With countless game announcements, it is easy to see why gamers all around the world have the week of Electronic Entertainment Expo or E3 marked on their calendars. This yearly celebration of the best form of entertainment is always preceded by massive conferences by Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, as well as some of the biggest game publishers, like Square Enix and Ubisoft. Here are the highlights from Microsoft’s conference that went down on the 16th of June 2015 at 12am (+8GMT).
Halo 5 Guardians
Microsoft kicked off their presser with a demo from the latest installment to the iconic Halo series. From the demo, we learned that we will play not only as Master Chief but also as Spartan Locke, the ability to play with friends will also be in the forefront of the gaming experience with “seamless drop-in, drop-out cooperative play”. A new multiplayer mode, Warzone will also be available with Microsoft hyping it as “player vs everything”, with AI opponents and environments four times the size of any previous Halo map.
From Mega Man creator Keiji Inafune and the maker of Metroid Prime, from the looks of the trailer and the name, the core of these machines will play a vital role in the gameplay experience.
Xbox One Backwards compatibility
Perhaps the biggest news Microsoft announced during the presser, and arguably something that should have been available at release. With over a hundred Xbox 360 titles available, digitally purchased games will start showing up in your game library. While retail discs for Xbox 360 will not work natively with the console, the discs will initiate a download an Xbox- One compatible version of the game. The games will run as it does on Xbox 360 with all the functionality of the Xbox One console. An initial set of backward compatible games is already available to Xbox Preview members.
Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare 2
A teaser to the sequel of the surprisingly good Plants vs Zombies third person shooter, Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare 2 was revealed by EA.
Forza Motorsport 6
It’s no secret that Forza Motorsport was going to be released this year, and the first impressions of Microsoft’s flagship racing simulator look wonderful. The biggest piece of innovation the game would bring to the series is the dynamic weather system.
For those of you with a masochistic for games with incredibly high difficulty, Darksouls II was also announced.
This charming 5-on-5 Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) like the title is set to hit PC and Xbox One soon, with the game’s beta starting in August this year.
ID @ Xbox
Indie games have come a long way, and with companies like Microsoft willing to help indie developers publish their games, we are likely to see many creative gameplay elements.
One of which was Beyond Eyes, a game about a blind girl, Ray, who explores her world through her other senses.
Also from the creator of DayZ, we have ION, a game that was not just a game, but a whole universe, this game will feature a massive, multiplayer simulation of life in space.
Here are some of the other indie games set for release on the Xbox and PC platforms.
Xbox Game Preview
Early Access is coming to the consoles. This feature will allow developers to launch games that are far from the finished product, allowing players to sample and test the game before its official launch. Unlike Steam Early Access, players can sample the game for a limited trial before deciding whether or not to fork out the cash for the game.
Personally, I’m rather conflicted about this, as while this program will allow developers to better test their games, by having a large pool of game testers, consoles are better known for having games that, generally, are polished and past the testing phase. Only time will tell how well this feature will succeed.
This year marks the 30th Anniversary of Rare, and to celebrate they’ve announced a collection of 30 Rare games set for release on the 4th of August for Xbox One. Some of the games include Viva Piñata, Blast Corps, Banjo Kazooie and Conker’s Bad Fur Day.
Sea of Thieves
Rare also announced a new franchise, described as its most ambitious effort ever, the game seamlessly dove from first-person to a shared adventure. Like many Rare games, it has a cartoony look. You can check out more in the trailer below.
Set to be released on PC and XBox One, Fable Legends is set to be a free-to-play game and will be cross-play compatible across both platforms.
Virtual Reality (VR) and Microsoft
Microsoft also announced that they were ‘working closely with Valve’ to make Windows 10 the best platform for their VR Headset. Also announced was Microsoft’s deal with Oculus VR and that retail models of the Oculus Rift would ship with an Xbox One controller. The Oculus Rift will also be able to stream Xbox One games via Wi-Fi.
Hololens and Minecraft
Keeping with the technology theme, Microsoft and Mojang Games jointly unveiled the Hololens version of Minecraft, in a ‘Live demo with real working code’, and i have to say i am thoroughly impressed with what I have seen The ability to manipulate the world and look at the world created in Minecraft as though it was created on the table itself, seem like something to look forward to.
Gears of War Ultimate Edition
Gears of War Ultimate Edition is the HD update to the original Gears of War game. The game will run at 1080p and at 60 frames per second, it will also include additional content previously only available to the PC version of the game.
Finally, Microsoft showed off Gears 4, using never before seen gameplay footage. With two new characters, Gears 4 will retain some elements from installments of the previous Gears of War series. The game has been given a vague release date of Holiday 2016.