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Microsoft, early in their console career, was a running joke when it came to E3 conferences. Their presentations tended to seem out of place, and they didn’t capitalize on all the exciting reasons there were to be an Xbox owner. Whether it was showing demos of XBox 360 Kinect games people didn’t care about, focusing on the Xbox One’s TV powers nobody asked for, or having a literal three-ring circus on stage, Microsoft just did it all wrong. Recent history suggests a change of the tide as they’ve started hitting on all the right notes. Their conference last week was one of its best.
Microsoft finally got it in its head that E3 is a conference about video games and said “fine. You want games? We got games!” The company brought in a rash of big name titles and finally showed some focus in the indie area. At its current state, the Xbox One seems positioned for both the short-term AND the long haul. What follows now, is some of the good, bad, and “holy shit” moments from their conference.
The Good: Games. Games. Games. New IPs? Check. I have no idea what Recore is about but I know I want to play it. Old faithfuls? Check. Gears of War re-master is out in August, Halo 5 in September, with Forza 6 following closely behind. AAA titles this holiday season? Rise of the Tomb Raider looks amazing and will definitely be a system seller. What I was most impressed with though, were the indie titles.
Ashen gave me a Shadow of the Colossus/Ico feel. Anybody that’s played either of the latter titles knows that’s a very good thing. Tashaun is most excited about Cuphead, which almost certainly looks the part of a well-crafted game but I’m not sure if I’m completely convinced. What I do know is, I’ll likely be playing it whenever it’s released to find out for myself. That means something.
The wide variety of genres on display for Microsoft could not be ignored. In the past, they’ve either leaned far too heavy on their 1st party titles, or were heavily dependent on whatever version of Call of Duty was set for release to carry their show. Sony, even though some believe they lack a marquee system seller, has made a name for themselves by offering unique gameplay experiences and titles that couldn’t be played anywhere else. It’s good to see Microsoft has taken notice and decided to branch out a bit.
The Bad: Apparently “MoBA, (mutliplayer online battle arenas)” is a thing. Microsoft seeks to capitalize off of said thing with their MoBA/Free to play shooter, Gigantic. Even if I wanted to like the game, I can’t, because anything with the words “free-to-play” attached to it is a red flag in my mind.
Tashaun told me Plants vs. Zombies was also a thing…but it’s a thing I don’t understand. To me, it didn’t really need to be on stage (especially since it showed up during EA’s presser) but whatever. Also, Fable Legends. I haven’t the slightest idea how long the game has been in development but I feel like this game gets announced at every conference without actually being released. Since it’s also a “free-to-play” game, I’ve canceled that, too.
Free-to-play games suck. Don’t support them.
The “Holy Shit” Moment: Microsoft’s Holo-lens and mods for Fallout 4. As the resident skeptic, I already know the Holo-lens isn’t going to do half of the shit it did on stage. Still, I was “leaning forward into my computer screen” impressed with what it appeared it could do. Not that I’d ever purchase one, but it sure did look nice.
Fallout 4, however, is amazing. Everything about it is amazing. What should probably get more publicity, however, is Fallout 4 is going to get PC mods. That’s HUGE. No idea how Bethesda plans on pulling this off, but if there’s some way they can make this transition seamless and easily replicable, a revolution might be coming. One of the most advantageous reasons to own a game on PC is the ability to craft mods for the game to extend its longevity. If Bethesda unlocked the key of bringing this feature to consoles, I wouldn’t be surprised if more developers tried to use this to their advantage. And if it can work? Oh boy…
Overall, I thought M$ had a really strong showing and I look forward to being an Xbox One owner at the end of the year.