E3 2017: Xbox Press Conference Recap

Xbox's press conference has ended and they were not kidding when Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox, said that they have a "diverse lineup". Here's a detailed recap of what was shown at the briefing. 

As expected, the Xbox briefing begins with the announcement of Project Scorpio, now officially called the Xbox One X. "The most powerful console ever made” says Xbox Head Phil Spencer, will have 4K support and will be available on November 7, 2017 at $499. 

Kareem Choudhry, Xbox Head of Software Engineering, even called it "The smallest Xbox ever".

Xbox One X is powered by eight CPU cores clocked at 2.3GHz, 12GB of GDDR5 RAM and a GPU packing 40 Radeon compute units running at 1172 MHz. The console will have six teraflops of graphical processing power, making it a powerhouse of a console. Have a look at the full side by side specs of previous xbox consoles with the Xbox X.

Xbox X specs

It has crazy specs and the design looks compact and simple. Nothing flashy, nothing that makes it stand out, which is a good touch. 

They also announced that previous titles will get 4K updates to support  the new Xbox One X. Gears of War 4, Forza Horizon 3, Killer Instinct, Halo Wars 2, Minecraft are a few titles mentioned.

Enhanced updates are also planned by third-party developers to support the Xbox One. Resident Evil 7, Rocket League, Final Fantasy XV, Ghost Recon: Wildlands, are just a few mentioned to get a free graphical enhancement update. 

Forza Motorsport 7 - Out October 3

Car porn. Never leave home without it.

Kidding aside, it does look amazing and it's the first title to show off the Xbox One X's power. David Greenawalt shows up at the show and announced that Forza 7 will have over 700 cars available.

Then they revealed for the first time the Porsche GT2 RS on the Xbox stage, which is the firt time it was revealed to the public. 

Metro Exodus Announced - 2018 release

The next entry to the beloved Metro franchise. After Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light, 4A announces Metro Exodus.

From what we know, this takes place a year after the events of Metro: Last Light. You still play as the main protagonist Artyom and the video shown at the Xbox briefing finds Artyom in a damped and dark location, fending off Moscow's mutated creatures. After the struggle with the creatures, he finds his way outside showing the post-apocalyptic view of Moscow. He explores the ruins below and is met with a large creature similar to a bear in terms of size. He fends it off with a crossbow and gravity and catches a ride on a train, suggesting Artyom will venture past Moscow. 

Assassin’s Creed Origins - The Worst Kept Secret Is Made Official

Everybody knew this was coming. What we didn't know is it will be making its debut on the Xbox floor. Egypt is the new setting and it's said to be where the Assassin's Brotherhood started, hence the name Origins. You play as Bayek, a sheriff of sorts and based on the small dialogue present in the video shown above, he is the savior of the people. The gameplay footage starts with Bayek mounted and slowly find his way to his target. Apparently, scouting can be done by using your trusting animal companion in the skies. After a few sneaky kills left and right, Assassin's Creed style, we see the game's melee combat system and it feels different. There are long side steps being done by the player making it look like a different game compared to previous titles. The video ends with Bayek's target taking an arrow in the back. 

Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds to be released this year exclusive to xbox console

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds is making waves in the PC community. A battle royale gameplay pitting real players against each other until there's only one player standing. A trailer was shown and it will be the first time the game will be heading to console. It will be out later this year. 

Deep Rock Galactic - A Mix of Minecraft and Horde Mode?

Ghost Ship Games announced Deep Rock Galactic, a 4-player FPS that has mining involved while fending off swarms of creatures. You are a group of dwarves mining through procedurally generated caves for riches. A Steam store page is already made available and it looks like it's heading to Steam's Early Access program. It's set for a 2018 release.

