News by Clark A.
As usual, Microsoft is the first of the big three console manufacturers to hold its yearly E3 show. With Project Scorpio on the horizon, the company will no doubt seek to trumpet the technical virtues of its upcoming console’s monstrous hardware. Perhaps we’ll get a couple games in there too. How high (or low) will Microsoft set the bar? Let’s take a peek at the company’s key announcements.
Related reading: For comparison’s sake, here’s Microsoft’s showing from last year.
The conference opened with a a trailer highlighting the evolution of resolution since Xbox brand began in the early 2000s. It hyped up 4K visuals, which would become the running theme of the rest of the show. Some fancy promotional theatrics centered on the Scorpio’s tech soon followed, featuring the likes of Forza and Halo. “Feel True Power” was the tagline.
Xbox One X
Phil Spencer came on stage and revealed the final name for the Scorpio: Xbox One X. Three Days Grace has their mitts all over that name. Kareem Choudhry expounded on the numbers, reiterating that the One X is indeed stronger than any other console every released on the market. The Scorpio even has a liquid-cooled vapor chamber, which is novel in it’s typically reserved for gaming PCs and the like. Some suits ran us through specs and the system’s UHD Blu-ray playback capability.
From the start, all One X games and accessories will support One X. Old titles will be enhanced visually and in terms of load times. That’s worth bragging about. Despite the power, the One X is the smallest Xbox console ever. The tide has turned on those old Xbox Hueg memes. The new system launched worldwide on November 7.
Forza Motorsport 7
World premiere footage of Forza Motorsport 7 aired. A new real-life model of Porsche 2019 was unveiled shortly thereafter, which you can bet will be featured in-game much to the delight of Porsche’s marketing team. Using high-res assets, dynamic weather, and other such splendors, they’ve recreated famous racetracks. The goal is living environments. It’ll be on Xbox One and PC, but enhanced for the One X.
– Debut footage of FPS Metro: Exodus aired, featuring a soldier warding off monsters with a knife, gun, and crossbow. You can nab it on both Windows 10 and Xbox One in 2018.
Assassin’s Creed Origins
A trailer for an Egyptian-themed Assassin’s Creed Origins in 4K aired. Growing up on the Yu-Gi-Oh manga, that’s a setting that speaks to me much more than past entries. Ubisoft’s creative director explained the protagonist’s origins before dropping some in-game action. Footage of a horseback trip through Siwa demonstrated some of the effort expended in emulating the culture’s history and customs. The obligatory assassination gameplay reared its head too, leading up to a a release date reveal of October 27.
Dragon Ball Fighter Z
The previously revealed Dragon Ball 2D fighter appropriately titled (however unoriginal it may be) Dragon Ball Fighter Z was shown. I’m not one to be blown away by the artstyles of modern anime games, but this one looks clean, crisp, and positively gorgeous. As in, better than the anime on which the material is based. Super Saiyan 2 Gohan has never looked better squandering his potential. We’ll have to wait until 2018, but if the mechanics are designed as nicely as the game looks, it’ll be worth the wait. I love Xenoverse as much as the next guy, but this classic style better meshes with my sensibilities.
Xbox backward compatibility is being expanded to include…(drum roll)…the original Xbox! Crimson Skies was one of the confirmed games. Like with the 360 ports, these old games will look better and play better. I don’t know how deep the support will run, but it’s always neat to see a newer system embrace its roots.
Some recent One games will have free 4K updates for Xbox One X such as Final Fantasy XV, Resident Evil VII, and Rocket League. That should appease many.
Wrapping things up
The show concluded with a final recap sizzle reel, which highlighted all the experiences bound for the Xbox and PC family of systems.
Overall, this show did a better job of highlighting the diversity of the Xbox library than past years have. I didn’t much care for the early games, but once the show got rolling, it highlighted much beyond the stereotypical shooters and sports games you’d anticipate (with not a Call of Duty in sight).
My concern is this: how many of them will actually inspire new players to purchase an Xbox One X? Does graphical fidelity and horsepower mean enough to people who already have access to most of these games via their existing Ones, PS4s, and PCs? The conference also seemed designed to hide that many of these games are indeed coming to other platforms, which I found a tad confusing to keep up with. I’m curious what Microsoft’s expectations are for this super-console.
Did you enjoy the show? Feel free to funnel your excitement/apathy/anger into our Microsoft-themed podcast later today, where our staff will do the same.