An armchair view of E3 2013: Microsoft

Microsoft Conference: June 10th 5:30pm GMT

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Another year – another E3 armchair write up as I suffer through multi-million dollar companies completely missing their mark thanks to the lazy ones amongst us mistaking a game console for Netflix delivery device.

Guesses for what’s on show this year should be easy enough to correctly assume. Microsoft will be doing a hilariously large amount of Reputation Management, convincing us their spy camera TV box also plays games and will end on a big reveal (Halo 5, I suspect since mo-cap dogs fell flat) to make everyone try to forget all the bad stuff. If you DO forget the bad stuff, I hate you.

  • Let’s play a drinking game. I bet you thought I was going to say take a shot every time someone says “TV” or “Sports” but nope not that. Microsoft will try to fit in the words “Game,” “Gaming,” “Video Game,” at every opportunity. You will come away remembering those words whether you like it or not.

  • The show opens with a trailer from Konami and two men riding horses. Specifically it’s Kojima Productions and so I guess MGS5.

  • Fox Engine you are pretty, but your lip syncing is terrible.

  • A new breed of stealth it says on screen (he can lean sideways on a horse so people nearby can go “Oh, look, that horse is riding itself.”)

  • Parts of the trailer go into fast forward, I’d like to assume this is a real game feature so there’s even less gameplay breaking up Kojima’s pointless lumps of speech heavy exposition.

  • The trailer shows the usual ‘odd’ characters (if I were the Red Skull I’d sue Skull Face) the game will feature to a horrible bit of music, but that said it’s a very pretty looking game.

  • Don Mattrick and Hideo Kojima take to the stage.

  • Oh no, Hideo is trying English.

  • Just like that he’s off again and I notice that Don has two microphones on for no good reason.

  • Oh, Don didn’t expect the audience to applaud when they did. I assume it wasn’t the press again.

  • Yusuf Mehdi takes to the stage again, hopefully this time not to say TV a single time.

  • A new thin 360 is available today though to be honest it didn’t look much different to the current black Elite model.

  • Gold Members get two free games per month starting with Assassin’s Creed 2 and Halo 3. You really liked that feature of PSN+ huh, Yusuf?

  • Just noticed he’s wearing two microphones as well.

  • Something never available on consoles before is up next, a ‘global phenomenon’ custom built for 360 (I do mean 360, by the way). Ah, the much rumoured World of Tanks console release I bet.

  • Want a neon tank that can almost fly? No? Oh.

  • If you did keep in mind it’s been on PC for ages and is free.

  • That was an overly long trailer for literally just showing a few different tanks shooting at each other and then it gets extended even further by someone coming on stage to talk about it.

  • Long shot of audience confirms most press still just blogging rather than clapping, so it’s the people at the back once more.

  • 15 on 15 team warfare. Tanks. Tank on tank action. More tanks.

  • How specific can you make a tank shooting game’s control be for a 360 pad?

  • Only on Xbox 360. Best not get that Xbox One then.

  • The 360 section closes with a trailer showing some more titles coming to the console over the rest of the year. It opens with a very awkward man wearing glasses two sizes too large for his head.

  • The game appears to be a platformer about a boy who accidentally curses his brother and gets him kidnapped by monsters. Max The Curse of Brotherhood.

  • Bandai Namco and From Software next so this will be Dark Souls 2 for sure.

  • This is for you masochists out there. Essentially the same bad game just even more unfair but with better graphics.

  • New section now opening with Phil Spencer. He’s still wearing two watchers and two microphones and a State of Decay t-shirt. He only talks with his right hand as well, which is odd. I think he might be doing it to keep speech beats.

  • Oh, right. He’s going to show a game or something. A trailer plays.

  • This is something about Rome. Ah, a very short trailer for Ryse which then opens to in game footage.

  • Once again the graphics are impressive, but who knew that Romans had American and British accents. Quick time events lead to finisher moves in a Gods of War esque brawler style. I’m not against QTE finisher moves but the combat does seem to use an awful lot.

  • Ah it seems a person on stage is actually playing so perhaps he’s to blame for too many parry-QTE kills.

  • Cevat Yerli takes to the stage to talking about Ryse: Son of Rome. You play as a general and command his legion. It’s an Xbox One launch exclusive and will be playable at E3. Yerli then walks off.

  • Another trailer plays. The return of Killer Instinct which leaked to everyone a day or so ago.

  • Ted Price from Insomniac comes on stage to talk about another exclusive. Sunset Overdrive an open world shooter that ‘changes every day’. Ah, it needs the cloud in some manner – that’s right, repackage that always-not off.

  • It looks like Brink if Brink were a cartoon. I also don’t think this is in-game stuff and more a concept trailer type thing. Didn’t give a lot away as the trailer ends, still not sure of how the Azure Cloud adds to anything regarding it.

