It’s no doubt we had a strong E3 this year. While Microsoft and Sony both made strong showings, the former had the edge. This year, Microsoft focused on games, a departure from past years where making the Xbox One the sun around which your living room revolved was the goal.
It seems that console exclusives have fallen by the wayside in recent years with developers releasing games on all platforms while Sony and Microsoft throw bags of cash at developers for exclusive content and timed releases. So naturally, it was a bit surprising that there were a decent number of exclusive games at Microsoft’s press briefing. There’s almost way too many games to talk about.
No one should be shocked that Halo 5 had a major presence at E3 this year. What really hit home with Halo was the new game mode Warzone, pitting two teams of 12 players against each other and AI opponents. Up until this point, Halo games have only had 8 on 8 big team battle matches. Warzone is reminiscent of the Firefight mode, which was absent from Halo 4. It’s really good to see that 343 Industries is listening to players.
We also got a glimpse at Halo 5’s single-player mode, and I’m sure fans of Halo 3: ODST will be happy to know that Buck (voiced by Nathan Fillion) is back.
The Coalition finally made their plans for Gears of War known to the public. Not only were gamers treated to gameplay footage from Gears of War 4, they also announced that Gears of War: The Ultimate Edition is coming out in August. The Ultimate edition is a remake of the first Gears of War game and is designed to take full advantage of the Xbox One’s hardware. I’ve had a chance to play the beta and so far, it’s everything you loved about the first Gears of War but with smoother gameplay and fewer glitches.
Forza 6 also reared its head at E3. While I’ve loved the series so far, I thought that the E3 showing was a bit weak. Sure, Henry Ford III made an appearance with Turn 10’s studio head and the brand new 2016 Ford GT, but we didn’t see much of the game itself aside from a brief trailer. There’s also disappointing news for Top Gear fans: while James May and Richard Hammond will be in the game, you can forget about Jeremy Clarkson, who was sacked from Top Gear.
Also, if you thought that Microsoft was going to keep rehashing the same IPs over and over again, you’ll be happy to know that there is a new franchise called Recore. Little is known about Recore, except that the game is the brainchild of the creators of Metroid and Megaman. Let’s hope they keep the SJWs from tampering with this game (I’m looking at you, Mighty No. 9).
Finally, if you were thinking that Microsoft had forgotten about Rare, they debuted a new online pirate game for Xbox One and PC called Sea of Thieves, out next year. Based on the footage shown, it looks like players will engage in sea battles and explore desert islands. If you’re looking to get your Rare fix a bit sooner, you’ll be happy to know that Rare is releasing a collection of over 30 of their classic games, including Conker’s Bad Fur Day, Banjo Kazooie, Battletoads and Jet Force Gemini.
New Hardware And Improvements
In the past, Microsoft has tried to make sure that the Xbox stays one step ahead of the competition. Perhaps the biggest news to come out of E3 is the fact that the Xbox One is now backwards compatible with Xbox 360 games. This feature has been consistently at the top of gamers’ wish lists since the start of the new console generation. It’s also a feature that the PS4 is lacking.
Time and time again, many in the industry have written off backwards compatibility as an aging fad that died with the PS2, yet it’s still in demand. For many gamers, the ability to play old games is sort of like a backup plan if your old console ever dies, and if you get the urge to play old games on your shiny new system, now you can. Currently, the feature is only available to Xbox Preview members, but it is expected to become available to the rest of the public in the fall.
If you want to see something that could potentially change the shape of gaming, look no further than the Microsoft Hololens. The device is designed to work with Microsoft devices, not just Xbox. Gamers were treated to a live tech demo on stage where a Microsoft employee used the device to navigate through the world of Minecraft.
Sure, the demo looked neat and at least we know the tech has possibilities, but the Hololens is barely in it’s infancy. Those who have tried the lens currently report that the field of view is limited and makes playing games a pain. Will the Hololens be a repeat of the Kinect debacle? I want to believe that the Hololens could revolutionize everything, but until I get to try it out for myself, I can’t give you the definitive verdict.
All that being said, though, I believe that Microsoft knocked this year’s E3 out of thepark. They may have fumbled in the past, but Microsoft has proven that the Xbox will continue to be a strong competitor in the console wars.