After a big leak just hours before Microsoft took to the stage in Los Angeles, we already knew that it had brand new hardware on the way in the form of a slimmed down console called the Xbox One S, as well as a more powerful, VR-ready system set to land next year. Thankfully, the company also had plenty of exciting games to show off, with a focus on co-op gaming and cross-platform play.
After a video confirming the aforementioned Xbox One S, Microsoft kicked things off with a gameplay demo of Gears of War 4. The section of co-op campaign was familiar, offering similar gameplay to previous franchise entries.
It also revealed that classic character Marcus Fenix, now much aged, will feature in the game, and it was confirmed that the title will be cross compatible between Xbox One and Windows 10, with a single purchase getting you a copy on both platforms.
Next up was Forza Horizon 3, one of our favorite reveals of the show. Unlike the headline entries in the franchise (the most recent of which is the superb Forza 6, released last year), the Horizon entries are more lighthearted, filled with over-the-top races and off-road courses. The new game takes place in Australia, features co-op racing, and looks like it'll keep up the momentum of the series. Just like the new Gears, it'll be cross-playable on Xbox One and Windows 10.
Elsewhere in the show, Microsoft provided a new look at upcoming third-person, robot-filled game ReCore. The trailer was action packed and colorful, and the game looks entertaining, but we're yet to see a full gameplay demo, so it's difficult to really judge how it's shaping up.
Just as things were starting to drag a little, Microsoft wheeled out another of its big-hitters in the form of Dead Rising 4. The game's predecessor was a highlight of the Xbox One's launch line-up, and the sequel brings back a classic character and looks to have more over-the-top weapons and costumes than ever before. It has a Christmas theme, and will arrive Holiday 2016. Once again, it'll be cross-playable between Windows 10 and Xbox One.
A handful of other games also made an appearance during the presentation, including EA's World War I shooter Battlefield 1, and new DLC for Ubisoft's The Division. CD Projekt Red, the developer of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, was also on hand to show its upcoming Gwent card battling game, and details of two fighting games – Tekken 7 and Killer Instinct – were revealed.
Third-person action title Scalebound, which lets the player ride around on a deadly pet dragon, took to the stage for a lengthy co-op boss battle, and we saw more of Rare's Sea of Thieves, which was revealed at last year's E3. We also got confirmation of zombie-survival sequel State of Decay 2 (which was widely rumoured), and a glossy look at strategy title Halo Wars 2. The latter is set to launch on February 21, 2017, with a week-long beta kicking off on Xbox One this week.
Aside from games (and the new consoles), Microsoft also had some new controller hardware to show. A Gears of War-themed Elite controller will launch alongside the new game, and the company will launch a new service letting users design their own controller with custom colors, and their gamertag printed (optionally) along the front. It's reminiscent of Motorola's Moto Maker service, letting users get their hands on a more personal piece of kit.
Overall, Microsoft had a strong lineup of games to complement its hardware reveals. While the most exciting announcement from the event – the Project Scorpio console – is still a long way off, things like over-the-top zombie action and off-road co-op racing should give us plenty to look forward to and enjoy in the meantime.
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