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Monday, June 09, 2014
Microsoft At E3 2014 - Games Madness

Microsoft kicked off the E3 game show today in Los Angeles and its press presentation was all about games, with previews given for titles coming this year and in 2015.

"Today, we showed our commitment to games," said Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox, adding that the whole Xbox team was dedicated to making Xbox One "the platform for gamers." "We will continue to listen to you, our community, and we will continue to keep making Xbox for you," Spenser said.

And in fairness, Microsoft shown nothing but games for the about 90 minutes. No white Xbox One, no larger HDD, no talk of Kinect.

This holiday season on Xbox One, Microsoft will offer gamers a collection of the popular game in Xbox history with “Halo: The Master Chief Collection,” as well as highly anticipated exclusives such as “Sunset Overdrive,” “Forza Horizon 2,” “Fable Legends” and “Dance Central Spotlight.”

Xbox exclusives shared the stage with blockbusters such as “Assassin’s Creed Unity,” “Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare,” “Evolve” and “Rise of the Tomb Raider,” and independent games such as “Inside,” adding to a growing library of games on Xbox One. In addition, beginning today, gamers can choose to buy an all-new Xbox One option for $399. Xbox One with Kinect will continue to be available.

Microsoft said that since the launch of Xbox One, the Xbox Live community has spent nearly 1.7 billion hours on games and entertainment, an average of five hours per day per console. The introduction of the new Xbox One console option offers more choice than before, and gamers continue to have access to more than 180 entertainment apps today for everyone on Xbox - with more than 45 new apps on their way for more than 225 apps total.

Microsoft started off with a look at "Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare," with a cut scene of soldiers in a crashing dropship in the middle of a war zone, then leading into first-player camera. Graphics looked impressive and the new gear and weapons looked cool, though. Activision confirmed that all add-on content for the game will debut first, exclusively on Xbox.

TurnTen studios creative director Dan Greenawalt took the stage to talk about Forza 5 Beta and Forza Horizon 2, which arrives in September exclusively on Xbox One. The trailer included Paganis, Mercedes, and Nissan Skylines. For those not familiar with Forza, the Motorsport side of the series is the simulation side, while Horizon is the arcade racing side.

Horizon 2 arrives with more cars than ever before and it'll be 1080p. Forza Horizon 2 features a big roster of driveable cars, 1080p graphics and dynamic weather. It will be "socially connected" when it comes out September 30.

The Nurburgring, one of the most famous tracks in racing, is available starting today to all Forza 5 players for free.

Ubisoft's Vincent Pontbriand appeared on the stage to talk about "Assassin's Creed Unity." It’s set in 18th century Paris and allows you to create your own Brotherhood, and play in groups of up to four people.

Next up, Evolve, a sci-fi shooter from the team behind the first Left 4 Dead. The players are hunting monsters in a cave system — or you can play as the monsters and hunt down the soldiers.There will be an exclusive beta and DLC for Xbox one.

"Dragon Age: Inquisition" is also coming October 17, with exclusive content for Xbox One players.

A trailer showed a soldier huddling behind a crate against machine gun fire. A kid with a mohawk smashed through a wall and jumped around blowing a bunch of stuff up. "You and your crate are safe now," he jokes. Out of combat, he explains to the camera that contaminated energy drinks have turned people into mutants, and the world needs a hero. "Can you save Sunset City?" It's "Sunset Overdrive".

Insomniac Games' Ted Price hits the stage to tell us more and give a demo. Gameplay looks fun –the hero skates and jumps all over the map, and the combat is very tongue in cheek and visually over the top. But I can see where the forced goofiness of it and the protagonist’s ‘witty’ banter might get annoying. I’ll reserve judgment for now. The audience seems to like it.

10:05 There’s a campaign mode and an 8-player multiplayer. Available Oct 28 exlusively on Xbox One.

Capcom presented "an all new Dead Rising 3 arcade adventure." It’s a DLC called "Super Ultra Dead Rising 3 Arcade Remix Hyper Edition" ad is available now.

Harmonix founder Alex Rigopulous talked about the October 21 release of "Disney Fantasia Music Evolved" and the new D"ance Central Spotlight," out this September.

Lionhead Studio’s David Eckleberry showed off "Fable Legends," due holiday 2014.

"Halo 5: Guardians" may not be hitting until the fall of 2015, but faithful followers of Microsoft’s first-person shooter can curb their Covenant-crushing appetite this November with "Halo: The Master Chief Collection." Landing in time to celebrate "Halo 2’s" 10-year anniversary on November 11 of this year, this fan-pleasing package contains "Halo: Combat Evolved," "Halo 2," "Halo 3," and "Halo 4" on a single disc for $59.99.

The collection lets gamers experience “Halo” at higher visual fidelity running at 60 frames per second (fps) on dedicated servers, It features curated campaign and multiplayer playlists across all four games and features more than 100 multiplayer maps - authentic to their original release. In addition, “Halo 2 Anniversary” will include six all-new maps built from the ground up for Xbox One.

On top of all the tweaks and enhancements to four of our all-time favorite games, "The Master Chief Collection" also features the debut of "Halo: Nightfall," an all-new digital series executive produced by legendary director Ridley Scott and directed by Sergio Mimica-Gezzan.

