It's Day 0 at E3, and like always, Microsoft is first up on the list. Coming off last week's announcement of the 1 TB version of the Xbox One as well as a big partnership with Oculus, the company still had a lot to show for its annual E3 event.
Halo 5: Guardians
We start with the landmark game for the Microsoft console and a trailer showing a brief look at the game's storyline with its new character, Spartan Locke, hunting down Master Chief.
We also got to see gameplay footage of four-player cooperative mode featuring heavy explosions and bullets flying everywhere. Communication between the four characters in the game adds to the storyline, so all the players need to do is fight their way through while supporting their teammates, all without the need of verbal communication. New enemies appear alongside familiar foes with powerful melee moves and more dangerous weapons.
You will be able to switch between two squads, led by Master Chief and Spartan Locke, respectively. The game's storyline will also be incorporated into the game's multiplayer mode called Warzone. The series revolutionized the modern multiplayer genre, and with this new version 343 Industries hopes to make Halo multiplayer king of the hill again.
We'll see more of Halo 5: Guardians later today, when we get a few minutes to actually play the latest iteration in the popular series. For now, you have to wait until its release date of October 27 of this year.
We also got to see the trailer for a new title called Recore from Keiji Inafune and some of the developers behind the popular Metroid Prime games. It showed a woman and her robotic dog-like companion as they traverse a freezing tundra and the hot desert sands, encountering dangerous mechanical beasts. However, it seems that the protagonist can gather the enemy's robotic cores and then turn enemies into helpful allies.
This Xbox exclusive will be out in Spring 2016.
Backwards Compatibility Is Here
Phil Spencer also came out to announce that the Xbox One will finally be able to play Xbox 360 games on its latest console. This has been an issue with the next generation consoles, and with this move, Microsoft is challenging Sony's game streaming service and digital store, both of which provide classic titles from the original PlayStation to the PlayStation 3.
They showed off a classic, Mass Effect, playing on Xbox One. The game performs like it was on Xbox 360, but Xbox Live allows you to take screenshots, stream titles, and DVR your videos via Windows 10. The feature will be available later this holiday season, and as an added bonus, you will not be charged extra for the Xbox 360 games that you already own.
We also got a look at the new Xbox Elite wireless controller featuring a new analog thumbstick, rear paddles, and even modular capabilities. The controller will work with Xbox One and Windows 10. Details as far as price and release date are still unclear, but if they're showing it off now, it's bound to come soon.
Fresh from its event last night, Bethesda's Todd Howard showed off gameplay from the new Fallout 4. For the most part, it's almost the same gameplay we saw from Bethesda's event yesterday, with a few smaller details added this time such as moving around in the enormous Power Armor and using new weapons like the Laser Musket. We even saw the protagonist take down the terrifying Deathclaw.
Howard also mentioned that mods on the PC can be transferred and shared for free for Xbox One players. Again, it's another cog in the upcoming Windows 10 platform wheel, with Microsoft going full steam ahead with merging its console and the new operating system.
EA is having its own press conference later today, but it also had a presence at Xbox's event. The big sell here is EA Access, which allows players to play upcoming titles a few days before anyone else as well as getting exclusive content before everyone else for a monthly subscription. Titanfall and Dragon Age: Inquisition will also make their way to EA Access soon.
We also got to see the next installation in the Plants vs. Zombies franchise with Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2, which comes next year. There was a brief trailer showing off the rise of the zombies in Zomburbia. Again, new and old characters make their appearances, such as huge oranges, shooting corn cobs and a pirate zombie.
Racing is back with Turn 10 Studios' latest title, Forza Motorsport 6. We also got to see an actual Ford GT come down from the ceiling as part of the fanfare. It seems that the developers have a new partner for their latest title.
A brief trailer was shown with the new cars and beautiful race tracks that make the series a staple in the racing genre. For multiplayer, you can now have 24-car races, increasing the size of the field you can compete in. The game comes out on September 15.
Dark Souls III
It's time to die again and again and again. From Software is back on the Xbox One with a trailer for Dark Souls III, showing a crumbling city, ugly monsters, and a lone warrior to take on the wrath of evil. The game is coming out in 2016.
The Division And Rainbow Six
Ubisoft's new online action shooter, Tom Clancy's The Division, also made an appearance despite the game's delay to next year. Still, that didn't stop a new gameplay trailer showing the chaos and destruction visited upon New York City. As a member of the Division, it's your job to eradicate enemy forces in an attempt to bring peace and order back to one of the nation's largest cities.
Xbox players will get a first look at the game through an exclusive beta in December.
Ubisoft also talked about Rainbow Six: Siege, coming out in October. Thanks to the new backwards compatibility feature, fans will also be able to play Rainbow Six: Vegas and Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 on Xbox One because they come free with the new game. Another trailer was shown with players in team-based combat, with one holding a hostage while the other team attempts to rescue the hostage without taking any casualties.