State of Decay 2 - Zombie Survival Simulator

A new trailer was shown for the upcoming sequel to State of Decay, a zombie survival game that has players manage a community of survivors to survive the zombie apocalypse. Here's how developers Undead Labs describe State of Decay 2:

"18 months after the zombie apocalypse, the military abandons a refugee camp in small-town America. Those left behind must band together to survive the fall of civilization and the rise of the undead. In State of Decay 2, it’s up to you to gather survivors, build a community, and redefine what it means to survive."

The Darwin Project - Intense random commentary

When the trailer for The Darwin Project showed up, I wasn't too sure what I was looking at. Then it becomes doubly confusing when a bald man begins his commentary of the 1v1 happening on screen. It was intense commentary that got me confused but curious at the same time. It's a survival game by Scavenger Studio.

In a press conference released by Microsoft, the random commentary is made clear. The shoutcaster was narrating the action from an in-game drone, part of its Show Director mode. 

During the trailer a shoutcaster narrated the action as viewed from an in-game drone, part of its Show Director mode. In the press release released today, “The director dashboard contains a suite of tools, unlocked through a progression system, with the potential to influence the outcome of the match, ". an interesting take and makes sense when they describe this as “half science experiment and half live-entertainment.”  "The show director can choose to give the underdog an unforeseen edge or turn the tables on a particularly bloodthirsty contestant by restricting zones, calling in airstrikes, or even triggering a — which reveals a player’s position for a few seconds.”

A random element placed by another player to chance the outcome of specific encounters. Interesting. The Darwin Project is planned to launch on Xbox One first. 

Minecraft - More Updates

With Microsoft now owning Mojang, it's only natural now to get constant updates from them on the Xbox stage. Aside from 4K support and the announcement of the Super Duper Texture Pack, what's interesting is the announcement of crossplay between different platforms. Be it in mobile, Windows 10, or Xbox, you can play with anybody in Minecraft no matter the platform of choice. 

Dragonball FighterZ - Early 2018

This new Dragonball fighting game is using developer Arc System Works ' signature style found in their past games like Guilty Gear and BlazBlue. It will have a three on three format as seen in the video above and it looks crazy, as it should be since we are talking about Dragonball. It may be in Xbox's briefing, but it is planned for Xbox, PlayStation, and PC.

Black Desert Online - More MMORPG's On Xbox One

Another MMORPG makes its way to console and Black Desert Online is coming to Xbox One with 4K support for those planning to play the game on Xbox One X. It is coming first on Xbox One, which suggest that it might come on other platforms at a later date. 

The Last Night - Pixelated Bladerunner

Pixelated Bladerunner. That's the best way to describe what is shown above. It's coming to Xbox One and PC in 2018 and it looks amazing. The pixelated textures is a great touch and this is how publisher Raw Fury describes The Last Night

"The Last Night is what we call post-cyberpunk — it’s not the kind of dystopia the genre is famous for, rather it depicts an alternate direction for society. One where the fight for survival doesn’t mean food and water, but a purpose for living. Human labour and creativity has been rendered obsolete by AI, so people are now defining themselves by what they consume, not what they create."

The Artful Escape Announced - That Tim Shafer Vibe

The Artful Escape is being developed over at Beethoven and Dinosaur and will have enhanced support for the Xbox One X. As reported by Polygon, the game was actually a Kickstarter project that failed to meet its funding goal but publisher Annapurna Interactive came in to save the day. 

The Artful Escape is about a man who uses the power of music to traverse a painterly world. A colorful adventure that has found its way to the Xbox stage. 

Code Vein - Anime Souls

Bandai Namco shows off more of Code Vein and the footage shown doesn't add much to what we know already. It still looks like it is greatly inspired by the Souls series and it has anime characters with issues. 

Sea of Thieves - Cannonball Gameplay

More footage for Sea of Thieves. A pirate crew heads over to an island and looks for lost treasure as they battle undead skeletons. Then two pirate crews battle in the open waters while in a storm. It's being developed by Rare and it looks as amazing as it was first announced at E3 two years ago. It's a co-op game and who doesn't want to run a pirate ship with a few friends online to do whatever they want?

