Microsoft’s E3 2013 Media Briefing. Here’s Everything.
A lot rested on the shoulders of Microsoft’s E3 Media Briefing this morning after a less than stellar pre-intro of the Xbox One. Personally, I like a lot of the non-gaming features of the console and, though I think some of their policies could use some tweaking, it’s my plan to put one in my living room. That said, the internet is still aflame about security issues, internet connectivity, used games and other seemingly draconian functionality from the box. Many had hoped these might be addressed during the E3 briefing today.
They were not. Instead, as expected, Microsoft paraded publishers and developer across the stage to quell all the gamers who asked where the games were. 13 Exclusive titles and a few surprises starting with the current generation console.
The Xbox 360 has gotten yet another new design. Taking cues from the Xbox One’s multi-textured black scheme, the 360 will be smaller, promising a quieter box in the process. The new-old box is available as of today, but there was no mention of a price cut or any additional incentives.
Gold subscribers do get a bit of a bonus, starting July 1st though. Xbox Live Gold members will be given two free titles available for download to their consoles starting with Assassin’s Creed 2 and Halo 3. Not a bad incentive to those who don’t already own one of the triple A titles.
Finally, Microsoft wanted to assure everyone that support for the 360 wasn’t going away by previewing 3 new 360 titles: World of Tanks featuring 15 on 15 multiplayer gameplay, a new colorful platformer called Max: The Curse of Brotherhood and a sequel to the hack-and-slash Demon Souls.
That’s all well and good, but what about the Xbox One? There’s plenty.
Let’s start off with Metal Gear Solid 5. Snake returns, as he so often does, but into an open and realtime environment. The demo showed ole one-eye in Afghanistan hiding behind horses and braving dust storms to track down his prey.
Ryse: Son of Rome puts players in the sandals of General Marius Titus of Rome, leading his troops into battle against a yet-to-be-identified enemy. The slasher is a third-person glimpse into a very bloody world of ancient swordplay combat. We’re hoping there’s a bit more than was demoed today because it just appeared to be a string of quicktime events, but for all intents and purposes, Ryse appears to be Call of Duty: Ancient Rome. Ryse is exclusive on the Xbox One and will be available at launch.
Old school arcade fighters will love this one. Long missing from modern screen, Killer Instinct returns with the Xbox One and brings with it the ridiculous combos and over the top finishes gamers loved.
Insomniac games, know the world over for their Playstation exclusive Ratchet and Clank series is building a Microsoft exclusive title for the first time with the Xbox One. Sunset Overdrive is an open world shooter that has a look and feel similar to Jet Set Radio from Dreamcast days. A colorful urban environment that appears to have been overrun by some sort of mud creatures.
To sooth the savage driving crowd, Forza 5, now with more reflections and paint fleck, was announced. A feature called “Driveatar” will analyze the way players respond in game and store those patters in the cloud so that computer AI can all but be eliminated. Instead, computer controlled drivers in single player matches more closely match the type of driving you would get from a multiplayer race. Minus the 10 year old screaming racial epithets of course.
A new Minecraft was announced. Umm.. yay?
We also got few more glimpses at the time-bending title that is Quantum Break. It’s pretty, I’ll give it that, but I still couldn’t tell you what it’s about.
D4 is an episodic murder mystery that uses a cell shaded look to tell its story visually.
Project Spark seems to be Microsoft’s answer to Little Big Planet. Using voice commands, the controller and even the Smart Glass tablet interface, Spark gives players the tools to build worlds, create games or tell stories. Behaviors can be applied to nearly any object in the for of a “brain” that the player can give scripted commands and react in many different ways. My favorite quote from the demo: “Yeah! Get em, Rock Man!”
Speaking of Smart Glass, the app can start games, set up multiplayer games and deliver real time stats. The Smart Match systems will match you to like-skilled players of one game while you play single player of another. Use it to record game clips using a DVR like interface that you can then customize, edit with titles and even add commentary. Finally, Microsoft has partnered with the Twitch streaming service to stream live matches online, allowing viewers to comment and occasionally interact with the match.
Oh yeah, and did I mention? MS Points are going away. Real, local currency from here on out. Goooooooood riddance.
Moving on, the Panzer Dragoon guys are back with Crimson Dragon. The game looked great, but due to a technical glitch, we couldn’t hear anything.
Capcom is bringing the third in their Dead Rising series exclusively to the Xbox One. Dead Rising 3 opens things up considerably, making it easy to call it Grand Theft Auto with zombies, promising no load times.
Witcher gets a threequel on the Xbox One featuring free roaming levels, optional voice command combat and UI additions for Smart Glass users.
EA and DICE are churning out another Battlefield, because you can’t have another Call of Duty without having another Battlefield. Using the Frostbyte 3 engine, Battlefield 4 runs at a smooth 60 frames per second.
Below is a gorgeous looking sword and sorcery indie game that may do for Legend of Zelda that Braid did for Super Mario Bros.
Black Tusk, a brand new studio formed by Microsoft is working on a yet unnamed spy title.
Big surprise, Microsoft and 343 Studios tease a new Halo, but it’s not likely to be at launch.
Finally, EA pushed Titanfall, a FPS with giant, agile mech combat from Respawn.
When and how much? November. $499 U.S.. Everything else we’ll just have to discover over the next 3 days.