LOS ANGELES — Microsoft abused our eyes with green lights and green carpets, but we survived to bring you all if the biggest news from its media briefing that kicked off a week of huge game announcements at the Electronic Entertainment Expo trade show.
The year is 2054, but duty is still calling. Activision and developer Sledgehammer games showed off Advanced Warfare in great detail for the first time at today’s E3 show. The trailer started with a group of marines dropping into combat. While it still has a Call of Duty feel, the game displayed impressive lighting and particle effects. It looked much more “new gen” than last year’s Call of Duty: Ghosts, which was the first game in the series to hit the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 devices.
“In every sense, this game raises the bar for the next generation,” Xbox boss Phil Spencer said of Advanced Warfare. “Xbox Owners will be the first to play all of the add-on content.”
In addition to the popping visuals, Sledgehammer looks like it is trying to combine the familiar elements of military combat that fans of the series love with futuristic elements like rocket-powered double jumps and soldiers in robotic exo-skeleton armor.
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The obvious comparison for this latest Call of Duty is to Titanfall, which a number of former Call of Duty developers created when they left Activision. But with a huge budget and tons of experience, Advanced Warfare may out-Titanfall Respawn’s sci-fi hit.
The game is due out for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC as well as last-gen systems later this year. Oh, yeah — Kevin Spacey is still in it.
Forza Horizon 2
We knew this game was happening, but now we have some details.
Forza Horizon 2 has over 200 cars, including a new Lamborghini, and it’s coming to Xbox One on Sept. 30. Once again, as opposed to its much more serious cousin, driving fans will have an open world to explore. The sequel will also bring back seamless multiplayer as well as Forza 5’s drivatars, which are A.I.-controlled versions of your racer that your friends will see when they’re playing.
The people who made Left 4 Dead are back with another unorthodox multiplayer game. Evolve has players working together to take on a fifth player who controls a monster and is on their own. The studio showed off a quick trailer that highlighted the 4-versus-1 gameplay as well as the different classes that players can use to take on the monster.
Ubisoft took the stage to introduce a four-player co-operative multiplayer. The studio wants you to partner with your friends to eliminate targets online. During a stage demo, the publisher showed off a portion where a group of assassins had to move through a massive crowd of people in a French city. While the franchise is known for its lively cities, this version looks like it ups the number of characters players will see on screen at one time.
The demo also showed how four people could coordinated a stealth infiltration before choosing a key moment to all begin a wide-open assault on the men guarding their target.
Dragon Age: Inquisition
Developer BioWare showed off a trailer for its upcoming role-playing game sequel. It focused on ethereal music, spooky-looking enemies, and beautiful vistas. The game runs on the same graphics engine that powers the gorgeous Battlefield 4, and this is evident in the quality of the visuals.
Inquisition is due out Nov. 7, and Microsoft confirmed its version will get exclusive content before other systems.
Developer Insomniac Games released a new trailer for its high-octane zombie-killing game. The video started off with some familiar-looking soldiers in a gunfight with some terrorists before the spiky-haired spokes character of Sunset Overdrive broke in to add some color and attitude.
Oh, the attitude.
Sunset Overdrive will give you full control over your character. That means custom look and abilities.
Insomniac’s Ted Price then took the stage to show off some real gameplay, and he demonstrated how players can jump onto platforms and ride rails to get around the environment quickly. The studio also revealed eight-player co-op.
Sunset Overdrive’s combination of colorful visuals and frenetic action set it apart from the crowd. It is due out Oct. 28 exclusively for Xbox One, and it may establish itself as a marquee new-gen game.
The Kinect doesn’t come with Xbox One anymore, but that’s not stopping Harmonix from making a new motion-controlled dancing game. Dance Central Spotlight is that game, and it is coming to Microsoft’s new-gen system.
The Fable series is back, and this time Microsoft is focusing on four-player co-op play. Gamers can take on the role of different types of characters like a strong knight or cunning theif. They must use their abilities together against magical beasts.
This time around, however, another player can play as the villain. Using a real-time level editor, the fifth player can set traps and enemies directly against the four heroes. This plays like a tower-defense game only with humans on both sides instead of monsters or some other baddies on one.
