The one you need
Microsoft catches on quick. At last year's E3, the Xbox One maker's press conference spent a ton of time on things core gamers barely care about, like Kinect and TV snapping. But at E3 2014, Microsoft made a point of focusing their conference on games, games, games. Tons of games. So many GAMES.
With new announcements, updated gameplay demos, and spiffy new trailers, Microsoft positioned the Xbox One as a place to find familiar franchises made new again, as well as fresh, off-the-wall IPs. Missed it? Don't worry--we've got you covered, with a recap of everything Microsoft showed off on the E3 2014 stage. Just try to keep track of all the games.
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare gameplay has drone swarms, severed arms
The Microsoft E3 press briefing opened with a new, less Spacey-centric look at the next Call of Duty, showing off a gameplay snippet of a campaign level. Taking place in a futuristic Korea (its just Blade Runner), Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare looks to be a bigger shift than weve come to expect from the annual iterations. In the demo, we saw the games minimal HUD, with things like the ammo counter being ambiently displayed on the gun model itself.
There was a big focus on the new technology to be seen in the game: Laser rifles, mech suits, swarmy robot bugs, homing grenades, and portable cover were all put to use. Advanced Warfare looks to have more in common with a Halo title than previous Call of Duty games. But, in true Call of Duty fashion, the demo ended with a dramatic scripted moment in which the player characters arm was severed off. Pretty advanced.
Forza Horizon 2 gets a release date
Here it is racing fans! Microsoft showed off its exclusive racing title bound for the Xbox One: Forza Horizon 2. Along with the trailer which gave us an up-close look at the unbelievably realistic visuals. the developers announced that the game will be hitting store shelves on September 30 this year.
Players will be able to drive over 200 cars (including exclusive cars such as the Lamborghini Hurricane), join online clubs with over 1000 fellow racers, and cruise through extreme weather conditions from the dynamic weather simulator. Forza Horizon 2 will also be completely online, enabling you to engage in multiplayer at almost any point in time.
Evolve introduces a new, Cthulhu-esque monster
2K and Turtle Rock showed off new content for Evolve, which will have an exclusive beta and DLC on the Xbox One. In addition to the four new hunters previously shown, a new monster made his debut: a sort of giant angry bipedal squid creature. Think the Kraken meets Octodad.
Unfortunately, we didnt see (or hear) much about the exclusive content, but the beta will likely be a hot ticket before the games October release. As for the DLC, Turtle Rock was responsible for quite a few of Left 4 Deads best DLC (as well as the game itself), so it seems as though Xbox gamers will have the most evolved version of Evolve.
Assassin's Creed Unity shows off massive crowds
Assassins Creed games typically get revealed at Sony conferences, but Microsoft got the big announcement and gameplay demo for this years Assassins Creed Unity. They began by confirming the long-standing rumor that the game will have four-player co-op, then jumped into a live demo showing off how itll work.
For those who were incredulous at the initial reveal trailer (which only showed off environments with no real-time gameplay), Unity appears to be just as impressive when youre actually controlling it. The demo had a mind-bogglingly detailed, large, lively crowd in front of a huge building, which was then stealthily infiltrated by four assassins working in tandem. The demo ended with the players breaking their cover and engaging in some full-on chaotic combat.
Sunset Overdrive gets a slick trailer and gameplay shown off
Tired of the those shooters with modern military weapons and tactics (like taking cover behind wooden crates)? Well, the new trailer shown at the Microsoft press conference for Sunset Overdrive claims to be the answer to all of your woes, showing all of the parkour, rail sliding, and gunplay you can expect from the actual game.
Insomniac's Ted Price took to the stage with a live demo, giving us a taste of the in-game action. In typical Insomniac fashion, you'll get to equip wacky weapons and blast mutated monstrosities that have been transformed by a contaminated energy drink. Expect lots of colorful explosions and insanely strange enemies.
Dead Rising 3 gets cameo-centric DLC, out now
Dead Rising 3 has new DLC. As in, right now! Unlike the previous four chapters, which featured barely-known characters who had cameos in Nick Ramos adventure, the new add-on, "Ultra Dead Rising 3 Super Plus Alpha Championship Edition" will include everyone. Literally. Promising more arcadey action and weapons, while also bumping the co-op from two to four players, the real appeal in this new DLC will be the copious, Marvel vs. Capcom-level amount of fanservice.
Like previous Dead Rising DLC/alternate quests, youll be able to step in the shoes of former zombie-slayers like Frank West and Chuck Greene (as well as Dead Rising 3s Annie). This being Capcoms 30th anniversary, Capcoms throwing almost all of its prominent IPs in there. We saw Ryu, Akuma, and Resident Evil 2s Tofu, while hearing Mega Man music in the background. Its out now, so youre a download away from finding out who else is around!
