Watching the MS E3 briefing this morning. This is a “stream of conscientiousness” thing, will update with details after.


11:30: Metal Gear. MG meets Splinter Cell. Could be interesting. Can’t stand that MG style game play.

11:40: New (version 3?) of the 360 available (as of today). Looks similar to the XbOne in design.

11:45: “Supporting the 360 for a long time to come”… by showing you 3 small indie games with limited appeal!

11:53: Showing XbOne games… I guess we’re done talking about the 360. So glad they even bothered mentioning it, lol.

11:54: Ryse preview. Graphically stunning. Lighting effects everywhere. Looks completely scripted though.

11:59: Still watching quick time events in Rome. Like Assassins Creed… only slower fighting. I can’t imagine the Roman time period really has this much appeal. Then again, at least it’s not WW2 again.

12:01: New Killer Instinct!

12:02: KI is a XB1 exclusive. 🙁

12:03: Insomniac Games going to show off another exclusive. Sunset Overdrive. “Open World Shooter”

12:04: Candy colored shooting. Jet Set Radio Combat?

12:05: A littttttle over the top. Some times style isn’t everything.

12:05: McLaren. That must mean a new Forza.

12:06: Yup. Forza 5. The McLaren P1 is sexy beast of a car.

12:07: “The new generation is about more than poly-counts”… shows off graphical improvements.

12:08: Limitless “cloud-processing”. A “Drivatar”. Really?

12:09: Back seat driver much?

12:09: “Not an AI, but a real intelligence.” So much spin on that. Your “drivatar” will learn, even while you’re offline. Really? Cause that’s sorta creepy. Am I driving, or am I teaching an AI to drive for me?

12:11: Phil Harrison, the world’s most un-enthusiastic presenter ever.

12:12: Buzz word bingo. Revolutionary, game-changing.

12:13: Shows Minecraft. Yup, retro-pixels are “revolutionary”.

12:14: Quantum Break. Game title fails 101.

12:15: Quantum Break = game and TV? ”

12:16: Actual scene, running real time”. Show pre-rendered clips. When will they learn not to do that. Or at least, to stop talking about it.

12:17: D4… what the fuck did I just watch?

12:18: Project Spark. “Making a game into a game itself”.

12:19: Talking to Kinect. Then using SmartGlass. $5 says this will never launch, and is just a tech demo.

12:20: “Take this rock for instance. Let’s add a brain, and turn this rock into a pet.” Really?

12:22: Showing off other developer ideas. Rock Mech? The hell?

12:23: Think “blank canvas”. Insert crazy montage.

12:24: More tech demo stuff about the system.

12:25: SmartGlass. New MadCatz controller. Shows Killer Instict again. KI actually looks kinda bland graphics wise.

12:27: “Xbox, upload video” Ques DVR. Interesting feature. Game DVRs are actually kinda neat.

12:28: “Xbox Broadcast”. Twitch TV integration. Also good feature.

12:31: Dead Rising 3. Now we’re getting interesting.

12:33: Looks good… but same clunky controls as always. That got old in DR 1 and 2.

12:35: Lots of gameplay. Again, looks good, but kinda clunky. World is more open. Certainly bigger than the original Mall.

12:37: *Sigh* Calls in “artillery support” by using smartglass on cell phone. Look, having more options for interaction is fine. Seeing maps and stuff on my phone, whatever. But making it a nessisary part of the experience. Nope, not sold.

12:38: Witcher 3. Never played the first two. “Exclusive feature” of spell casting with Kinect. Nope. Just lost me.

12:39: Pretty graphics. Doesn’t look bad, just not my cup of tea.

12:41: EA and Dice… can’t imagine what this might be… lol.

12:42: Battlefield 4. New gameplay footage.

12:43: Footage completely breaks. Awkward! Finally starts.

12:45: Best looking Call of Duty ever… oh… wait.

12:46: Exceptional graphics. They’re definitely going all out on the single player this time. Too bad that isn’t what I want from a BF game. Awesome effects, sounds, textures. Looks awesome.

