Well, Microsoft’s E3 press conference has finished, and there were plenty of games revealed. But the most interesting thing that they announced is the price and release month for the Xbox One.
This is perhaps the most important info given out during the Microsoft press conference. The Xbox One will be available this November with a price tag of $499/ €499/ £429. Oh well, owning an Xbox One is a nice dream to have…
But fear not, frugal Xbox fans. It would seem that the Xbox360 is getting a redesign to match the Xbox One look and will continue to be supported, at least for the time being. The newly designed Xbox360 will be available from today (although the journalists present at the press conference were not offered a unit this time). Also, to sweeten the pot, Xbox Live Gold members will be given two free games each month from July 1st, possibly until the Xbox One launch (it wasn’t clear), with games such as Assassin’s Creed II and Halo 3 being teased as freebies.
The conference included a showing of three titles coming to Xbox360, including From Software’s Dark Souls II and Max: The Curse of Brotherhood from Press Play. Videos will be uploaded once they become available. For the Xbox360 though, the most impressive reveal was that of Wargaming.net’s World of Tanks: Xbox360 Edition. 15 vs 15 team warfare will be available to play for free this Summer to Xbox Live Gold members – bring on the tanks!
When it came to the Xbox One, it was nearly all about the games. Sure, there was some info about SmartGlass, Game DVR and Upload Studio. There was also mention of a partnership with Twitch for instant broadcasting using the Kinect unit for commentary and such. And it was confirmed that there will be no more Microsoft Points (everything will be priced in local currency), no limit to the number of friends you have and Xbox Live Gold subscription benefits can be shared with family.
There were a lot of games packed into the conference for the Xbox One, something that will surely make gamers smile even if the more important issues were completely ignored. The conference started with an incredible trailer for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. The trailer teased things like realtime weather, an open world, a variety of transport options, realistic passage of time, deeper stealth action and, of course, Kiefer Sutherland’s voice – which is all I need…
But the Xbox One game extravaganza didn’t stop there. Crytek’s RYSE: Son of Rome, which will be available at the Xbox One launch, gave a grand showing of storming a beach as a Roman – it was pretty intense stuff. Then a brief glimpse was given of Killer Instinct (which was later shown in a bit more detail as a bout broke out on stage).
Insomniac Games gave everyone a look at the ever-changing, and slightly quirky, open-world shooter Sunset Overdrive, which they are bringing to Xbox One. This was followed by some petrol-fuelled excitement in the form of Forza 5, another launch title. Besides the game looking absolutely sublime, the Drivatar (?) feature was revealed as, and I think I have this right, the game learning how you drive and then imitating you for races when you are away from the game. How mad is that?
We were given another look at Remedy’s Quantum Break with a rather nice “time has frozen just over there” sequence, and the mighty MineCraft will be getting an Xbox One edition. D4, an episodic murder mystery from Swery65, looked interesting, and Project Spark – a game in which players create and share games, certainly “sparked” the imagination.
There then came a surprisingly silent trailer for Crimson Dragon, something which I am sure will be remedied when the trailer is available to download. Things got a little bit desperate then as we were introduced to Capcom’s Dead Rising 3, featuring an open world with no loading times and a whole lot of zombies.
CD Projekt RED gave a showing of the upcoming The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and revealed that the free-roaming open-world will contain more than 100 hours of gameplay. It was also mentioned that the game will have optional Kinect voice controls and SmartGlass functions for inventory sorting and such.
The Battlefield 4 demonstration didn’t go particularly well. It refused to load and left everyone waiting far too long – the natives were getting restless. But once it got going, the “Angry Sea” proved to be a suitably impressive set piece. To get the Battlefield fans on side for the Xbox One, the Second Assault map pack was revealed to be coming first to the new console.
A roguelike game was then displayed, followed by a small clip for a new game being developed by Black Tusk Studios which featured a guy abseiling down a building and then taking out a guard in a suitably stealthy manner.
A cloaked figure wandering through a desert followed. It turned out to be Master Chief himself, teasing the next Halo game coming in 2014. Things were wrapped up with an impressive gameplay demo of Respawn Entertainment’s Titanfall, featuring big mechs and lots of shooting.
There is no doubt that Microsoft have put on a good show for the gamers this time, but the price of the console is incredibly steep and there are still too many unanswered questions. Let’s all wait until 2am and see what Sony has to offer…