E3 2013 Mania!: Microsoft Press Conference Round Up

E32012 Microsoft Conference

Taking a look at what happened during Microsoft’s Xbox E3 2013  Presser!

And thus begins the longest week in gaming as E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo kicks off. As per usual, Microsoft is the first one out of the gate to tell us what we can expect in the coming months for Xbox 360 and the Xbox One.


That MGS!

Konami and Kojima Productions kicked things off with some gameplay footage of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. And it was beautiful. The entire trailer, in typical Kojima fashion, gave me goosebumps.

It showed off how day-to-night transitions and weather changes all occur in real-time. Also, there we have some Quick Time Event Combos going. And horse-back riding. Yes, there will be a multitude of different transportation modes, and more ways to be stealthy.

Oh, and the brief moments of hearing Keifer Sutherland as Punished Snake? Brilliant.

Xbox 360 Gets A New Coat of Paint

The Xbox 360 is getting a face lift starting… today! Now, it will look just like its younger brother, the Xbox One.

New Xbox 360

I feel pretty… oh so pretty…

Ya know, I was concerned that the name “Xbox One” would confuse those less-in-the-know consumers (ya know, those who think that the 360 is the newer console because it was the larger number). Now, they’ll get confused on looks, too. Bravo.

Xbox Live Gold Gets A New Coat of Paint

That’s not the only thing that gets a face lift. Microsoft’s stepping up their game with their Xbox Live Gold Service. Taking a cue from PlayStation Plus, subscribers will be eligible to get free game every single month. The difference, however, is that it’s limited to two per month. The first two games that will become available in this new Gold Program will be Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed 2 and Bungie’s Halo 3. This new free game program will begin July 1st and ends December 31st. That’s not that long, but maybe they’ll extend it to… I dunno… forever, if this proves successful.

But that’s not all!

They’re ELIMINATING Microsoft Points; opting to list prices in actual currency. Finally, I no longer need an abacus to calculate how many points I have remaining in actual dollars. Also, current Xbox Live Gold memberships carry over to Xbox One, and if there are multiple accounts on your Xbox one console, and one of them is Gold, then all the other accounts will be able to enjoy Gold benefits (exclusive stuff and all).

What about the GAMES!?

All right, time to talk shop.

Giving some Xbox 360 Love

Yes, Xbox One is all the rage, but the 360 is still getting love. World of Tanks, the free-to-play MMO where you blow things up in tanks is coming to 360 this summer for Gold members. This will be a special edition tailor-made for the Xbox, that will take advantage of the console’s features (oh, and be able to play with a controller).

They also showed two more games. The first was developer Press Play’s Max: the Curse of Brotherhood. The titular Max wishes his brother Felix would disappear, and wouldn’t ya know it! He gets kidnapped by some monster. So Max must use some mad platforming skills to save his younger sibling. I’m digging the look of this; it’s cartoony, but those platforming bits look quite intense. Perhaps this is one to keep an eye on

And we got some more delicious footage of From Software’s Dark Souls II. Ugh, I want this. But, gotta wait ’til March 2014!

Stepping It Up

The rest of the conference was Xbox One focused, and we actually get more details about the console itself.

And the Retail Price for Xbox One is…

$499.99 US, £429 (GBP) or €499 (EUR)

Well, so long as it’s not $599 US dollars and we don’t need a second job…

Also, if you want to start waiting in line for one, it’ll drop in store in November. No date specified, though Amazon lists it at November 30, which I doubt, as Microsoft would be crazy to miss Black Friday.

And another tidbit. Xbox has upped their partnership with Twitch. Much like the PlayStation/Ustream pairing, you will be able to stream your gameplay footage directly from your Xbox One to your Twitch TV account. That is quite tempting; once again, I’ve always been interested in streaming/uploading my own gameplay footage, but never got around to getting the equipment. Taking all that headache away by having the capability right out of the box makes me happy.

Now We Talk Games

Crytek gave us a glimpse of  Ryse: Son of Rome. The gameplay trailer showed hero Marius Titus as he led his army across a war zone of death. The combat features a lot of those Quick Time Event Combos that the kids love so much *tee, hee*. There will be some Smartglass functionality to this, like character management tools and looking at a campaign at a glance.

Next, someone jumped into a time warp and brought back Killer Instinct. Well, we saw that happening since Microsoft resolved that lil’ trademark filing a while back. I wonder if the Fighting Game Community will embrace this as well. Might be hard; I mean, there’s already so many games. And since this might give off a vibe of Street Fighter meets Mortal Kombat with crazy combos (much like the old games did), I don’t know how well this will take off.

Killer Instinct - Xbox One

Jago looks like he worked out some since, oh, 10 years ago.

Insomniac Games gave us mutant goop to swim in during their Sunset Overdrive trailer. It looks fun; lots of parkour open-world action, with lots of players blasting mutants in the head.

Forza Motorsport 5 has a feature called a Drivatar. Essentially, it’s AI that observes how you drive (how you handle corners, how aggressive you are, etc.) When you’re not playing, your Drivatar is going around racing folks. They can even win credits for you that you can use to upgrade your car. So you’re not really playing against computer AI, it’s AI based on real gameplay habits of real players. Hmm…

A few weeks ago, Quantum Break was shown at the Xbox One unveiling. They showed a bit more footage of the actual game. They say it has a TV Drama-feel for it, where your actions and choices will effect how things unroll.

There was a brief mention of Suehiro “swery65” Hidetaka’s detective game, D4. Not much besides a brief trailer, but still… He made Deadly Premonitions, so this out to be interesting.

D4 XboxOne

Could’ve chosen another image for D4. But this one spoke to me 😛

One of the games that really caught my eye was Project: Spark, mainly because it seems like an easy-to-use game creation engine. And you can upload/share your creations with other via the power of the cloud. It really looks kinda cool, and something that I might check out if I get an Xbox One.

Capcom Vancouver came on and showed us some Dead Rising 3 action. The game, exclusive to the Xbox One, has a new brand new hero dreading though familiar hordes of zombies. According the the fact sheet I’m reading, the zombies can pick up sounds coming from your living room via the Kinect and respond accordingly. So if you happen to have a friend who likes to scream for no good reason during horror games, you probably shouldn’t let him sit with ya while you play 😛

Final Tidbit Countdown

Why tidbits? ‘Cause we didn’t see a heck of a lot 😛

Crimson Dragon, from the folks who brought us Panzer Dragoon, looks quiet nice, as did The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. What got me hyped was the newest game from Capy and superbrothers, makers of Sword & Sworcery, called Bottom. I love Sworcery, so I really want to see what superbrothers do with this one. They also announced Minecraft: Xbox One Edition, which features bigger worlds for you to explore.

EA gave us a look at Battlefield 4, and a new game, Titan Fall. Again, these were brief peaks, and they went into a bit more depth during their own press conference (though they did mention that Xbox Live players will get map packs before everyone else).

And, I guess that’s it for OH WAIT:

Halo XboxOne

“All right, Mr. DeMille. I’m ready for my close-up.”

A new Halo. Like you weren’t expecting it.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I thought it was… okay. They focused on games this time around since they did all the more casual announcements at the Xbox One reveal, and what was shown was enough to keep my interest. I really want to see more of Project: Spark, Bottom, and D4; and Dark Souls II always makes me hype, as does Metal Gear Solid V.

Check out the Microsoft presser below and let me know what you think in the Comments Section!