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Xbox at E3: Known Quantities

/ Jun 17th, 2015 No Comments

Xbox E3 Press Conference

For the first time in years, Microsoft wasn’t shouldering the responsibility of leading the press conference charge at E3. Bethesda’s debut E3 conference was compact on games but fulfilled with the delivery of the highly anticipated Fallout 4. Monday mornings have always had that distinct Microsoft flair, where hundreds commune around The Galen Center in Los Angeles.

The PlayStation 4 has been consistently selling more units than the Xbox One, but Microsoft has used recent years to emphasize new games, innovative policies and focus on gamers and fun.

Strictly for Gamers

Despite some incredible announcements, Microsoft lacked that wow factor of surprise. Many of the games shown were titles we already knew would make an appearance. Opening with Halo 5 Guardians was a solid idea. It’s the flagship Xbox franchise and players haven’t seen enough of it. The four-player cooperative campaign looked promising. Warzone multiplayer looks massive enough to create some of the most chaotic experiences in online Halo play.

Rise of the Tomb Raider looks gorgeous and, based on the demo, covered in snow and ice. It’s hard to make any conclusions about the game aside from the fact that Lara Croft will be screaming and climbing just like she did in the last Tomb Raider game. Again, this is a game everyone knew would show up. The same goes for Gears of War 4, as nice as it was to see it again.

Gears of War 4

Gears of War 4 debuted at E3 2015.

Dramatically lowering an expensive car to the floor for under a minute to promote Forza 6 might sound fancy, but it was completely underwhelming. A random appearance by Henry Ford III probably didn’t have the Pele-like effect of EA’s conference.

One of the most welcome known surprises came from Rare in the form of Rare Replay. Who wouldn’t love a chance to go back and play some of the most classic games from a beloved developer? However, the debut of Rare’s new game, Sea of Thieves, was a let down. The brief trailer wasn’t enough to inspire excitement for me, but that could change as more is revealed down the line.

Nearly everything that was shown lacked the punch of Final Fantasy 7 Remake or The Last Guardian. However, Cuphead blows me away every time I see it, and indie games are great — release as many as possible.

It’s doubtful anyone knew ReCore, from the legendary Keji Inafune, was coming. The game continued the popular pet/dog theme at this year’s E3. There’s a definite charm to it and the cinematic trailer left gamers wanting more.

Forward Thinking, Backwards Compatiblity

If anything could be considered a show-stealing announcement, it would be Microsoft’s reveal of Xbox One’s backwards compatibility with Xbox 360 games. Not only did it give Microsoft a chance to take a rare dig at Sony, it meant players would be able to transport their 360 games to Xbox One. This decision will likely push sales of Xbox One consoles as players abandon the old for the new. Backwards compatibility is a great feature and one that has gone by the wayside in recent years.

Early access is a feature PC players have been enjoying for a few years. Players have the ability to provide developers with crucial feedback on games before the final release. Microsoft is taking a more PC-oriented approach to the Xbox One (crystalized by their continuous mentions of Windows 10). How the Early Access-like Game Preview program will pan out on consoles is entirely up in the air, but anything that gives players more options in how to experience games is not a bad thing.

Microsoft did an admirable job with its E3 2015 press conference. Everything looked good, but the highlights were known quantities that were expected to be shown at E3. Microsoft’s true win was backwards compatibility, which warmed the hearts of players jaded by the lack of support for older games. However, I will keep my fingers crossed that we don’t have to suffer through another Minecraft Hololens demo again.

Microsoft has not made the full version of the Xbox media briefing available, but you can view the highlights below.

Xbox E3 2015 Press Conference Highlights


Ben Sheene

Ben Sheene

Senior Editor at Gaming Illustrated
Ben is from Kentucky where he originally began playing games (an activity he still continues to this day). With a love for writing he graduated from Centre College with a BA in English. He recently moved to California to pursue whatever future endeavors were there. A passion for music, gaming, blogging, and existing keeps him up at night and crafts him into the person he is today.
Ben Sheene

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