Microsoft E3 Conference: Personal Thoughts

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10:36 AM CST: It’s an hour before the conference even starts and I’m awake. I told myself I’d be up for this thing, and dang it, I am. I may have only gotten 5 hours of sleep, but E3 is the time of the year where sleep really eludes me. Maybe, now, I can get my sleep schedule in order.

I watch my Conference live streams through Twitch.tv and there are already people in chat, but with the spam of “GOAT SIMULATOR 2 CONFIRMED” and racial slurs, I tend to not pay much attention to chat anymore. I get it’s all in fun, but good lord. Since I do have enough time, I’m going to grab my family breakfast, be back shortly. I’m so excited for this conference, it’s not even funny.

11:27 AM: I’m back, with fried chicken and donuts. What? I’m a gamer. My nutrition isn’t 100% healthy.We have 2 minutes now until the conference, I’m already predicting a few things.

  • Something Halo for sure.
  • VR-Capability with their new and improved XBox One console.
  • Something about the Microsoft Hololens that we saw last year and have heard nothing about since. At least I haven’t.
  • Something about the One and Windows Gaming coming “closer” together. Through a pay-wall, you know how this works.

And before I can predict anymore, we’re in and a dedication to the Mass Shooting at Pulse in Orlando was the first thing we heard. That’s nice as always.Alright Microsoft, how are you going to screw my wallet this year?

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The Xbox One S is the first to be revealed, 40% slimmer, HDR gaming, Wireless controllers with better range. Phil Spencer joins us on stage, announcing the “smallest XBox Console” yet at $299.

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Rob Furguson joins us next and Gears of War 4 comes up on the screens. I should have called this too. Xbox Play Anywhere is announced and it lets anyone play from Xbox to PC, saving your achievements and progress between the consoles. You buy the game once, you can play it on both. It even supports cross-play multiplayer between PC and Console. I’m laughing and the PC “Master Race” in the house is having a hissy fit. Welp, too bad guys. I told you consoles were going to come to power even if it’s behind rules and pay-wall. I’m not 100% happy about it either, but hey, what are you gonna do? Now we’re seeing some Gears of War 4 game play. I don’t know if they’re playing on PC or XBox, but the graphics are beautiful. I don’t like the Gears franchise, even though I’ve tried. Maybe I shouldn’t start with the first one? No clue. We’re seeing different game play mechanics such as a saw-launcher, catapult and team work, even with the NPC’s, which is always fun.October 11th, 2016 is the release date. They also announced a Gears of War 4 wireless Controller to pre-order now.

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Rukari Austin, community manager of Microsoft, joins us now talking about Killer Instinct and a new character for the fight. General Raam comes into the fight for Killer Instinct Season 3. And how many times are they going to say “Xbox One and Windows 10 exclusive.” They’re going to make my husband hurl.

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Now we have a racing game. I wish I liked these more just as a casual thing to play. Forza Horizon 3. Ralph Fulton joins us for Forza Horizon 3, announcing we’re in Australia in the game play that we are going to experience right now. Also, I’m glad we’re seeing some girls up there playing the games for the conference. That’s awesome. And we’re seeing 4 people play at once, 2 on PC, 2 on Xbox. Showing the co-op play, rather quickly joining friends, makes your game go into the same world, same time of day, and not too far from each other. Forza Horizon 3 available September 27th, 2015.

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Recore comes on screen now, which by the trailer looks very cyberpunk, which is bonus points for me already.

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Square Enix comes on stage now with Final Fantasy 15. Hajime Tabata, Director of SE, announces we’re about to get some game play, fighting a titan. We get a real time action fighting sequence that we’ve went to, rather missing the turn based system that we last saw in Final Fantasy 10. Available September 30th, 2016. Short and sweet and to the point.

Ubisoft comes up now, Watchdogs 2, already calling it.

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Er…my bad, the Division and it announced a few things. Underground Expansion and available first on XBoxOne in June.

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Battlefield 1 comes up next, which I will say once again, isn’t for me. So far the only thing that’s impressed me in Final Fantasy 15. But of course, Battlefield is a huge seller, Xbox One players eith EA access get it first, October 13th.Trailer is being shown, and it looks like it’s set back in World War 1.

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Mike Ybarra joins us now, talking about XBox Live. Live servers closer to gamers, Cross Network Play, Backwards Compatibility, and player feedback. Cortana and Background music coming to XBox One. Xbox Live is on console, PC and any android advice if anyone didn’t know. Clubs on Xbox Live is announced, it reminds me of Guilds from WoW. Looking for Group as well, it’s like a ‘want ad for multiplayer’. Finding anyone to play with, anywhere, a lot easier. Arena on XBox Live is a tournament for XBox Live gamers, where you can compete with your friends and other gamers in any Wargaming, EA Sports games and more.

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Saxs Perrsons and Lydia Winters from Minecraft come out on stage and announced that players across Windows 10, Android and Console for a untied community called the Friendly Update. Gameplay is being showed between a Microsoft Surface and iPad. Now another is being shown from John Carmack in Gear VR, who also joins Lydia’s realm. Minecraft’s Texture Pack are coming to Android and Windows 10. Add-on’s are coming as well this Fall. Add-on’s let players change mobs and animals to anything they want. As well as letting villagers help fight and be a bit more brave. Minecraft’s little set in conferences are always a little cheesy, it’s great. Minecraft Realms is available today, on Live, Windows 10, iOS and Android. Nothing about Hololens with Minecraft this time around.

