Microsoft’s E3 Xbox press conference started as everyone expected: with a lengthy gameplay demo of the upcoming Halo 5: Guardians. Nathan Fillion and Keith David provided voices for the demo, which raised questions about series star Master Chief’s whereabouts – has he gone AWOL? The gameplay we saw gave a very good impression Destination atmosphere – with 24-player multiplayer and maps “four times” the size of before Halo maps, it looks like Microsoft has Bungie in its sights.
Then came big news, with Microsoft announcing backward compatibility for Xbox 360 games on the Xbox One. It also showcased a nice Xbox Elite controller, with enough customizable buttons and knobs to satisfy even the most tweakers of tweakers. We’ve been given great pre-show access to both announcements, and both of Sam Machkovech’s accounts are here for your reading pleasure.
Then it was back to games: as mentioned yesterday in our Bethesda article, Fallout 4 coming to Xbox One. We haven’t seen any new gameplay that wasn’t shown at Bethesda’s press conference, but Microsoft did announce a detail that the console should make Fallout players very happy: Fallout 4 game mods created on the PC can be used for free on the Xbox One version of the game. (Of course, there was no word on whether this functionality will also be available on the PS4, but we may find out at Sony’s press conference tonight.)
Racing fans will be thrilled with the new Fort 6 from Turn 10 Studios—Microsoft made a big deal of it, even lowering a beautiful blue Ford GT from the ceiling to the center of the stage as they showed off the game. We’ve got you covered there too, as Ars Automotive editor Jonathan Gitlin got an exclusive (and extremely comprehensive!) look at Forza6, and he has more details and playing impressions about the game than you can imagine.
Ubisoft America’s Laurent Detoc was next, with more footage from Tom Clancy’s The Division, which is still on track for a Q1 2016 release. The gameplay footage shown wasn’t terribly different from what we’ve seen before, though it did lead Ars game master Kyle Orland to point out that the ” post-apocalyptic world” setting is something shared by a good number of AAA titles. will be featured this year.
Indie games took a huge amount of time back then, including a brief description of Microsoft’s new, early access “Xbox Game Preview” feature. We’ve got lurkers Tacoma, a game of Went home creators Fullbright Studios; these showed the game’s abandoned lunar base. There were also performances Gigantic, Cuphead, Rise and Shine, a new goat simulator, And Beyond the eyes. That last title, in which the player portrays a character who is blind and has to navigate the world using senses other than sight, looked particularly interesting.
Rare stunned the mostly quiet crowd with the upcoming 30 game Rare repetition pack and its pirate themed MMO sea of thieves, but what really excited the audience of mostly jaded journalists was Lydia Winters of Mojang, who showed off Minecraft with HoloLens from Microsoft. Players can project the game onto a tabletop and get a “god’s eye” view of the map, watching other players run around in miniature causing lightning strikes and other events. This is part of a larger VR partnership from Microsoft, and it looked pretty amazing.
We also got an extended gameplay video from Weapons of war 4—spoiler: It’s dark and there’s a chainsaw gun. There will be an updated version of the original Gears coming August 25, with 1080p graphics and 60 frames per second multiplayer (Gears fans who want to play their multiplayer right now can join the game’s public beta, which starts today).
Fast trailers preceded the completion of the two-hour conference Rise of the Tomb Raider, Dark Souls III, And ION, a space-based MMO. We hope to put many of these titles into practice during the week.
Microsoft’s Phil Spencer returned to the stage at the end to close out the show and cheekily revealed that he had been wearing a Rare T-shirt under his fleece for the entire show. “If you’ve been waiting to get off your Xbox 360,” he said, “now is the time.”
Ars will be at E3 and we’ll be bringing you more news from the day’s plethora of press conferences later today. Stay tuned!