Friday, 1 July 2016

Microsoft E3 2016 Announcements

Microsoft's conference was one we were really looking forward to, and we got to see lots of great footage for their upcoming releases.

Xbox One S

While not a game release, this was something we were really happy about. Our Xbox is on its last legs, and with it being the 500GB model, it really doesn't take much to fill it up - and we can never decide what to uninstall to make room. So this reveal, which was for a smaller, slimmer Xbox One, with a 2TB harddrive, an internal power brick (yes!) and 4K ability (so will upscale games to 4K, providing you have a compatible TV), it's a no-brainer that we want to get it. It doesn't have a Kinect port however, (although one will be available separately) so if Kinect gaming is your thing, you may need to weigh up the pros and cons of getting it when it is released in August, especially because of the next point:

Project Scorpio

Microsoft also showed off its next iteration of the Xbox One console, due to be released in 2017. A more powerful console (allegedly, the most powerful console ever), with 6 teraflops of power, while the next version of the PS4 (codenamed Neo) will only have a reported 4.14. And to put those numbers into perspective, the current Xbox One has only 1.32, and the PS4 has 1.84. So yeah, massive increase in power. Obviously, the number of teraflops alone doesn't equal a better console, it's what developers and such choose to do with the power available to them that will make or break the console (and ultimately get preorders). Calculating teraflops is essentially how many operations (or trillions of operations) can be done per second, so obviously the higher the teraflops. the faster the game will run, etc, etc, yada yada yada.

Regardless of all this teraflop nonsense, the details given for Scorpio look great, and even though it's coming out fairly quickly after the release of the Xbox One S, I still plan on getting both - Xbox One S for now as our current Xbox One is dying, and upon release of the Scorpio, we'll get that and pass the S on to the wee man (therefore retiring both of the household first-iteration Xbox Ones).

Gears of War 4

We also got to see some great footage of the next installment in the Gears franchise. It looked amazing. We got to see series co-creator Rod Fergusson and Laura Bailey (who voices Kait) demo the co-op gameplay, which, true to old Gears of War style, looked amazing. Releasing in October this year, this is one game we are really looking forward to, especially after the reveal of a much-loved character: Marcus.

It was also revealed that a new character would be brought into Killer Instinct: General Raam.

And lastly, in Gears of War news, we were shown the Limited Edition Gears of War 4 Elite Controller, which is just beautiful. Priced at £159.99, it's certainly expensive, but with the standard RRP of the Elites being £129.99, an extra £30 for a Limited Edition one isn't too bad.

Inside the box, other than the controller itself, it has:

• Gears of 4 themed carrying case
• Set of 4 metallic red paddles
• Set of 6 thumbsticks: standard (2), tall (2), and domed (2),
• Set of 2 D-pads: faceted and standard
• Custom red USB cable
• AA batteries
• Download code for unique multiplayer lobby emblem and three Gear Packs

And here is the clip they showed of it at E3, which just flat out convinces me that I need this controller.

Sea of Thieves

Rare were of course there to show off more of their upcoming title, Sea of Thieves. We'd been really hoping we'd get to see a lot of it, as we'd not seen a lot prior to E3, and boy, we got what we were wishing for. This looks fantastic, and extremely fun. It's the perfect game to play with friends, but they have also assured that if you don't have anyone to play with/don't want to play with other people, that's fine, you can still play perfectly well alone. 

You are of course a pirate in Sea of Thieves, and you spend the game building your ship and your crew, and going out on the open seas.

Not only does it look insanely fun, but it is beautiful too. I had been hoping to see this game release at some point this year, but sadly it's another 2017 release - coming out in February.

2017 certainly does seem jam-packed with releases. *gulps*


Platinum Games were there too, to show of their upcoming Xbox exclusive, Scalebound. We've been anxiously awaiting further news of this game since we fell in love with it at E3 2015, Sadly, this is another game delayed into 2017, but ultimately, all of these delays don't worry us too much, as long as it is going to lead to a better game at the end of the day.

The main character Drew totally gives me the same vibe as DmC's Dante - not that that's a bad thing. I really enjoyed DmC - and the gameplay is looking great. Really hoping we'll get a CE announcement at a later date.


We were really excited about this game when it was first shown back during E3 2015, but whilst we're still excited about it, we have a few reservations, too. Allan pointed out at first that the movement of the characters is a little clunky and how it doesn't look as good as we'd expected. I actually agree with this, despite initially refuting his opinion. 

With Keiji Inafune at the helm, we had hoped that it would be amazing, but after the recent issues regarding Mighty No 9, we don't know if he's maybe stretched himself too thin. After all, he did do the Mighty No 9 Kickstarter, then tried to do one for Red Ash (a game and an anime series) before Mighty No 9 had even been released, all whilst obviously working on this game in the background. And Mighty No 9 hasn't exactly been handled well by critics.

All we can hope is that in the few short months to release - since yes, it's coming this year - it ends up looking and playing great. Also, it has a pretty cool CE. £149.99 however, which is pretty expensive for what it is, but I've got it preordered anyway (of course).

