updated high-res graphics running at 60 frames per second.
343 also announced a Ridley Scott produced live action Halo series called Halo: Nightfall, which will feature a character from the upcoming Halo: Guardians, which is also part of The Master Chief Collection.The beta launches late in 2014.
Rise of the Tomb Raider
Crystal Dynamics is following up the Tomb Raider reboot with a new Lara Croft adventure. This is the new Lara Croft doing the old Lara Croft stuff: high adventure, traveling the world, and actually raiding tombs. Rise of the Tomb Raider will release sometime in 2015.
Platinum Games has a dragon riding game on the horizon.
Ori and the Blind Forest
This game is centered around an orphan on an amazing adventure in a beautiful place. It looks to be one of those emotional kind of games from Moon Studios.
Witcher 3 and Tom Clancy’s The Division round out all the mentionable games. We also have that Quantum Break shipwreck simulator and a new Gears of War game on the horizon. Xbox is also making it easier for devs to self publish on XBL with the ID@Xbox, expanding the free to play game universe, and promises ongoing support and development for the 360 platform, since some gamers are dragging their penny pinching asses and playing on antiquated hardware.
This was Xbox’s strongest show in years and the impressive library of impending games should have a little something to please almost every MS fanboy.