A pre-show event was held briefly leading up to the official Xbox Press Conference during E3 2014 which consisted of a few speed interviews but also gave way to the reveal of the new exercise title Shape Up from Ubisoft that takes this genre and turns it upside down on its head. Instead of just working out for the sake of it, players are actually doing workouts as a control mechanism for mini-games. Think stuff like Tetris but way more inventive, modern, and original – with less of a focus on brain exercise and more of a focus on Cardio. This title is an Xbox ONE Exclusive and will be launched during the Holiday season of this year, providing a great warm-up workout that doesn’t bore the ADHD mind of a gamer to the core. Other small discussions before the show took place included Season 2 of Killer Instinct’s anticipated release hitting this Fall 2014 and three new iOS titles hitting Xbox ONE in addition to Happy Wars supporting cross-play between Xbox 360 and Xbox ONE players.
Phil Spencer took the stage for the start of the Xbox E3 Press Conference this year and gave us the type of talk that gamers haven’t heard since Kevin Butler’s epic gaming rant nearly half a decade ago. Phil took the reigns as the new head of Xbox speaking on how video games have become the fastest growing entertainment industry and topping out the charts well surpassing film, music, comic books, and all other forms of entertainment not only sometimes – but regularly. He spoke about how Nintendo, Xbox, and PlayStation were all allies in this industry and at this event. His words may have sounded like hyperbole and hype to some, but the remaining events of all three Press Conferences would prove these words truer than ever as it seemed all major and minor companies were displaying a very mature and collaborative attitude focusing all of their energies on creativity and fan service rather than boasting, bragging, and marketing at us.
The opening speech continued this focus by stating that Sony and Microsoft “share a common purpose” and explaining that everything Microsoft was about to show us today is part of a renewed vision for the Xbox brand “shaped by the gamers”.
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is the first game that was displayed at the event. But wait, don’t stop reading and exit out of the article just yet – it’s sci-fi now. Kevin Spacey was seen giving a strange snare and smirk but the trailer mainly consisted of cinematic and gameplay scenes mixed together, clearly ripped straight from the nearly-finished looking game. The scenes shown off displayed jet pack boots, mechs, and swarms of drones that looked straight of The Matrix trilogy of films. This left many wondering, is this all just an elaborate ripoff of titles like Titanfall, Halo, and The Matrix? I doubt it though. Eventually all sci-fi seems to become real life science. It could easily be that COD: Advanced Warfare is just going after that eventuality in which the human race actually will have such technology. Cycle grenades, enhanced gore, and spirituality were some of the key points of the debut trailer and we all know that Kevin Spacey plays a villain very well, adding a really psychological aspect to this new COD’s campaign. All DLC will continue to release on the Xbox platform first.
Next up Forza Motorsport 5 was talked about. Authentic tracks were captured to “millimeter accuracy” according to the announcement of the Nürburgring track. In Forza Horizon 2 players will get a full day and night cycle with over 200 cars including the latest Lambo and even dynamic weather. Racing fans will likely want to know that this title is expected to release for Xbox ONE on September 30, 2014 with 1000 members allowed in each club, no lobbies, no load screens, and the ability for the game to capture how you drive pitting a cloud-based racer against you with your own driving techniques. The main focus of this upcoming title is to have game to game action with no breaks. Not much was said about FM5, but for more on that stay tuned.
Evolve took center stage next and is developed by the creators of the Left 4 Dead franchise. An exclusive beta will be provided on the Xbox platform while all DLC will also drop there first. A special tournament took place to showcase a later build of the title, which we will be discussing in our Round Table WrapUp of the E3 2014 event.
Assassin’s Creed: Unity blew everyone’s minds as the French Revolution period in history came to life before our eyes in an exciting way. 100s of quests and rewards were promised meanwhile co-op gameplay between four male assassins was revealed and looked incredible. Players who may have found the original series a bit too boring or slow to get into will have no hard time at all with this very much action-centric installment in the series, taking a departure from previous mechanics in favor of a player-based killing and intense storytelling experience. There will likely still be stealth moments, but this title is attempting to push AC into a different spectrum of play while the AC: Comet project was absent from the Xbox presentation.
Heads will roll, heads will get jammed onto a poll (while still half alive, taking the final breath) when this game comes at players. Real players join up together for co-operative action with dope weapons and epic battles. Assassins cannot be bred, but must be born of greatness, and AC: Unity is “For The People!”