In addition, 343 Industries offered a sneak peek at the “Halo 5: Guardians” Multiplayer Beta, which launches in late 2014 and is included as part of “Halo: The Master Chief Collection.”

Lionhead Studios invited aspiring heroes (and villains) to embark on a new adventure with the first gameplay of “Fable Legends,” showcasing its Unreal Engine 4 graphics and a new online experience that pits four players against the series’ first-ever playable evil mastermind. The “Fable Legends” multiplayer beta begins in fall 2014. 

Capcom Vancouver reignited the zombie apocalypse with “Super Ultra Dead Rising 3 Arcade Remix Hyper Edition,” a new, four-player, co-op arcade mode launching today that lets fans play as past “Dead Rising” heroes or cosplay as their favorite Capcom characters while battling zombie hordes and giant bosses in crazier ways than ever before.

Microsoft also unveiled an exclusive lineup of inventive new intellectual property (IP), led by “Sunset Overdrive,” a new game from Insomniac Games. “Sunset Overdrive” flips traditional shooter-style game conventions on their head by blending hyperagility and an unconventional arsenal to turn a would-be apocalypse into an off-the-wall adventure.

Crystal Dynamics took to the stage with the world premiere of “Rise of the Tomb Raider,” coming to the Xbox platform in 2015. In her first adventure, Lara Croft was forged into a true survivor, but she glimpsed a deeper, secret world. In the next chapter of her journey, Lara must use her survival skills and wits, learn to trust new friends, and ultimately accept her destiny as the Tomb Raider.

The new "Spartans vs. Elites" collection includes over 100 multiplayer maps and all four games are running in 60 FPS at 1080p.

Legendary developer Harmonix took to the E3 stage to announce “Dance Central Spotlight,” the newest game in the Kinect franchise, available exclusively as a digital download on Xbox One this fall. “Dance Central Spotlight” features authentic dance routines, accurate body tracking using Kinect for Xbox One and chart-topping music, with even more variety and player choice than ever before.

Microsoft’s Ken Lobb talked about his passion for rebooting old games. He did Killer Instinct, and now he’s working on a new version of… and the trailer was cut. A new Phantom Dust game (?) on the horizon?

Also coming next year is "Scalebound", developed by Platinum Games. “Scalebound” is an action-packed game that lets you battle alongside fearsome dragons and leverages the power of Xbox Live. Moon Studios invited players to venture on a beautiful and emotional journey with “Ori and the Blind Forest,” a new title for Xbox One and PC that follows a young orphan destined for heroics. In addition, gamers can look forward to sneak peeks of eagerly anticipated new IP such as “Quantum Break” in the coming months, as well as future news around the “Gears of War” franchise from Black Tusk Studios.

Electronic Arts and the BioWare unveiled a new trailer for “Dragon Age: Inquisition” and announced that the first single-player add-on content will arrive first, exclusively on Xbox. 2K and Turtle Rock Studios debuted an all-new playable Monster - Kraken - for “Evolve,” revealing that the open beta this fall and premier downloadable content will both be available first, exclusively on Xbox One. Ubisoft premiered “Assassin’s Creed Unity,” highlighting the franchise’s new four-player online Shared Experience, in addition to an all-new demo of the hotly anticipated 2015 title “Tom Clancy’s The Division.” CD Projekt Red returned to the Xbox stage with another exclusive live gameplay demo of “The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.”

David Jones took the stage to show off a new version of the game "Crackdown." When it was released in 2007, the original "Crackdown" took the Xbox 360 by storm. Players all over the world spent countless hours running, driving, and leaping around Pacific City. The new version will deliver "unrivaled verticality, cooperative mayhem and destruction." No release date was given.

E3 also brought new ID@Xbox games into the fold, from new IP such as Playdead’s “Inside,” StudioMDHR’s “Cuphead” and Asteroid Base’s “Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime” to existing fan favorites including Ndemic Creations’ “Plague Inc: Evolved” and Sirvo/Hidden Variable’s “Threes!”

With more than one million creators crafting tens of thousands of new games, the “Project Spark” beta on Xbox One and Windows 8 has delivered an open-world digital canvas that enables anyone to create, play and share. Coming this fall, developer Team Dakota will deliver new sci-fi content (“Galaxies”), a co-op campaign (“Champions Quest”) with Champions that evolve through gameplay, and four-player multiplayer in play and create modes. The “Conker” will also return to video games within “Project Spark,” giving players the power to continue the “Conker” legacy. In addition, the return of fan-favorite character T.J. Combo in “Killer Instinct: Season 2,” and cross-platform play for “Happy Wars” across Xbox One and Xbox 360 were announced.

Underscoring its continued support for Xbox 360, Microsoft has a pipeline of games in development for Xbox 360, including “Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel” from 2K and Gearbox Software, as well as titles such as “Forza Horizon 2,” “Project Spark” and “Magic 2015 - Duels of the Planeswalkers” that are also coming to Xbox One.

It is obvious that Microsoft is aggressively trying to re-position Xbox One as a gamers' machine, in order to remove much of the difference between the competing platforms and move the conversation on from 'general entertainment (Xbox One) versus gaming (PS4)' and the price difference between the consoles. Each console is now closer to each other than at the November launch. Microsoft mainly stressed its platform exclusives from third-parties at E3.

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