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E3 2014: Microsoft says it’s all about the games

We re-cap Microsoft’s game-heavy E3 press conference, discussing the reveals, announcements and arsenal of game footage.

Xbox E3 2014

This time around Microsoft’s E3 showcase was all about the games. Xbox head Phil Spencer took the stage only long enough for a brief intro, and then the trailer footage started to roll, pushing past any gimmicky app reveals or self-promotional PR-speak that flooded last year’s conferences.

What resulted was a breath of fresh air — and fresh new content for Microsoft’s Xbox One console, showing that the tech giant is less focused on the “all-in-one” entertainment package and more focused on games.

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The company unloaded a bevy of reveal announcements and live demos for hot console games like Assassin’s Creed: Unity’s four-player co-op campaign, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfighter, the Xbox One exclusive Sunset Overdrive, and a stunning display of The Division’s co-op action.

A stunning gameplay trailer for Forza Horizon 2 debuted to battle Sony’s Driveclub, and looks to take racing to a new level of realism.

CD Projekt RED’s magnum opus open-world RPG The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt made an appearance, and we were treated to some incredible dialogue facial animations as well as a closer look at Geralt’s combat mechanics. The seamless interaction of the world was also highlighted, revealing a truly dynamic and alive environment.

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The big announcement centered around the near-immortal Spartan 117: 343i unveiled the Halo Master Chief Collection, a massive pack that bundles Halo’s 1-4 together in one definitive remastered collection.

The bundle features every game fully intact, and will run at 1080p at 60FPS with a huge offering of maps for fully functioning online multiplayer. The collection is slated for an exclusive Xbox One launch on Nov. 11, 2014.

343i also revealed that an open beta for Halo 5; Guardians‘ multiplayer is scheduled to start on Dec. 27, 2014 exclusively on the Xbox One.

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World premieres included amazing teaser for Lara Croft’s new journey in Rise of the Tomb Raider, and a re-make of the fighter Phantom Dust. A new Xbox One flavor of Crackdown was unveiled as well, featuring all of the authentic zany bright-neon havoc instilled by the franchise while keeping true to the overall aim of the series.

Traditionally there was a montage of interesting looking indies from the [email protected] program, showcasing some interesting and wacky indies. One of the most memorable of the indie crowd was Ori and the Blind Forest, an incredibly vivid atmospheric game that pulled at the hearstrings while warming your feels with its unique style.

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From Microsoft’s E3 conference, it’s clear that Phil Spencer’s appointment as head of Xbox has taken the brand into a new direction. The new focus is a much-welcomed approach that embraces games as a whole, celebrating a slew of genres and varieties of titles to push the Xbox One to new heights.

Spencer affirms that the community will shape the Xbox One as it moves forward, and that Microsoft will continue to listen to feedback from everyday gamers concerning the console. The new direction is fantastic and made for a rather intriguing and entertaining E3 media briefing, even if a lot of the stellar games were cross-platform.

It appears that Xbox is in safe hands with Phil Spencer, and it’ll be interesting to see if any hardware announcements arrive in the future.

For a full listing of the content featured at Microsoft’s E3 press conference, head on over to the Xbox Wire.

Derek Strickland
Derek is an avid fan of gaming and everything geeky, and is compelled to make his mark in the field of games journalism. When he's not gaming on a console (everything from SNES to X360) you can find him reading about ancient civilizations or enjoying a fantasy epic or two.

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