Games, Games And Games.
This is what this years Xbox conference was all about, This is what Xbox owners wanted. This is what I wanted to see a lot more off. I mean what makes a games console? The games! Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer walked onto the stage to recognise not only the developers creating games for the Xbox platform, but Xbox's fans and their competitors in the console war, Playstation and Nintendo.
In one segment of the live stream, Microsoft showed very little in terms of indie games and when I say very little, it was like a quick ten seconds of footage of about 10 to 20 different indie games being worked on. These games are Pareto of the ID@Xbox, It was all a quick blur for me, but from what I did manage to figure out was some of the names of upcoming titles. There was very little in terms of footage to be able to get a clear idea at what these games were about so I'll list the names instead, maybe in the future we'll get a bigger glimpse at some of these games. Their upcoming indie game line-up includes Plague Inc Evolved, Earthlock, Cup Head, Lifeless Planet, Fru, Lovers In A Dangerous Space Time, Threes, Fenix Rage, and Hellraid. Whilst those names don't mean much at the moment, we'll all get a look at these games and what makes them so unique in the coming days.
So before we move swiftly onto the much bigger named games, it was announced by Xbox's 'Major Nelson' (Larry Hyrb) that the hugely successful arcade game Happy Wars on Xbox 360 would be coming to Xbox One, with cross-platform play and entire new characters.
The next game to be featured was Turn 10's driving game, Forza Motorsport 5, Dan Greenawalt walked on stage to announce that the racing track, Nurburgring, will be coming to Forza 5 immediately as a free download for Xbox One players. What then followed was the announcement of Forza Horizon 2 by Ralph Fulton, who said in detail that the game will be launching September 30th 2014, and introduces dynamic and dramatic weather effects to the series, forcing you to adjust your facing strategy in play. The game will be delivered with a resolution of full 1080p. It will have dedicated servers which will allow instant connection to other players, and will feature over two hundred cars. There will also be an option to create a club too, which will allow the player to either host or join a crew of other Forza players up to a thousand members.
Bonnie Ross, Studio Head of 343 Industries, announced that Halo: The Master Chief Collection will be coming to Xbox One on November 11th 2014, and will include all Halo games featuring everyone's favourite Spartan 117; Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, Halo 2: Anniversary, Halo 3 and Halo 4. The collection will ship on one disc and include all of the multiplayer maps from those games. In addition, you will be also able to watch Halo: Nightfall, which is the upcoming digital feature being produced by Ridley Scott. You will also have access to the Halo 5: Guardians multiplayer beta phase, which will be taking place around December this year.
And then, in what has become an annual tradition for Ubisoft, we were treated to footage from the latest in the hugely popular Assassin's Creed franchise, Unity. Set during the French Revolution in Paris 1789, as Arno the Assassin you will be able to explore the biggest open world city in the series to date. The game will allow you for the first time to co-op with up to three friends through Xbox Live. More information was given at Ubisoft's conference, although nothing regarding the mysterious related project which is allegedly in development for current gen systems, Assassin's Creed: Comet.
A new intellectual property we had seen briefly at last year's E3 was Sunset Overdrive. Ted Price, from Insomniac Games, gave us a more in-depth look at the game with a new trailer. The game's setting takes place in Sunset City where a corporation has released a new energy drink, contaminating the residents and turning them into mutated creatures. You play as an employee of the company who has been tasked with cleaning up the mess. Some of the new features revealed allow you to customise your character. You also have special abilities which you can use against the mutated creatures. They even showed off one of the bigger enemy types, called a Herker. It looked friggin huge, and challenged the player by swinging from left to right to create damage. Sunset Overdrive is coming exclusive to Xbox One on 28th October 2014.
Some gameplay was also shown of the upcoming online co-op game by Lion Head, Fable Legends. It began by showing four different characters, the heroes of the game, which is said to be set a substantial amount of centuries before the events of the first Fable game, placing Fable Legends as the earliest playable point in the overall chronology of the series. The gameplay footage showed all four characters on a mission to retrieve an ancient artefact from a series of overgrown ruins. It appears the game will be similar in concept to the other upcoming game, Evolve, where four players can also play as the heroes whilst one person can play as a type of villain. What was interesting was that the villain of Fable Legends could spawn enemies all around the heroes to try and stop them from completing their task, similar to the multiplayer component to Zombie U from a couple of years ago. It was revealed that a multiplayer beta will be arriving this fall and to sign up all gamers had to do was to visit the official Fable website.
Having been really interested in Project Spark for some time, and having played the beta, I can say it was something that had at least piqued my interest. This game allows you to use it as a template to create whole new games, using the options it gives you. Until I got hands on it, I actually thought it felt like the game was heavily focused on the dreaded micro transactions. That's not to say the full game will turn out like that, but here are the features broken down for people who haven't yet had a chance to catch up on this game-creating game. In Project Sparks, players can create their own unique worlds. They will also be some form of co-op campaign, whether this is co-op game-building or a fully-functional campaign using the games engine (kind of like in Sony's Little Big Planet) is yet to be seen. Players can also, of course, play other people's creations, from a range of millions of worldwide. Project Sparks will introduce a feature called 'Galaxies' too, likely a version of the game-building itself but set in space, and the cult character Conker (from the N64 classic, Conker's Bad Fur Day) will make an appearance for the first time in a game since 2005.
Scalebound was announced by Platinum Games as a brand new IP. The gameplay they showed off was quite vague, but gave a somewhat mystical feel to it. There was a man running throughout a forest. Behind him was this overgrown-tree-like monster, destroying everything in its path. The man and his attacker came out into an open area, where a dragon appeared quite conveniently and began brawlng with the tree monster. Then, from out of nowhere, this guy places a set of headphones on his head and pulls out a sword to help fight.
Attention all agents! Crackdown will be returning and coming to Xbox One probably next year, likely to be released in 2015. Whilst it wasn't specifically stated during the showing of a trailer, a lot of people to believe the new game to be Crackdown 3 even though it was shown to clearly but an unnumbered title. It is quite possibly a reboot of the franchise. However, what was announced was that the game will have a brand new campaign, co-op, dedicated servers and will be a reimagined open world experience - taking place in an entirely new setting to the previous games in the series.
Another surprise announcement was a cinematic trailer at the next Tomb Raider. A therapist was shown asking someone questions in regards to a traumatic event, which then became quite clear were the events of the first games. We were shown flashes of Lara climbing a snow cap, only to lose her grip and start sliding down the mountain. It cut to show Lara on the opposite side of the therapist again, briefly explanation how she is determined to pursue even the most dangerous of ancient ruins due to the courage she found after the events of the reboot.
Did Microsoft hit the nail on the head?
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