Fans wondering what the Xbox One price and games lineup will be on launch day got some answers during Microsoft's E3 2013 press conference today. A total of 15 games were teased during the E3 2013 press conference, with previews ranging from the extended Metal Gear Solid 5 gameplay video that opened the show down to the teaser for an unnamed Black Tusk project that showed some dude scaling a skyscraper. Aside from two audio failures during the Crimson Dragon and Battlefield 4 demos the Xbox One E3 2013 press conference went fairly smoothly. Was it smooth enough to wash away the bitter taste many fans are feeling after the news broke about the used-games fees and limited ownership of store-bought IPs? Only time will tell. One thing is certain, however, fans got their fill of Xbox One price and games info during the Microsoft E3 2013 press conference.
Xbox One E3 2013: A Solid Opening
You know a game has good buzz when the studio logo gets a huge applause break during your press conference. The first of the 15 Xbox One games revealed during the E3 2013 event was the Konami classic, Metal Gear Solid. Metal Gear Solid 5: Phantom Pain has been an open secret for some time now, but that didn't do much to dampen the enthusiasm of the assembled gaming reporters, fans and industry types when this extended gameplay trailer started up:
I have to admit, it was strange seeing the first Xbox One game at the Microsoft E3 2013 press conference be a title I associate with PlayStation, but that didn't stop my naughty parts from tingling when I watched Snake slip into a pickup truck to evade some guards and ride a horse open-world style. Graphically, Metal Gear Solid 5: Phantom Pain is dressed to impress, and it set the gamer-first tone Microsoft wanted for the event.
Xbox One E3 2013: A New 360 Announced Alongside Free Games For Gold Members And A Few Final Titles, Too
After the grit and grizzliness of the MGS:5 trailer, everyone's favorite TV enthusiast Yusuf Mehdi came out to remind everyone the Xbox 360 still exists. A redesigned 360 console, modeled to look like the Xbox One, is hitting stores this summer. Whoopee. No offense Microsoft, but I don't think too many people want to rush out and buy a lookalike for the Xbox One. No price was announced, nor any hardware features, but the redesigned 360 does look kinda cool.
Re-released last-gen consoles aside, Mehdi did make one announcement that managed to get everyone's attention even though it wasn't an Xbox One game. Xbox Live Gold will be launching (see: ripping off) a program similar to PSN and start giving members access to free games. According to Mehdi, starting in July Xbox LIVE Gold Members will get to download two free titles every month. Mehdi highlighted Assassin's Creed II and Halo 3 as two of the titles that will be available to users this summer.
After the Xbox LIVE news, the Xbox One games reveal continued with another NOT Xbox One title: World of Tanks. Victor Kisly of battlegames.net introduced his FTP tank masterpiece to the crowd, explaining that 15-on-15 tank combat was coming exclusively to the Xbox 360. World of Tanks currently supports millions of players on PCs worldwide, but this is its first appearance on any console.
"The Xbox 360 and the 48 million member Xbox LIVE community were a perfect match for World of Tanks," Kisly said at the Microsoft E3 2013 press conference.
Another Xbox 360 exclusive, Max: The Curse of Brotherhood followed the WoT announcement. A 2D platformer from Danish studio Press Play. Not much was announced outside of the trailer itself (other than the fact Danes like bikes and pickled herring, but we already knew that):
The final NOT Xbox One game announced in the 360 portion of the Microsoft E3 2013 press conference was the highly anticipated Dark Souls 2. Following a brief trailer fans were given a March 2014 release date, something that is also visible on the enormous banner hanging outside the L.A. Convention Center right now.
Xbox One E3 2013: Launch Title Ryse Slashing Expectations
Finally! The Xbox One E3 games reveal was a little light on the Xbox One games to start, but that changed once Phil Spencer took the stage to proclaim that there are "more Xbox titles in development than at any time in company history." We then got an extended look at Ryse: Son of Rome and it gave us our first true look at Xbox One games in action.
This trailer boasts impressive graphics and some dynamic gameplay elements. Cevat Yerli, of Crytek (the studio behind Ryse), took the stage after the trailer and described how the Xbox One game will allow players to "fight as a warrior, command as a leader" and both were on display. The game's hero, Marius Titus, engages in a good bit of throat slashery before organizing the scattered Roman troops into an archery-busting phalanx. The combat looked similar to the Batman: Arkham series, with smash-button combos leading into prompts; however, no Kinect 2.0 gameplay was on display.
Previous trailers touted this feature, so it will be interesting to see if the "X" and "B" prompts will be replaced with some sophisticated hand motions instead.
Xbox One E3 2013: 30 Seconds Of Killer Instinct 3 On Xbox One!
