Microsoft E3 2016 News Roundup

It’s 1:48am and I am pumped to be doing this Microsoft E3 show write up! I’m also probably a bit delirious from both E3 excitement and lack of sleep. Regardless, you’re coming on this rollercoaster ride with me.

Oooh, it’s 2:01am (Adelaide time) and we’re starting pretty much on time! Good good.

Right off the bat, a promo video of the new Xbox One S. 40% smaller, IR port, 4k video support, no power brick, new controller with added grip texture, white. Coming this August for US$299.

Coalition Games announces Xbox Play Anywhere, an initiative for Xbox One cross-play compatibility between console and Windows 10. Gears of War 4 will be available across both systems. Cut to a live demo of Gears 4 gameplay, and the game looks super pretty. Knife melee combat, some new enemies, witty scripted banter, new execution animations, new weapons (a disc-shooter thingy that cuts through locust and bounces off walls), a new Hammer of Dawn-type weapon with some crazy electrical effects… Hoo boy, this game looks like a hoot. Cue old Marcus Phoenix and the crowd cheers. And to top it all off, a Gears of War themed Xbox One Elite controller.

Rukari Austin takes the stage to talk Killer Instinct. New character announcement… General Raam. “Play for free this week” tag ends the video promo.

Next is a game showing the Aussie outback with kangaroos hopping across the landscape… Sports cars… Goodness me, a Forza Horizons set in Australia?! Yep Forza Horizon 3! Will be Xbox Play Anywhere compatible (key words of this presentation). Set in Australia, it’s the biggest Forza yet featuring a co-op campaign that’s cross-platform. “This is the most social Forza, ever.” Releasing September 27th. Yes, please.

Alright, time for ReCore. Wrangle robot beasts or shoot them with a laser pistol. Some sort of jetback mechanics, and the ability to tame robo-beast friends. Stylish look and slick gameplay mechanics.

The very first Final Fantasy XV demo for Xbox One is up next. Gameplay of the main character Noctis fighting a giant rock titan. The game’s sense of scale looks bonkers.

Quick cut to footage of new content coming for The Division, releasing first on Xbox One June 28th.

Battlefield 1 shows off some sweet gameplay. Super bad-ass large-scale warfare. I’d imagine World War 1 looked nothing like this, but hey, video games right?

Mike Ybarra of Xbox arrives on stage to talk about Microsoft’s efforts behind Xbox. Cross-platform play is huge for Xbox. Background music coming to XB1, along with “Clubs on Xbox Live” – a new social function for games. Groups on Xbox Live, for those seeking teammates to tackle online games. New tournament platform called Arena on Xbox Live is coming allowing players to engage in social tournaments for competitive games like Smite, Fifa and others. Clubs, Looking For Group, Arena.

Minecraft getting new Realms functionality, a system allowing users to play in others’ worlds even when they’re not online. Compatible across platforms – on-stage demo showing players playing together across a Surface tablet, iPad and John Carmack on Oculus Rift. Texture packs coming to mobile and Xbox One, with add-ons coming this Spring. Realms is available today for Xbox One and mobile.

Inside coming June 29 from PlayDead. Limbo will be free on Xbox One starting today. ID@Xbox sizzle reel featuring Cuphead, Outlast, Deliver Us The Moon, Slime Rancher, Figment, The Culling, Beacon, Stardew Valley, Below, Yooka-Laylee (!!!) plus others. People who bought ArK: Survival Evolved on Xbox One will be able to take that across to Windows 10 for free. We Happy Few will be coming to Xbox One July 26th (first console release).

CD Projekt Red’s Damien Monnier comes on stage to talk Gwent: The Witcher Card Game. Core mechanics will be the same, but new visuals and features. Go to PlayGwent.com to register for the beta on console and PC coming September.

New trailer of Tekken 7, featuring Akuma of Street Fighter versus Heihachi coming 2017. All week, Xbox live Gold Members will be able to play Tekken Tag Tournament for free on Xbox One via backwards compatibility.

Trailer of a Dead Rising 4. Jingle Bell Rock playing to the visuals of Frank West mowing down zombies in all sorts of fun, creative ways at Christmas time.

Platinum Games shows of new gameplay footage of Scalebound, coming next year. Sweet dragon BFF action, fighting a giant, flying monster crab-spider thing. Scalebound will be available cross-platform with Windows 10 via Xbox Play Anywhere. Main character puts on headphones to slay giant, flying monster crab-spider to sweet beats.

Time for some Sea of Thieves. Craig Duncan of Rare comes to talk about the new MMO pirate game and show gameplay. Players can work together as a ship crew to set sail, drink rum and engage in ship-to-ship cannonball combat. Compatible with Xbox Play Anywhere.

Cut to a new trailer of people in a car running down zombies on a highway. Build towns, open world exploration, travel together with others. State of Decay 2!

Oh boy, Halo Wars 2 trailer! Brutes beating the snot out of boulders and UNSC soldiers. New Covenant land vehicles and UNSC mech units. Dan Ayoub of 343 Industries arrives to talk about the game. The main antagonist is Atriok, a Brute general. Halo Wars 2 releasing February 21 2017, with a week-long beta out now. Will be Xbox Play Anywhere compatible.

Phil Spencer returns to talk overall Xbox and diverse range of experiences spanning genres and devices. Reiterates Xbox One S announcement, and mentioning VR being important to games, which leads us to… a build up towards new Xbox hardware – official Scorpio announcement imminent. 4K gaming, more powerful graphics chip, 8 CPU cores, 6 teraFLOPS GPU… Project Scorpio indeed, coming 2017. “We believe it will be the most powerful console ever built,” says Spencer. VR integration. Xbox One, Xbox One S and Scorpio will all be compatible with the same games. “No will gets left behind.”

And that’s a wrap. Lots of info to marinade and sleep on. My little heart needs a rest after all that, so I bid you all adieu. Next up, Sony!

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