This week Xbox brought more big reveals to Cologne, Germany for the annual Gamescom trade fair. With Sony holding out for the Tokyo Game Show, this was an opportunity for Microsoft to pull out all stops without any distractions from competitors.
The full briefing follows. Please note that it goes for ninety minutes, so bring a packed lunch or a six pack of choice beverages (or both!) to last you through the session.
Breakdown follows with a pile of videos…
Seeing more of Quantum Break is always a pleasure and we finally got to catch glimpses of the television component too which stars Shawn Ashmore (X-men) and Aiden Gillen (Game of Thrones). The game continues to impress with visual effects that evoke The Matrix at its best and is bound to be Remedy’s most cinematic game yet. The game will launch April 5 2016.
Crackdown 3 seems more a direct sequel to the original game than the second. Transforming cars are back as is the sandbox city where beating lieutenants to weaken the faction reach is still there but with an added component of griefing a faction long enough will bring their boss out, ready for battle. The online multiplayer component takes advantage of the Xbox Live cloud to ramp up the physics based destruction to previously unheard of levels. More to come middle of next year.
Platinum Games exclusive Xbox One RPG Scalebound was revealed and showed an open world of floating islands and an AI companion in the form of a giant dragon. The game doesn’t stray too far from its roots with damage numbers flying off enemies amid the colourful destruction. A co-op component (up to four players) was also revealed so not all of the game will be a solo endeavour. The game is due sometime in Holiday 2016.
Also announced for Xbox One was support for DVR features with free to air TV using the TV adaptor which allows recorded shows to be streamed to Windows 10 devices and even managed remotely via Xbox Live. A new chatpad peripheral for the controller (missed this from the 360) and confirmation that all future Games with Gold titles will be run on Xbox One via backward compatibility. All this will arrive in November with the new Windows 10 powered dashboard update.
Killer Instinct is not only coming to Windows 10 but a new season is arriving in March 2016. Already available is a preview character: Rash from Battletoads. The game continues to evolve and is encouraging for gamers who might feel slighted by the Street Fighter V exclusivity deal.
Independent games were next to roll out with news that Kickstarter success Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night will support cross platform play between Xbox and Windows. Seeing Koji Igarashi (Bloodstained creator and Castlevania legend) cracking a whip on the stage was a fun moment during the presentation. With Cities Skyline, Train Simulator, an Xbox One version of Thimbleweed Park and even a new version of Worms on its way, gamers are going to have plenty of choice with titles in the coming months and years.
The Game Preview program extends itself further with Sheltered, a bomb shelter simulator now out and the dinosaur survival game Ark: Survival Evolved coming soon. It will be interesting to see how this plays out as gamers will have to adjust to the concept of paying to be beta testers but it could work to the advantage of developers in getting games out early for feedback.
One of the team from Mojang not only came out to talk about the recently released Windows 10 version of Minecraft but also their upcoming exclusive Cobalt; a sidescrolling arcade style multiplayer shooter.
On the exclusives front, Xbox One will have first access to the multiplayer beta from Homefront: The Revolution which looks like it’s taking a lot of cues from similar military shooters but has some potential with its open world trappings.
FIFA 16 continues the recent trend of EA exclusive content on Xbox with more legendary players for FIFA Ultimate Team and benefits for being an EA Access member, a program that just recently added Dragon Age Inquisition to its free game vault.
On the first party front, Halo 5 Guardians was out in force with a demonstration of the eSports features in multiplayer and the new limited edition console timed to launch with the game. Forza Motorsport 6 approaches its September release date with an announcement of more vehicles and a new video discussing the rain simulation.
Rise of the Tomb Raider revealed a lot more of the combat this time and is looking to continue the great work of the last game. Last up was a tease for Halo Wars 2, under development for both Xbox One and Windows 10 by The Creative Assembly (Alien Isolation, the Total War franchise) which bodes well for some massive scale UNSC v Covenant battles.
There was a lot to cover here and I can see why not everything was touched on at E3. With many 2016 games included in this presentation, Microsoft are ensuring that there is a continual flow of big exclusive titles coming to the platform in the future.
Great wrap up of Gamescon. One thing to note is that the DVR feature will initially only release in the US and the UK. I’m not sure when the Australian market will get it.