Amidst the flurry of Xbox One news today, Microsoft has introduced a number of new accessories for its upcoming next-gen console, including a Play and Charge Kit, chat headset, a sound bar from Polk Audio, and new gaming headphones.
Unsurprisingly, E3 2013's first big press conference saw Microsoft drastically reposition the Xbox One after a reveal that could generously be described as confusing, and less generously as borderline disastrous. Having introduced Xbox One as an entertainment box, Microsoft reintroduced it today as what we originally wanted to see: a next-generation games machine. Saving all the games for E3 might have harmed the Xbox One's initial reception for gamers, but it certainly led to an impressive E3 conference. It was game after game after game, and barring a few entertaining technical hiccups with the sound (“Xbox, unmute!”), the conference was Microsoft at its slickest and most professional.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain was a crowd-pleasing opener that set the tone for a conference full of fan favourites. We saw Battlefield 4, a spectacular tease for an unnamed new Halo from 343, the stunning-looking Forza Motorsport 5, and the long-expected but never-before-confirmed Dead Rising 3, which looks like it might take the series in a more serious direction tone-wise than its two predecessors. Titanfall, Respawn's long-awaited multiplayer FPS, looked uninspiring in the trailer but amazing in the gameplay demonstration - like the sci-fi shooter that others wish they could be. If you were after guns, cars, or zombies, this conference had you covered.
Ubisoft has confirmed last month's rumor that Ivory Towers and Ubisoft Reflections, the team behind Driver: San Francisco, are working on a new racing game called The Crew for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. The next-gen racer places an emphasis on arcade action similar to Burnout and Need For Speed, but treads new ground by bringing the genre into the MMO space.
A CG trailer shown at Ubisoft's E3 press conference highlighted a group of cars running from the police across a variety of American cities. The trailer ended with the phrase "Never Drive Alone," as well as confirmation of an "Early 2014" release date. A demo in New York City was also shown.
At Ubisoft's E3 press conference, the company announced Rocksmith 2014. During the presentation, Kinect functionality was shown off, allowing the player to choose specific instruments to jam with.
The game is coming this October and includes "Stone" by Alice in Chains as a confirmed song. No platforms were confirmed, but since Kinect was used during the demo, it's a good bet it's coming to Xbox 360 and/or Xbox One.
EA has announced a closed beta for the next installment of Command and Conquer, launching this Summer.
The free-to-play RTS reboot is being developed by EA's Victory Studios and is set in the Command and Conquer: Generals universe, though it will eventually serve as a platform for expansions into the Tiberium and Red Alert universes. Victory also says it has plans for its own original take on C&C. We played it in February and called it ‘unapologetically old school.’
The publisher is yet to announce a release date for Command and Conquer, but you can sign up for a chance to access the closed beta.
EA has finally announced a new installment of the Mirror's Edge franchise, which is confirmed to be in development at DICE.
A debut trailer showed off Faith jumping through the futuristic city, tackling and punching out Orwellian police. EA says this Mirror's Edge "reboots" the franchise with an all-new origin story for Faith, along with next-generation visuals on PS4, Xbox One, and PC
Today during the EA press conference, DICE confirmed that Battlefield 2's Commander mode will return in Battlefield 4. The multiplayer position allows a single player on each team to assist their teammates by issuing instructions through a top-down interface. The player can see where their team is, including vehicles and other assets. Now that we know for a fact that at least some versions of BF4 will allow 32-vs-32 matches, that high-level coordination will definitely be helpful.
Today during its Download E3 conference, EA provided first details on its plans for its UFC sports series, including a release window for the first entry - Spring 2014.
From a tech standpoint, EA plans to integrate an AI concept it's calling MMAi, which it describes as an organic AI system that allows players and opponents to react seamlessly during combat. The UFC series will also include "full body deformation," which is pretty much self-explanatory.
EA did unveil its first trailer for its UFC plans, though the footage did not show direct gameplay.
EA has unveiled a suite of new features for the next-gen versions of Madden 25 and NBA Live at its E3 press conference.
For the football franchise, EA added Player Sense, which allows players to scan the environment and react on the fly, and War in the Trenches, which makes the offensive and defensive lines act dynamically. EA claims quadruple the texture resolution and far greater detail in graphics, physics simulation, and AI responsiveness. The company also announced that Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson as Madden 25's cover star.
As for NBA Live, this year's focus is on replicating the act of dribbling a ball in a way that no basketball game ever has by introducing a feature called bounceTek. NBA Live is set to release in 2014.
Note that only the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions will use the next-generation Ignite engine.
All signs point to the Xbox One launching between November 1 and November 5.
Think about it: Activision has already confirmed that Call of Duty: Ghosts will release on November 5, and Microsoft announced today that the Xbox One will launch sometime in November. Meanwhile, Ghosts was heavily featured at Microsoft's May 21 Xbox One reveal. It is, for all intents and purposes, being positioned as an Xbox One title (even though it is, of course, a multiplatform release). In my opinion, there is no way Activision would release the next-gen versions after the current-gen editions. They won't be staggered. It just wouldn't make marketing sense! You don't want a customer going into a store on November 5 looking for Ghosts on Xbox One only to be told by the store clerk, "Sorry, that version doesn't come out until next week!"
Therefore, it stands to reason that all versions of Ghosts will release simultaneously. That means the Xbox One will either release alongside Call of Duty: Ghosts on November 5, or on one of the four days preceding it. It's certainly possible that all versions could release on November 5 and the console might not hit for another week (at most) -- we've seen games ship before consoles before -- but again, given Activision's marketing prowess, it's highly unlikely.
So, November 1-5 is our window, in my opinion. Book it.
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