Dance Central: Spotlight is back to bust a move
Harmonix CCO Alex Rigopulos came out to pay some lip service to Fantasia: Music Evolved, the studios new Kinect rhythm/composing/Disneying game thats been known about for some time. But after doing that, he made a just-as-brief announcement about a new Dance Central game for Xbox One.
Dubbed Dance Central: Spotlight, the fourth entry in the series, will be a game about dancing to pop hits in front of a Kinect camera. Yeah, thats to be expected but very little else is known about the title. There was no demo, and the only glimpse we got was a piece of art next to the games logo onstage, which had a couple of cartoony dancers. Perhaps a new art style?
Fable Legends shows off co-op in new gameplay demo
Up to this point we haven't heard much about the upcoming entry in the Fable franchise from Lionhead, but on the E3 stage, the developer showed the first gameplay footage of Fable Legends. The game lets up to four players join a party of heroes, each taking roles such as long-ranged archers, ice-blasting mages, and shield bearing tanks as you take down hobbs and trolls.
Not only can you play as the heroes--Fable Legends lets you take control of an overwatching villain who can set traps and send enemies to deter cooperative party of heroes. Expect more information on the next Fable in the near future.
Project Spark trailer shows off tons of possibilities, triumphant return of Conker
Yes, Project Spark is still a thing thats happening. Announced back at E3 last year, the extensive time spent in beta has led to some outrageous adventures. Beyond "normal" adventures (we saw a bone dragon being attacked in a desert environment), there were weirder creations like Limbo-esque platformers, RC racers, space shmups, sci-fi first-person shooters, and yes, even board games.
And since you can make anything in Project Spark, that includes previous game franchises. Conker will make his return in some way, shape, or form in Project Spark. But how? Will we be able to drop the ribald squirrel into our own adventures, or will he be included in a fully featured world? Will it be made by Sparks experts at developer Team Dakota, or will Rare free up staff from making Kinect Sports Whatever to create a proper follow-up to the N64 classic? Whatever happens, that fur's gonna look crazy good.
Ori and the Blind Forest is a gorgeous new IP
Ori and the Blind Forest was revealed only through a trailer with no commentary and no live gameplay. It looks to be an artful 2D sidescroller where you play as a diminutive cat/mouse/monkey creature and move through a painterly, Disney-esque world. Almost nothing is known about this title, but it is confirmed to be an Xbox One exclusive.
Also shown in the trailer was a daunting, hulking monster as well as what appeared to be a friendly facsimile of No-Face from Spirited Away. There was no dialogue, but it looks to be a very emotional journey.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection puts four Halos on one Xbox One disc
Developer 343 Industries took to the stage to reveal that the developers will be releasing the entire numbered Halo series on one disk in Halo: The Master Chief Collection. The collection will include Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2, Halo 3, and Halo 4, and will have each game accessible through one single interface.
For those who miss the old days of Halo 1 and Halo 2 multiplayer, the games will run on on their original multiplayer engines, so the online competitions will feel just as they did 10 years ago. Except, Halo 2 is getting the full anniversary treatment, with the updated textures and improved visuals you've seen in the original's remake. Microsoft also announced that The Master Chief Collection will grant purchasers access to the Halo 5: Guardians multiplayer beta later this year. The Master Chief Collection releases on November 11 this holiday.
Inside is the haunting new game from the Limbo developers
Debuting in early 2015 will be Inside, Playdeads next game. The teams long-awaited new release after the critically acclaimed Limbo will be another moody 2D platformer. Featuring another little boy in danger, there seems to be a bit more humanity, as the red-clad boy will occasionally run into groups of adults (albeit creepily detached ones that ignore this child in peril) as he traverses obstacle-filled environments in oppressive industrial areas.
Heres another similarity Inside will share with Limbo: it will make its debut on Xbox. Will the scary environments require the Xbox Ones intense processing power or is Inside enough for Xbox Live Arcade? Well find out soon!
ID@Xbox debuts a ton of exciting indies
Chris Charla took the stage to discuss the ID@Xbox program for independent developers right before showing off a frenetic montage with a metric ton of indie games, both known and unknown. The games were as follows (deep breath): Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime, #IDARB, Plague Inc. Evolved, Massive Chalice, Aztez, Knight Squad, White Night, Earthlock: Festival of Magic, Cuphead, Hyper Light Drifter, Lifeless Planet, Slash Dash, FRU, Mighty No. 9, Grave, Threes, FenixRage, Woolfe, Hellraid, and Below.
