E3 2014: XBOX Press Conference - TOMB RAIDER, CRACKDOWN, HALO: MASTER CHIEF COLLECTION, Much More
Cover art for Halo 5: Guardians
We are live at E3 2014, as Microsoft kicks off the event with the first press conference of the bunch from Los Angeles, CA. As far as what we expect from the video game publisher and console maker, there should be a large focus on the Xbox One, and if the new head of the division has anything to say on it, the focus will be on games, as opposed to the multimedia-heavy presentations of the last two years. There will be Halo 5 news, but what else will be shown? Follow along as we find out from E3!
After filing in press and representatives from most major game companies into a crowded Galen Center at USC, Microsoft's presentation began. Just prior to the conference, Microsoft representatives repeatedly promised they would be focusing on "Games, Games, and more Games," making a pretty big switch from the last few years of Microsoft press conferences, which tend to focus on multimedia functionality for at least a substantial portion.
Xbox head Phil Spencer thanked fans and developers for their support, especially of the Xbox One. "Today, we are dedicating our entire briefing to games. Our goal is to make Xbox One the best place to play games in this generation."
First up for a live demo was Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare from Activision and Sledgehammer Games. As has been the deal for the last few years, DLC for the game will arrive first on Xbox. The demo starts with a crash as the team has a less than standard landing. Booster packs are shown off, using short burst boosts to control a long fall several stories down. Presumably you'll be able to use them as more standard jet packs later in the game and in multiplayer. Over-sized exoskeletons are teased early, as well.
After a brief encounter with a massive walking tank (straight out of Star Wars), the team engages in a brief firefight before being attacked by a drone swarm. They showed how you can create movable cover by ripping the door off a car. A new grenade type gives a vector view with all enemies highlighted in red, even if they're behind cover. Smart Grenades home in on enemies and drew a large reaction from the crowd.
We saw the first major casualty from your fireteam - and the player character lost an arm. A brief trailer highlighting the action in the game ran after the live demo. "Power changes Everything." Game hits shelves 11.4.14.
Next up was Forza, first with some DLC coming to Forza Motorsport 5, which is getting the Nurbugring race track as a free download, available today.
Ralph Fulton then took the stage to talk about Forza Horizon 2, coming to the Xbox One. The game runs on the Forza 5 engine, and will also use the Drivatar. Fulton promises “no lobbies, no waiting” for multiplayer. The game hits September 30, 2014 for Xbox One, and a trailer was shown.
The funky wrist bands given to everyone in the audience lit up with the music as the trailer played. Dynamic Weather, 1000 Player Car Clubs, Open World Freedom, and more were promised. Lots of applause for the trailer.
Evolve was next, and went straight into a trailer. Four hunters are chasing a beast, and it lands in front of them. Assault, Trapper, Medic, and Support are the human classes, or, you can be the monster. A very Cthulu looking monster was highlighted in the trailer. Open beta this fall, and DLC will be first on Xbox One.
Assassin’s Creed Unity was next up, with Ubisoft taking the stage. The game will feature Arno Victor Dorian in “the biggest playground ever,” and you can form your own brotherhood in the campaign with up to three friends. Lots of applause for that. A live demo was next, starting in Paris on “the eve of revolution.” You get a target assignment, but are also encouraged to explore the environment. Dorian moves more fluidly than any other assassin before, and there are a staggering number of NPCs on screen. He teams up with another player who is doing the same mission as part of his brotherhood. Two more join in. The four players start systematically taking apart a full manor full of guards. The parkour motion was shown off a bit as well as the chaos outside. The architecture and imagery is all authentic to the time period and France. The all-player character brotherhood takes on the guards of the target with some rousing sword fighting. The assassins throw the Marquis out the window and watch the peasants tear him apart, literally taking his head. Zoom out to all four assassins, and the loudest applause so far of the show.
Dragon Age Inquisition from EA/BioWare was next for a new trailer, with "Premiere content first on Xbox" promised on the side of the screens. A new beast was shown, along with flashes of the companions and some story teases. And yes, there are dragons to fight. "Lead them or fall" is the subtitle on screen for the October 7th premiering game.
Xbox One exclusive Sunset Overdrive was shown, from Insomniac Games, and the pre-rendered footage showed the game's hero taking down a room full of soldiers. He then explains that in Sunset City, there are mutants because of a contaminated energy drink. "Can you save Sunset City?" "Of course you can, it's a f***in video game!"
Insomniac's Ted Price took the stage to talk more about the game. "In Sunset Overdrive YOU are the hero!" You'll use unconventional weapons and special abilities to save Sunset City. A live demo started up. Your customizable player character is in third person, and they showed him riding just about anything in the environment as rales. A freeze gun, a nail shotgun, and more were shown. A Herker class mutant (he's big) showed up to plague the hero, who used an unconventional rocket launcher to defeat him. Onomonapeia sound effects are shown occasionally on screen as te cartoony graphics get very violent indeed.
An 8-player co-op mode called "Chaos" is also included. The game hits October 28, 2014.
A new Dead Rising 3 expansion lets you use all four Dead Rising heroes, and "cosplay as your favorite Capcom characters" like Ryu, Akuma, and many more. Super Ultra Dead Rising 3 Arcade Remix Hyper Edition EX Plus Alpha is available now on Xbox One!
