E3 2014 Review and Recap Part I – Microsoft
By Dan Maurer
Another year and another E3 is in the books. This year the Big 3 in gaming came out swinging in terms of marketability and luring undecided buyers to purchase their next generation consoles. All three companies put on a solid effort this year (especially Microsoft considering the disaster that was their E3 conference last year). We are going to take a look at all the major press conferences that occurred this year and give our insight and opinions on what we saw and heard. This was in my opinion one of the best E3 shows in many years, as it seemed the majority of the focus was placed on an area it should have been placed on in the beginning, the games themselves.
After the horrendous showing at not only E3 but the official reveal of the Xbox One console last year, Microsoft stepped it’s game up big time this year and brought out the games. Microsoft’s E3 showing this year was excellent. The emphasis was in fact all on games. The big name AAA 3rd party games, first party games, old IPs, new IPs, DLC, indie games, etc. Microsoft showed off a lot and a lot of it was legitimately awesome. E3 2014 was really a solid showing for Microsoft and definitely took the bad taste of last year’s E3 out of everyone’s mouth. It definitely was not their best ever, but it was a huge marked improvement over their E3 showings over the last few years, and it definitely solidified the Xbox One as a worthy investment. Phil Spencer started off the conference on the right note. He discussed how E3 was basically a great celebration of being a gamer, and he called out his fellow gaming company friends at Nintendo and Sony as other parties that would join in on this year’s celebration. After the brief prelude, he jumped right into the “games, games, games” E3 show he has been promising on his twitter and blog for the last month or so now.
First out of the gates was the reveal of the next game in the Call of Duty series, COD Advanced Warfare. We got a nice visual trailer and the expected announcement that the timed exclusive DLC partnership would continue on Xbox consoles for the immediate future. Release date is set for November 4th.
Forza Horizon 2 was also shown off at E3 this year and its a beauty. Boasting a full 1080p resolution and 30FPS, its the next installment in the open world Forza games and will take full advantage of dedicated servers as well. It was also announced that your Drivatar will be able to be transferred over from Forza 5 with all attributes intact. Release date currently is set for September 30th.
Assassin’s Creed Unity was shown off as well. It will also be the first game in the series to offer 4 player co-op gameplay. We were treated to new trailers for Dragon Age: Inquisition and Evolve as well. Nothing much else was really revealed about either of them.
Next up was one of the more anticipated exclusives this year on the Xbox One, Sunset Overdrive. Developed by Insomniac Games, it is a colorful and vibrant take on 3rd person shooters and looks to change the game. This game is on everyone’s radar for this year and judging by the gameplay trailer we were shown, its hard to imagine this game not being one of the best selling titles of 2014. Release date is scheduled for October 28th.
Sunset Overdrive – E3 2014 Trailer:
We were also treated to a trailer to the new Dead Rising 3 DLC which playfully pokes fun at Capcom’s obsession of making long winded titles for their games. The DLC looks like a ton of fun as it incorporates classic Capcom costumes for your characters and includes crazy action packed fun arcade style gameplay. It is currently available now for $9.99 on Xbox One.
Next up we were shown demos for Fantasia: Music Evolved and the next installment in the Dance Central series, Dance Central Spotlight. Both games look to harness the power of the Kinect in the Xbox One with the latest Dance Central game hosting an all new spotlight feature, enabling faster access to newer dance tracks.
A new trailer was shown for Fable Legends. This appears to be a 4 player co-op adventure with the ability for someone to take the role of the villain. Looks to be a lot of fun from the trailer that was shown. Multiplayer beta will be released this fall.
Project Spark was also highlighted again at this year’s E3, with the announcement that classic Rare video game character Conker will be coming to Project Spark. In short, it was mentioned that you will basically be able to make your own version of a new Conker game. Pretty awesome if that is the case.
Ori and the Blind Forest was revealed next to us and it is probably one of the most gorgeous indie type games we have seen in awhile. It is scheduled to be released this fall on Xbox One.
The rumored Halo Master Chief collection was also revealed. What we didn’t know was that not only will Halo 2 receive the Anniversary upgrade treatment, the original Halo 2 multiplayer will be included as well. That is huge for fans of the Halo series. All in all, you get all four Halo games based on Master Chief (1-4), all the original multiplayer modes of each games, and all in blazing 1080p/60FPS goodness. Releasing November 11th 2014 and at $60, I also see this as being one of the best sellers of 2014. It will also include the Halo Nightfall digital series and beta access to Halo 5: Guardians when it is released in December.
Inside was previewed by Playdead studios. Planned for release in 2015. Not much else was revealed on it at E3 though. A video package for all the indie titles coming via ID@Xbox to the Xbox One was shown as well.
The newest entry in the Tomb Raider series was revealed as well. Nothing much yet was announced besides a preview trailer and a planned Holiday 2015 release date. The trailer itself was very well done. The Witcher 3 demo was shown off next and this game looks amazing. Definitely a next generation title no doubt about it. We were also treated to a short demo of the delayed The Division. This will be another game to look out for in 2015 as it boasts stunning visuals and stellar gameplay.
Phantom Dust is back! The cult classic from the original Xbox days returns and looks very good judging by the trailer that was shown. We were also treated to the next game announced by Platinum Games called Scalebound. It will also be an Xbox One exclusive for 2015. Crackdown is also back and coming to the Xbox One in 2015. Even better news is that the original creator and his new studio will be taking up the helm of the newest game in the series. Another great title that will be one to watch for in 2015.
Overall, I was very impressed with Microsoft’s E3 conference this year. They definitely delivered and I look forward to what’s to come in the future.
PunchDrunkGamer.com’s E3 2014 Microsoft Conference Grade: B+
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