As E3 officially kicks off with the Xbox conference, there is a lot of catching up for Xbox to do if they want to stay competitive with Sony and the runaway success of the PlayStation 4. Microsoft got off to a stumbling start in 2013 with mixed reviews surrounding their announcement of the Xbox One. The focus on TV, apps, movies, features and basically everything but games really alienated the Xbox faithful who had been enjoying gaming on their Xbox 360. But since Phil Spencer has taken over at Xbox and begun changing the message to “games, games, games” the Xbox One and its ecosystem have been making huge strides in winning back those lost fans. And this year the course correction truly feels like it has worked. Xbox is once again about amazing games in an amazing ecosystem supported by strong indie titles, first party exclusives and the outstanding Xbox Live service. So whether you missed Xbox’s conference or want a detailed list of the announcements: this article is for you. Enjoy!
Xbox One S Announced
The long rumoured slim version of the Xbox One was announced and the 2TB version is set to release in August of this year with different storage sizes coming at a later date. The Xbox One S is much slimmer than the original, comes in white and will retail for $299 USD ($349 CDN).
Gears of War 4 Co-op Trailer and Details
Gears of War co-creator Rod Fergusson showed off Gears of War 4‘s new co-op mode in a stunning gameplay demo. Gears of War 4 takes place after the cataclysmic events of Gears of War 3 with an all-new cast of characters. The trailer showcased new weapons, particle effects and a weather feature, including a wind effect that pulls defeated enemies off the stage. The new gameplay demo came with the announcement of a special Gears 4 Xbox One Elite controller as well as a release date of October 11th, 2016 for both the game and controller. Gears of War 4 is also a part of a new initiative by Microsoft called “Play Anywhere” meaning when you buy a “Play Anywhere” you get it across both Windows 10 and Xbox One. Check out the trailer below!
General Raam new DLC character for Killer Instinct
To add to the Gears 4 hype, it was announced that Gears of War villain General Raam will be a new fighter in Xbox’s super successful fighting franchise Killer Instinct, adding to the already existing collection of characters from different franchises- one of the toads from Battletoads is also a playable character. Killer Instinct continues to expand its roster and be a fan favourite with the Xbox community.
Forza Horizon 3 Announced
Playground Games’ critically acclaimed racing series is going to Australia in the latest instalment of the Forza Horizon series: Forza Horizon 3. Creative Director Ralph Furton told fans that Forza Horizon 3 will be “the largest, most diverse, most beautiful and most fun open world we’ve ever built.” Forza Horizon 3 will offer 4 player campaign co-op for the very first time in the series history. Forza Horizon 3 will launch on September 27th, 2016, and will be a “Play Anywhere” title. Check out the reveal trailer below!
Recore New Gameplay Trailer and Release Date
From abysmally received Might No. 9 director Keiji Inafune comes action-adventure game, Recore. This trailer showcased the various mechanical friends the player will interact with throughout the campaign. Each with their own strengths and uses all revolving around that machine’s core. The trailer concluded with a release date of September 13, 2016. Check out the trailer!
Slew of new Xbox Live Features
Mike Ybarra, Head of Platform Engineering at Xbox, took the stage to announce loads of new Xbox Live features coming in 2016. The first of these new features is background music playback which will allow players to listen to their favourite music while they game. The next feature is language region independence meaning players can choose their system language settings regardless of their region. Ybarra also announced (to much applause) that the language recognition assistant Cortana will be coming to Xbox One. Windows 10 users have had Cortana since the launch of Microsoft’s latest operating system, but the announcement that Cortana is coming to Xbox One is another step in unifying Microsoft’s platforms, similar to how the “Play Anywhere” initiative aims to make gaming ubiquitous across Windows 10 and Xbox One.
Ybarra didn’t stop there, however. He also announced three major features that will be coming to Xbox One in the Fall of this year. The first of these features is “Clubs” which will allow gamers of similar interests to find one another in a community setting and discuss their favourite games and set up times to play. The second feature is called “Looking for Group” which makes finding other gamers to play online with easier by simply picking a title and the type of player you want to play with and Xbox Live does the rest. The last feature is called “Arena” a new tournament feature that allows gamers to sign up for tournaments from top studios as well as create their own tournaments for playing with friends. Needless to say, it’s an incredible time to be playing on Xbox Live.
Minecraft Realms Announced and Detailed
This new update to the incredibly successful title will allow players to connect to Xbox Live, Windows 10, iOS, Android and Gear VR devices from the same server to play together in the same world. The demo they showed had three different devices playing the same session of Minecraft on the same server. The update is available now!