In addition to Fantasia: Music Evolved, Harmonix is releasing Dance Central Spotlight this fall, a downloadable title with easy updates.
Fable Legends, another Xbox One exclusive, was demoed next. Some of the heroes you can team up with like Winter, Rook, and Inga were introduced. Each works as a different class of fighter for four-player co-op. In addition to them, a villain player can join in, and orchestrates the challenges for the heroes in a top-down view of the entire map. Teamwork is encouraged, and even necessary, to defeat your villain opponent. Multiplayer beta this fall.
Project Spark, the Xbox and PC game-creator-game got the spotlight next. They've hit over 1 million creations, and are adding in co-op campaign modes and a new Galaxies expansion to make your own space/scifi game. And at the end of the trailer, Conker came in and chopped the logo in half - he is coming to Project Spark!
An Xbox One exclusive from Moon Studios with stunning graphics, looking like something straight out of a Miyazaki film was next. The diminutive hero faces down a massive threat. Ori and the Blind Forest is coming Fall 2014.
The Halo theme started playing, and jumped right into a trailer. Master Chief on a derelict vessel far above a planet, grabbing a bomb and jumping out. Actor Keith David does voiceover saying to "Forget the Legends" and warns that "All our lives are at stake." The second hero shown on the cover art poster is shown as well. "Your Journey Begins."
Bonnie Ross from 343 Industries took the stage next.
After Master Chief’s loss in Halo 4, he goes on a journey searching for truth - while another character is searching for him.
But before Halo 5 next year, there’s Halo: The Master Chief Collection which includes Halo 1-4. Dan Ayoub took the stage next to talk more about the release. Ayoub says he hopes to both retell the story of Master Chief to old fans and bringing new fans into the games too. Halo 2 has a full anniversary treatment upgrade as well. The original Halo 2 multiplayer exactly as seen in the original release is available, as well as six recreated maps. A live demo of one of the retooled Halo 2 maps was shown.
That's just part of the Master Chief Collection, which features over 100 multiplayer maps, every map ever in the four games, and ships November 11, 2014.
Also in the collection? Halo: Nightfall, the live action digital series, which will introduce "a pivotal character" that leads the story directly to Halo 5. And in December? The Halo 5: Guardians Beta, debuting new game modes and features. All included with the Master Chief Collection.
Phil Spencer took the stage once more, praising the Halo franchise as launching Xbox, Launching Xbox Live, and expressed his excitement for the Xbox One treatment. Every game shown so far has been 2014 releases, but now we’re looking at the 2015 portfolio “and beyond.”
The first game debuts on Xbox early 2015. The trailer starts with rain, and what sure look like a lot of zombies, as you control a young boy running through this world. Inside, from Playdead.
Chris Charla, director of ID@Xbox, the independent section of the Xbox One was next on stage. A highlight trailer of a wide variety of indie games was shown after he talked up their indie work.
Next was a World Premiere trailer, with a psychiatric session. It’s the next Tomb Raider, and the trailer is stunning. Lara Croft’s therapy session ends, and she is in a large tomb. Rise of the Tomb Raider, coming Holiday 2015.
Two members of the Witcher 3: Wild Hunt team at CD Project RED came on stage to demo the game. The hunting portion of the game was highlighted, with tracking abilities and heightened senses.
A combat sequence was shown, with the third dismemberment of the press conference. After that, they resumed the hunt for the Griffin. He found the griffin and starts the battle. A CGI pre-rendered sequence ended the battle and showed him riding into town with a griffen head strapped to his horse.
Ken Lobb of Killer Instinct was next. ANd this year, he's revealing the next classic they're rebooting for the Xbox One. A fight between two superpowered people releases light out into the world. It's a new take on Phantom Dust.
Ubisoft and Massive were up again, this time for Tom Clancy’s The Division. A live multiplayer gameplay demo was done, with other players connected in via Xbox Live. It’s Christmas Day and there’s a ruined New York City. Scene recreation shows how you can investigate areas. After meeting up with a full squad of four, the players coordinate how they’re going to take down a group of enemies, using gadgets and trying to get into a good initial position before starting the firefight. Lots of conversation and coordination amongst them as they take down the full unit and unlock a new base of operations. New content for The Division will be on Xbox One first.
Platinum Games and Hideki Kamiya were next, for another Xbox One exclusive. "Prepare to see action at a whole new scale." was the promise before the trailer kicked in.
A man running from one monster runs right up to a second one, who he winks at then watches as it starts the battle. He chips in, but it seems like his dragon pal has things pretty well in hand. He grows a magic armor and deals the killing blow on the enemy monster, only to see a gigantic hydra show up. More dragon riders join the fight. Scalebound.
Next up? Crackdown The game has been reimagined with a fully co-op campaign and all-new multiplayer. The graphics still carry the heavy comic-style inked lines, but feature more realistic looks for buildings and vehicles. The protagonists, essentially, throw and exploding fuel truck at the top of a building. Only on Xbox One.
Phil Spencer took the stage one last time to thank fans once again for making their voices heard. A highlight reel played to summarize what they showed at the conference.
Refresh for the latest as we cover the presentation live...