E3 2016, Day 1 Part 1 - Micro- & Ubi- soft

Day 1 is the biggest day of all for E3 - the day most conferences are held. As such I’ll be breaking them down in to 2 articles - the first being Microsoft and Ubisoft, the second being Sony and PC Game Show. Let’s get into it!

Microsoft

Games Shown

Xbox One S, Gears 4, Killer Instinct S3, Forza Horizon 3, Recore, Final Fantasy XV, The Division: Underground, Battlefield 1, Xbox Live Features, Minecraft, Customised Xbox One controllers, Inside, ID@Xbox titles, We Happy Few, Gwent, Tekken 7, Dead Rising 4, Scalebound, Sea of Thieves, State of Decay 2, Halo Wars 2, Project Scorpio

 

Breakdown

Microsoft once again put all their focus on games, though rumbling around their upcoming hardware changes has caused some to doubt where Microsoft is heading with it’s flagship console(s). Thankfully Phil Spencer laid down how it is going to be, announcing that the rumours were true - A new slimline Xbox One S will be out later this year, with 4K blu-ray playback capability added in, as well as the confirmation of Project Scorpio, a new beefier Xbox One with Oculus Rift support, coming next year. Phil later confirmed that the Scorpio will only be relevant for those that have 4K TV’s. Also in the hardware realm sat a new ability to customise and c=purchase controllers, which is a cool addition (if a little late.) There are a ton of new features also coming soon to Xbox Live, including new matchmaking modes such as “No trash talkers” and “women only”, which is a fantastic idea to help try and clean up the online aspect of gaming in general.

An especially important underlying message within the Microsoft presser was the “Xbox Play Anywhere” scheme - the fact that essentially every title that will be playable on Xbox One will also come to Windows 10. All the big titles - Gears 4, Forza, Scalebound. Dead Rising 4, Sea of Thieves, Halo Wars 2 and more - will make use of this feature. the ID@Xbox showing was quite impressive, with something like 20 indies getting shown - including Cuphead, Hand of Fate 2 and Stardew Valley(!). It was also interesting to see FF XV and Tekken 7 on stage with Microsoft, which have typically had more of a Sony presence in years past. Forza Horizon 3 is set in Australia! the plan for Minecraft is for it to eventually have cross play compatibility across every single platform it is on, which sounds like a pipe dream, but hey, if anyone can do it it’s these guys.

 

Personal Takeaways

The single game that is Xbox One/Win 10 exclusive that I am interested in is, oddly enough, Recore. Forget about your big action shooters and big bro titles, the ideas behind this game look suave as.

Sea of Thieves is an interesting one, though I’d put money on not seeing that out until 2018. doesn’t seem to be much for people that want to play on their own though (at this stage anyway) which is shame.

Thankfully not an exclusive, We Happy Few is definitely one to watch. Just my kind of twisted, depraved and clever first person games.

 

Ubisoft

Games Shown

Just Dance 2017, Ghost Recon: Wildlands, South Park: The Fractured Butt Whole, The Division, Eagle Flight, Star Trek VR, For Honor, Trials of the Blood Dragon, Assassins Creed movie, Watch Dogs 2, Grow Up, Steep

 

Breakdown

Ubisoft always has an awkward conference, which they seemed to embrace by having dancing giraffes, pandas, etc open the show (seriously, my notes for this are "giraffe, panda, Lion, wtf".) A lot of people have issues with Aisha Tyler’s hosting, but I think her “fuck it, let’s do it” attitude works in Ubi’s favour. Much like EA’s conference Ubi’s is a simple showcase for it’s big blockbuster franchises, which all seem to be heading in good (if safe) directions - though a few surprises were to be had in Star Trek VR, Trials of the Blood Dragon and Grow Up. Steep, an extreme winter sports game (which Ubi is calling “a whole new genre” game) looks hard to pin down but will no doubt find it’s audience.

 

Personal Takeaways

Somehow, Ubi managed to make me want to play Eagle Flight (a VR game where you fly around the world as an eagle) less than I did before. I’m not looking for a multiplayer game here, just somewhere to feel like I’m actually flying.

Watch Dogs 2 looks like Ubi basically took everything negative the world had to say about the original and flipped it around with this instalment, which has me intrigued. A lighter tone, a black main character who actually has friends, set in San Fransisco: the heart of technological advancement? Yes please.