Tacoma - Space Walk Simulator

Gone Home developer's next game called Tacoma has a new trailer revealed at Xbox's stage giving this walk-a-thon a release date - August 2. It initially had a 2016 release date but recent feedbacks from an early build of the game resulted in the developers to push it back to 2017. Now, we get to explore the abandoned space station and figure out what's going on in early August.

Super Lucky’s Tale - A Cute Platformer!?

This was a great surprise. It's not every day you see a VR exclusive platformer heading over to being just a charming platformer. It's being developed by Playful and the other game called Lucky's Tale was a Oculus Rift VR headset exclusive title. Lucky will venture through various worlds to resue his sister and the Book of Ages from the evil Jinx, according to Playful.

Super Lucky's Tale is out on November 7 for Xbox One and Windows 10.

Cuphead - Release Date, Finally

The beautifully animated Cuphead finally has a release date - September 29 on Xbox One and PC. Cuphead, which is inspired by classic cartoons, was first revealed in 2014 and originally planned for 2016 but was pushed back to this year. In Cuphead, you play as either Cuphead or Mugman, exploring the Cuphead world, unlocking new weapons and special abilities in order to defeat the brutal bosses in the game. You can go through Cuphead either in single player or in local co-op. 

Crackdown 3 - Terry Crews Edition

Crackdown 3 was given a new trailer that's infused with Terry Crews craziness. More action and gameplay was shown but the big takeaway is the release date for the game - November 7, 2017. It's been quite a long journey for Crackdown 3 since its reveal in 2014. In a report by The Verge, in 2015, Microsoft did some adjustments to what was first initially announced. the cloud computing feature, that will be used to render the city-wide destruction in Crackdown 3 will only be available on the multiplayer side of the game.  In single player, cloud computing will not be implemented for the single player campaign.

ID@XBOX reel

Microsoft's press conference will not be the same without the good ol' ID@XBOX montage, showing a series of games coming to Xbox One. 

Ashen - Souls Inspired

Ashen, which was first announced at E3 2015, surfaces yet again. The game is an open-world survival game that pits players against the challenges of the world with no sun. You play as a wanderer in search of a place to call home. As seen in the video, you can encounter other players and naturally, they are not friendly. The combat looks greatly inspired by the Souls series and the art style gives a more inviting feel compared to the overly dark and grim atmosphere these types of games usual have.  No release date or release window was given but it will be available on Xbox One and PC.

Life is Strange: Before the Storm - Chloe and Rachel Take Centerstage

The prequel to Life is Strange makes its debut on Xbox's stage. Life is Strange: Before the Storm will launch its first episode on August 31 on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. Before the Storm will have Xbox One X enhanced support. 

From what you can see from the trailer above, the story-driven game focuses on Chloe Price and Rachel Amber, before the events of the first game. This game will have a smaller episode count of three compared to the five episodes in Life is Strange. Before the Storm is being made by Deck Nine Games and we will have the first episode available this August.

In the Microsoft store, the complete season of Life is Strange: Before the Storm will cost $16.99.

Before the Storm will not have time traveling powers as seen in Max Caulfield in the first game. Instead, we have Chloe having a feature called Backtalk, “a risk/reward conversation mode that allows Chloe to use her barbed tongue to provoke or get her way.”

Middle Earth: Shadow of War - Nemesis System X

A new trailer was shown and it seems like developers Monolith Productions, are hell bent in explaining the new and improved Nemesis system, the highlight of the previous open world game set in the Lord of the Rings world. 

While they continue to explain the improvements of the Nemesis system, I find the characters of the orcs you are dominating with your Wraith powers quite interesting. They have personality in them, especially Bruz the Chopper, who feels like a perfect sidekick for the protagonist to have around in order to lighten up the mood. 

Middle Earth: Shadow of War will be out on October 10 on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.

