Monday 13 June 2016

E3 2016: Microsoft's Conference [Events]

Microsoft... You really took that to the next level. A large amount of games, and even two hardware revisions announced. Big scale reveals and smaller alike got the crowd excited.
Talking of console revisions, one of them is what they started with. The Xbox One S is forty percent smaller than the original, and has its power block inside the console. With the revision comes a revised controller, with a textured grip, extra range, and a bluetooth connectivity button. The Xbox One S sure looks better, though I'm hoping it will come in other colours than white. It launches for $299 in August.
The first game was a big one. Gears of War 4. Before getting to the game itself though, a service announcement. Xbox Play Anywhere will allow for games to be fully cross-compatible. Between the Xbox One and Windows 10, you can buy on one, play on both. Save on one, pick up on the other. Play with each other between both. Gears of Wars 4 was the first game announced to be a part of this service, but it certainly wasn't the last.
For Gears itself, there was a lengthy co-op campaign gameplay demo showing the one level and gameplay mechanics. The storm the level took place in looked great, and different changes would happen that affected how the player moved. After this, it was said the game would launch October 11, and that a limited edition Elite controller would launch with it.
For Killer Instinct and Gears fans, a Gears related character makes his way into the former game. General Raam is the new fighter in Killer Instinct, as shown in the reveal trailer.

As with any Forza game, Horizon 3's announcement trailer was absolutely gorgeous. It gave us a look at the new world we'd be racing on. The new vehicles we could race with. And more importantly, it showed that the Horizon Festival had moved to Australia - the largest and most diverse open world of any Forza Horizon game before it. They showed off the Xbox Play Anywhere stuff, with four players to show off new online features. Four player co-op racing is available in the game, and one person can bring others into the game, merging the other players seamlessly into their world. The game will be available September 27th.
ReCore had a trailer showing off gameplay elements, and Final Fantasy XV was demoed on the stage, with a fast and fluid battle system shown off during a large boss battle. The game has a 30th September release date. Tom Clancy's The Division Underground had a trailer, and it was said that the game would be available first on Xbox One June 28th. Battlefield 1 got confirmation that EA Access members would get access to the game on October 13th - a week before full release.

More service announcements followed with three new ways to connect with people. The first was Background Music on Xbox One coming in the summer. This helps with those wanting to listen to their own tracks, perhaps while racing on Forza. The next was Clubs on Xbox Live, allowing community groups to be created for various games. The next two are related - called Looking for Group on Xbox Live, and Arena on Xbox Live. Both are multiplayer related, with the former allowing you to join into a group of people playing a game, and the latter being a tournament based feature that brings a competitive edge to games. EA Sports was confirmed to be bringing numerous games into the Arena service.
Minecraft mobile editions get The Friendly Update, allowing iOS, Android and Windows users to connect with each other. They are also getting dedicated servers thanks to realms. Also confirmed was Oculus support. Realms is already available, with Oculus support coming later on. Also confirmed, though coming later, are texture packs and add-on support. Texture packs allow for pre-set textures to be changed in to the game. The add-ons allow user-created textures and other abilities, such as making villagers into fighters.
The Xbox Design Labs has now added Xbox One Controller customisation to its services.

INSIDE opened the indie trailers, and it was announced to be launching June 29th. As well as that, Limbo - the previous game from the developers -  is now free to all.
A trailer showing numerous independent games followed, with focus then put on Ark: Survival Evolved, which will be joining the Xbox Play Anywhere service. Those who already own the game are able to get full benefits without another purchase.
We Happy Few was then covered with a gameplay demo, which jumped into a small trailer. It's an interesting concept, similar to the likes of the film THX-1138 - where the community is controlled by a drug and anyone who breaks the spell is to be killed. Could do without the weird masked faces though. The game will be on Game Preview July 26th.
The Witcher 3 had a card game as part of its world, and many players liked nothing more than to play it for countless hours. So that has now got a game of its own. Gwent: The Witcher 3 Card Game is literally lifted from the main game and added to with a single player campaign on its own. Available on both Xbox One and Windows 10, with a beta coming in September.

Tekken was given spotlight, with Tekken 7 having seamless transitions between cutscenes and fights. The game will be coming early 2017, and to get players in the mood for the new game, Tekken Tag Tournament 2 is available to Xbox Live Gold players free for a week.
Dead Rising 4 got announced with a load of zombies being slayed while a Christmas song played... Yeah. It appears to take place at Christmas, so it made sense. Available on both Xbox One and Windows 10.
Scalebound had a trailer, announcement for both Xbox One and Windows 10 with a 2017 release, and available on Xbox Play Anywhere. The game features a co-op campaign and has some of the biggest bosses in gaming.
Sea of Thieves got a trailer with a nice pirate theme, available on both Xbox One and Windows 10. Some fans got to play the game first, and the footage was recorded and shown to everyone on screen. The game is open world, and allows players to do whatever they want within the world. Ships will sink if holes don't get patched up in time as water leaks into them. The game seems fun, though is entirely multiplayer focused.
State of Decay 2 got announced with a trailer, giving it an Xbox One and Windows 10 2017 release.

Halo Wars 2 gets a trailer setting the scene. It releases on February 21st on both Xbox One and Windows 10, with a beta available on the Xbox One right now for an entire week. It will also be available on the Xbox Play Anywhere service. Another trailer then showed off the gameplay.
Ending time for the conference. And a talk about how Microsoft and the Xbox brand has evolved. The way Phil Spencer was talking, it felt as though something big was coming. An interview trailer was shown, with people talking about building the greatest console ever, for both developers and the players. There was a big talk of massive specifications. Then - Project Scorpio, the next in line for the Xbox One family. Releasing holiday 2017, all games and accessories will be compatible across the whole Xbox One range, including Scorpio. Not bad to end the conference.

I have to say, this conference moved a lot faster than EA's did. Focus was placed where focus was needed, and I am so skipping Forza Horizon 2 for the third game. And that's not long to wait. The other games were interesting enough, though whether I get any is another matter. I might have a look at ReCore when it releases, and perhaps have a look into either Halo or Gears. I might also have a look into that beta. Free stuff is always a plus when it comes to games, so while I'm not a huge fan of Tekken, I might try Tag Tournament 2.
With Ubisoft soon to be up, I'll be covering it here. As always, stay tuned to the news sites like IGN and GamesRadar+, or platform specific sites such as Nintendo Life or Push Square, for all the E3 news as it comes.