E3 2013: Microsoft press conference recap

Levi Castle

At 11:30 a.m. CST on Monday, Microsoft kicked off the most anticipated Electronic Entertainment Expo in years. Not since the 2005 and 2006 summer conferences has E3 had so much hype, and this year’s proved to be just as talked about afterwards as it was before.

Leading up to E3 2013, the first six months of the year found Microsoft preparing to unveil their next gen system. On May 21, the company introduced the Xbox One, kicking off the controversy that would follow it to E3.

Seen in this video, the word “TV” was mentioned many times during the show. Microsoft spent the reveal talking about the entertainment features of the One instead of the gaming aspects. Games, they later explained, would be covered in full at their E3 conference a few weeks later.

Come June 10, Microsoft began the show with the world’s first look at gameplay aspects for Hideo Kojima’s Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, a third-person stealth/action title that extends the famous series’s gameplay to the next generation.

Following the trailer, Xbox’s Don Mattrick, president of interactive entertainment business, and MGS creator Hideo Kojima took the stage to briefly discuss the new game. Mattrick then went on to introduce Yusuf Medhi, head of Xbox marketing.

Medhi introduced a brand new Xbox 360, updated to resemble the new Xbox One design structure. It was advertised as being “smaller, sleeker and quieter than ever,” with an availability of that very day. This is similar to a few years ago when Microsoft announced the Xbox 360 “slim,” and released it the same day.

Medhi followed up by announcing that Xbox LIVE Gold users will have additional benefits with their subscriptions. Two free games will be provided to paying members per month, with examples like Halo 3 and Assassin’s Creed II touted as just the beginning of what Microsoft plans to offer.

Three new Xbox 360 games were announced as well. World of Tanks, by Wargaming West; Max: The Curse of Brotherhood, by Press Play; and Dark Souls II, by FromSoftware.

Phil Spencer, corporate vice president at Microsoft Studios, took to the stage to announce that the rest of the conference would be focused on the Xbox One and its upcoming games.

Ryse: Son of Rome was announced as an Xbox One exclusive. Developed by Crytek Studios, it focuses on a Roman warrior and his thirst for battle. A gameplay reveal was shown that had large-scale war and quick-time events.

Killer Instinct by Rare was announced, bringing back an old series that Microsoft knew gamers wanted, judging by Spencer’s “we listened” comment.

Insomniac’s Sunset Overdrive was revealed, boasting cartoony graphics and over-the-top action shooter combat.

Forza is a racing franchise that many Xbox gamers have enjoyed throughout the years. As a direct competitor to Sony’s Gran Turismo, Forza offers realistic driving scenarios and competitive multiplayer. On June 10th, Forza Motorsport IV was unveiled by pulling a real (and extremely rare) McLaren P1 onto the stage. To add to the effect, a demo of the graphical power of the new game was shown on screen. The Drivatar, an artificial intelligence that learns how a player drives and then races for them when they’re away, was shown live to the audience.

Minecraft, the PC building game by Mojang that took the 360 by storm when it was ported over, was announced to be coming to the Xbox One.

Quantum Break by Remedy, first seen at the Xbox One reveal event, was shown again at the E3 conference. While it consisted of a cinematic and no gameplay, the crowd reacted with applause when it was shown.

D4, by Access Games (JP), was teased as a “new vision of horror from acclaimed designer Swery,” according to IGN.

Microsoft Studios unveiled the new creativity game called Project Spark, a world-builder that offers extensive customization, sharing ability, and play styles. Using voice or SmartGlass or the controller, players build the world they want to, and shape it how they please. All terrain can be shaped to the player’s whim, and once the world is created, scenarios can be set up within. In the demo, the player builds a moat, and then sets up a small town. Goblins attack, and creativity is used to finish off the army.

SmartGlass was shown at the conference as being a much larger part of next generation gaming. Ryse was shown on SmartGlass, where players could see the entire battlefield before them.

Twitch Tv, the popular streaming service, was announced as being integrated into Xbox One. Users can now stream whatever they want, whenever they want with the new console. Editing, recording and sharing videos is also part of the One’s hardware.

LIVE was announced to have unlimited friends lists and to drop the Microsoft Points currency system, switching to real money instead. Current Xbox LIVE memberships will carry over to the new console.

Crimson Dragon, developed by Grounding, was shown to the crowd, but the sound during their trailer was cut out and nothing could be heard. The crowd could be heard laughing and jeering, but the silent trailer ended with loud applause.

Dead Rising 3 was announced to be a next-gen title exclusive for Xbox, much like the first game was for the Xbox 360. The game features an open world with no load times and is developed by Capcom.

CD Projekt Red was next up, showing the crowd a trailer for their game The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. The title is the last of the action trilogy.

After some more technical difficulties, and almost calling off their presentation, DICE showed the crowd their second look at the next Battlefield, called Battlefield 4. It featured a single-player mission on a sinking ship.

Capybara’s title, called Below, was also shown, demonstrating the top-down gameplay of its style.

Phil Spencer announced five other games, with names like Black Tusk Studios and 343 Industries showing up after their teasers. A new Halo game was announced for Xbox One, taking advantage of 60 frames per second and the new Xbox’s hardware.

The Microsoft conference wrapped up with the pricing announcements and special edition reveals. Those who pre-order first can get specially-branded consoles, and the console will sell for $499 USD.

The conference officially closed with the gameplay reveal of Respawn Entertainment’s Titanfall, a first person shooter centered on multiplayer and mech warfare.

Xbox One will launch at the end of this year for the holidays.