June 9, 2014
Microsoft Unveils New Game Line At Annual Electronic Entertainment Expo
Peter Suciu for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
On Monday morning, Microsoft kicked off the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). While the tech giant had introduced its next generation system the Xbox One at last year's industry trade show, Monday's press conference was all about the games.
And what games there were, beginning with a latest edition to Activision's smash hit shooter series Call of Duty. Building on the past success CoD: Advance Warfare dropped players off in the middle of war zone – which is fitting as these game industry press conferences typically have the roar of a shooting range.
Microsoft then unveiled new first-party (Microsoft-developed) titles including the racing game Forza Horizon 2, the zombie shooter Dead Rising 3 and Fable Legends, all three due later this year.
Then Microsoft brought out the heavy guns and called in the Chief – as in Master Chief from the Halo franchise. Microsoft announced that, for the first time ever, gamers will be able to play through the series on a single console with Halo: The Master Chief Collection. This will include all four games on a single disc with the game re-mastered and untouched – though gamers can also go retro and play it as it originally shipped.
"On November 11, 2014, you can play the entire Master Chief saga on a single console with Xbox One," said Bonnie Ross, head of 343, which is now taking the lead on the Halo franchise.
The Master Chief Collection will likely hold fans over until the arrival of Halo 5: Guardians, which will be released in fall of 2015.
Microsoft also unveiled several high profile third party games including Tom Clancy's The Division, a shooter adventure game from Ubisoft which takes place following a global pandemic that breaks out during the holiday shopping season. In the game players must navigate an apocalyptic New York City and try not only to survive but also determine what caused the event.
"It is time to re-imagine the open world gaming experience," said David Jones of CloudFlare, while demonstrating the new Xbox One exclusive re-envisioned crime-fighter CrackDown.
Other new titles included Aztez, Knight Squad, Plague, White Night, Earthlock, Cuphead, Hyper Light Drifter, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and Slash Dash. Other upcoming titles included Assassin's Creed: Unity, set during the French Revolution; and a new Tomb Raider title – both scheduled for next year.
"Today we showed you 90 minutes of games," said Microsoft's head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, at the close of the event. "We will continue to listen to you, our community, and continue to make Xbox for you."
Listening could be key if Microsoft hopes to compete with rival Sony. Microsoft's Xbox One has lagged behind Sony's PlayStation 4 since both systems were launched last November. Industry analysts and game industry insiders had suggested that the Xbox One's $499 price, which was $100 more than Sony's PS4, was a factor. CNET reported that Sony's PS4 had outsold the Xbox One – 7 million units to 5 million respectively.
Beginning on Monday, Microsoft lowered the price of the Xbox One to $399 with a slimmed down system that removed the built-in Kinetic motion control sensor. Some game developers even suggested that in addition to helping boost sales it could increase gameplay and system performance for the video game unit.