My Thoughts on Microsoft’s E3 2015 Press Conference

At Xbox our mission is simple: to put you, the gamers, at the center of everything we do, to build the best platform and most reliable service for both gamers and developers, and to enable teams to push the boundaries of creativity, technical innovation, and of course fun.

~Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox Team

This week is E3 week- the annual event where miraculous gaming announcements practically reign from the heavens for our viewing pleasure. Need I say more? Nope, I’d rather just start talking impressions on what was shown.

We start off appropriately with Microsoft, the first conference of the day. Before we start, click here for my predictions post of which I will be referring to often.

As you’ve no doubt noticed, the above quote from Phil Spencer was said during the event early on. I thought it appropriate to mention as I feel it capitulates the general theme of Microsoft’s conference. I mentioned during predictions that if Microsoft intends to “win E3” they needed to focus on new IPs, abide by what fans have long wanted, and not let non-software announcements take too much away from game announcements. I’m happy to report that this is exactly what they did.

This was one of the best Microsoft conferences in a long time. If last year’s show was about regaining respect and expanding their repertoire, this conference was about listening to fans plus further IP expansion. They’ve done marvelously this year, and for me this was everything I could’ve asked for (give or take a few announcements).

I’ll run down what was shown and give a quick impression on each. I won’t be covering everything, but I’ll discuss what I can and won’t miss the big ones. (Again, I’ll refer to my predictions along the way)

As predicted, the first showing was of Halo 5. It got expansive coverage with a gameplay demo and two trailers: one for the entire game and the other for Warzone mode. I’d be lying if I said I was particularly enamored with Halo 5. I’m not a big Halo fan. The gameplay was okay and Warzone mode looks cool for variety sake, but it’s not for me.

Recore, the first new IP of the show, had a stunning trailer. This project is headed by Keiji Inafune, developed by Retro Studios, and comes out Spring 2016. That’s all we know, and it’s all very promising. I’m very interested, but I need gameplay to form a proper opinion.

This is where Phil Spencer came on and said the above quote. While he was there, he dropped the single best announcement of the show: backwards compatibility with 360. I along with all the world was shocked that this was even considered. I’m very happy with the announcement and glad to hear this concept isn’t just a Nintendo thing.

Fallout 4 was a game I’m glad is being made. Unfortunately, as someone who never played the previous games, it took me until now to fully appreciate this announcement. That demo was fantastic, and I’m ready to jump in when it comes out. This gives me time to pick up and beat Fallout 3. Also, nice touch on the PC mods.

The Elite Controller was a great idea. For my needs it’s irrelevant, but for my COD-crazed brother it certainly isn’t. The one thing I immediately loved about it was that new D-pad attachment. My one gripe is the $150 price. This is Wii U gamepad levels of high. I realize there’s a market for this, though; I’ll just say it’s a good idea but not for me.

Forza Motorsport 6, as I said last time, I’m not interested in. However, I’ll gladly take that car off their hands.

EA’s All-Access Vault- will the subscription services on Xbox ever stop? I digress, I kinda like this idea. Their price is actually fair and you get every EA game along with it plus early beta access. I have a Gold account, so maybe I’ll give it a whirl this week.

Looks like I was wrong about the announcement of Dark Souls 3. Granted I did say Sony wouldn’t show it, but I was wrong in forgetting about Microsoft’s conference. I await the collective cries of many gamers who pull out there hair once the game is released!

Ubisoft had a surprisingly high presence at Microsoft’s show. First they discussed Tom Clancy’s The Division which I’m slightly interested in. Then they showed Rainbow Six The Siege which I don’t know what to make of since I don;t know that series. I will compliment them including the two previous titles with The Seige. That’s cool!

Gigantic looks decent enough. Hopefully the gameplay is similar to that of the trailer.

Then came the indie montage followed by a few short, in-depth showings. The two indie games that got me was Beyond Eyes, for its artstyle and interesting concept, and Cuphead, which is probably everyone’s favorite and the most likely to be a hit. Cuphead is particularly charming, though.

Ion and Tacoma look like games that could be interesting but lack any gameplay to go off of. They’re just concepts with trailers at this time, so I lack much of an opinion.

I’ve been looking forward to Rise of the Tomb Raider since I’m a big fan of the previous game. The demo on the mountainside was pretty intense, however I would’ve liked to have seen some combat or exploration mixed in. Still, I liked what I saw. It’s certainly more than I expected from the conference.

I remember saying in predictions that Microsoft’s E3 success lays in the fact that HoloLens gets minimal showtime. Well I got my wish, but I’m prepared to eat my words. I think HoloLens is a lot cooler than I expected, and they couldn’t have picked a better game than Minecraft to showcase it with. When this came on, I and everyone in the room were amazed at the capabilities of this thing. I want one and look forward to seeing more.

I think Fable Legends got the shaft this year. We didn’t even get gameplay- just a trailer. Ah well! At least we have plenty of it to see outside the show.

Of all the years to show Rare off, this was the one that needed it most. In honor of their 30th anniversary we’re getting Rare Replay which includes 30 classic games for $30! To make things better, there’s a physical release! Rare, I love your faces and will probably grab it when I can.

That’s not all! As expected Rare has a new game. I thought it was going to be Battletoads, but they surprised me with a new IP: Sea of Thieves. It actually looks pretty fun if not slightly generic. Under any other company I’d just it’s just some pirate game. But it’s Rare so I’m stoked.

Our last major announcement (at the end like I thought) was Gears of War: Ultimate Edition and Gears 4. I’m surprised they didn’t show trailers for GOW Ultimate at all. However, we all know that pales in comparison to Gears 4. I’m not big on the series, but Gears 4 looks pretty good. Even my mom was impressed at the game.

Overall, I was very impressed with Microsoft this year. I wanted new IPs and I got them. I wanted limited non-game talk and I got it. I wanted Rareware and I got it. I think the take away showing this year will be HoloLens and backwards compatibility. The show-stealing games for me was probably was Fallout 4, Cuphead, and Rise of the Tomb Raider.

What did you guys think of the conference? Let me know in the comments and let’s keep this E3 joy going!

I’m SBox180. Thanks for reading!

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