Xbox E3 2017 - Conference Recap

Published: June 11, 2017 9:19 PM /

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E3 Preview Image Xbox

The Xbox presentation has come and gone from E3 this year, but here is the full recap of what Microsoft showcased in their E3 conference.

First up was what most people expected, focusing on the look of Project Scorpio and it's 4k Ultra graphics, after a quick introduction, it jumped right into a pre-rendered cutscene showing the creation of tech fueling the Scorpio, complete with a flashy commercial showing its magnanimous brilliance.

Several games were featured in the commercial, including Gears of War, Crackdown 3, and Middle Earth: Shadows of War, before Xbox had us "feel the power" with the first look at their new console.

Xbox head Phil Spencer took the stage, taking us down memory lane with the Xbox team. He touts the principles of the Xbox team, before revealing the final name of the "the most powerful console ever made," the Xbox One X.

Xbox One X Header
The Xbox One X.

Starting on November 7th, the Xbox One X will launch worldwide, joining the Xbox One and Xbox One S out in the market today.

Kareem Choudhry head of Xbox software engineering is introduced. He talks about how power, compatibility, and craftsmanship were the key components to hit with the Xbox One X. The specs are indeed impressive, with a  6 Teraflop GPU, 12 GB of GDRS Memory and more announced. All of this leads to 4k UHD Blu-Ray Playback, HDR graphics, and more features than ever before for a home console, earning the moniker for the most power gaming console ever made.

Compatibility was important to the Xbox team as well, which lead to the game libraries of the Xbox One working on the Xbox One X, with improvements to them like faster runtimes and higher fidelity to players. Another example is supersampling, a new tech that will lead to the most graphically impressive console games out on the market without a 4K tv.

The craftsmanship comes from the Scorpio engine, which is so intense it uses a liquid-cooled vapor chamber to help cool the system. They also have optimized power management attached to it. Choudhry also touts the size of the Xbox One X being the smallest Xbox ever created in terms of size, ending the technical presentation of the Xbox One X.

After rounds of applause, we open to a new trailer, showcasing a desert and a formula-1 race car. The exclusive premiere of  Forza Motorsport 7.

We see every detail of the new Forza game, from the specks of dust to the droplets of rain, from first to third person perspective. Dan Greenwalt, the creative director of Turn 10 Studios, takes the stage. He talks about, for the first time in history, that a flagship "supercar" is making its world debut on the E3 floor. Greenwalt announces a six-year partnership with Porsche and introduces a new car to the audience, the 2018 Porsche 911 GT 2 RS.

The GT 2 RS features the most powerful road engine ever made, and as Greenwalt states, "like the Xbox One X, it's a monster." He then shows off some gameplay of the Porsche 911 GT 2 RS onto the Xbox One X, with two professional races and stunt drivers controlling the game. The game runs incredibly smooth at 60 frames per second, as the Porsche drives around the Hafit Mountain Pass in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates.

The races are touted as being dynamic and grand in scale, with changing weather effects, real-world vistas, and large racing tracks. Greenwalt states Forza Motorsport 7 is will feature over 700 cars in the title, from Porsche's, Ferrari's, and more. The game, will be released on October 3rd, 2017 as a play anywhere title, for the Xbox One consoles and the PC.

Spencer takes the stage again, and starts promoting the "largest and most diverse lineup of games I believe we ever have shown on the Xbox stage." In total, he notes 42 games will be featured on their stage, with 22 of them being console exclusives.

Next up is the world premiere of the latest title from 4A, Metro Exodus.

The footage shows the player character traversing the dark sewer-way of post-apocalyptic Russia, fighting mutated monsters with a shotgun in a long, uninterrupted first-person sequence. It then transitions to an outdoor setting, where the player takes his mask off, before looking at a map and some binoculars to his next destination, a zip-line in the distance.  Other enemies included wolves and a mutated bear-like creature. Shotguns, a crossbow, and a zip line are shown in full effect in the trailer, which ends as the player hops a ride on a train, heading into the distant sunset.

Another world premiere trailer begins right after for Assassin's Creed: Origins. The desert landscapes of Egypt and more are accompanied by narration, before the setting turns to showing the new player character in an arena, fighting to the death other gladiators. Horseback, archery, swimming and more are shown, including a giant serpent as the trailer ends.

