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Micrsoft at E3 2017

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After the explosion of gaming news from E3 2017 we take a look back at the fallout from one of Microsoft’s best E3 conferences for some time.

Going into this years Electronic Entertainment Expo, fans of Microsoft’s console had a lot to be excited about. Project Scorpio would finally be revealed to the world, the potential for virtual reality on Xbox was setting gamers abuzz and a slew of new games were expected.

There were also a variety of questions some had going into the conference: how much would Project Scorpio cost? Would Microsoft truly deliver on it’s promises? Would we see a glimpse of Halo 6? Would Sea of Thieves return to wow us all again, and what new IP’s would be shown with the promise of wonder and the draining of our wallets?

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After the show, most of those questions were thankfully answered: Project Scorpio would cost $499 in the U.S. and £449 in the U.K., it would also truly seem to be living up to the billing of “world’s most powerful”, as proudly proclaimed by Microsoft. Halo Six would not appear at this year’s E3, however fans of Racing simulators were in for a pleasant surprise with the unveiling of a new title in the Forza series. Sea of Thieves would return with a gameplay demonstration that both impressed and raised questions for many. A plethora of new and exclusive titles were also announced, including the Epic RPG Anthem developed by Bioware, a sequel to the hugely popular Ori and The Blind Forest and the latest instalment in the survival horror FPS series Metro.

Project Scorpio was the main event for many attending this year’s show, most of all for the legions of Xbox fans watching from their computer screens around the world. Since the announcement at E3 2016 the gaming community has watched with baited breath, wondering if Xbox’s new console could make up for the mistakes of the past. Thankfully, most of those fears were quashed. Project Scorpio would arrive in November with a premium (albeit affordable) price, it would still have a disc drive – allaying any fears that we were stepping into the all-digital age too soon – playing both 4K UHD and standard Blu-Ray discs and it would sport a design that has led to it being called the smallest Xbox ever. Gone are the days of VCR sized Xboxes that were an eyesore in your entertainment system. However, in among the excitement there was one glaring oddity of the new Xbox. The name itself. The naming of the new console as Xbox One X had left many question Microsoft’s marketing. the new name feels at odds with the previous Xboxes and is likely to become a source of confusion for the average consumer buying a new console.

Overall, with Microsoft thankfully delivering on a host of promises and avoiding any potential upset with their pricing and design, all that was left was to demonstrate their library of upcoming games, convincing us that the purchase of an Xbox One X was absolutely necessary. With many fan-favourite franchises returning and a surge of new indie games on show, there was a lot to whet the appetites of Xbox fans.

First shown was Forza Motorsport 7 to the delight of motor enthusiasts, with a collection of cars both old and new. Dynamic weather effects were also shown to emphasise the graphical power of the Xbox One X along with races in the streets of Dubai. Dan Greenawalt, the Creative Director at Turn 10 Studios also delighted in debuting the next model in Porsche’s line of supercars, the 2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS. Fans of the realistic racing simulator would not have a long wait to get their hands on the latest instalment of the racing franchise, with Forza 7 being released on Xbox One and PC on October 3rd 2017.

Next up was a trailer for a game that many were not expecting. Audiences were reintroduced to post-nuclear war Russia in a new instalment of the Metro franchise, a series that had not seen any new developments since a remastering of the two original games in 2014. Metro Exodus looked to shift slightly away from the horror genre that its forebears embraced in favour of a more action packed experience fighting a host of mutated creatures in post-war Russia.

Afterwards, it was the turn of a game that was leaked only a few weeks before the show, Assassins Creed: Origins. Whilst the reveal itself was no surprise, the gameplay only impressed and generated more excitement. Set in ancient Egypt, AC: Origins sees the Assassins Creed story taken back to it’s (for want of a better word) origins. The next game in this hugely popular franchise will revolve around Ba Yek, a Medjai who’s journey will take players to the “birthplace of the Assassins brotherhood” according to Jean Guesdon, Creative Director at Ubisoft studios, who also promised an “epic gaming adventure”. The graphics of the new game wowed many and a range of new gameplay features promised to refresh the ageing series.

However, it was not only new games that were given the spotlight at Microsoft’s conference. Phil Spencer reminded everyone of the popularity of Xbox 360 backwards compatibility and also had news of a long-requested feature that fans had desired since the announcement of Xbox 360 backwards computability; the backwards compatibility of original Xbox games. Beginning in the fall and starting with Crimson Skies, Xbox consoles would soon be able to play both physical discs of Xbox originals and be bought digitally via the Xbox marketplace. Meaning fans could revisit such classics as Star Wars Battlefront, The Knights of the Old Republic, Project Gotham Racing and many more.

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Looking into the further future, Electronic Arts were also on hand to give the world a glimpse of their latest IP. Anthem is on open world RPG developed by Bioware, developers of the Dragon Age and Mass Effect franchises. The game is launching in early 2018 and while details were sparse, we did get a small gameplay demo featuring jetpacks, flying, an expansive set of skills to play with and a loot system much like that seen in Destiny.

 

As the dust settles, it seems that gamers have an exciting winter in store, with new hardware and games keeping us entertained well into 2018 and beyond. Microsoft finally have a console powerful enough to compete with the PS4 Pro and run games in true 4K. However the most interesting omission was the aforementioned shunning of VR by Microsoft, with no mention of VR hardware or software coming to the console. It seems that while fans are being treated to a treasure trove of games, they will have to wait longer until they can step into the next dimension.

 

CJ

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