E3 2013: Conference report

Photo: DR

If you usually don’t stay up to date with the latest video game news, you should know that every year, a major trade show dedicated to video games is held in Los Angeles: we’re talking about the E3.

The event is divided into 2 parts. During the first one, the key industry players (manufacturers and publishers) organize conferences to present what is in store for gamers (and other stakeholders in general) in the not so distant future. After that, it is time to open the doors of the trade show, which offers a large number of exhibition booths for the attendees. Let’s start then by talking about the conferences, which are packed with news and insights.

Microsoft

For a few years now, Microsoft has been systematically taking the lead when it comes to presentations. While Kinect used to dominate the stage in the past, this year’s conference has clearly reversed that trend.

Don Mattrick, one of Microsoft’s top executives, clearly needed to take matters into his own hands in order to keep the Xbox One on the right track. And he did, considering the conference opened with the presentation of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Set in a desert-like open world, that sends us into a modern western atmosphere, a new cast of characters appears and with them, some ambitious gameplay promises.

After this brilliant introduction, it was time to remind everyone that the Xbox 360 is still available in stores. Which is why a few games were presented (World of Tanks, Dark Souls 2), as well as a new console model, which looks quite similar to the upcoming home system. Now that the subject has been discussed, let’s go back to the future.

Ryse: Sons of Rome (originally intended for Xbox 360 + Kinect) makes a surprise appearance (add irony here) with a gameplay sequence depicting a landing in enemy territory. Totally effective, even if we feel that the transition from Kinect to a controller will not occur effortlessly.

In the “Surprises that aren’t really surprises” category, we find Killer Instinct, which proves that Rare knows how to do something other than just Kinect Sports. Although the rumor had been spreading all over the internet for a few weeks, the confirmation was much better, even if the game will be based on a free-to-play model, with only one character available up front (the other characters are available through purchase).

The big guns’s are clearly out, and Microsoft didn’t miss the opportunity, with Forza Motorsport 5, Dead Rising 3 (Xbox One excluded) and Titanfall (Call of Duty Modern Warfare’s fathers, considered to be one of the best in the series), all eyes and ears were fixed on the giant screens placed across the stage.

The one-and-a-half-hour conference also allowed the audience to see a little more (but not too much) of the upcoming Remedy Entertainment game: Quantum Break. The sequence presented allows us to understand that the generational gap is very real when compared to what we could experience on the Xbox 360. The graphics are beautiful, both for the lighting effects and the character modeling, and the game is also very ambitious in terms of its background. The intention being to create a bridge between a video game and a TV series, although very few details have been revealed on the subject.

The unusual nature of the conference was certainly due to the presence of Ted Price (Insomniac Games), who was there to present a trailer of his next game, also exclusive for Xbox One: Sunset Overdrive. Strange, because the studio has made all its creations on Playstation consoles (in fact he was introduced as the creator of Spyro The Dragon, originally released on PsOne).

Microsoft also took the opportunity to show that indie studios had their place on Xbox One, even if their policy seems a little more drastic every day (the obligation to rely on a publisher is not exactly appreciated by everyone). For instance, the creators of Sword and Sworcery (one of the most successful games of the last few years on tablets and smartphones) will develop their next game on the Xbox One: Below.

Besides this refreshing moment, we won’t forget to mention the next Battlefield 4, which, apart from a few problems with the presentation (we’ll remember the moment of loneliness experienced by Dice’s big shot) is a classic explosive hit.

And as we couldn’t end on anything else than thrilling news, we will gladly mention the first teaser of the next Halo.

Although games are essential to the success of a console, it is not the only element that needs to be considered. For instance, the price of the Xbox one will be 499 € / $ (to be released in November 2013 in 21 countries), enough to cool down the excitement of many gamers. Especially since the information has not fallen on deaf ears. Isn’t that right Sony?

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