Microsoft at E3: Hololens, Lara Croft and 30 years of Rare
Even after the unexpected reveals of Xbox One backwards compatibility and a new Xbox Elite controller, Microsoft had a lot left to show at its E3 press event. From Gears of War to Rise of the Tomb Raider, read on Gizmag highlights the biggest and best reveals from Redmond's conference.
Microsoft kicked off proceedings with a first look at the campaign gameplay of scaldingly hot upcoming shooter – Halo 5: Guardians. The game's 1080p, 60fps co-op gameplay looked just as slick as you'd expect from what is Microsoft's headline title for 2015, with the clip showing a section of the game played from the perspective of Spartan Locke's squad – one of Guardians' two protagonists.
The game's developer – 343 Industries – also revealed a new, large scale multiplayer mode called Warzone. The game type will support 24 players on maps much larger than we've ever seen in a Halo game before.
Microsoft set tongues wagging last year when it announced that Rise of the Tomb Raider – the sequel to Crystal Dynamics' critically acclaimed reboot of the classic series – would be a timed Xbox One exclusive. The company was looking to drive the point home in Los Angles, showing an impressive gameplay demo, following protagonist Lara Croft on a treacherous ice climb. The game is due out on November 10 this year.
The company also showed off its first-party Forza 6 Motorsport racing title, which will run at 1080p and 60 fps, equaling the tech specs of its predecessor. The new game will support 24-car online multiplayer races, and includes weather effects – something that was notably absent from Forza 5.
Developer Rare had two big reveals for the show, the first of which, known as Rare Replay, is a compilation of classic titles from studio, such as Banjo Kazooie and Perfect Dark. Fans won't have to wait long to grab the collection, which launches August 4.
The second announcement came in the form of an Xbox One exclusive pirate adventure title called Sea of Thieves. With a cartoony, classically-Rare aesthetic, the game is described as a shared world experience, and features ship-to-ship combat. There's no word yet on when it'll hit shelves.
It wasn't all about games at the conference, with the company taking the opportunity to demo its Hololens technology, working with a new version of Minecraft. Shot with a specialized camera rig designed to replicate what you'll see through the augmented reality headset, the demo showed an entire Minecraft world displayed on a tabletop.
Users can interact with the world using their voice or with their hands, watching other players move through the space in real time. It was an impressive moment, and really showed how the company's headset could meaningfully enhance a gaming experience.
Turning back to more conventional experiences, there was one big franchise yet to get its big reveal. We knew from a twitter countdown posted late last week that Gears of War would make an appearance at the press event. Well, Redmond didn't disappoint, taking the wraps off not one, but two titles – a remaster of the franchise's very first, 2006 entry, and an all new title known simply as Gears 4. The demo of the latter revealed a dark aesthetic with all the series tropes of chainsaw-equipped guns, hellish creatures and disgusting, glowing … things. Gears 4 will arrive in Q4 2016.
The above isn't quite an exhaustive list of everything Microsoft had on show in Los Angeles, with other titles such as Fable Legends, Bethesda's Fallout 4 and Ubisoft's The Division all getting a look in. Stay tuned to Gizmag for more from E3 this week.