Overall, Microsoftâ€™s E3 conference made good on their promise – games, games and more games. Or was that last yearâ€™s promise? We forget.
One thing is certain though. The Kinect is now but a memory, not mentioned a single time during the show. The humble Xbox 360 didnâ€™t get a shout out either, save for the fact that Xbox One backward compatibility is coming later this year. 100 games are promised in the first update, followed by another batch at a later date.
The Kinectâ€™s death has seemingly paved way for the HoloLens – a piece of genuinely impressive tech that brings holograms to life. Minecraft and HoloLens would appear to be a match made in heaven, and one thatâ€™s going to help get HoloLens into living rooms all over the globe.
Microsoft has also been busy tinkering with the Xbox Oneâ€™s joypad. The result is the Xbox Elite Controller, with swappable analogue sticks, rear paddles, a new d-pad and other improvements. Itâ€™s a desirable piece of kit.
As for games, it was a given that Halo 5: Guardians, Forza Motorsport 6, Fable Legends, Gigantic and Rise of the Tomb Raider would be shown. Which they were. Halo 5 impressed, offering 24-player battles. Itâ€™s due out 27th October. Rise of the Tomb Raider meanwhile is due 10th November – the same day as Fallout 4. Speaking of which, Fallout 4 on Xbox One will support PC mods and comes with a token to download Fallout 3. Forza Motorsport 6 has a release date too – 15th September.
It wasnâ€™t just a case of the same old faces and franchises. Far from it. Rare is working on their most ambitious title to date – a colourful online seafaring adventure known as Sea of Thieves. That joins retro collection Rare Replay, which we covered here.
ReCore also came as a surprise, developed by Keiji Inafune and the makers of Metroid Prime. Well, two of the makers. Available next spring, it tells the story one of the last remaining humans. They arenâ€™t entirely alone, however – the trailer sees them out scavenging with a robot dog, and after the events of an unfortunate surprise attack, a large mech.
In addition to Fallout 4 a few other multi-format titles were shown. Specifically, FIFA 16, Dark Souls III, Madden NFL 16, Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare 2, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege (out 13th Oct – will include Rainbow Six Vegas 1 & 2) and Tom Clancy’s The Division (now due March 2016). Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare 2 appears to have a deeper sci-fi streak, with purple neon lasers and UFOs whizzing all over the place. The trailer also featured a super-hero zombie. Thereâ€™s no escaping that trend, is there?
As usual, Microsoftâ€™s ID@Xbox montage was a delight to behold. Cuphead, Ashen, Castle Crashers Remastered, Rise and Shine and dinosaur shooter Ark: Survival Evolved were undeniable highlights. Also of note: Happy Wars is getting a spin-off in the form of Happy Dungeons.
The conference ended with a double-whammy of Gears of War. Gears of War Ultimate Edition is due out 25th August, offering new content and multiplayer and a resolution bump to 1080p. Shame we couldnâ€™t have a GoW trilogy – even fans will agree that the original is the weakest in the series.
At least Gears 4 – as itâ€™s currently known – is shaping up nicely. The five minute (or thereabouts) gameplay clip saw two new characters – a male and female – tracking a creature through a forest shrouded in moonlight, before taking shelter in an abandoned fortress to escape from a sudden storm. The demo ended with a new enemy type – a rampaging four-legged beast with a spiked tail – being chainsawed in half.
If youâ€™re eager to try out Gears of War Ultimate Edition then youâ€™re in luck – a beta is now underway. On a related note, EA Access is also available to all gold members this week. EA has announced that Titanfall has just been added, should you need even further persuasion.
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