After a lengthy presentation on Ryse: Son of Rome the Xbox One games train rolled on with MOTHERF--KIN' KILLER INSTINCT 3!!! ...for like thirty seconds. Now, not to brag or anything (ok, fine, I'm bragging a little) I called this whole Killer Instinct thing last week. And it got a HUGE reaction from the crowd, and then they moved on without saying a word about it. Which seemed odd, until later in the presentation when some Killer Instinct Xbox One gameplay happened LIVE:
The Killer Instinct Xbox One gameplay came as part of the presentation on Xbox Smartglass, a feature that I don't think is generating the kind of buzz Microsoft is hoping it would. During the Killer Instinct Xbox One gameplay demo, though, it was revealed that a tournament edition fight stick will be coming out for the Xbox One. A big fat red joystick was visible from just about everywhere in the Galen Center, bringing a touch of nostalgia to a very future-focused Xbox one event.
Xbox One E3 2013: Sunset Overdrive And Forza 5 Love Hump The Cloud
The next two titles in the big Xbox One games reveal today were big on the cloud. Or is it Cloud? Because the reverence Microsoft's 300k server-strong cloud computing strategy received today seemed to indicate it's pronounced Cloud with a capital "C."
The first of the two, Insomniac's open-world shooter Sunset Overdrive didn't do a whole lot for me, honestly. In my opinion, if you didn't have gameplay footage for the Xbox One then you didn't need to show up. The quirky, cartoony shooter is supposed to be a "living world" when you're not online, but I'll believe that when I play/see it.
The second Cloud-bowing title had a million-dollar prop to go with it. Forza 5 featured some gorgeous footage of the McLaren P1, a $1.5 million car that is a legend among gearheads. And then one rose out of the stage and then just sat there like a useless turd. I mean, for $1.5 million you'd think the horn would play "La Cucaracha" or something. I digress.
Back to what actually matters, the Xbox One game info. The big feature in Forza 5 is a new, cloud-dependent AI feature that learns human behavior instead of using sophisticated computer racers. So your drive style will be understood by Forza 5 and then your "drivatar" will be constantly racing others even when you're not online. And it will earn you achievements/points/rewards even when you're not playing. The Forza 5 presentation concluded with a gameplay footage trailer that looked STUNNING at 60 FPS.
Xbox One E3 2013: M$ Totally Hearts Indies
Phil Harrison came out next to remind everyone that, despite being a gigantic, NSA-supporting omnicorp Microsoft also supports the little guy. And by little guy, we mean little indie developer. After boasting about $1 billion in indie game sales, Harrison introduced us to some of the indie titles that are in development for Xbox One.
The so-big-how-is-it-still-indie sensation Minecraft was teased as an upcoming Xbox One game. For more on Minecraft Xbox One you can read iDigitalTimes own Scott Craft's report on the game.
Remedy Games' Sam Lake was out next to talk about the TV show/video game hybrid Quantum Break. A brief trailer showed the time-stopping system at work in a plot-related cut scene. The show will inform the game and vice versa, said Lake, who called the upcoming title a "new type of storytelling."
A very brief video for Deadly Premonition creator Swery65's new episodic murder mystery, D4, played next. The cell-shading effects looked reminiscent of Telltale's popular Walking Dead game, but given the beloved cult status of Deadly Premonition, D4 could be a breakout indie hit for the Xbox One.
Xbox One E3 2013: Project Spark Says If You Build It, They Will Play
Microsoft Studios exec Dave McCarthy came out after the indie love fest to introduce us to Project Spark. A Kinect-enabled, voice-control-assisted level editor, Project Spark looks to give Xbox One owners the chance to make a variety of games at home for everyone on Xbox LIVE to play. McCarthy demoed a simple mountain village creation (complete with goblin attack) that culminated in turning a pet rock into a gigantic rock mech. According to McCarthy, "everything has a brain" that can be programmed to react according to your desires. And while the demo level he created on stage looked impressive, it paled in comparison to the variety and game designing potential seen in a montage of community created games for Project Spark
I think Project Spark represented a potential future when it comes to next gen gaming. Instead of giving players great titles to play, we get instead the tools to make our own games. While this level-editing concept isn't unique to Xbox One, the enhanced hardware capabilities and cloud-assisted processing power could lead to some exciting titles coming from the minds of gamers like you and me.
Half-Life 3, anyone?
Xbox One E3 2013: Crimson Dragon First Major Fail
I'm sure a lot of good, decent people worked very hard on Crimson Dragon, a video-gamey looking video game with fighting dragons. Too bad all we'll remember is this:
Xbox One E3 2013: Dead Rising 3 Filling Next-Gen Zombie Game Quota
After we all had a laugh over the big audio fail, the Xbox One game reveal took a turn into the obligatory zombie game neighborhood. I'll admit, it's a pretty crowded genre. But it's a fun one, too, and the extended look we got of Capcom's Dead Rising 3 was everything fans of the series love with maybe a little less campiness and more of a real gritty edge.