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More wireless controller, looks like you can customize it however you please. That’s actually really awesome. “8 Million Ways to make it yours” and you can even put your gamer tag on it. No price on that, however.

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A game from the creators of Limbo coming up now. We’re at about 12:14 PM, so well into the conference by now. The art design is very simplistic, but seems very dark. Inside available June 29th. Chris Charla, Director of Xbox, comes on stage now to talk about “Inside”. Limbo is now free on XboxOne and 360. Independant games get a spotlight now, which you can’t fault Microsoft for. Cuphead is shown, Outlast, Deliver us to the Moon, Flint Hook, FAR, Slime Rancher, Shadow Tactics, Figment, The Culling, For the King, Beacon, Stardew Valley (YAAASSS!!), Below,  and I missed one! Noooo! Raiders, Bloodstained, Yooka-Laylee and more.

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We Happy Few comes on screen now, and things quickly take a turn for the worst. Irony! The art style reminds me of BioShock, reminding me a lot of it now, actually. They’re talking about living in the tube, and the main character is wondering where one of his friends went and drugs seem to be a focal point in the game, talking of “Joy” and needing to take it. Now we have a pinata and, as he hits it, it turns into a dead rat with blood everywhere. They call him a downer after he wouldn’t take his joy, so he runs and is chased after Joker looking guards.

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Damien Monnier, Lead Designer of CD Projekt Red, joins us now and talks of a card game. Gwent: The Witcher Card game is announced. I’ve not heard about this at all, and I think it’s hilarious that card games are becoming so huge since Hearthstone got so big. A one-player campaign is being built, and they kept the original gaming mechanics that apparently so many people loved. We’re getting a bit of a teaser game play now, the card stage has 3 lanes, it seems. It’s coming out September.

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Bandai Namco flashes across screen with a new Tekken 7. Akuma and Heihachi take off in a cut scene of beautiful proportions and lead us straight into actual game play, which is actually just as pretty. Game Director Katsuhiro Harada and Micheal Murray, Game Designer, joins us on stage. Katsuhiro looking snazzy in that kimono. Free Tekken Tag Tournament 2 for Xbox Live Gold Members as well.

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Another game, looks like another Zombie Killer game. Dead Rising 4, a game that has the reputation of “However you can kill zombies the most insane, is the best way”.

Shannon Loftis, Head of Microsoft Studios Publishling, comes out and begins to talk about Studios. Wanting to bring blockbusters back to new consoles with fresh experiences. I’m loving this XBox Anywhere, to be honest. People have so much hate on console, but the fact I can stop playing on my console, go upstairs and play in bed on my tablet, that’s amazing.

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Hideki Kamiya, Creative Director of Platinum Games, comes out to show us Scalebound. Dragons!! DRAGONS!!! I remember seeing this last year, I was worried I missed this. You can control dragons and fight with them against bosses, and fight while riding them as well. This game play teaser is amazing, the boss is huge and the fact that you can fight with your dragons just has me so giddy, holy. Also it was co-op! I meant to mention that. Available 2017.

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Now we’re greeted with a Pirate Shanty! WHOOO. Pirates! It really reminds me of Fable in a sense. Craig Duncan of Rare comes out and talks about Sea of Thieves, a game of pirates and pirate life. Searching for treasure with your friends and other gamers. We even get some game play! That was the most entertaining game play yet. I want this for the ATeam. That looked amazing.

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Another Zombie game from Undead Labs.State of Decay 2, this is the first one that Kode has shown any interest in and that’s all they’re going to show too.

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Now we’re greeted with what looks like a Halo game. Every E3 has had a Halo, I called this. Is it 6 or ODST 2? Turns out, Halo Wars 2. 343 Industries Studiohead Dan Ayoub comes out to talk about it. Forgive me while I go get some coffee while he spouts off hot air. No, to be honest, I know nothing about Halo other than Nathan Fillion does voices for them, and he also had a character modeled after him in Halo 6 as well. That’s about it. Week long beta for Halo Wars 2 starts now. And, of course, a game play video and my first words were “Oh look! Starcraft!”

Phil Spencer joins us again, giving homage to the old XBox from 15 years ago. He brings up playing without boundaries, wanting people to play across platform and PC’s with a huge library of games. I believe this is the final speech, as it seems kind of “final” if that makes sense. Xbox One S was announced, slimmer and work with everything from controllers and headsets. 4K gaming and high fidelity VR is mentioned, and now we get to see what they’ve been working on. New specs for the console, seemingly they’re trying to compete with PC’s for this, true 4K resolution, render at 60 hertz. Nothing is being abandoned from the XBox One. Project Scorpio is it’s name and they’re claiming it’s “The most powerful console ever” in Holiday 2017, so we will see more at E3 next year.

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And with that, the XBox E3 conference is over, and I am..grossly underwhelmed, to be honest. Not much stood out to me, though I will be playing Sea of Thieves with the ATeam. Was super happy to see Stardew Valley on screen as well. That game was made by -one- guy and he deserves 100% of the credit he’s getting. Scalebound was one I enjoyed though and Final Fantasy 15, of course.

That said, I may cover the Ubisoft conference at 3PM, though it’s most likely I’ll just cover Sony’s at 8PM tonight. As much as I love Ubisoft, their conferences always leave me confused and wanting more, haha.

Thanks for reading and I hope you read my Sony conference play-by-play later tonight!

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