The Electronic Entertainment Expo or E3 has always been a highlight of the gaming year with numerous game, and console announcements and showcases. This annual celebration of THE best entertainment medium is preceded by press conferences by Microsoft, and Sony. Here are some of highlights from the Microsoft conference that went down on the 13th of June 2016 at 9am PT (- 7 GMT) at the Galen Center in Los Angeles, California.
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XBox One S
To kick off the press conference, Microsoft unveiled their latest console – the XBox One S. The console is coupled with a new wireless controller, and it will be 40% smaller than the original XBox One.
Boasting up to 2 TerraBytes of internal memory, and an integrated power supply, the XBox One S is a clear upgrade from the original. Providing players with a sharper gameplay experience with 4K video, and Blu-Ray capabilities.
The new controller has a textured feel, and bluetooth capabilities, extending its effective range.
Prices for the new console start at 299 USD, and will be available from August 2016.
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Gears of War 4
Unveiled at last year’s E3, Gears 4 had more up their sleeves for fans this year. The game will be one of the first titles available on the new XBox Play Anywhere. This means, players will be able to play the same game, on both the XBox One family of consoles and the Windows 10 PC. With their achievements, and progress saved on XBox Live, with no addition cost for the player. On top of that, the co-op modes in the game will support cross-play at launch, meaning you’ll be able to play Gears 4 with your friends regardless if they’re playing on console or PC. These modes include: the Co-op campaign, Co-op multiplayer, and the Horde mode.
General Raam will also be making his Killer Instinct debut this week.
Forza Horizon 3
A stalwart of the XBox console, Forza Horizon was unveiled at this year’s E3, set in Australia. The game will offer racers with a wide variety of environments, including a desert, and flooded plains.
Horizon 3 will offer its widest range of vehicles to date, with the addition of off-road racing buggies to the traditional racing powerhouses.
The game will feature four-player “instant” campaign co-op where racers can join up with friends to race alongside one another.
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Like Gears 4, Horizon 3 will be available on XBox Play Anywhere, allowing for cross-platform play at launch, September 27.
Revealed at last year’s E3, Recore is an Xbox One and PC exclusive from Keiji Inafune, the creator of Mega Man and Dead Rising. Recore stars Joule and her companion Mack, drawing inspiration from Metroid and Zelda, the game’s writing is led by Joseph Staten, the co-creator of the Halo and Destiny universes.
Although not much has been heard from Inafune and Armature Studios, a studio founded by former Metroid Prime developers, since it’s unveiling at E3 last year, we finally have a release date, September 19.
Microsoft announced 3 new features, Clubs, Looking for Group, and Arena for the XBox Live. These features aim to enhance gamers’ experiences on XBox Live.
Clubs allow gamers to form ‘communities and meet people you can go back to’, with the goal of connecting gamers “that love the same thing you do”.
Looking for Group allows players to look for “other gamers with a shared goal in mind”. Looking for Group will help you complete that giant castle in Minecraft or Co-op mode when Gears 4 is released.
State of Decay 2
State of Decay 2 will be released in 2017, as part of Microsoft’s Play Anywhere program.
Witcher 3’s in-game card game, Gwent, will have its stand alone release on consoles as well as PC. Scheduled for a September release, XBox One and PC gamers will get to have a test drive when the game’s beta hits.
The game will feature a “full-blown” multiplayer experience, cross-play between console and PC, and a “monumental” single player campaign. While the core gameplay mechanics remain intact, the visuals have been revamped.
The follow up to Playdead’s critically acclaimed puzzle-platformer, Limbo. First announced at 2014’s edition of E3, the game shared many of the stylistic signatures as its predecessor.
Inside will be released on June 29 on the XBox One, while the PC has a July 7 drop date. Limbo will be free from Jun 13 to June 20, and June 21 to 22, on XBox One and Steam respectively.
Bandai Namco announced that Tekken will be released on the XBox One and PC in early 2017. The trailer featured a bout between Akuma and Heihachi Mishima, blending the cinematics and in-game fighting seamlessly.
It was also announced that Tekken Tag Tournament 2 will be free for XBox Live Gold members this week. While the game has also been announced for PlayStatio 4 (PS4), there has not been a release window, neither has the developers confirmed that the game will support cross-play.
Platinum Games took the chance to showcase, Scalebound, the studio’s latest game, featuring the studio’s largest boss to date, the demo also showcased the game’s co-op gameplay.
Halo Wars 2
Halo Wars 2 has been scheduled for a 21 February 2017 release date. Halo fans will also be able to get their hands on the beta which is live now, through to June 20.
Rounding off the morning of announcements, Microsoft confirmed the existence of a new console. Set for a 2017 release, Project Scorpio will feature 8 cores, 320 Gb of memory bandwidth, and six teraflops of performance, allowing for a full 4K gaming experience, with all this running at 60 fps, the company says the console would deliver a “no-compromise” experience.
The console will also be backwards compatible with the XBox One and XBox One S, with the peripherals and controllers also supported by the new console.
Microsoft also alluded that they would be dipping their toe in the VR market, with Project Scorpio aimed at powering VR games as well.