Okay, so not much information was given about any title in particular, and most were shown for only a second or two. One of the most striking was Cuphead (shown above), which looks exactly like a Popeye cartoon. Obviously only possible on Xbox One.
Lara Croft returns in Rise of the Tomb Raider
The trailer opened up with a shrink speaking to a hooded, shivering, obviously distraught girl. The next scene cuts to the girl running through the forest, being chased by...what? Holy crap, it's a bear. She jumps over a ravine, pulling out a climber's hooks to slow her fall. Those tools looked familiar. In the next scene, shes in a dark cave, aiming a bow at an unknown (undoubtedly bad) guy before releasing the arrow into his forehead. Now this is looking really familiar.
Just as the trailer ends, the girl pulls back her hood to reveal that she is indeed the infamous archaeologist Lara Croft. The title Rise of the Tomb Raider flashes on the screen, revealing that the sequel to the remake is real and will be coming to the next gen consoles. Hell yes.
Witcher 3: Wild Hunt shows off killer monsters (getting beheaded)
A new section of Witcher 3: Wild Hunt featured new gameplay elements, as Geralt explored an area roughly 10 hours into the campaign called No Mans Land. The hero used his mutant powers to track a mighty griffin, nicking it with an specialized arrow that caused the creature to leave a trackable trail of its blood. Unfortunately, the hero was sidetracked by a group of angry soldiers that he offed in Witcher-like fashion, immolating them with a fire before decapitating the survivors.
After dispatching his enemies, Geralt encountered a maiden of virtue true, answering her query about his intentions with a dialogue choice. Continuing on his journey, he found the griffin at the top of a mountain, getting up close where he could cast fire and wind spells, slash with his magic-imbued sword, and fling more of those fancy arrows at the mythic bird. His reward? A griffins decapitated head hanging off the side of his equine ride as he returned to town.
Phantom Dust shows off surreal combat
Microsoft Studios creative director Ken Lobb came out to announce yet another Xbox One exclusive: a revival of Phantom Dust. All we got was a CG trailer, but its presentation was exciting. We saw a brooding businessman alone on a park bench, who got sucked into an alternate reality where he quickly engaged in fantastical combat with some kind of a witch lady. Spells were cast, magic swords were produced from thin air, fireballs were shot from hands, etc.
Presumably, the game is being developed internally at Microsoft Studios, but theres very little concrete information about the title at the moment. Phantom Dust is well-regarded; Microsoft and Lobb are hoping the announcement will earn them some good will.
The Division looks slick in new gameplay demo
After getting little to no additional information on Ubisoft's The Division since the reveal at E3 2013, one year later the developers took to the stage to show another gameplay demo. This time we got to see a few more gadgets in play, such as a holographic viewer that displays the aftermath of the cataclysmic event that started the apocalypse.
The group of players then move from the subway to the streets to take on a group of NPCs. From there, it was all combat. The players used squad tactics to take down their enemies with various gadgets such as futuristic flash bangs and cluster bomb grenades. Once all of the bad guys were down, the demo ended with the players entering their newly acquired base of operations.
Scalebound is the newest action romp from Platinum Games
Hideki Kamiya and Platinum Games revealed Scalebound, an Xbox One-exclusive. A short-haired sword-wielding hero much like Donte was encircled by a group of angry dragons. While initially flummoxed by the angry creatures , the attitude-infused hero simply tossed on a pair of sweet headphones and was immediately encased in ancient dragon-like armor. You might say he became Scale-bound!
Ahem. After getting appropriately attired for combat against fire-breathing lizards, Scalebounds hero hopped atop a smaller flying lizard as he flew towards an evolved multi-headed dragon. Is it a DmC-style action game? A Panzer Dragoon-style shooter? Heck, Platinum Games has shown their experience in almost all things action-related, so it should be interesting to see their unique take on this fantasy world albeit one where Beats by Dre exist.
Crackdown is back
In other oh yeah, that makes perfect sense announcements that no one saw coming, David Jones took the stage to introduce a CG trailer for a new Crackdown game. Displaying the series trademark cartoony art style and hammy announcer, we got some patently over-the-top footage of multiple agents cooperatively enacting utter carnage on the futuristic cityscape, all in service of taking out a single gang leader.
After the trailer concluded, Phil Spencer confirmed that the new title, currently called only Crackdown, will be handled by a studio headed up by David Jones and the creators of the original Crackdown. Agent.
That's it for Microsoft's press conference this year--but we'll be sure to give you more updates from the show floor. Until then, tell us in the comments which Xbox One game has you most excited!