E3: Microsoft Press Conference News Round-Up

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By: Matthew Goodman

Yesterday at E3 at the Los Angeles Convention Center, Microsoft announced a boatload of new content and two new consoles for the Xbox One and PC. There were announcements of new consoles and controllers, but it’s the games that stole the show. Microsoft and their developing partners announced a whopping seven exclusive titles that will be rolling out in the next year or so. Without further ado, let’s get started.

NEW CONSOLES

Microsoft began the conference with Xbox CEO Phil Spencer introducing a brand new Xbox One S that will be available this August. This new console is 40% smaller than the original Xbox One; has a high dynamic range (HDR); 2TB storage; and features 4K Ultra HD for the most realistic video presentation possible. You can pre-order the Xbox One S here.

Spencer also announced ‘the most powerful console ever’ with Project Scorpio. There was a video presentation of developers discussing the potential of this new console, revealing that it will run at a performance speed of six teraflops; support VR gaming; have improved power and speed; and support 4K gaming. It will be released late next year. In the meantime, check out the announcement video below.

NEW CONTROLLERS

Microsoft announced the Xbox Design Lab, a brand-new way to customize your controller to your liking. You can choose from a variety of colors and add them to the body; bumpers; triggers; D-pad; thumbsticks; and AXBY buttons. You can also add your own personal etching to the controller.

The Xbox One S will introduce a new controller with a more enhanced design and textured grip. There is also revolutionary new Bluetooth technology that will allow the player to play their games on any Windows 10 PC, laptop or phone.

Lastly, a Gears of War 4 exclusive limited controller was announced at the event. Take a look at this reveal.

NEW SOCIAL FEATURES

Microsoft introduced their Director of Program Development Mike Ybarra to announce three all-new social features for Xbox Live: Clubs, Looking for Group and Arena. These features are used to connect people of similar interests and improve the multiplayer experience.

CLUBS

The first new social feature announced was Clubs, a new feature designed to create communities to meet people who have similar gaming interests to you to improve the social gaming experience.

LOOKING FOR GROUP

The new group feature is ‘the simplest way to find similar players with a shared goal in mind’. If you are trying to complete a quest and you need co-op support from players who want to finish the same quest, the new Looking for Group feature will help you find those players.

ARENA

The new Arena tournament feature puts an emphasis on competitive gaming to easily ‘discover, register and compete all in one place’. Microsoft announced that EA will be bringing games to the Arena, beginning with FIFA later this year.

GEARS OF WAR 4

Microsoft kicked off its Gears of War presentation with a whopping seven minutes of single-player gameplay in the fourth installment of the popular third-person franchise. Gears of War 4 is the first game in the franchise developed by someone other than Epic Games. Development company The Consortium and publisher Microsoft Studios worked together to bring the latest Gears to life. Take a look at the gameplay below.

If this footage is any indication, this game will spectacular. Gears of War 4 has an immersive campaign that you can dive into as a lone wolf, or go the co-op route and go into battle with your friends. The developers introduced us to “Horde 3.0”, promising a bigger and bloodier survival experience.

I had a chance to play the Gears of War 4 multiplayer beta back in April. The beta had two modes (Team Deathmatch and Dodgeball) and three maps to experiment on. Even as a beta, this was one of the most fluid games I’ve ever played. The improved cover system is seamless and the physics are superb. This installment is the first in the series to have multiplayer running at 60FPS. I look forward to seeing some of you on the battlefield this fall.

Gears of War 4 will be released on October 11th, 2016 for the Xbox One and PC.

HALO WARS 2

Microsoft, 343 Industries and Creative Assembly join forces to deliver Halo Wars 2, a sequel to the 2009 real-time strategy game taking place in the Halo universe. While the campaign has been kept under-wraps, it is confirmed that this story is a direct continuation of its predecessor.

After the huge success of Halo: The Masterchief Collection and Halo 5: Guardians, 343i has gone above and beyond with their game support post-release. Since it’s release, there have been over five huge multiplayer updates to Halo 5, adding new maps, weapons, game types, Warzone and Forge. There is also the much anticipated Firefight game mode arriving late June. Every bit of DLC was not only packed with content, it was all free! It’s nice to have a company that listens to the suggestions of their gamers, and I have no doubt that 343i being apart of the creative team of Halo Wars will excite hardcore fans like myself.

Microsoft unveiled a brand new trailer for Halo Wars during their press conference at E3. You can watch the trailer down below, but that’s not all you can do. From now until the 20th of June, you can download and play the Halo Wars 2 on your Xbox One or PC.

Five multiplayer modes will be featured in Halo Wars 2, including Skirmish, Strongholds, Domination, Deathmatch and Blitz. I hope they include the requisition point system that was introduced in Halo 5 which gives you weapons, vehicles and boosts in random packs you earn from playing.

Halo Wars 2 will be released on February 21, 2017 for the Xbox One and PC.

FORZA HORIZON 3

Microsoft unveiled its annual racing game in the Forza series today, and it’s taking us to the outback. Forza Horizon 3 takes place in Australia, featuring a number of notable locations and vehicles. The presentation today gave us a look at a Lamborghini and BMW racing through the streets and jungles of Australia.

The game looks absolutely beautiful and the presentation was flawless. Forza is another example of a game with developers who deliver incredible content. The developers at Playground Games have done an excellent job supporting the previous games in the Forza franchise, and I expect no less from this one. Take a look below at the trailer that was presented at E3.

Forza Horizon 3 will be released on September 27th, 2016 for the Xbox One and PC.

RECORE

When Microsoft presented a short teaser for ReCore at last year’s E3, audiences were swooned by footage of a heroine and her robot dog. Nobody knew what it was, what it would be, or what it was about, but people wanted to play it. Here we are a year later, and ReCore now has some gameplay and character introductions. Take a look at it in the trailer below!

ReCore was developed by Comcept and Armature Studio, published by Microsoft, and produced by Keiji Inafune, the creator of Mega Man.

ReCore will be released on September 18th, 2016 for the Xbox One and PC.

STATE OF DECAY 2

A sequel open-world zombie apocalypse game State of Decay from Undead Labs was announced at today’s event. This horror sequel adds the element of co-op to its campaign, something that was lacking in the first installment. Not much was shown apart from some gruesome zombie killings, so maybe we’ll get a better look later in the week. In the meantime, check out the trailer below.

State of Decay 2 will be released sometime in 2017 for the Xbox One and PC.

DEAD RISING 4

The fourth installment in the hilariously entertaining zombie franchise Dead Rising was announced at the event with a Christmas-themed trailer that shows the return of Frank West from the original Dead Rising video game on the Xbox 360.

This may be the biggest Dead Rising yet. Not only does there appear to be a mall you can travel to, but a playground and a highway as well. There are also glimpses of Frank plowing through zombies with a motorcycle and a Christmas-themed car. He also Instagram’s his favorite kills. And what was up with the fire-breathing dinosaur? So many questions I can’t wait to be answered in my favorite zombie video game franchise.

Dead Rising 4 will be released this holiday season for the Xbox One and PC.

SEA OF THIEVES

Like ReCore, Sea of Thieves was a huge hit at last year’s E3. The footage was scarce at the time, but the wait was clearly worth it for this swashbuckling pirate adventure. The E3 gameplay reveal shows a bunch of different players battling each other in a round of intense naval warfare. The game looks gorgeous and the co-op aspect is a big selling point. If the game ends up being like this demo, Microsoft might have a new franchise on their hands. Check out the trailer below.

Sea of Thieves will be released sometime this year for the Xbox One and PC.

For more news on E3, be sure to check out my coverage throughout the week on The Nerd Machine.


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