We Happy Few

We got to see the fantastically creepy We Happy Few, which was Kickstarted a while back. It is looking great, and we're eager to play. Developed by Compulsion Games, the game is hopefully due to release this year, although with them stating that they are likely to be in Game Preview/Early Access for 6-7 months, after it goes live on July 26th, that means it's probably going to be another 2017 title.

Described on Compulsion's website, We Happy Few is "a game of paranoia and survival, in a drugged-out, dystopian English city in 1964", and yep - that pretty much sums it up. And we can't fucking wait.

Final Fantasy XV

We got a new trailer for FFXV, showcasing the battle system implemented in the game. Feels weird that we only have until the end of September to wait for this game to be released! We are super-duper excited for this one, especially as the combat is different to the previous installments, now taking more from the KH style of fighting.

Dead Rising 4

We had a very brief showing of Dead Rising 4, in which you play again as the original series protagonist: Frank West. Set again in Williamette Mall, the original game's location, albeit this time taking place during Christmastime, and with more places to explore, we can't wait to be back in Frank's shoes again. 

With even more awesome weapon customisation, we're looking forward to diving in and seeing what weird and wonderful tools of destruction we can create. And with a release date of December 6th, this year, we don't have too long to wait.

Forza Horizon 3

As usual, Forza's graphics looked immensely beautiful. I used to love the Forza games but haven't played either of the previous Horizon ones, and with over 350 stunning cars, and beautiful looking gameplay I must say, I think I might now.

Halo Wars 2

More footage shown of this, with details of a multiplayer beta (along with a trailer for it) too.

Despite being a big fan of Halo, I've never played Halo Wars. I do like the look of this one, so might be time to actually play the first.

Gwent: The Witcher Card Game

Coming from CD Projekt Red, the team behind the amazing The Witcher series, we had hoped for more footage of their already-in-development game, Cyberpunk 2077. Sadly, we didn't get that, but we did get a (kinda) brand new game announced.

When I say kinda, it's because the card game already exists within their The Witcher franchise, but its popularity has seen the need for them to create a full game based on Gwent. (Also, is it just me or is this the year of the card game reveals? From this, to The Elder Scrolls and Fable, it seems like we're getting a bundle of them all at once!).

Sadly, we've yet to fully get into The Witcher (not through a lack of wanting, as we are dying to play the games, but through a lack of time!), so we don't fully understand the appeal of Gwent, yet. However, maaany of the friends I have in the gaming/collecting community love Gwent, so hey, who are we to judge!?

State of Decay 2

When this trailer started playing, we all looked at each other in a moment on panicked excitement. The "Trumbull County" sign didn't make us realise what it was, we were just so intent on figuring out what this game could be, that we overlooked the damn sign that pretty much confirmed what it was. We saw zombies. We knew it wasn't Dead Rising 4, and it was unlikely to be another Dying Light. And when the characters stepped out of the car, and the music shut off, the trailer-y score kicked in and initially made me scream Left 4 Dead. I genuinely thought this was a return to the L4D franchise, but in a new, open-world scale.

And then the camera panned up and over the car, revealing the artwork on the hood, and we all knew it was State of Decay. Whilst a second State of Decay is certainly something we're still super excited for, and can't wait to play, my initial panic of it being the next Left 4 Dead did leave me somewhat disappointed.

However, that being said, we're really looking forward to it, and a little sad that this is yet another for the 2017 pile.


The next game from the creators of Limbo, Inside looks amazing. Being visually similar to Limbo, in that the color palette is almost completely monochromatic (akin to Limbo) with only bits of colour here and there as highlights in the environment.

You play as a young boy, struggling through a world where evil forces are experimenting on humans. The boy, much like in Limbo, can die in various gruesome ways, before being sent back to the last checkpoint. We loved Limbo, and are extremely looking forward to this game. Due for release on Xbox One on the 29th, we definitely don't need to wait long for it!

Xbox Play Anywhere

A brief mention of this here, as its something that had been discussed previously: the cross-buy aspect of games between Xbox One and PC. Obviously, we have seen this with a few recent releases, such as Quantum Break - you bought it for Xbox One, you also got a copy for Windows 10. Microsoft seem to be really pushing this now, and a lot of games shown this year at E3 will have Play Anywhere ability from launch, such as Gears of War 4, ReCore, Sea of Thieves, Halo Wars 2 and many more. This is something that will make a lot of fans happy as Sony has had cross-buy for a while now with PS4 and Vita, but combining Xbox One and Windows 10 is sure to be a great thing for many, especially as DLC is all cross-buy too.

The only issue with PA is that it is only for Digital copies (y'know, otherwise you'd just buy a game to get a free PC copy, trade in the one you bought and then boom, practically free game), but that's an understandable condition.

Microsoft Design Lab

The video explains it all. Can't wait till this comes to the UK.

So what were your best bits of Microsoft's conference?
Let us know in the comments below!

- V x

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