In between this showing and the next, Xbox decided to allow some of their staff as well as game developers worldwide to speak about their favorite game. Using the #MyFavoriteGame this had already begun on Twitter before the E3 event. However, at E3 2014 Xbox actually saw devs taking a very brief moment out to explain their favorite game and what made that choice so special to them. This was a very cool insight into some of the devs we work with and follow daily, monthly, and yearly and I just want to give a big thanks to Phil Spencer for that real gamer approach. It showed me that the new Xbox has class and commitment to gaming. Dragon Age Inquisition was shown by EA Games and didn’t really do much to excite anybody who isn’t already off of the bandwagon which seems to have died down so long ago for this warped franchise that was once loved by gamers worldwide. It remains unclear if anyone outside of franchise loyalists and EA mainstream gamers will care that it releases October 7, 2014.
Sunset Overdrive from Ted Price hit next (by the way, his favorite game is Super Metroid), and makes fun of itself and its own new platform by starting off with a trick video showing what looked like a Gear of War game being mocked by Sunset Overdrive’s main character who states “cover mechanic, huh?” then hops off into a world full of color and excitement. The premise of the game is that soda has turned people into zombies. A somewhat customizable character, creative and new takes on weaponry, and 4th wall humor make up the logistics of what Insomniac Games plans to wow us with in this title which was clearly designed for fun factor first and foremost. A new set of weapons was shown off proving that Insomniac didn’t just take the easy way out – these are not remakes of Ratchet & Clank weaponry, rest assured. Perhaps most importantly, Sunset Overdrive announced that it will use the Dedicated Xbox Servers seen on titles like Titanfall for Xbox ONE and PC.
On October 28, 2014 something totally unexpected is hitting the XO from publisher Capcom who likes to make exclusives on all platforms now (and I applaud and enjoy this new strategy, by the way). Super Ultra Dead Rising 3 Arcade Remix Hyper Edition EX Plus Alpha is a DLC for the Xbox ONE exclusive title Dead Rising 3 and pits players against a completely different take on the title. Think Far Cry: Blood Dragon, but perhaps even more over-the-top and even more of a modification to the original game. Players get a set of stages to master as Capcom Vancouver throws in any random reference possible. Silliness such as cross-dressers, strobe lights – and of course zombies – flood the screen.
Check out the actual announcement’s trailer below which shows off how players get to see Capcom make fun of themselves and provide a showing that they care about fan feedback and fun factor too. A new Dance Central and Disney Fantasia game were each teased for what felt like less than a micro-second, as Xbox knew this wasn’t the time or place for that sort of thing yet still let people know they exist quickly.
Fable Legends shocked the world with a totally new vision for the franchise that hasn’t come together quite right since it first splashed onto the scene with the original Xbox console. Fable Legends is a multiplayer dungeon crawler in which one player takes the role of the villain making their own traps and picking enemies abilities. The Dungeons N Dragons type of feel when playing that role is balanced by a very Fable 1 type of feel to the graphics and gameplay as four other players face off against these enemies and attempt to do in that real life villain playing online through Xbox ONE dedicated servers. A Multiplayer Beta is planned for Holiday 2014 and we are definitely pretty excited about this game. Take a look at the announcement and gameplay trailer for it below.
Project Spark was given a cinematic trailer showing off the over 1 million new creations and co-op campaigns. What made this outing of the Project Spark title for Xbox ONE different is that many new camera angles, graphic presentations, gameplay mechanics, and concepts were displayed that previously weren’t thought to be possible in the title. Mini-games like those seen in Minecraft, but with premium graphics and the benefit of dedicated Xbox ONE servers were shown. There were even complete games being made in Project Spark which have a future as indie titles. MOON the indie game was shown off by Microsoft with a Fall 2014 release date and MS let you know what the devs like to play once again as the next game took stage.
Halo: Master Chief Collection is a nostalgic announcement for me in particular. I really hated how Halo: Anniversary Edition turned out on Xbox 360 and I think that it’s finally safe to say after what 343 Industries and Microsoft showed, they are ready to ‘right’ that ‘wrong’. Halo 2 was displayed with 1080P graphics and 60 frames per second and gamers have been promised that, while only some maps were remade texture-wise, the original multiplayer game engines are 100% intact and haven’t been changed or as I would say ‘ruined’ the way H:AE did to H:CE. This means fans of the very awesome original Halo games can replay those classic online shooter moments again with friends online over the Xbox ONE dedicated servers without anything being different from what they remember back in the days of the Xbox original and PC Gaming. As if that wasn’t cool enough, this project offers four games in total: Halo 1, Halo 2, Halo 3, and Halo 4 with Anniversary Edition single player campaigns, all of the multiplayer maps that were originally sold as DLC already in the box, and a multiplayer beta for Halo 5: Guardians included in purchase for just $59.99 on Xbox ONE exclusively. The nostalgia factor is over 5,000 as this is actually impossible to play anywhere else right now in any decent form and once again made an old, jaded shooting game veteran’s wish came true. Peep the video below! Did we mention there’s all new achievements now for these classic shooter games (enough for over 4,000 ‘gamerscore’)?
