Here they come
LOS ANGELES—Remember how everyone gave Sony grief for, you know, not actually showing its console at its February PlayStation 4 reveal.
Then Microsoft took the wraps off its upcoming Xbox One, but didn’t talk about the games.
The answer to “where ARE the games?” came Monday at the E3 gaming expo in Los Angeles.
Microsoft's big reveal trotted out developers who touted a torrent of new games coming to the Xbox One, many exclusively—at least at first.
Here's a rundown of the highlights. Let's start with Metal Gear Solid V.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain by Konami
Microsoft kicked off its presentation with some star power: The latest version of Metal Gear Solid, complete with open-world gameplay set in Afghanistan. The territory matches the gruff vocals of Kiefer Sutherland, the new voice of the legendary Solid Snake.
The trailer showed Snake moving fast and smoothly through a desert landscape, and some similarly smooth (and brutal) close quarters combat. It was the first public showing of the new Fox Engine in action.
Ryse: Son of Rome by Crytek
Ryse: Son of Rome puts you in the shoes of Roman soldier "Marius Titus."
The gameplay trailer showed Monday showed Titus/you leading a horde of soldiers through a fortified establishment—ok, call it a castle—in linear, Lord of the Rings-esque fashion.
While you're pointing your forces in the right direction, you'll also take on numerous baddies at once in a gory third-person view that is reminiscent of the old Dynasty Warriors games, mixed with Mark of Kri-style timed button-mashing close-quarters combat.
Cool stuff, and cool stuff that's exclusive to the Xbox One at its launch.
Killer Instinct by Rare
Internet, your pining has paid off. An updated version of Killer Instinct is destined to land exclusively on the Xbox One, and the brief demo showed all the stylized action and button-mashing goodness that made the originals such a hit.
Look for it to come sometime this year—presumably after the November launch of the Xbox One—and for a new Xbox One Mad Catz Tournament Edition Fightstick to be made available along with it.
Sunset Overdrive by Insomniac Games
Epic win for Microsoft: Insomniac Games is developing for the Xbox One.
Insomniac's Ted Price calls Sunset Overdrive "a stylized open world shooter in which the experience can change every day" thanks to the console's cloud connection.
The clip showed Monday at E3 showed several player archetypes—skinny Walmart employee-looking guy, beefy McDonald's employee-looking guy, Goth lady with a bat—devastating a horde of what appeared to be mutants.
The game rocks an interesting cartoon style that looks an awful lot like Jet Grind Radio with guns. Guns and lots of violence.
Dead Rising 3 by Capcom
Speaking of lots of guns and lots of violence, Dead Rising is returning to the Xbox.
But rather than sporting the series' usual cartoony, fun-loving vibe, Dead Rising 3's gameplay trailer sported a darker, grittier look that is more akin to Resident Evil or Zombie U.
Xbox SmartGlass integration, a lack of load times, and the massive scale of the new game look to impress, but the sudden shift in tone is a bit worrisome. Will Dead Rising 3 rock as much campy fun as its predecessors?
Here's hoping the game doesn't forget its roots in a rush to fit in with the style of the day.
Forza Motorsport 5 by Turn 10 Entertainment
Forza Motorsport 5—already announced as a launch title at the original Xbox One reveal—made another appearance Monday.
While Turn 10 Entertainment spent plenty of time talking up the game's shiny graphics and the McLaren cover car, the true star of the show was the unveiling of "Drivatars."
Forza Motorsport 5 eschews typical computer AI by tapping into the Xbox One's cloud connection and generating a Drivatar of you—an AI that learns your tendencies, speed, and style, then continues to race in your stead even when you're offline. Any points your Drivatar earns will even be credited to your profile.
The introduction of Drivatars means "Opponents don't drive like AI, they drive like people," says Turn 10's Dan Greenawalt. Color us intrigued.
Minecraft: Xbox One edition by Mojang
Minecraft may not be coming to Windows 8, but it is coming to Microsoft's Xbox One.
Look for all the building-block goodness you know and love on the PC and Xbox 360, but with bigger maps and beefed up multiplayer support.
Mojang isn't messing with success for the Xbox One version of its blockbuster hit—it's refining it.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt by CD Projeckt Red
The classic Witcher series has roots in the PC, but the latest entry will land on the Xbox One with some nifty Microsoft-focused features—notably, optional Kinect-powered voice commands and SmartGlass integration for inventory and weapons management.
The biggest changes to the game are non-platform-specific, though. CD Projekt Red's John Mamais says Witcher 3's "deep tactical combat was rebuilt from the ground up" and joined by a totally open, free-roaming world. The trailer showed series hero Gerault traveling by land and by sea alike.
Our first impression is that The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt looks like classic Witcher goodness mashed together with Skyrim with boats—and that's a good thing.
Halo (Xbox One) by 343 Industries
So, Master Chief: Maybe you’ve heard of him? The next foray into the Halo universe will be coming sometime in 2014.
Details are scant: we were told the game will run at 60 frames per second, bolstered by the Xbox One and Xbox Live’s cloud computing and server architecture.
But the sight of Microsoft’s iconic cyborg and a massive robot looming before him is likely enough to pique a fan’s interest.
Titanfall (Xbox One) by Respawn Entertainment
While we’re on the subject of robots doing battle, consider the upcoming Titanfall.
The upcoming title couples impressive visuals with an aggressive, frenetic pace, as massive mechs tumbling from the sky while foots soldiers scramble underfoot.
Grunts on the ground aren’t exactly helpless—a dizzying level of verticality sees them leaping onto the backs of the mighty robots and toppling them with well-placed shots to vital robot-bits.
Jetpacks, massive robots, and a healthy appetite for destruction: what’s not to like?
Project Spark (Xbox One) by Microsoft Studios
Fancy a bit of game development? Project Spark aims to have you covered.
We watched as a pair of developers crafted a fantasy world with a few voice commands to the Xbox One’s Kinect and the help of SmartGlass integration via a Windows 8 tablet.
The developers then set it all aflame, summoning a goblin invasion and a host of magical abilities that included a pet rock that transforms into a hardened mech, thus completing our robot trifecta.
Battlefield 4: Second Assault by EA
In news that’s sure to surprise absolutely no one, there’s a new Battlefield game on the way.
As is traditional for the series, Battlefield 4: Second Assault looks gorgeous and will serve up explosions aplenty. You can probably also expect lots of guns, vehicles to drive and fly, and unscrupulous, foul-mouthed teenagers with sniper rifles massacring your half-hearted attempts at scoring a few kills in multiplayer matches.]
This one will be come to the Xbox One first, though the PlayStation 4 presumably won’t be too far behind.
Microsoft also showed off indie titles like Quantum Break, an unnamed title from Microsoft's own Black Tusk studio, a short clip of a mysterious title named D4, and Crimson Dragon—which is a new game from the maker of the Sega Saturn's classic Panzer Dragoon.
These all were teased in one form or another Monday. Look for more news in the days to come!
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