E3 2013: Microsoft Press Conference - Launch Price, Halo, Killer Instinct, And More
Here is it! E3 2013! Microsoft is kicking off the festivities with their annual press conference, promising this one to be all about the games as opposed to the previous conference we was all about TV. It was over an hour and a half long so let's get to it!
They kicked it off immediately with a look at Metal Gear Solid 5, debuting the Afghanistan landscape, stealthy horseback riding, realtime weather (and smoking apparently) and vehicle driving including jeeps and tanks. Hyping re-defined tactical espionage, unparalleled strategic freedom, and realistic passage of time, this does definitely look like a next-gen game. Various points of combat were shown, having Snake crawl, dive and steal guns from enemies to use on them. The trailer finished with a bunch of names being dropped, including Ocelot, "Those Who Don't Exist" who appear to be undead or something, and a name change for Solid Snake to "Punished" Snake. MGS5 looks a like it is primarily a shooter with stealth, as opposed to the stealth-based gameplay that used to define the series. They go to the stage where Kojima gives quick praise to the game and leaves Don Mattrick on his own.
Don goes onto hype the Xbox 360, trying to convince us that a mostly dead console is still worth buying. Yusuf Mehdi unveiled a smaller, quieter Xbox 360, which actually looks much more like a smaller Xbox One, and it is available today. Moving onto Xbox Live, your Gold membership will transfer, and has an added a free game download feature, giving you two free games per month, containing, but not limited to Assassin's Creed 2 and Halo 3. Definitely not as strong as Playstation Plus, which is surprising. They move onto three new titles that will be available for the 360.
First we look at World of Tanks which is a huge hit online for PCs across the world. It is basically vehicle combat using only tanks, and it will be free-to-play with a Gold membership later this year. Press Play Studios is out to unveil Max and the Curse of Brotherhood. Max wishes for his brother to disappear, and has that wish come true, with his brother being taken into another world, leaving Max alone to rescue him. It's complete with side-scrolling platforming, kind of looking like a younger Indian Jones. They finish off the 360 portion with Dark Souls 2, which is not an exclusive.
Time for Xbone with Phil Spenser. He mentions that they have more games in development than ever before. Debuting a new franchise, we have a look at Ryse: Son of Rome by Crytek (Far Cry, Crysis). The best way to describe the gameplay is that it's practically a third-person shooter, but you wield a sword. As the general of an army, you can command your units and your single character who seems to require quick time events to be able to kill an enemy. The pacing is also very similar to modern shooters, i.e., walk here, cutscene, walk some more, piece of environment breaks or explodes, kill these guys, cutscene. It does have an awesome look though, without looking too realistic. Will be available at launch for the Xbox One. View the trailer here.
At long last, fighting game Killer Instinct is being rebooted by Rare, and will be an exclusive title. Later on, we saw two people battle in-game, but the button mashing made it hard to really see what the fighting mechanics will be like. No release date yet.
Ted Price from Insomniac hits the stage as they mention every Sony-exclusive title that put Insomniac on the map. They show off Sunset Overdrive which appears to be an open world parkour shooter filled with monsters apparently. It is very fast, but it's hard to tell if the trailer is in-engine, or in-game. If it is in-game, expect some very fast action, or auto-aim. View the trailer over here.
Next is Forza Motorsport 5. It appears to be another basic driving sim, enter a race and drive, but what will set it apart is your Drivatar(d). The game will track your driving habits, i.e., how you take corners, how you react to being behind other cars, etc., and while you're away, the game will simulate races for you in the Cloud, and earn you credits for in-game purchases. It looked good, but racing sims are starting to peak in terms of graphics.
Minecraft is shown next, and it will be headed to the Xbox One. They hype that MC has logged more than 1 billion hours of gameplay, 130 million worlds created, and has 6 million players on the 360.
We get a quick look at Quantum Break, with an in-engine video of the main character saving a woman from an explosion by having time freeze. This is followed with D4, a murder mystery set on a mostly empty plane. View the trailer and more info over here.
Project Spark is shown by Swery65, basically looking like a Fable game, crossed with Spore. A person commands the game to show Night, Day, and various types of terrain. Using Smart Glass, they create mountains, a moat/river, and a character named Claude. You can then start building a town that you can develop. They even added a brain to a rock, and it became a pet that can fight for you and can kill trolls. They say there are an infinite number of ways to play. It will be on Windows 8 and the Xbone.
Smart Glass connectivity for other games is explored, highlighting it being a second screen, and for some reason it will be able to start single-player and multiplayer campaigns. Showing off more peripherals, we see the Killer Instinct fight stick, but as mentioned before, it's very hard to tell how the game plays due to the lack of skill by those who played it. Like the PS4, game content will be recorded and can be shared or live streamed. Xbox One will come with Twitch for your live-streaming enjoyment. You can also have an unlimited amount of friends. Xbox Live will now use real world dollars for purchases instead of Microsoft Points (finally).
The creators of Panzer Dragoon now on stage to announced Crimson Dragon, another Xbox One exclusive. Unlike Panzer, the dragon didn't have a rider, but had lots of enemies, and no sound during the trailer. It flew around a large world shooting enemies out of the sky using a cursor that highlighted a bunch of enemies and took them all out.
Capcom Vancouver hits the stage to unveil Dead Rising 3. It looks a lot less cartoony and jokey than the previous games, but much more expansive. It is set in a gigantic open-world city, featuring no load times, third-person action, hundreds of weapons to find and craft, the ability to drive vehicles, and zombies that track your movement, but get very distracted by things like flares, apparently forgetting about you. At least the zombies are able to bust into your car and eat you, and will do so exclusively to the Xbox One this holiday season.
Witcher 3 is headed to Xbox One, with voice commands, horseback riding, and impressive visuals. Said to be the "crowning achievement of RPGs". EA comes out to give us a gameplay look at Battlefield 4. After some technical difficulty, we get to see it run at 60 frames per second, and it looks awesome. As you play, planes are falling off of the sinking carrier you're on, but we couldn't tell if these were just set pieces, or actual dangers that can potentially change we each playthrough.
Capybara games hit the stage with Below. It's a top-down adventure game, ala Diablo, with Microsoft's Phil Spencer at E3 2013 describing the game as a "creative take on roguelike gameplay". This is followed by a teaser for an Xbone exclusive, unannounced Halo title, showing Master Chief in a Jedi robe, watching a large mech emerge from the sand, which you can watch over here
Xbox One will be released this November, for $499, 499 Euro, or 429 pounds. They then finish the conference with a look at Respawn Entertainment's first game Titanfall. The game looks very impressive, having you command a large mech into battle, and, upon ejecting, you can have the mech patrol for you and be your back-up. It will be out next spring as an Xbox exclusive.
And that was it. They left the stage with a reminder of the November release (in other words, one week before whatever Sony announces). We saw a lot of games, but due to the time constraints, we also saw very little of each game, disappointingly so. At least we saw games this time. Stay tuned here at BWP for all of your E3 news as the fun is only just beginning!