Halo 5 was also teased further with a Beta announced for the Holiday 2014 period and a release window planned next year for the Halo Nightfall TV series (not the Spielberg one). Gamers who pick up the Halo: Master Chief Collection detailed above will be able to get into the Halo 5: Guardians Beta for free, meanwhile the teaser shown didn’t do much to advance our knowledge of the actual game. Next up we were shown a bunch of titles from the ID @ Xbox indie campaign, and most looked pretty good! Surprisingly, Microsoft continued to take a mature approach as they are no longer pretending certain games are exclusive when really they are just “timed”, etc. as we saw a game 5 years in development debut and be announced to head “First On Xbox” rather than the fake marketing campaigns Xbox 360 used of “Only On Xbox” only to later come out on other platforms as well. Microsoft continued to talk about their efforts to get free dev kits and free middleware tools to developers and announced a number of titles and projects from the following list: Team Colorblind, Knight Squad, Slash Dash, Plague Inc, White Knight, Earthlock, Cuphead, Hyper Light Drifter, Lifeless Planet, Grave, Mighty No. 9, Below, Threes, Fenix Rage, and much more.
After the sizzle real of indie games concluded, it was back to the AAA experiences as Tomb Raider 2 was shown off by Square Enix with the tentative title Rise of the Tomb Raider. This game will drop Holiday 2015 and was given a complete teaser found here. The Witcher III: Wild Hunt got a hard look and really at this point makes Elder Scrolls look irrelevant with gameplay being shown as well as custom items in the heavily anticipated next-gen and computer Action RPG title from CD Projekt RED.
Kevin Lobb, an industry professional, whose history stretches back to Nintendo NES, GoldenEye 007, and the original Killer Instinct days, took center stage to announce that a sleeper hit from the original Xbox console by the name of Phantom Dust which is a third person fighter with powers has been brought back for the real gamers. This is a unique game with plenty of cinematic and action appeal that many gamers in the community will know as a classic that never got the respect it deserved. Thanks to Microsoft and Ken Lobb (who has his own gun named after him in GoldenEye) Phantom Dust will see complete re-make on the Xbox ONE. The Division got shown a bit further with some gameplay from Ubisoft and it was announced that new content for the title would arrive on the Xbox ONE first, and other platforms (PS4 and computer) later. Scalebound was debuted as a brand new IP from PlatinumGames and looks to be an incredible Xbox ONE only experience if the initial announcement is anything to judge by. Check out the trailer below. Among the other final announcements Microsoft presented us with as they tried to leave off the end of their show with a bang was Crackdown 3 w/ Dedicated Xbox ONE servers (and production buy the original game creator).
RealGamerNewz E3 Impressions (Recorded Live):
In the end, Microsoft had a lot to prove. Up until now, PlayStation 4 and Xbox ONE have been altogether far too similar to each other – and for one simple reason. There weren’t enough exclusives to distinguish the Xbox ONE and allow it to really make its identity and presence known as a unique flavor in our gaming smorgasbord of an industry. The new Xbox vision put forth with Phil Spencer at the head of the dragon certainly proved that this was being acknowledged by MS and worked on actively.
Phil Spencer opened up the entire E3 2014 event, and had a responsibility in doing so to set the tone for the rest of the week. I’m proud to say that what Phil and Microsoft did for Xbox this year was put the gamers wants and needs front and center. Not the customers, the gamers. I’m talking about people like me who have been playing for over 20 years or even people who just jumped into the industry when Xbox did, people who love playing games because of their fun factor, gameplay design, cinematic qualities, and spiritual message. This year’s Xbox E3 Press Conference was simply the best they’ve ever done and no gamer should miss it. Check out the video above if you want to see the entire event unfold for yourself. A great balance of New IP, AAA Gameplay, indie games, and speedy but powerful delivery left many saying that the Xbox conference was their favorite of the big three.
Thank you on behalf of the gamers.
Overall Score: 9.8 / 10
RGN Rating: Platinum Press Conference
Editor’s Note: This rating is the opinion of the author and may / may not represent the opinions of other RGN Staff.