E3 2013: Microsoft’s E3 2013 Press Conference

Hey, the Xbox One has a price! $499 in the U.S. for Microsoft’s new console which will launch this November. And based on their E3 2013 presentation, it looks like Microsoft’s machine will feature actual games as opposed to apps to watch NFL Sunday Ticket, with exclusive titles from Capcom, 343 Industries, and… and I can’t hide my glee, “Killer Instinct” is back!

First up, Snake on a horse! Microsoft opened up their presentation with some of the features of the upcoming “Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain,” the first open-world entry in the “Metal Gear Solid” franchise. Set in Afghanistan, the footage showed real-time weather, and the variety of stealth methods now available to Snake (who starts the video escorting the Kiefer Sutherland-voiced hero to his objective). The clip also gave us the names of some of the cast of characters, including sniper Quiet, and what appears to be the game’s heavy, Skull Face.

Oh, and if you’re looking to get a new Xbox 360, Microsoft has unveiled a new model patterned after the Xbox One–and it’s available today.

Additionally, Xbox LIVE’s Gold tier has borrowed a little bit of Sony’s swag with PS Plus, offering two free games for existing Gold members starting July 1st. Don’t get too excited, though: it’s “Assassin’s Creed II” and “Halo 3.” Other changes coming to the service: the points system will now use real-world dollars/whatever your local currency is, while all users in your family will be able to access multiplayer on your profile. Finally,

Wargaming.net’s “World of Tanks” is coming to the Xbox 360, making its jump from the PC to the console. The free-to-play port will feature 15 on 15 multiplayer including a variety of tank models from around the world this summer.

Closing out the Xbox 360 presentation, we got a look at “Max: The Curse of Brotherhood,” a puzzle platformer from Swedish developer Press Play with a story about a an older brother who wishes his younger brother away and has to save him from an evil ruler (shades of “Labyrinth”). Namco Bandai reveled a new trailer for From Software’s “Dark Souls II” which delved into gameplay for next year’s RPG.

The new Microsoft IP “Ryse: Son of Rome” featured Roman hero Marius Titus storming a beach side barbarian fortress alongside his troops with a deliberate echo of “Saving Private Ryan.” The actual combat included over-the-shoulder hack and slash action with button prompts to gorily finish nearby enemies. The demo appeared to have contextual button prompts, including the ability to call on archers while surrounded by a group of enemies. It looks… shiny? If hyperrealistic Rome is your milieu, then this Crytek-developed action game might be your thing? I dunno. I’d like to hear more about this Xbox One exclusive’s story before getting too excited.

Also: holy cats, “Killer Instinct” is coming to the Xbox One next year! It’s not a numbered sequel, so maybe it’s a reboot a la “Mortal Kombat?”

Insomniac’s Ted Price came out to present “Sunset Overdrive,” what appears to be a third-person, parkour-focused cartoon multiplayer shooter. The longtime Sony developer is making their first Xbox exclusive with this title.

Turn 10 is developing “Forza Motorsport 5.” The new game will feature cloud processing for “the end of AI.” Basically, the game will track your driving behavior and craft opponents based on yours and your friends’ behavior. At this point, it seems fruitless for racing developers like Turn 10 and Polyphony to chase the visual peak: the games are nearing (if not at) the photorealistic peak, so features like AI and multiplayer functionality are how they’ll be able to stand out going forward.

Of course, you don’t need mind-blowing graphics to stand out: consider “Minecraft,” which is coming to Xbox One.

Footage from Remedy’s “Quantum Break” showed hero Jack Chance (or was it Choice?), walking through a frozen moment in time, rescuing a bombing victim from the impending boom. Meanwhile, Swery64 is developing D4, a cel-shaded, episodic mystery.

“Project Spark” is Microsoft’s Kinect and Smart Glass-controlled world building… thing. The software allows players to build their own worlds and games–think a 3D “LittleBigPlanet” for the Xbox One and Windows 8. “Project Spark” is intended to have the ability to let players craft their own stories and gameplay experiences.

Wondering how Smart Glass will feature in other games? Yeah, me neither. But if you’re playing “Ryse,” for instance, you can see some of your friend’s stats. The most interesting Xbox One feature to come out of this segment is Upload Studio, which allows you to take clips from your game and upload them to the cloud. You can also live-broadcast your game via Twitch, using Kinect to launch and pause your stream.

Do you like dragons? “Crimson Dragon” is coming to the Xbox One, a spiritual successor to “Panzer Dragoon.”

Do you like zombies? Nick Remos is the new hero in the open world “Dead Rising 3.” Capcom promises no load times in the Xbox One sequel, along with a new crafting system, which was first introduced in “Dead Rising 2.” You don’t need to find benches to customize weapons, though–you can do it on the fly anywhere. Zombies are attracted to Nick’s movements, so you’ll have to use flares to distract them or run under the cover of fences, etc. to avoid detection. It’s on the way this holiday for Xbox One.

“The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt” will include optional Kinect voice commmands for the Xbox One/PC/PS3 sequel from CD Projekt Red. The open world dark fantasy RPG will also include Smart Glass integration allowing you to manage your inventory, while the combat system has been rebuilt from the ground up.

DICE gave us a look at the campaign for “Battlefied 4″ and like “Battlefield 3,” it was visually impressive, chaotic, and indisinguishable from any of the other modern shooters on consoles and the PC. The Xbox One will get the first map pack early, though.

“Below” will be a new game from the “Superbrothers” team, but there’s no idea what it’ll entail.

Meanwhile the Master Chief is looking a little worse for wear in the simply-titled “Halo.” The Xbox One shooter will be out in 2014, with 60 FPS gameplay.

Finally, Respawn Entertainment debuted its futuristic multiplayer-only FPS, “Titanfall.” It’s got mechs in it. The demo showed an assortment of weapons as well as the player calling down a mech to use on the battlefield. I have to say, I kind of loved the bit where the player yanked an opponent out of their mech and flung them like a ragdoll.

So what did you think? Did Microsoft make a case for their new console? We’ll return with some commentary about the new announcements later today.


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