12:47: Again, sweet looking game, kicking CoD ass. They clearly don’t want to be 2nd place any more.

12:48: Boat chase scene. Ends with whats left of the BF theme song.

12:49: First map pack will be timed exclusive.

12:50: More butterface Phil Spencer time.

12:51: More indie/retro games. “Below” 30 second clip. No information given. Now talking about studios.

12:52: AAA Exclusive… but not talking about it. Shows teaser without info. Golf clapping from audience.

12:53: “Another exclusive”, no information. Another clip that makes no sense. CG is fun!

12:54: Revealed as Halo from 343, release date some time in 2014. Says it’s available for WINDOWS and is playable on the show floor??? Switches topics.

12:56: Back to Halo game on XbOne. Zero info given. Walks off stage.

12:56: Finally. Details about the console. November launch. $499.

12:57: One more thing…

12:58: Titan Fall preview. Respawn Entertainment’s new project. Mechs with guns. Guys in helmets. Not bad looking, but I’m going to need about a million more details. Vince Zampella on stage. Ohhh, game play demo…

1:00: Space Marines. Got it. Looks a lot like BF2142 meets CoD.

1:01: Yup, BF + Mechs. Interesting idea. Guy calls in his “Titan”. Goes from CoD ground troop to MechWarrior. Guy hops out, Titan keeps shooting. Turret mode?

1:04: Titan Fall demo wraps up. Very interesting. XbOne exclusive. Damn, that’s sad.


I had to take a break from all that and have lunch just to wrap my head around it. They had every opportunity to talk about some of the things gamers were concerned about. Instead they gave a vague, sporadic, and exclusive heavy press conference with hardly any information other than the price. $499, launching in November. Let’s start back at the beginning and roll through this mess.

The very first thing they showed was a new Metal Gear. Jack Bauer (aka The Keif) is voicing our protagonist and my interest in the game sharply stops there. I’ve seen “open world games”. I’ve seen games with sprawling countrysides. I’ve seen games with horses. I’ve seen games with sneaking. This looks like a remix of Assassin’s Creed and Splinter Cell… in a year that will feature new versions of both. Name recognition alone drives this one, and I’ve never liked MGS as a franchise. Not sold.

Next, they talked about how they would be supporting the Xbox 360 for “years” to come, and briefly showed pictures of a (4th gen?) Xbox 360, styled to closely match the Xbox One. No price, just a vague “available now” statement before moving on to showcase all the “support” it has in games… by showing 3 indie games no one cares about.

After that, an equally incredibly brief mention about how “between now and the XB1 launch”, your Xbox Live membership will get you TWO free games!!! Assassins Creed 2 and Halo 3… the games everyone already has. Again, no details, so we’re left to speculate. Two games, for a mere 4 months window, and no mention of the program continuing beyond that. PS+, by comparison, gives you more games a year, for the same price.

Following those few confusing bullet points, we jump strait into games, mostly XB1 exclusives. The first up is Ryse. It looked nice, but it’s essentially Assassins Creed (again) in Rome with slower combat and 8x the number of quick time events… and none of the jumping. I’m not sure I could be less impressed by a game.

Next, a new Killer Instinct. Ok, I’m ok with that. KI was a fun game… 15 years ago. Fighting games have moved so far beyond it now. But I’ll let nostalgia give it a point.

After that we have Sunset Overdrive. We didn’t get any in game footage, but the candy colored montage made it look like Jet Set Radio meets Dead Rising (which we’ll see later). Sometimes style can be a great component and makes a game stand out. Sometimes it can be over the top and hide bad gameplay mechanics (Brink, I’m looking at you!). Hopefully this isn’t one of those times, but my expectations are fairly low.

