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Monday, June 15, 2015

Halo 5: Guardians, backward compatibility highlight Microsoft's E3 2015 press conference

Lots of games and a big surprise took place at Microsoft's E3 2015 press conference on June 15.
Halo 5: Guardians kicked things off with gameplay footage including lots of pretty and colorful explosions. In the single-player campaign, you'll control two Spartan squads. A new multiplayer mode called Warzone will feature 24 players with AI-controlled adversaries and big maps to support it. Most importantly, it will release Oct. 27.

A new first-party franchise called ReCore will launch exclusively on Xbox One in Spring 2016. It featured a robot dog as a companion, and an orb attached to it can be put on other robotic companions.
Fallout 4 was shown off again with new footage and some important exclusives, because there are console wars after all. Fallout 3 will be included exclusively on Xbox One, as well as PC mods will be playable only on the system. 

Plants vs. Zombies 2 will release next spring, and a beautiful Ford GT dropped from the ceiling to complement the announcement that Forza Motorsport 6 will feature the new car and will release on Sept. 15. There will be rain and night driving as well as 24-car multiplayer.

Rise of the Tomb Raider got some good play, and featured Lara dangerously climbing ice walls during a hectic storm and somehow making it out alive. Tomb raiding is a dangerous business. The game releases Nov. 10.

Remember Rare? They'll have a collection of 30 games for $30, including many favorites like Perfect Dark and Banjo-Kazooie. Rare Replay will be available Aug. 4 and looks to be a steal at that price. A new game from them called Sea of Thieves was shown off, too. 

Other games included Dark Souls III coming early 2016; Tom Clancy's The Division; Rainbow Six Siege releasing Oct. 14 and including Rainbow 6 Vegas and Vegas 2 for free; Gears of War Ultimate Edition officially announced; and a very dark demo of Gears 4, planned for Holiday 2016.

VR games are all the rage these days, and Microsoft is pursuing this avenue hard. Just recently during the Oculus conference it was announced the Rift will come with an Xbox One controller and stream Xbox One games. Now Microsoft is partnering Valve for the Windows 10 push. They also showed off a new version of the insanely popular Minecraft using the HoloLens. Using special camera work, we got to see what it looks like to play the game with the device on. It was crazy to see the Minecraft world pop up on a table, and it looked very good. Kudos to them for being able to pull this off.

Indie games got some loving, too, and we saw bits and pieces of titles such as Beyond Eyes, Cuphead, Ion, and Tacoma. Free-to-play games like Fable Legends and Graphic were shown, too.

A new Xbox Elite wireless controller was announced, featuring swappable components and lots of customization options. But this surprise was trumped by the biggest news that Xbox 360 games will be playable on the Xbox One. Yes, backward compatibility is here, and those who already own Xbox 360 games will be able to play them at no extra cost. Xbox One features like taking screenshots and game streaming will be compatible with them.

All in all it was a solid conference from Microsoft.


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