GAMING

Microsoft Xbox E3 Press Event 2014

Photographs by Daniel Boczarski.

After encountering some bumps in its initial road following release, Microsoft has had a lot of expectations from fans and consumers regarding making up for some of their self-admitted mistakes. After recent departures from key execs, the company is now headed by Phil Spencer, who seems very dedicated to shifting the platform into a new games-first vision. Leading up to the annual E3 conference, Phil eased fans’ concerns by stating the eagerly awaited presentation will be focused on gamers, and I am glad to report that this promise was fully delivered on.

Within the one and a half hour show, Microsoft packed in new game announcements and footage back-to-back without skipping a beat. Things got kicked off with a game appealing to the mass market with gameplay footage of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. The futuristic title seems to be a refreshing take on the franchise and should be of interest to anyone that might have gotten somewhat bored of the franchise in recent incarnations.

Microsoft also had some surprises in store for their Halo franchise in the form of a Master Chief Collection, which includes all four Halo games remastered to take advantage of the Xbox One’s graphics capabilities. This compilation should definitely be provide much nostalgia for those recalling Halo 2 LAN parties as well as recent first-person shooter fans who may not be as familiar with the series.

Other titles of interest shown off included racer Forza Horizon 2, frantic shooter Sunset Overdrive, open-world adventure The Witcher 3, a remaster of Phantom Dust, a new Platinum Games title called Scalebound, and a show closer which was the oft-rumored Crackdown sequel. Of particular note was a piece of DLC for Dead Rising 3 which harkens back to the old days of frantic arcade co-op action. You can dress up as what seems to be just about every Capcom character and partake in missions to take on random bosses with your teammates. The name is as crazy as the game looks so I won’t even bother writing out the full title, but it’s something to definitely check out for those looking for some couch multiplayer action.

What was impressive about the lineup shown at the conference is that most of the games were being released by the end of the year. It seems Microsoft is really gunning it to get games out to consumers. It is a relief to see that the console is finally getting some developer support from both big studios and indie develops through their ID@Xbox program, which also had a lengthy spot during the conference. And true to Phil Spencer’s words, in a complete 180 from last year, this conference was purely focused on games. No mention of any entertainment or TV content, and barely a sighting of Kinect-capable games. This may be a relief to many and indicates the new direction that the Phil Spencer-led Xbox is taking. It’s definitely a plus for the troubled hardware and with the new leadership behind the console it seems they’re finally focusing on what’s important: games!

About author

International Concert Photojournalist at Live in Limbo. His work has been published in The New York Times, USA Today, Entertainment Weekly, Alternative Press and many more.