In front of an audience of over 5,000 attendees at the Galen Center in Los Angeles, the Xbox press briefing on the eve of E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, has revealed 20 new titles for the forthcoming Xbox One, as well as an Xbox 360 upgrade.
The Xbox One console, it was confirmed today, will be released to 21 markets in November this year at a price of €499 – something Sony could easily beat with its PlayStation 4 announcement later tonight.
Pre-orders for the entertainment system start today and, to tempt users, Microsoft spent the guts of two hours showcasing new games for the Xbox One.
20 Xbox One titles
The Xbox One reveal last month promised 15 exclusive titles within the first year of the gaming system’s release, and today provided a first glimpse of these – and then some.
- Project Spark (Team Dakota): With the success of PlayStation’s LittleBigPlanet franchise, anyone can see the appeal of video games that hand the reins of creation over to the user. Project Spark follows this line of thinking, allowing players to build games using the new Kinect sensor as well as Xbox SmartGlass on a mobile device. Players can adapt the environment even during gameplay, creating a base or turning objects into allies when under attack, and they can create new enemies in real-time, too. Project Spark will be playable across Xbox One, Xbox 360 and Windows 8 and players will be able to share their creations with an online community.
- Dead Rising 3 (Capcom Vancouver and Microsoft): This zombie survival game franchise comes exclusively to Xbox One in November. Gameplay takes place in a massive world that Microsoft claims needs no load time thanks to the cloud technology it has employed for the Xbox One ecosystem. In the game, zombies will respond to a player’s every move, making them hard to avoid, but thanks to character and weapon customisation they can always combine a sledgehammer with a saw and go to town on the ghouls with a ‘sledgesaw’, using Kinect and SmartGlass integration.
Dead Rising 3
- Ryse: Son of Rome (Crytek): This epic action-adventure takes place in ancient Rome and lets players experience the blood and gore of Roman warfare as soldier Marius Titus, seeking to avenge the death of his family and lead an army into battle. As Titus, players can shout commands to their troops using Kinect’s voice control technology and the cinematic clashes are played out in visceral detail, whether depicting close combat or large-scale battles. Sudden slow-motion of gameplay during these fight scenes resembles something from The Matrix or 300.
- Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (Kojima Productions and Konami Digital Entertainment): This cinematic espionage action game takes place in an open world environment where weather, wildlife and enemies that adapt to your actions make for realistic gameplay. Gameplay in this latest instalment is also said to encourage exploration and item-collection outside of the main missions.
- Halo: Xbox One (343 Industries and Microsoft Studios): Introduced by 343 Industries head Bonnie Ross, this new instalment of the award-winning Halo franchise (currently operating under a working title) will debut next year on the next-generation console and features famed protagonist Master Chief on an icy planet. It will also make use of 60fps visuals, for a smooth, immersive experience.
- Quantum Break (Remedy and Microsoft Studios): Teased at the Xbox One reveal, Quantum Break comes from the creators of Alan Wake and Max Payne and sets out to blur the lines between gaming and television – much like the Xbox One itself. How you play the game impacts how the TV show plays out, and the show gives you clues on how to move forward through the game.
- Crimson Dragon (Grounding/Land Ho! and Microsoft Studios): On a planet ruled by dragons, this flight-based shooter brings the battle to the airbound beasts. Unfortunately, at today’s showcase, the game endured a silent debut due to some technical difficulties, though the audience provided whatever sound effects they could.
- Below (Capy Games and Microsoft Studios): A top-down adventure based on an island filled with secrets, players will be able to navigate the moody graphics in Below using the Kinect sensor. However, they will also have to fight the malevolent Darkness, an AI-controlled character that uses the Kinect’s sensor against you.
Forza Motorsport 5
- Forza Motorsport 5 (Turn 10 Studios and Microsoft Studios): The hyper-real racing game returns on Xbox One in November with a new ‘drivatar’ feature – a driving avatar that learns how you play and can race against your friends when you’re not available.
