E3 2014: Microsoft’s Press Conference Was…Adequate

It’s been a long hard road for Microsoft since last year’s E3. There’s been some significant turnaround in the company and major changes in the Division. Chief among them is the new Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, who’s been touting the new “games first” direction for his team. Well, he certainly delivered on that, as this year’s press conference was 100% games. No charts, no numbers, just games.

Even so, it looks like they just didn’t have enough time to put together something really stellar. What we got was a handful of previously announced titles, some missing ones,  and a small peek at the future. Overall, this resulted in a rather adequate showing, but nothing to really turn heads. So let’s take a look at what we saw.

Halo: The Master Chief Collection

As expected and widely predicted, Microsoft has announced a compilation of all the mainline Halo series. The focus of which is on the remade Halo 2 Anniversary. A solid announcement, though expected, it looks to be a great value for any Halo fan. It also should serve as a great introduction to newer players who haven’t had a chance to play the first 2 or even 4 halo games. Here’s a quick rundown of what you get:

  • Halo Anniversary
  • Halo 2 Anniversary
    • Updated visuals
    • In tact original multiplayer
    • All 25 Original Maps
    • 6 Re-Imagined maps
    • Classic Mode to switch to old visuals
  • Halo 3
  • Halo 4
  • Create playlists of your favorite levels across all the games
  • Over 100 multiplayer maps
  • 4,000 Gamerscore
  • Access to the Halo 5 Beta
  • Access to the Halo Live Action Series(NightFall)
  • Releases November 11th

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aPGPiSpTw4w&w=880&h=519]


Forza 5 Map and Forza Horizon 2

  • New Forza 5 free DLC, the much requested Nurburgring track
  • Forza Horizon 2
    • Real Time Weather
    • 1,000 Player Car Clubs
    • Open World again
    • Dynamic Weather
    • Destructible environments
    • Switch between solo and multi instantly

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AX7r61fyltc&w=833&h=469]


Fable Legends

A short gameplay trailer was shown, although one question kind of pops to mind. There doesn’t seem to be any story, or at least none has been shown. Previous entries have been story focused. Will the new game be more loot focused? It does appear to have a single campaign, though it remains to be seen where to focus will lie.

  • New 4 player co-op Fable game
  • Dungeon crawler
  • Seems to be heavily role dependent
  • Another player can play as a villain and control traps/enemy placement.

Super Ultra Dead Rising 3 Arcade Remix Hyper Edition EX Plus Alpha

New Dead Rising 3 DLC featuring a large collection of Capcom characters and their abilities. In this case,  I think I’ll let the trailer speak for itself:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4xxYKUPmzrU&w=810&h=456]


Sunset Overdrive

As expected, Sunset Overdrive was shown again. Some gameplay footage was shown that showed off the crazy parlous and aesthetics of the game. It had a very Jet Set Radio feel, except with a lot of explosions and killing. It’s releasing October 28th and if you’re looking for some acrobatic third person gunplay, this is looking like a good fix.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qmRR6MnS6dc&w=833&h=469]


Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

Looking to be a drastic change in direction for the Call of Duty franchise, the demo showcased some serious Sci-Fi chops, with power armor, giant mechs and swarms of robotic bugs. Not to mention Kevin Spacey as the villain.That said, while this is not an Xbox Exclusive, Microsoft has once more locked in timed exclusivity for the games’ DLC.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1X3ibXt6t9Y&w=960&h=540]


Project Spark

Although this game has been in public beta for some time — with over 1,000,000 sign-ups — Microsoft once again showcased their game-creation game. Looking as impressive as ever, they showed multiplayer and co-op as well as some updates that seemed aimed at allowing for more sci-fi leaning games.

To top it all off, they also announced that Conker will be joining Project Spark as a playable character. So while all of you Conker fans may not have gotten that new game you wanted, you can now make one for yourself. Better than nothing? It at least shows they’re aware of the fanbase for the character.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzk0KM169pQ&w=960&h=540]



Although the second game was not as well received as the first, fans of the Crackdown series have been clamoring for a new entry in the series. Well, it looks like they’re getting their wish… eventually. Microsoft was only able to show a CGI trailer, so that will have to tide fans over for now.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9whW2JtPbSg&w=1000&h=563]



Another CGI trailer, there’s very little that can be gleaned from it. The basics seem to be, you have a dragon and you fight monsters. Beyond that, there doesn’t seem to be much else, although the trailer does seem to hint at the possibility of co-op. It’s being developed by Platinum Games and is a title that has been rumored for some time.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7IxFtVuZwg&w=1000&h=563]


Phantom Dust

Easily my favorite surprise of the show. Bringing back a cult classic with a small following is a risky move, but the original was a truly brilliant game. Think a CCG fought in real time in destructible environments with all kind of crazy powers. Sadly, we only got a CGI Teaser.

Outside of the above, there were quite a few titles that were mentioned or announced in passing, but had no real presence. Among these were Quantum Break, Gears of War Next, Fantasia: Music Evolved, Dance Central Spotlight, D4, Killer Instinct Season 2.

Then, as expected there was an indie showcase, the most interesting among these being a new puzzle platformer title Ori and the Blind Forest as well as a montage of plenty of other Indies. These included Inafune’s Mighty No. 9 and Copy Games’ Below, along with several other less impressive titles.

So overall, Microsoft seemed to touch all of the expected bases. They threw in a surprise or two, but they’re all in the distant future. It seems there just wasn’t enough time to line up any real big guns given Spencer’s recent installment as head of Xbox. It wasn’t a bust, it wasn’t a hit — it was just good enough, which means Microsoft has got to step it up as the year progresses. It’s clear they weren’t ready for E3, but they’ve promised more is coming soon and now they have to deliver.


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