Microsoft at E3: 8 Things to Know
1. Xbox One S Announced Although images leaked just prior to the show, Microsoft officially revealed its newly-designed Xbox One S to open the conference. Microsoft boasted the new system was 40% smaller, offered up to a 2TB hard drive, and supported 4K resolution. They also showed off a slightly redesigned controller and a $299 price point for an August release. The new system itself is gorgeous and worth a look.
2. Project Scorpio In addition to Xbox One S, Microsoft also announced Project Scopio—another redesigned Xbox One that releases sometime in 2017, supports 4K and VR, and features six teraflops of computing (full-disclosure, I have no idea what a teraflop is, but I’m assuming six of them is a good thing). A redesigned system is neat, but Microsoft needs to be careful here. They will be releasing two redesigned Xbox One’s close together and this could seriously confuse consumers. Heck, I follow the world of video games religiously and I’m a little confused by the dual-announcement. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out for Microsoft.
3. Buy it Once, Play it Anywhere.
Microsoft announced the Play Anywhere Cross-Buy program. When you buy a game for Xbox One, you’ll automatically get the PC version (and vice versa) free. Saves and achievements also carryover to each version of the game. It’s an interesting strategy and further proof that Microsoft intends to blur the lines between consoles and PC. It will be interesting to see how effective this program is and how it affects console gaming in the future.
4. Gears of War 4 Footage Gears of War, one of the 360s best franchises, is getting a fifth entry. Microsoft showed off some nice cover-based shooting alongside amazing voice actress Laura Bailey. Due for release in October 2016, Gears of War is the system seller Microsoft needs. It will be one to watch for Xbox One gamers.
5. Final Fantasy XV is also coming to Xbox One Most of what we’ve seen from “Final Fantasy XV” has come from Sony and featured on a Sony system. Microsoft reminded us that the game is also coming to Xbox One with a beautiful demo from Square Enix. Featuring a battle called the Trial of Titan, the demo showed off how the party works together to defeat a giant boss. It was fun little preview prior to the game’s September release.
6. Inside from the makers of Limbo Limbo was a huge indie success a few years ago, and it’s now getting a follow-up, titled Inside, though it doesn’t appear to be a direct sequel. I got to see some gameplay footage that Kotaku posted and this game looks amazing. The style and gameplay seem to be very similar to Limbo, but that’s not a bad thing. This game releases in late June and could be a game of the year contender. Keep an eye on it.
7. Dead Rising 4 Revealed Dead Rising has always been a unique and fun experience, and Microsoft got the official reveal of Dead Rising 4. The trailer looks just as ridiculous and over the top as you’d expect from the series. No release date announced, but still worth noting.
8. Sea of Thieves Gameplay Reveal
Sea of Thieves also got a short gameplay demo that was impressive to watch. A co-operative based game where players work together on pirate ships to plunder and pillage, the game features a cartoony, yet beautiful aesthetic. Just enough of this game was revealed to intrigue me and the video is worth your time.
Bonus: What is going on in We Happy Few?
I had never heard of this game prior to watching the Microsoft conference, but the trailer showed off is one of the trippier things I’ve seen in a while. Apparently set in an alternate 1960s London, the trailer involves several drug-induced hallucinations that apparently hide the truth of the world. After seeing this trailer, it definitely has my attention.
Sony at E3: 8 Things to Know
1. Playstation VR to release October 13, 2017 As expected, Sony concentrated heavily on Playstation VR and revealed several exclusive titles, including Farpoint, Star Wars Battlefront X-Wing VR Mission, Batman Arkham VR, and Final Fantasy XV VR Experience. Sony also announced they expected 50 titles to be released for Playstation VR before the end of the year. Playstation VR, while somewhat gimmicky, has the potential to revolutionize console gaming. It should make for an exciting fall.
2. New God of War Revealed Sony opened its show with the reveal of the next God of War apparently set in Norse mythology. This was rumored a few weeks ago, but it was still a welcome sight. The demo featured a Kratos-esqe viking warrior escorting a boy through the woods. The warrior fought several larger-than-life figures in classic God of War fashion. The new setting and protagonist should be a welcome change to an otherwise tired formula.
3. The Last Guardian Gets Release Date The Last Guardian is coming on October 26. The game has been in development since 2007 and we’ve not heard much about it recently. I didn’t see anything particularly noteworthy in the trailer, but it’s a big surprise for the game to get a fall release. I was expecting 2017. The game has been in development so long that it’s hard to believe it could ever live up to the hype. I guess we will find out this fall though.
4. First Substantial Look at Detroit: Become Human Quantic Dream, the team behind Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls, showed off the first real in-game footage of its new futuristic title. Apparently taking place in a world where lifelike androids live among us, the gameplay seems to follow similar beats as its predecessors, concentrating on choice and consequences. If you are a fan of Quantic Dream’s other titles, you’ll want to keep an eye on this one.
5. Resident Evil 7 This one was a surprise. Resident Evil 7 is coming in January 2017 and will apparently be playable, from start to finish, on Playstation VR. This is one of the few reveals that didn’t get leaked prior to the show and the crowd got really excited when the Resident Evil logo flashed. Not much of any story was revealed, but the trailer had a much scarier vibe than prior entries in the series. Has Resident Evil returned to its roots?
6. Crash Banidcoot to return to Playstation Although no actual game footage was shown, Sony announced that it’s original mascot, Crash Bandicoot, was returning and the first three games were being remastered for PS4.
7. Insomniac Making Spider-Man Game for PS4 Insomniac, the studio behind the Ratchet & Clank and Resistance series, is working on a new Spider-Man game. The trailer was very nice with a few genuine “wow” moments. I’m sure our editor-in-chief Aaron Collier is particularly excited about this one.
8. Hideo Kojima Reveals Death Standing, Starring Norman Reedus We knew Hideo Kojima of “Metal Gear Solid” fame was working on a new title, but we didn’t expect Norman Reedus to be involved (the former star of the now defunct Silent Hills). The trailer was short and heavy on the symbolism. My guess is that this game involves some form of purgatory, but it’s really too soon to say for sure. Expect more info in the coming months.