Forza 5 is up next. The game that’s so advanced, so awesome, so ultra-next-gen, you don’t even need to play it! The AI… oh, I’m sorry, the “Drivatar” (really?) can learn how you play, and plays even while you’re offline! Isn’t that great. Oh… wait… you wanted to play a game? But, but, you’ll make the Drivatar sad! He’s been practicing while you were at work! Does anyone re-read these statements before people stand up there and make them? Nope. Pass.

Minecraft (seen it), Quantum Break (boring) and D4 (wtf!?!) follow for seemingly no reason. No information is given about any of them.

Next up, Project Spark, aka, this years tech demo. Remember that game “Milo” from the original Kinect presentation a couple years ago? Yeah. It’s that, only with some sad Fable-ish elements squished in. They say “making a game can be a game itself”. Wrong. Making a game is what I pay you morons for. Make me a game, don’t charge me to do your work for you. This would ONLY work as a free MMO on the web. It looks insanely unbalanced and not at all user friendly. Also, talking to my TV to do basic game mechanic things is a huge non-starter.

Now it’s time for more tech talk, but they already blew their wad on that last time at the reveal press conference. We get more non-specific demos of “smart glass” aka “the thing we’re making up as we go along, and no, you can’t play with it yet”, video uploading, DVR features, etc. None of these are actually bad persay. Recording you game footage is a neat feature. I’m just sure they’ll find some way to screw it up.

Next, Dead Rising 3. DR3 looks nice, but it’s also the third in a long line of tired games. The concept is getting old and it looks like they’ve fixed NONE of the control issues from the previous 2. Even the demo had issues with the player not going where they wanted him, and that was in a largely scripted scenario. Not a good sign. Zombies, yeah, great, we got it. What else do you have? There are about a dozen other zombie games already out this year alone, and 100 more coming. So, you’d better have some neat feature. Oh, neat, you can call in an artillery strike if you use SmartGlass on your phone. That’s neat! Except that the main character is a mechanic who wouldn’t have access or clearance to call in an artillery strike, but lets just hope the audience doesn’t notice. Whoops.

Battlefield 4 is the sexist looking Call of Duty game I’ve ever seen. There. I said it. They clearly don’t have to play second fiddle anymore and are solidly moving in on CoDs territory. Having suffered BF3, and now fully realizing their goal was to crush CoD, not make good Battlefield games anymore, I’m actually ok with this. If I know what it is, I can appreciate it for it’s qualities. Battlefield wants to be Call of Duty, and they’ve sacrificed their roots to do it. It makes me sad. I wanted the “other” type of Battlefield game. However, compared head-to-head, BF4 looks sharper and more refined and CoD ever was. Thankfully this is not an exclusive. That said, what IS a complete scumbag move is the announcement of a map pack before the game even ships. That’s just fucking wrong, on so many levels.

Halo… something. They teased a Masterchief clip, sad, barren wasteland, big giant robot thingy, then said “the journey is only beginning”, then mumbled something about PC version and “playable on the show floor” and then ran away. I have no idea. I’m so done and over that franchise. If you’re still a fan boy, that’s awesome, good for you. The rest of us have moved on. I just don’t even care any more. They’re turning it into a TV show, how much further do you want to jump that shark?

Lastly, Titan Fall. Probably the strongest of the demos, and the only thing I’d be interested in trying from their “exclusive” lineup. It looks like a combination of Call of Duty and MechWarrior, with a little Brink and BF2142 thrown in for good measure. It’s a mishmash of scifi genre staples with CoD style gameplay. None of it is entirely unique or original, but it was cohesive and seems to be coming together well. It’s one to keep an eye on. The guys at Respawn certainly know how to craft a multiplayer game, so it should at least be playable. It’s not enough for me personally to buy an Xbox One, but it was the bright spot in a seemingly dull press conference.

I’ll have more to compare it to tomorrow after Sony’s keynote this evening, but from the looks of things Microsoft addressed zero concerns about their system, showed some mediocre games, and dropped a huge and heavy price point on people. If Sony comes out swinging with a $399 price, or some unbelievable games tonight, MS is royally screwed.