Whilst they might not have quite hit full speed just yet, Microsoft have undeniably picked up a fair bit of momentum recently, and e3 comes at a very good time for them. Indeed, even the most ardent fan of all things Xbox-ey would have to grudgingly admit that much of the last year belonged to Sony, but having relentlessly chipped away at their lead in the next-gen battle for hearts and minds (and our actual cash, obviously), particularly in the last few months, Microsoft enter this year’s convention with an admirable degree of parity.
Therefore, as I said in my Sony post, this year’s e3 is likely to be all about the BIG games! And, given both the PS4 and Xbox One are now similarly priced, and given that all the other issues that made people reluctant to go for the Xbox One are disappearing faster than the contents of a free, all-you-can-eat buffet at a hemp appreciation conference, a few solid games, particularly Triple-A type exclusives, could put Microsoft firmly back in contention.
So, considering the stakes, what can we expect from Microsoft? What have they got for e3 that could push an on-the-fence next-gen gamer in the direction of the Xbox One, or, conversely, convince those of us who have already gone with the PS4 that they should also really consider adding a Microsoft machine to their next-gen collection??
Well, let’s take a look. As always, all the usual unconfirmed/subject to change type caveats apply…..
We’ve already had a few, brief glimpses of this zany and colourful parkour/mutant killing game, and let’s be honest, that’s quite an intriguing combination, right there! Set in a near-future world where energy drink addiction has resulted in lots of people-turning-mutanty-type-shenanigans (and not in a good, X-Menish kind of way), our protagonist will have to leap, wall-ride and grind around the city, with a unique and, quite frankly bizarre set of weapons, in an ongoing effort to destroy the mutant hordes. It all looks like great, great fun, and as an Xbox exclusive, probably fairly close to completion, we’d very much expect to see something this awesome get a fairly big chunk of coverage at e3.
Ever since the first shots were fired in the Microsoft/Sony console war, Halo has been the former’s go-to weapon of choice, and has, in many ways, come to define every incarnation of Microsoft’s consoles. You wouldn’t, therefore, expect the Xbox One to be much different: hence the fairly significant possibility that Halo 5: Guardians will be present at e3 – in at least some form. Quite what form that will be is anyone’s guess, but we’d be surprised if we didn’t get some details about the story, possibly a few clips of actual gameplay, as well as, perhaps, some big news about how this version will be significantly different to the previous ones (place your bets now, folks!).
And, on the subject of Halo (and returning to the point about it almost being a part of the Xbox’s DNA), there are also significant murmurings suggesting that some kind of digitally re-mastered Halo Collection will be featuring in some form at e3 this year. The “Halo: Master Chief Collection” will likely include Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2, 3 and 4, and all wrapped up in a super-duper, hi-def, next-gen package. Naturally, we would expect that to be particularly well received by the ‘bajillions’ of Halo fans.
According to the Announcement Trailer, and Lionhead Studio’s own website, Fable Legends will unite all the classic gameplay elements of the franchise, with all of the next-generation capabilities of the Xbox One. It certainly looks beautiful, and with the new addition of a four “goodies” vs One Kick-Ass “Baddie” with the power to direct untold numbers of minions type twist, it definitely sounds both unique and intriguing. It might not be a “console shifter” necessarily, but given its potential to demonstrate what an Xbox One can really do, whilst also getting existing fans of the franchise excited, we’d also expect to see Fable Legends have an extended showing at e3 2014.
Developed by Finnish Studio, Remedy Entertainment (most famous for the original Max Payne games), a couple of trailers for Quantum Break have already been released, along with a few snippets of actual gameplay footage, and I have to say, they look freakin’ awesome. After a university experiment goes badly wrong, the game’s main characters develop time-bending powers, allowing them to do various time-bendy stuff (to use the technical term) including looking into the future, and using it to determine their current course of action. Excitingly, there’s also, apparently, a TV series in production, with Remedy stating “how you play the game impacts the show, and the show informs how you play the game”. Quite how that will work is beyond me, but, if it’s done well, and is a genuine indication of how Microsoft are approaching true next-gen interactive entertainment, that alone might be enough to make me throw my money at them!
The bad news, and why this is included last in the list, is that Remedy have already announced that the first playable demo will only be available at Gamescom in August, but, given just how special it all looks, we wouldn’t bet against it popping up at e3 too!
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