Ubisoft creative director Jean Guesdon takes the stage, talking about how Egypt is the birthplace of both civilization, and the Assassin Brotherhood. The story will focus on Ba Yek, the last medjai of the Egyptians, and how he would be one of the founders of the brotherhood. Guesdon notes that more RPG elements were added to the game, before showing an example of Ba Yek in action. More vistas are shown, from sprawling deserts to lush cityscapes.

Some gameplay highlights include Ba Yek's pet eagle as a scout, some archery gameplay, and of course, the level up mechanics, and of course, some good old Assassin's Creed gameplay.

Next up are several Xbox exclusive titles. Playerunknown's BattleGrounds takes the stage next, with lead developer David Greene taking the stage and touting it as an Xbox One exclusive title and the first arena-style shooter for consoles. Up next is the strange looking, 4-player co-op game called Deep Rock Galactic, which starts a bunch of dwarves delving into a dark cave and fighting their way out with guns and explosives.

The next big exclusive was Undead Labs State of Decay 2. After a short narrative moment, we see a prolonged gameplay trailer of the popular zombie survival game, with a group of survivors stealing a trump to escape an infected army camp. Most of the trailer shows the expected gameplay previously seen in State of Decay, from building strongholds to fighting and scavenging. It is planned for a Spring 2018 release.

The exclusive montage ends when footage is shown for an arena-based combat game, The Darwin Project by Scavengers Studio. Complete with a shouting commentator from the show floor, the game features several characters fighting in a fast paced, almost arena-style fighter, complete with dodges, power attacks, and guard counters.

Minecraft takes the stage next, with several different odd games and vignettes being shown. Mojang brand director Lydia Winters take the stage, states that Minecraft is uniting the global Minecraft community across mobile, VR, Windows 10 PCs and all consoles under one roof.

To celebrate this, massive community run servers and player made skins and textures will be introduced to the game. This fall, Minecraft will also receive a free 4k update, but another change is also shown, a new look for Minecraft, showing dynamic lighting and improved graphics. The Super Duper Graphics Pack makes the game look more impressive on 4K ultra screens.

Another world premiere is shown for the fighting game Dragon Ball Fighter Z by Namco Bandai. which features a 2-d fighting game in the same vein as Marvel Vs Capcom. After that, we get a medley of xbox exclusive trailers for several smaller titles. First up is an Xbox exclusive title is shown, a fantasy MMORPG Black Desert, and then we see an Odd Tales Game, an incredibly flashy, Blade Runner-esque game called The Last Night. The exclusives finish up with the very rock heavy The Artful Escape, followed by a new a trailer for the already announced RPG Code Vein, which will be released next year in 2018 by Namco Bandai.

We then get extended gameplay of Rare's shared world pirate adventure, Sea of Thieves. Semi-witty Rare narration accompanies some gameplay of swimming through shipwrecks, running away from sharks, exploring jungles and caves, and uncovering hidden landmarks on an island. We also see fighting against skeletons and digging up buried treasure as part of the gameplay demo.

It all ends with an epic battle between two ships in the open sea, fighting it out with cannonballs before one player shoots himself out of the cannon to invade the opposing ship. Mix in some more sword and gunplay, before the player gets left behind and eaten by a shark as the trailer ends. Sea of Thieves is shaping up to be a major title for Microsoft and will be released in early 2018.

We get another small medley of trailers for exclusive titles. First up is Tacoma, a futuristic first-person space game of some kind that will release on August 2nd. Then we see a cute-looking fox mascot in the making, in a classic-looking, cute-cartoony platformer game Super Lucky's Tale by developer Playful. The next exclusive is Cuphead, making fun of itself as it has been seen before, but has long been delayed up to this point. It finally gets a release date though for September 29th.

Rounding out the exclusives is Terry Crews, cursing and being himself in a live-action commercial, shooting things in a futuristic setting and promoting the long-awaited look at Crackdown 3. We then get a comic-book inspired gameplay montage showing off all of the hallmarks of Crackdown, from shooting everything that moves to jumping high into the sky, taking out hordes of enemies for the agency. Crackdown 3 will be released this year on November 7th.