Ori and the Will of the Wisp - Beautiful

If you haven't tried Ori and the Blind Forest, watch the trailer above and give the first game a shot. The first game's metroid-vania style gameplay, smooth animation, and handpainted art style have made Ori and the Blind Forest one of the best games on the Xbox One platform.

The trailer didn't give any gameplay footage of Or and the Will of the Wisp, but the stunning visuals and the confirmation that Ori will once again star in the sequel got us excited. It had stunning environments despite it's sad tone, making them stay true to how Ori and the Blind Forest was presented back in 2014. 

Sadly, no release date was given but expect it to be released on Xbox One and PC. 

Original Xbox compatibility Later this year

This is going to be a treat for Xbox fans Xbox 360 Backwards compatibility for the Xbox One is still underway with the number of titles that are backwards compatible growing each day. Now, original Xbox games will join the program and will be made available later this year.

The announcement by Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox, was short but sweet. The crowd cheered but no details of games (except Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge) was announced during the show. In a report by IGN, Phil Spencer elaborated on the announcement. "We can support the discs, which was actually a technically achievement for the team. I didn't think we were going to get there," Spencer told IGN. "But I also know a lot of people can't find those discs anymore, so we will definitely make sure they are available digitally for people."

Makes sense. But the pricing of classic Xbox Games in the digital store? No word on that just yet. Phil did mention that the new subscription service called Xbox Game Pass "could be a great place to put those games.". The service was announced discreetly right before this year's E3. 

While Spencer didn't share any pricing details for digital versions of original Xbox games, he did mention Microsoft's new subscription service Xbox Game Pass, noting it "could be a great place to put those games."

Third-party titles will be included in the backwards compatibility program and that the pricing will be controlled to the third-parties that own them. 

No word if you can earn achievements in the original titles heading to the program. 

Anthem Gameplay Reveal - EA's Destiny

Microsoft ends the show with the gameplay reveal of Anthem, and boy what a reveal it was. 

Players will take the role as "freelancers", a group that uses exosuits called Javelins to explore this open world. Anthem's Game Director Jon Warner presented the gameplay and revealed a player taking on a quest and joining with a friend as they jump down with their preferred Javelin. “The world of Anthem is hostile, and threats can come from any direction,” Warner said. In addition to enemies in the wild, players will also have to be wary of dynamic weather events called “shaper storms.” Shaper storms looked impressive and it looks like it will utilize the player's mobility since it seems that you have a good amount of control on how to maneuver this big space. 

Previously called Dylan, this project has been rumored to be EA's answer to games like Destiny or The Division. Based on the video above, you find loot finding will be a big part of Anthem, and towards the end you see two other players jumping in to join in on the fun.  Casey Hudson, executive producer on the original Mass Effect trilogy created a new team at Bioware Edmonton to start this new IP. 

Here's EA's description on Anthem:

“In this shared-world action-RPG, you and your friends are Freelancers–the bold few with the courage to leave civilziation behind, explore a landscape of primeval beauty, and confort the dangers you find.

“Up to four players band together to take on whatever perils you discover as a heroic team. as your friends support you in your journey, so do your victories and rewards benefit your friends.

“Wield an aresenal of Javelin exosuits, each equipped with unique weapons and abilities. Customize them with gear you earn and craft, then use them to fly, leap, and climb through a contiguous open world.

“Experience massive, world-altering occurences like Shaper Storms. Fight savage beasts and ruthless marauders. Delve forgotten ruins as you seek to defeat the forces plotting to conquer humanity.

“Your power grows with every step into the unknown. Whether plunder, revenge, or glory lures you onward, your choices will irrevocably change you—and the world around you.”

A brief teaser was released during EA's press conference. Anthem is set for a 2018 release. 

And that's all you need to know about Microsoft's press conference. A diverse line up indeed and Xbox One X is simple yet impressive based on the specs revealed. 

More E3 2017 footage is on your way so be sure to check out our podcast special episodes on each press conference planned for E3 2017.