  • It’s a car thing next. Toilet break, everyone!

  • Seriously though am I watching an advert for a car or is a game coming?

  • It is a game! No wait, it IS a car. They have one on stage for some reason.

  • Forza Motorsport 5 – I hope they don’t waste time talking about this for a while.

  • The guy on stage talking about this game is one of those guys who love their car just a little too much. I mean in a really creepy way.

  • As I do every year, I must apologise to anyone with a genuine enthusiasm for car related games and my inability to pay attention to them for these reports. It has cars. You drive stuff. It learns how you drive or something. Sounds a bit like it helps you cheat, but as I say I’m only half listening.

  • Got the subtext here now about seeing your friends even if they aren’t online and so on – more cloud based always-not off.

  • Finally something else but sadly it’s Phil Harrison on stage.

  • I love the Xbox One constantly being in the background watching everything going on. It’s a vision of the future.

  • Oh he’s talking about indie developers and why they shouldn’t hate Xbox One.

  • Seeking out those special games” – and making them get a publisher before we’ll care, am I right?

  • Did he just imply it was all thanks to Microsoft that the games he’s about to show are being played so much?

  • Minecraft is coming to Xbox One with far less content than the PC version as per usual.

  • Quantum Break is being mentioned and my interest was raised, but then they reminded me its an Xbox One exclusive.

  • Sam Lake on stage to talk about it. It blends TV and games because reasons. I love you guys at Remedy, but still.

  • You play as someone who survived a failed science experiment that caused time to stutter and freeze. An in game trailer plays showing a receptionist having the third worst day of her life. The trailer doesn’t give much away about plot or gameplay, sadly.

  • Another trailer of a game from Microsoft Studios plays involving punching, big white owls, a man with poor dress sense. It’s called D4, the trailer gives little away.

  • From MS Studios Dave McCarthy comes on to chat a bit. Is he holding an iPad?

  • Project Spark is the game he’s – no, seriously – is he holding an iPad?

  • A guy talks to his Xbox One telling it to add water and mountains and other pretty things. This looks like it’d get boring after five minutes.

  • Oh! Smartglass. Legally distinct tablet from an iPad. He’s using that to put in hills, moats and things like that using his finger rather than his voice. The future is here!

  • This reminds me of the old Dark Cloud games as he builds his own village, crossed with the adjective adding aspects of Scribblenauts.

  • First horrible pre-practised ‘gamer chat’ of the night.

  • Nice moves, Rockman.” They realize that’s a thing already, right?

  • More horrible fake tactic talking between them as one fights while the other alters the landscape to pick on a poor bunch of goblins.

  • This ends showing some examples of the worlds and objects other people have made using it so far. It seems creativity is there at least in terms of imitation of existing styles. I guess this will be the Xbox One’s Little Big Planet.

  • Next on stage is Marc Whitten without a tie or proper top.

  • He talks with one hand and then the other.

  • I bet you wanted to see more about Smartglass. I sure do because I still don’t know how it’s any different to any other touch screen device. You can get instant real time stat comparisons because everyone has always wanted to do that at any split second.

  • So if I understand this correctly the idea is that while you’re playing, your not-an-iPad can give you hints and tell you stats of your friends etc because you can concentrate on two things at once easily that aren’t close together like the old Dreamcast pad.

  • More horrible fake smack talk in a Killer Instinct match.

  • With Upload Studio you can edit and personalize video and record commentary with Kinect and upload via the cloud. As someone who does a lot of video editing I can tell you it does not offer enough features to create a good looking cut.

  • Xbox One partners with Twitch to stream live, it’s built into it.

  • Microsoft Points are gone – first genuine applause from audience.

  • Another exclusive plays – Crimson Dragon I think he said it was called.

  • The trailer doesn’t seem to have any audio for some reason.

  • I hear people booing in the silence of the trailer not playing correctly.

  • As the silent trailer ends the fake cheers begin.

  • From Capcom two people take the stage about an open world zombie game.

  • Dead Rising 3, which is interesting. I don’t think I heard ‘exclusive’ which is good.

  • A new protagonist trying to escape somewhere because that is the plot to every zombie thing ever.

  • Well there does seem to be a lot more zombies on screen without stuttering as he beats a few up and then flees to the rooftops to observe the area. There is an impressive number of zombies. He breaks into the house he was on.

  • He finds a torch and a gun and on the fly is able to put them together.

  • To distract the horde he fires a flare then runs down a path that didn’t require the distraction anyway.

  • He combines a sledgehammer with a chainsaw.

  • Free roam car driving is next as he explores a pretty large area filled to the brim with zombies. One eventually jumps onto the car and almost pulls him out of it.