Windows 10 And Xbox One
We finally also got to see the first game that would work on both Xbox One and Windows 10, and it's called Gigantic. The game features multiple characters, each with different skills. Players can summon powerful monsters to help out in the fight. The game will have a beta later this year.
Other cross-platform indie games were shown to work with both systems. Microsoft really wants people to switch to Windows 10, and this large lineup of games including Ark, Below and Mean Greens means that there will be a lot of content available in the new system.
Microsoft wants to put a huge emphasis on small, independent developers and their titles to add to its ever-growing lineup of games, and we saw some new titles from the indies.
Gone Home's Steve Gaynor talked about his new game, Tacoma, which is set in a space station. Players must walk around and discover the secret of the mysterious space station. The game will be coming out in 2016.
Beyond Eyes is another indie title, showing a painting-like world where the environment springs up like paint on a canvas as you continue to explore your surroundings. The game is out this summer.
Other indies such as Ashen, Cuphead and Ion were shown. There's also a new feature for developers called Xbox Game Preview, which allows players to play early access games, like Frontier's Elite Dangerous and Bohemia Interactive's DayZ. This is nothing new for Steam users, but this is a first step to bringing early access games to a wider audience through the Xbox One console.
Rise Of The Tomb Raider
The sequel to the reboot is finally here. Lara Croft's adventures continue with the first gameplay trailer for Rise of the Tomb Raider. We see Lara traversing a treacherous and snowy mountain, trying to reach the summit in search of a long-lost ruin.
As always, a Lara Croft adventure isn't easy, as she encounters falling ice, death-defying jumps, and unrelenting weather conditions. Oh, and there's an avalanche, just to keep you on your toes.
It's only the beginning as she continues to face local wildlife, merciless soldiers and even more unknown forces to reach her goal. The game comes out on November 10, the same release date as Fallout 4.
Titles such as Perfect Dark, Banjo Kazooie and Viva Pinata are going to be placed in one huge collection consisting of 30 games called the Rare Replay. The entire lineup of nostalgic titles from the classic development team at Rare will be available August 4.
However, Rare also announced a new title in its roster called Sea of Thieves. The gameplay trailer features a first-person adventure where you can play with other people in a cooperative mode as you sail the seas, in what seems to be a fully-functioning ship, and battle other pirates and skeletal monsters while also searching for treasure.
We've already seen Fable Legends a few times, most notably earlier this year with the first showcase of Windows 10. The multiplayer game became a free-to-play title a few months ago, and it was one of the first titles at the time to work with Windows 10 and Xbox One. This means that gameplay content on the PC and Xbox One can easily be transferred.
With Sony's Morpheus VR headset coming out next year, Microsoft was left without its own VR technology to compete with its gaming rival. That changed last week when it partnered with the mighty Oculus Rift, giving players the Xbox One controller and allowing the headset's use along with Windows 10 and Xbox streaming via the new operating system.
However, we found out that Microsoft is also working with Valve VR in what could be a monumental change in gaming. With Microsoft working with not one, but two VR headsets, it's going to have a big impact in the VR space, filling the incredibly important content void with tons of titles in the future.
HoloLens was also discussed, and we finally saw it in action, specifically how it works with the popular Minecraft.
Just as Microsoft did with its onstage demos at Build, the experience used a special camera that showed viewers what it looks like if you are wearing HoloLens. Even if you don't have a HoloLens, you can still play together with the Surface tablet.
You can also put the world of the game on an actual table, bringing the experience with you wherever you go. You can manipulate the environment with hands and voice, as well as zoom in and out and peer inside buildings like a giant. Even on a limited space, the game map moves to show different locations on such a small board. You can even move the map up and down to see subterranean levels while you can watch other players move around in your world. It really makes you feel like a god as you can call down thunder on locations and set marks for your friends to see.
More information about Minecraft will come soon, but it's good to know that we're seeing HoloLens more in action.
Gears Of War
Gears of War has been a longtime staple of the Xbox franchise, and an Ultimate Edition of the game's past titles was announced with improved graphics and 60 fps gameplay. It's coming out on August 25, but fans can participate in the public beta for one week only, starting today.
We also got to see the next iteration in the series. The gameplay showed a new character with the traditional armor seen in past titles. Together with a female counterpart, you explore a dark and creepy set of ruins.
Unlike its predecessors, which have sprawling cities with ongoing combat at every corner, the gameplay seemed more exploratory as you hunt down some unknown monster. It definitely gives the feeling that even though you and your partner are two strong soldiers, the frightening foe might be too tough to handle. For the most part, gameplay looks very similar, including the popular chainsaw execution.
Gears of War 4 is slated to arrive during the holiday season of 2016.
A Big Start
Even though the big sign on stage says "Xbox," there was a larger emphasis on more features with Windows 10 and VR. However, Phil Spencer and the Xbox team haven't forgotten about the core gamer. Halo 5 and Forza 6 keep the diehards happy, while popular titles and indie games round out the roster. We're going to see Microsoft more throughout E3, and we'll see how many of these games we can play in the coming days.