We then get a montage of games presented in 4k ultra, most of them indie titles from the ID@Xbox program. Some of the highlights include Surviving Mars, BattleriteHello Neighbor, Fable Fortune, Observer, Path of Exile, and Dark and Light.  Spencer takes the stage again, promoting the ID@Xbox program and their accomplishments, with over 500 games released through the program. Spencer calls it a milestone for not only the indie community but for gamers as well. He then introduces another exclusive indie title, the stylistic game Ashen.

Next up is a world premiere from Square Enix, Life is Strange: Before the Storm, complete with a somber trailer. Before the Storm looks to be a prequel to Life is Strange, featuring teenage versions of the main characters Rachel and Chloe.

Monolith Productions VP of creative, Michael De Platter takes the stage next, as Middle Earth: Shadows of War gets an extended trailer. Of particular note is using your powers to no only slay orcs but recruit followers to your own army. We get an extended fight against a boss orc, which the player can dominate to take control of a very chatty, sarcastic Orc name Bruz.

After recruiting followers into your army, you can use them to take over fortresses and other regions, such is Cirith Ungol and Seregost. The world of Middle Earth will also be more dynamic, as we see Talion the ranger attacked by another Orc named Pushkrimp the Machine. like in Shadows of Mordor, some orcs you kill come back and hunt you down,  growing in power as they rise through the ranks. Pushkrimp is also a from a new tribe of orcs, one of seven added to the game. Not only that, but other tribes of men and wild animals will be roaming the world, some can become allies, others, obstacles in your path.

Finally, we get to the attack on a fortress, held by a two-headed orc who is one of Sauron's minions. We see how the attack is planned, with tons of orcs in your army helping you as you lead the charge and plant your flag in the fortress.

Another exclusive world premiere follows with Gareth Cocker, a composer playing a lovely piano piece on stage with stunning visuals for Ori and the Will of the Wisps. We get dark caverns, thunderstorms, and beautiful yet deadly scenery, topped off with a somber piano vignette of an owl looking onward to two statues in the distance, as Ori comforts him.

Spencer comes back on stage and talks about the growth of the Xbox Backward Compatibility program, which has over 380 titles already on the system. Spencer, however, announces a major expansion the program, adding original Xbox games into the mix. Of note is fan favorite Crimson Skies, which Spencer notes "it looks great." More is planned to be shared later this year.

He also notes that Minecraft, Halo Wars 2, Gears of War 4, Killer Instinct and Forza 6 will get a 4k update for free, along with thirty more titles, such as Final Fantasy XV, Resident Evil 7, Ghost Recon: Wildlands, and Rocket League.

Spencer ends by finally giving the price of the Xbox One X at $499, and then closes the show with one more title. Spencer introduces Patrick Söderlund, the executive VP of EA Worldwide Studios, who then makes good on his promise from yesterday by showing off BioWare's latest title, Anthem.

Söderlund describes the game as a huge open world that is lush and savage and ever-changing, who then introduces Jon Warner, the game director of Anthem, who talks us through the first look of the game in action.

We see the world of Anthem, where the player is a freelancer who helps protect the walls of the Fort of Tarsus. We see the first descriptions of the javelins, customizable exo-suits that can compliment any play-style. The suits give the player extra-ordinary abilities and help take the form of "classes" for the game. Rangers, for example, are described as jack-of-all-trades, while the Colossus is a tank capable of taking big hits while dishing out their own bombardments. We also see the wild world of Anthem in action, with creatures fighting each other in dynamic environments.

We get some glimpses of combat and more, including a protracted fight against enemies known as Scars, and a ton of cool weapons being shown off, from shotguns to mortars. We also see the players in-game pick up loot after combat, which mostly seems to be randomized drops of equipment and guns to collect and customize.

World events also happen, including what is described as a shaper storm,  as well as drop in and out gameplay with 4-player co-op. The extended gameplay trailer ends with the characters flying right into a shaper storm, before cutting to black.

Overall, while the conference itself was a long one, the games showcased were all new and dynamic, featuring a very diverse amount of titles, both exclusive and multi-platform, to the world for the first time. Microsoft touted all conference long how powerful their own family of systems were, and the 4k presentations shown for many of the games on stage definitely packed an impressive punch for the Xbox One X.

If you want to know more about this and other announcements happening at E3 then be sure to check out our E3 2017 Coverage Hub.

Review Summary


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| Staff Writer

A longtime player of games, creator of worlds, and teacher of minds. Robert has worked many positions over the years, from college professor to education… More about Robert