A multiplayer beta begins this fall, and you can sign up to learn more on the game’s website.
Microsoft revealed more details about the do-it-yourself game, where players can build their own levels and games. A trailer highlighted the variety of styles players can explore as well as well multiplayer.
The video also saw Conker, the foul-mouthed squirrel from Nintendo 64 platformer Conker’s Bad Fur Day, announced as playable in Project Spark.
Ori and the Blind Forest
Microsoft revealed a new side-scrolling game called Ori and the Blind Forest that has gorgeous visuals and animation. It didn’t reveal many details, but it looks like a game to watch.
Microsoft had developer 343 Studios come on stage to talk about the future of Halo on Xbox One. That includes a compilation called The Master Chief Collection, which includes the first four main games in the franchise. It’ll debut on Xbox One on Nov. 11.
The collection gives players all four games unlocked from the start. It will also feature custom playlists that will enable fans to experience highlights from different games back-to-back.
Halo 2 is also getting a visual makeover that will improve the visuals for Xbox One. Players can also switch back and forth between the classic visuals with the click of a button. 343 Studios also promised that it would bring back the multiplayer for the game exactly as it was in the original. The game will also bring back all 140-plus multiplayer maps from all the past Master Chief Halos.
Halo 5: Guardians
Microsoft will debut the multiplayer beta for Halo 5 this December. It will have dedicated servers, and Microsoft promises it will stay locked at 60 frames per second. You can check out the trailer below for more — although it doesn’t reveal much.
It wasn’t all about “games, games, and games” for Halo. Microsoft also noted that it is also in production for the Halo Nightfall television series.
Developer Playdead introduced a new atmospheric sidescroller called Inside that has a child sneaking around oppressive industrial and corporate environments. This studio last released Limbo, and Inside is very reminiscent of that.
Microsoft showed us a sizzle reel of indie games coming to Xbox One through its ID@Xbox system. Highlights include Threes, Mighty No. 9, and Cuphead, but the video showed more than a dozen interesting games. These are all developers that are now publishing their own games thanks to ID@Xbox.
Lara Croft is back after her successful revival in 2013’s Tomb Raider. This game will once again have the young woman exploring dangerous environments, only this time she is also dealing with surviving the events of the first game. A trailer showed Croft talking to a psychologist about her flashbacks to Tomb Raider, but it ended with her saying that she’ll use what happened to help her become who she really is.
The game is due out in 2015.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Develpoer CD Projekt Red took the stage at Microsoft’s event to show the open-world fantasy RPG in action on the Xbox One. The studio revealed some of the hunting mechanics as well as the combat.
The gameplay demo had The Witcher’s hero, Geralt, tracking a Griffin. The giant bird-lion monster evaded Geralt at first, but — using his powers — Geralt eventually tracked down the creature and killed it.
The Witcher 3 debuts in early 2014.
Microsoft revealed a trailer for Phantom Dust which had a man and woman fighting each other with superpowers.
Tom Clancy’s The Division
Ubisoft developer Massive once again showed off its online multiplayer shooter The Division. This time, the studio did a little more world building. In a gameplay demo set on Christmas Day, we watched a character partner up with someone else and investigate the subways of New York City. A plague destroyed much of civilization, but The Division gives players the tools to survive: time-released mines, big guns, and a heads-up display that reveals a ton of info about enemies and the world.
Microsoft also revealed it will get new content for The Division on Xbox. The game is coming in 2015.
Developer Platinum Games showed off its new Xbox One exclusive that has a tiny blonde man fighting off huge enemies. These include dragons, giant enemy crabs, and a multiheaded hydra that are larger than buildings. Players don’t only have blonde hair, but they also can turn into a cyborg-armored ninja.
The game is due out in 2015.
The open-world supercop game is back. Microsoft’s Crackdown will once again have players taking control of agents who can run faster than cars and jump over buildings. The original Crackdown for Xbox 360 was one of the first games to really explore the idea of a superhero in a city, and now it’s going to try to reclaim the magic on Xbox One.
Crackdown is due out in 2015, and it is simply known as Crackdown for now.