- Minecraft: Xbox One Edition (4J/Mojang and Microsoft Studios): Just as it did with the Xbox 360 that came before, Minecraft is coming to Xbox One with larger maps for more complex structures, expanded multiplayer and enhanced gameplay.
- Battlefield 4 (DICE and Electronic Arts): This war-based Call of Duty competitor also suffered from sound problems during its debut but, thankfully, the crowd were treated to the 60fps graphics. A lot of work has apparently gone into the physics of the game in order to make it truly realistic.
- The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (CD Projekt RED): Over 100 hours of hand-crafted gameplay have been created for this monster-hunting fantasy RPG which combines a non-linear story that responds to player’s choices with an open-world format and combat elements.
- Sunset Overdrive (Insomniac Games): The new game from the creators of Ratchet and Clank is a high-energy open-world shooter set in the not-so-distant future in a city overrun with mutants just asking to be destroyed.
- Kinect Sports Rivals (Rare and Microsoft Studios): Launching in November, the next-generation of the best-selling Kinect Sports franchise includes new sports made possible by the Xbox One and the new Kinect sensor.
- LocoCycle (Twisted Pixel and Microsoft Studios): This Xbox One action-adventure involves a sentient motorcycle named IRIS and her reluctant mechanic Pablo being dragged along for the journey.
- Titanfall (Respawn Entertainment and Electronic Arts): This futuristic war game features characters in mechanical suits and will be available on Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC.
- Zoo Tycoon (Frontier Developments and Microsoft Studios): The wildly popular zoo management franchise will be reimagined for Xbox 360 and Xbox One later this year.
- Powerstar Golf (Zoe Mode and Microsoft Studios): Few details have been released on this one but we know this much: Xbox One will have a golf game in its repertoire, and it will look like this:
Powerstar Golf (Xbox One)
- D4 (Access Games and Microsoft Studios): This episodic noir adventure follows a time-travelling detective trying to solve – and prevent – his wife’s murder.
- Killer Instinct (Double Helix and Microsoft Studios): The popular fighting franchise has been revived for Xbox One after about 10 years on the wayside.
For the €500 price-tag, Xbox One owners will get themselves the new Kinect sensor, the Xbox One Wireless Controller, and the console with a 500GB hard drive, Blu-ray player and built-in Wi-Fi. Their purchase will also come with a free 14-day trial of Xbox Live Gold for new members.
A limited-edition commemorative bundle will also be available from major retailers. Pre-ordering this package guarantees a purchase on day one, and this system comes in black packaging with a unique controller, Day One Achievement and bonus content for Ryse: Son of Rome, Forza Motorsport 5, Kinect Sports Rivals, Dead Rising 3, all for the same price.
Xbox 360 and Xbox Live upgrades
The new Xbox 360
With all the hype over the Xbox One, Microsoft has not forgotten the Xbox 360, its highly successful console that has sold 76m units worldwide. First released nearly eight years ago, this console is getting a design upgrade to reflect that of the new Xbox One.
The updated Xbox 360 starts shipping to Ireland today, starting at about €200 for the 4GB console and €250 for the 250GB edition.
To encourage take-up among those not prepared to fork out the €500 for an Xbox One, Microsoft is offering two free game downloads per month for existing and new Xbox Live Gold members starting 1 July and running right up to the release of the Xbox One. Xbox Live Gold subscribers will also have access to Fable III free all this month to celebrate E3.
Upgrades to Xbox Live include real-time stats that change during gameplay, the ability to add more than 100 friends, a change from a points system to simple cash, and the ability to share Xbox Live Gold membership among a household.
For Xbox One users, Xbox Live will let them record and share gameplay through the console’s Game DVR, and they can give these clips a dramatic edit before sharing using Upload Studio. Microsoft is also said to be working with Twitch to provide live-streaming of games.
New games coming to the Xbox 360 include the next Batman instalment Arkham Origins, Grand Theft Auto V, Dark Souls II and an exclusive Xbox 360 edition of PC game World of Tanks coming this summer. Another Xbox 360 exclusive coming later this year includes platformer Max: The Curse of Brotherhood, the follow-up to Max and the Magic Marker.