Yesterday, Microsoft revealed their lineup of games and additions coming to the Xbox One later this year. In case you missed reveals of such things as Halo 5, Rise of the Tomb Raider, the new controller, Oculus Rift and more, please check out this video of the entire conference.
The biggest story from the Microsoft’s E3 press conference had to be the announcement of backwards compatibility for Xbox 360 games on the Xbox One. The Xbox One Backward Compatibility Beta is available starting June 15 for Xbox Preview Members. The program will launch broadly in fall 2015.
The digital titles that you own and are part of the backwards compatibility game catalog will automatically show up in the “Ready to Install” section on your Xbox One. For disc-based games that are a part of the Back Compat game catalog, simply insert the disc and the console will begin downloading the game to your hard drive. After the game has finished downloading, you will still need to keep the game disc in the drive to play.
Available Games as of June 15, 2015:
- A Kingdom For Keflings
- A World of Keflings
- Alien Hominid
- Banjo Kazooie
- Banjo Lazooie Nuts n Bolts
- Banjo Tooie
- BattleBlock Theater
- Defense Grid
- Geometry Wars Evolved
- Hexic HD
- Jetpac Refueled
- Mass Effect
- Perfect Dark
- Perfect Dark Zero
- Small Arms
- Super Meat Boy
- Toy Soldiers
- Toy Soldiers Cold War
- Viva Piñata
- Viva Piñata Trouble in Paradise
Xbox One Backward Compatibility is available at no additional cost, so you don’t have to pay to play games you already own. Play multiplayer with your friends no matter which console they’re on and you get to enjoy the advanced features of your Xbox One like Game DVR, Screenshots and Windows 10 streaming. Xbox One Backward Compatibility is available at no additional cost, so you don’t have to pay to play games you already own.
New hardware was also shown off, the first being the brand new Xbox Elite Wireless Controller. This controller is all about customization, modularity, and tweak-ability. Seeing that the other big push for Microsoft is Windows 10, the controller will also be compatible with the new OS. With it being priced at $150, the controller had better play the games for you.
The other hardware announcement tied in with the new strategic partnership between Microsoft and Valve VR—something that complements Microsoft’s partnering with Oculus VR. Users will be able to play VR games through the Oculus Rift using their Xbox One controller, and they’ll be able to stream games through Windows 10 to the headset. Microsoft’s in-house VR, the HoloLens. To show off the gaming aspect of the headset, Microsoft and Mojang built a new version of Minecraft specifically for it and demo’ed it with the help of Lydia Winters, Mojang’s brand director. They demonstrated both how it would look like with the images being shown in 2D as if viewed on a wall, but also how it would look like in 3D with the projection on a tabletop. Using natural gestures and verbal commands, the demonstrator was able to zoom in and manipulate the 3D tabletop object.
When it came to game news, the presentation was mediocre at best. The highlights were of course Halo 5 Guardians, Forza Motorsport 6, and Rise of The Tomb Raider.
- Not to take away from the Fallout 4 presentation, but Bethesda Studios Game Director Todd Howard did a rehash of last night’s presentation. The only thing that he added was the fact that PC mods to the game could be transferred and used on the Xbox One as well as the fact that Fallout 3 would be packed in with Fallout 4.
- 343 Industries executive producer Josh Holmes got to show off Halo 5 Guardians. The single player looked amazing. It was good to hear the familiar voice of Nathan Fillion, who is reprising the role of ODST Sergeant Buck. The multiplayer aspect of it was shown off with Warzone, touted as “Player versus Everything”. The release date given was October 27 2015.
- Henry Ford III and Turn 10 Studios Creative Director Dan Greenawalt introduced Forza Motorsport 6 and showed it off by way of showing off the new 2016 Ford GT—a true Chariot of the Gods. Once again Turn 10 doesn’t disappoint as it meets and exceeds the visual beauty standard that it set with Forza 5. The game features 26 real world destinations, over 450 Forzavista cars, beautifully shown at 1080p resolution at 60fps. Driveatars weren’t mentioned, but I’m sure that’s a feature that will be carried over. It is set to release on September 15th.
- Brian Horton from Crystal Dynamics demo’ed Rise of The Tomb Raider. From what was shown, the gameplay is reminiscent of that of the previous game, with slightly better graphics. All in all, it looks like more of the same, which if you were a fan of Tomb Raider, it isn’t entirely a bad thing. It releases on November 10 2015.
- Rod Fergusson from The Coalition dropped the release date for the remaster of Gears of War Ultimate as August 25. The game looks cool and the public beta starts today. They also showed the gameplay trailer for Gears of War 4.
As is to be expected, Xbox One will have exclusives:
- Rare Replay 30 is a showcase of classic Rare games such as Banjo Kazooie, Battletoads, Perfect Dark, and RC Pro-AM. It will retail for $30 and will be available August 4 2015.
- Rare isn’t just banking on 30 years of nostalgia; it has a brand-new franchise on the way called Sea of Thieves. It’s a pirate MMO that brings a Rare’s cartoony look and feel to Assassin’s Creed Black Flag . No date has been set.
- Fable Legends will be free to play with Xbox Live Gold and will support cross platform play with Windows 10. It will be available Holiday 2015.
- MOBA is coming to Xbox One and Windows 10 by way of Motiga’s Gigantic. It is a team action game where heroes battle alongside a massive guardian in a fight for supremacy. The beta starts in August 2015.
Chris Charla, director of ID@xbox talked about the loads of cool indie games coming to the Xbox One. Featured were Fulbright Studios’ Tacoma, Aurora 44’s Ashen, Tiger & Squid’s Beyond Eyes—a game with a blind protagonist. The most interesting was Cuphead from Studio MDHR, a side-scrolling platformer with the look of an old-school 1930s Disney cartoon.
Xbox Game Preview is early access gaming a la Steam. It features free trials for games and starts today with available downloads of The Long Dark and Elite Dangerous. One two other names were dropped, DayZ and Ion, but no release dates were given.
The only disappointment—at least to me—came from Ubisoft’s Laurent Detoc as he failed to announce a release date for the oft-delayed Tom Clancy’s The Division. The only news from that front was that the exclusive beta would start in December. One thing to look forward to for Tom Clancy fans was Rainbow Six: Siege which is set to release October 13 2015. Two bonus games, Rainbow Six: Vegas and Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 will come packed in with the game.
EA’s COO Peter Moore announced that Titanfall would be added to the EA Access Vault this week, with Madden 16 being added on Aug 20th and Dragon Age Inquisition slated for an end of summer addition. To celebrate E3, all the current contents of the Vault will be available for free for this week for all Xbox Live Gold members. For fans of the quirky Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare, the sequel will be coming to consoles in Spring 2016.
The overall presentation gets a B- from me as it was pretty underwhelming. I do look forward to the new games however, as well as the backwards compatibility.