The Xbox Conference
The Xbox arena looked sleek and modern, with greys and whites and several screens splayed with several lights. The seating was arranged in a way that defied the norm with box-y ornaments creating angles all over the floor.
Then, the conference opened with the introduction of the Xbox’s new console: the Xbox One S. The most compelling new features were its size (40% smaller), its hard drive space (2 TB), and the fact that it could play movies in 4K. Since I don’t have an Xbox, and was thinking of getting one, this almost convinced me.
It was then announced that the Xbox One S was only one of an implied many consoles waiting to join the “Xbox One family.”
One of the main focuses of the showcase was “Xbox Play Anywhere,” something Microsoft has been talking about a lot. Using their ownership over two platforms, Xbox Play Anywhere lets players play their Xbox games on PC as well, without having to pay extra. This is only for certain games, but games already on that list are Gears of War 4, the third season of Killer Instinct, and Ark: Survival Evolved (even if you’ve already bought it, so don’t worry).
Minecraft had the longest demo out of all the games featured, basically showcasing their latest update: “The Friendly Update,” where you can cross-play with friends who are on PC, tablet, even iOS or Android.
Another game coming to the cross-play party is Gears of War 4. Multiplayer remains within your platform, but you will be able to play with your PC friends in every co-op mode. Including Horde Mode.
Oh, and speaking of Gears of War 4, Marcus confirmed. Check out the E3 demo (played by Laura Bailey, the voice of Kait) here
Other games they showcased was Forza Horizon 3. Now, this actually looks amazing, with a lot of off road-ing open world-style races through the beautiful jungles, dunes and beaches of Australia. The feature they focused most on was its seamless four-player co-op, leading them to call this “the most social Forza ever.”
There were also mentions of ReCore, Tekken 7, Dead Rising 4, Scalebound, a cool gameplay demo for Sea of Thieves, State of Decay 2, and Halo Wars 2.
Smaller scale games included Inside from the creators of Limbo; We Happy Few, a very British game that sort of reminds me of Bioshock in terms of storytelling; and Qwent ! You know, that game you spent more time on than actually playing through The Witcher III. They’ve created a full game with cross-play multiplayer as well as a single player campaign mode. You can sign up for the PC/Xbox closed beta here: https://www.playgwent.com/en
The last big announcement was Project Scorpio, the third console in the Xbox One family. It features 4K gaming, “high fidelity VR” and hardware that can render uncompressed pixels. I heard “six teraflops of power” so many times that I decided I had to look up what on earth that means. Apparently it can process 6 x 1012 floating point operations per second. But I still don’t really know what that means. While the Xbox One S is coming out this August at a price of US$399, Project Scorpio’s debut will be late next year. Here’s the E3 announcement.
The PlayStation Conference
Set inside a massive and prestigious theatre, I knew I was really going to enjoy the next hour as a huge live orchestra started the show with an amazing performance. The show then opened with this trailer .
Yes, God of War is back and it looks absolutely beautiful. Being in the audience would have been awesome as all music was played live by God of War’s very own composer and his orchestra. They then stayed and continued to play for the rest of showcase.
While they didn’t have as many company announcements as Microsoft (they didn’t show off any new consoles), they did produce a finer selection of up-and-coming games.
Days Gone, a biker zombie game ; The Last Guardian got a release date (October 25th); we got a better look at Horizon: Zero Dawn’s gameplay; choose-your-ending game Detroit: Become Human that explores the idea of life; Resident Evil VII; Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare; and last but not least, Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding. (For more about Kojima’s latest creation, check out Strahan’s article here.
Sony did go into their new VR gear, which is coming out October 13th in the US at $399 which, you’ll notice is, same price as the Xbox One S. I guess Microsoft saw a price and assumed it was Sony’s price for their ‘PS4K’ console (but that’s just random speculation there). Apparently they have about 50 games available for it on release including Resident Evil VII, Farpoint, Star Wars Battlefront X-Wing VR Mission, Batman Arkham VR , and a Final Fantasy XV VR Experience.
Oh, and Crash Bandicoot is going to be fully remastered for the PS4. Yep, you heard me. All the original games are going to get completely redone. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is also going to be remastered for the PS4.
Oh, oh, and another thing Ratchet and Clank developers Insomniac announced their Spider-Man game!
Really, while Microsoft perhaps managed to pack in a whole lot more info and console development into their showcase, Sony still had the better presentation. I mean, live orchestra, come on!
Of course, only owning Sony consoles leads my excitement to become … quite biased. But orchestras and new games were what I was really looking for this year, and looking at both ‘objectively’, PlayStation won.