  • Oh no, Smartglass interaction to call in an airstrike. Who knew mechanics had the connections to do that?

  • Available this holiday season and, sadly, is Xbox One exclusive.

  • John Mamais takes to the stage to talk about The Witcher 3, if I were to guess by his t-shirt.

  • Yup, and he said it isn’t exclusive in such a nice way.

  • Optional voice commands as an exclusive feature. Everybody must buy this version of it!

  • A trailer plays showing in game graphics and combat, looks like the same old pretty decent stuff seen in Witcher 2.

  • People from EA and Dice take the stage to barely any applause at all to talk about campaign pack DLC before release. I mean, Battlefield 4.

  • A lone cough to the ‘EA Presents’ at the start of the gameplay trailer makes me smile.

  • Something goes wrong with this trailer too, it had no sound and so they try to start over. Isn’t technology a pain sometimes?

  • Someone does a very childish ‘Ha, ha, ha-ha, ha’ and makes me smile even more.

  • This is getting very awkward as people jeer from the audience.

  • He isn’t sure whether to talk or walk off.

  • Attempt two at the trailer and it seems to have sound this time. Fake applause too.

  • Well aren’t these graphics very too much DLC? I mean, pretty.

  • Did one character just say to the player’s character “Cracker, get the door”?

  • Hang on – someone is on stage seemingly playing yet it was clearly a trailer issue to begin with so is it pretend? Either way I guess the stuff on screen is in game since it looks good but not unrealistically good.

  • It also looks a lot like any military game you’d care to mention, like Call of Duty.

  • Some combat and jolly boating later, the demonstration ends with unfortunately requires an Origin account. I mean, a plane almost crashing into them.

  • Oh, good! A pre-release DLC pack will be exclusively on Xbox One rather than, you know, on the disk.

  • Whatshisname is back talking with just his right hand again wearing a new shirt.

  • A trailer plays for another game. It’s called Below but it didn’t really give much away.

  • MS are investing in five new studios, but they are only showing a short trailer for one game one of the studios are working on. It’s barely 20 seconds long and almost literally (but not quite) shows nothing.

  • Time for another trailer for another unfinished project from one of these studios. Lots of sand blowing about with a hooded figure walking in it. Something shakes the ground around him and then it falls away like there’s been a subterranean explosion. A large robot raises out of the ground with large wings.

  • It’s revealed that the hooded figure was Master chief. I can’t wait for Halo 5 Gundam.

  • 2014 flashes up on the screen as planned release date.

  • Bonnie Ross comes on stage hopefully not to mention TV. Nope, less than a minute in it gets mentioned.

  • A new Halo FPS on Xbox One, so not 5 then?

  • Mentions cloud as an enhancing feature, subtle.

  • She didn’t even say much of anything and is already gone.

  • Right hand talkie man is back. I’m distracted by what looks like three blue sheep having relations on his t-shirt.

  • Xbox One launches in November, surprising no one because this leaked before the show. £429 in the UK. No one applauded until they realized that he wasn’t going to speak again until someone did.

  • His closing speech is sure mentioning games a lot, huh?

  • One more exclusive to close the show on from Respawn Entertainment. Get ready for Call of Duty you’re-not-my-real-dad.

  • Oh, my mistake. It’s actually futuristic with jetpacks and Gundams and so on so it’s more Call of Duty Halo which makes sense if it’s exclusive. Visuals weren’t that great surprisingly but I do have a soft spot for mech combat. The plot is about revenge, ha.

  • The game is called Titan Fall. Or Titanfall, not sure if there is a space there or not.

  • Vince Zampella comes on stage not to talk about the juicy stuff we want to hear. He does say Titan Fall focuses on multiplayer gameplay and (of course) the mighty sentient cloud that Xbox One simply can’t live without.

  • An on-stage gameplay demo beings for the game immediately showing that it has multiplayer components. They have good taste in voice actors.

  • The person playing as a build titan option on his hud. Lots of high jumping, wall runner, jet packing around which looks pretty smooth. Mixed with more so a Battlefield-esque HUD than Call of Duty.

  • He eventually summons his titan and gets inside it. Gameplay looks pretty fun.

  • The titan he’s riding in gets destroyed but he ejects, lands on an enemy, and destroys it.

  • That is the close of the show it seems.

The only exclusives that I will be disappointed to miss, judging on what was shown here, will be Dead Rising 3 and Titan Fall. Other than that it was an improvement on the last two years at least because they didn’t focus on Kinect or Smartglass. The constant subtle reiterations on how important the cloud is for Xbox One was painful.

 

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Written by Ian D

Misanthropic git. Dislikes: Most things. Likes: Obscure references.

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