Like previous installments of the franchise, Dead Rising 3 is all about overwhelming amounts of zombies. The protagonist, Nick, looks like your regular mechanic caught in an apocalypse full of buzzsaws, sledgehammers and assault rifles. Weapons crafting is back, and it seems to run on a seamless pick-it-up-and-slap-it-together system as opposed to the mandatory workbench crafting in the first two games. But a buzzsaw attached to a sledgehammer did all the things you'd want it to do in a next-gen mob of zombies.
There's also an enhanced driving aspect to the game, since there will apparently be a lot of "exploration and scavenging for materials," according to Capcom's Josh Bridge. It will also use Smartglass for support features, such as an artillery strike. How a mechanic in a post-apocalyptic zombie wasteland has access to artillery strikes wasn't addressed, because I guess we're not supposed to care about the "why?" when we get to drop bombs on zombies.
One noticeable difference were the lack of PP points on the HUD during the gameplay segment. Dead Rising fans know that those points are the key to levelling up, so perhaps the game is handling experience in a more subtle way than the traditional gigantic floating yellow numbers.
Also, the Dead Rising 3 release date was listed as "holiday 2013" but a DLC perk on Xbox One's Day One launch package indicates the possibility it could be ready as soon as the Xbox One is available for sale.
Xbox One E3 2013: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt On Track To Legendary Status
Cd Projekt's The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was up next and it delivered one of the most exciting trailers of the entire Microsoft E3 2013 press conference. As far as Xbox One games go, this looks to be the most ambitious of the first round of releases.
"There are easily over 100 hours of gameplay," said John Mamais of Cd Projekt Red during the Microsoft E3 2013 press conference. He pointed to "non-linear quests" as the driving force behind the open-world gameplay. But don't expect to be fetching reagents left and right. According to Cd Projekt Red, there are "no Fed Ex quests" in The Witcher 3: Wild hunt.
But there will probably be some boobies.
Xbox One E3 2013: Frostbite 3.0 Gets Chilly Presentation
As far as Xbox One games go, Battlefield 4 represents the kind of balls out graphics and dudebro FPS play that's come to define a lot of online multiplayer. So, anticipation was high when Patrick Soderlund tried to introduce the game, only to be thwarted by yet another audio fail.
The game eventually worked, and looked gorgeous running at 60 FPS. As far as big news, beyond the game looking amazing and having hyper-realistic smoke physics, it was announced that an exclusive map pack DLC would be coming to Xbox One when the game launches this holiday season.
Xbox One E3 2013: Halo 5 Is Coming in 2014
After the Battlefield 4 presentation, the Xbox One games reveal teased two smaller IPs. A Rogue-like adventure game called Below, and an unnamed game from Black Tusk studios. Their placement in the line-up seemed odd since Phil Spencer covered small titles earlier, but then a mysterious video made it clear why there was an out-of-place buffer after the Battlefield 4 presentation.
The trailer says it all, really. Master Chief is back, he's looking for some big, spectacular space sh-t and we'll get a chance to try 343 industries next-gen Halo game in 2014. As spokeswoman Bonnie Ross said "combat will evolve."
Moving on ...
Xbox One E3 2013: And The Xbox One Price Is ...
The Halo 5 teaser was clearly the sugar to help the harsh-taste of the price tag go down. After everyone got a glimpse at THE game we've been dreaming about since we heard of Xbox One, they came out with the price. And it's a little steep, maybe, depending on what your expectations are.
Xbox One will retail for $499 when it launches in November.
A "Day One" edition is available for reservations right now. Microsoft didn't go into further details, like the rumors of cable-company subsidized versions or the cost of Xbox LIVE. It was basically just "Hey, btw, this is gonna cost $499 in November. Got it? Good. Let's wrap this up."
After the quick Xbox One price reveal, the focus shifted back to Xbox one games. The Microsoft E3 2013 press conference closed with an extended look at Respawn Entertainment's mech v. man shooter, Titanfall.
The gameplay looked incredibly balanced, since you'd just assume that mechs would crush soldiers everytime. But enhanced mobility, including parkour-esque wall running and a rocket-boot double jump move, make evading the hulking robots a bit more manageable. The action was a bit frenzied at times, and the HUD was a little Call of Duty-ish, but Titanfall looks like a compelling multiplayer shoot 'em up experience. Hopefully the single-player experience matches the team-based combat.
It also has ejector seats. Yes.
Titanfall is scheduled for release in Spring of 2014, making it definitely NOT a launch title.
And then the lights came on, and everyone shuffled out muttering about games and costs and the audio gaffes. The used games controversy didn't seem to be on anyone's mind, but no doubt it will resurface again and again. Sony's press conference this evening could lessen the sting for Microsoft if they go down a similar road, but the PS4 could also hamstring the Xbox One with a much lower price and the promise of unlimited used games for all.
LET THE CONSOLE WARS BEGIN!!!