Xbox Design Lab Announced
Players will now be able to customise their own Xbox One controllers and choose the colours of the buttons, triggers, front and back of their controller to have the best fit for them. The teaser reel boasted a whopping 8 million different possible combinations. You can even put your Gamertag on it!
Inside Trailer and Release Date
The long coming next game from Limbo creators Playdead was finally given a release date of June 29, 2016. Playdead has been working on this next game ever since they shipped the critically acclaimed, indie-hit Limbo back in 2008. The trailer shown had a very similar vibe to Limbo yet was on a whole new level. Can’t wait to check this game out next week.
ID@Xbox Director Chris Charla announced that Limbo would be free for all Xbox One players to celebrate Inside‘s impending release. Then he showed what was my personal highlight of the conference in the form of a sizzle reel showcasing all of the amazing indie games coming to Xbox One soon. Fan favourites like Cuphead, Outlast II, Below, Hand of Fate 2 and much more in a packed video that you can watch below. Charla then announced the already released Xbox game preview title Ark Survival would be free on Windows 10 to all those who already purchased it on Xbox One as a part of the “Play Anywhere” initiative.
We Happy Few Demo and Game Preview Announcement
Compulsion Games’ very own Guillaume Provost showed a demo of their hotly anticipated, first-person, narrative driven and procedurally generated game We Happy Few. The demo showcased the story for the first time. Check out the video below and be sure to pick up the game when it enters Xbox Game Preview in July of this year. Check out the stunning story trailer below!
Gwent: The Witcher Card Game Announced
As if CD Projekt Red couldn’t get any more fan love, they went and announced a standalone version of the immensely popular card game from Witcher 3. Gwent: The Witcher Card Game will be coming out on consoles and PC and will support cross-platform play as well as boast a “monumental single-player campaign” according to Lead Designer Damien Monnier.
Tekken 3 Trailer and News
In a very Japanese trailer, two gross muscular dudes duked it out and then Katsuhiro Harada, Tekken 7 Game Director, came out dressed in fighting gear and talked about this next instalment in the longtime fighting series. He announced that Tekken Tag Tournament 2 will be free for all Xbox Live Gold members to get players excited for Tekken 7 when it releases in early 2017. Check out the trailer below!
Dead Rising 4 Announcement and Trailer
Only confirming what previously leaked, a new trailer for the next instalment in Capcom’s over-the-top arcade zombie slayer Dead Rising was shown as fake snow descended on the audience. This new trailer showcased several of the new and ridiculous ways players will be able to obliterate zombies, all set at Christmas time. The Christmas setting is fitting as Dead Rising 4 will launch on December 3rd of this year, just in time for the holidays. Check out the absurd trailer below!
Scalebound Trailer and News
Platinum Games’ upcoming third-person online action-RPG got an all-new gameplay trailer showcasing one of the massive boss battles. It was also revealed that Scalebound will be a “Play Anywhere” title and be coming to Xbox One and Windows 10 in early 2017. Check out the trailer!
Sea of Thieves Trailer and News
Rare Ltd. studio head Craig Duncan showed off some new gameplay from their open world pirate adventure game, Sea of Thieves. Many critics are likening Sea of Thieves to other beloved pirate games like Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag as a fun open world for players to sail around and pillage to their heart’s content. Whereas Black Flag was a solo experience, Sea of Thieves will connect players to operate ships and have battles at sea, all working together to succeed! Sea of Thieves is set to release in early 2017 as but for now watch the gameplay trailer below!
State of Decay 2 Announced and New Trailer
The sequel to Undead Labs’ multimillion unit selling indie success State of Decay was revealed in a gorgeous new trailer showcasing multiplayer and all-new mechanisms and visuals. State of Decay 2 is coming in 2017 and will be a “Play Anywhere” title. Check out the trailer!
Halo Wars 2 CG Trailer, Gameplay Trailer
Two new trailers for 343’s follow-up to the real-time strategy game set in the Halo universe were shown. The CG trailer showcased the new Covenant faction that the UNSC will be facing off against. Halo Wars 2 will come out February 21, 2017, and will be a “Play Anywhere” title. Check out the CG trailer below!
Project Scorpio Announced, Detailed and Release Window
Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) took the stage to close out the conference by officially announcing Project Scorpio. This next piece of hardware from Xbox will be “the most powerful console ever” according to Phil whose message was one of confidence and bravado. Project Scorpio will offer 6 teraflops of power for developers to harness in delivering new 4K games and experiences as well as designing for high-fidelity VR. Project Scorpio is set to release holiday 2017, although there are no images of the new hardware or a price. Check out the announcement video below!
That’s a wrap! What did you think of Xbox’s conference? What were your favourite announcements? Let us know in the comments below!