With the dust having only just settled on Microsoft’s triumphant E3 presentation, I wanted to take some time to enjoy some of the defining moments that really had an impact on me.
Now before we start, it must be known that I have recently been rather critical about Microsoft, Xbox and some of the incredibly befuddling decisions they have made during the life span of the Xbox One. But let’s just step away from my scepticism and the hesitation I felt before the show and enjoy my top 5 moments from Xbox’s E3 presentation:
1.The moment when Dan Greenawalt decided to put a Porsche on stage during the Forza 7 segment and expected a room full of gamers to care.
Right at the start of Microsaoft’s E3 conference, having just announced the launch of Microsoft’s brand new Xbox One X, Dan decided that instead of showing us the amazing new graphics and abilities of Microsoft’s brand new console, he would show us a new Porsche, as if we were in a car show room. Yes, it was flashy; yes, it was sleek; but I’m here for the games not a second hand car deal. It just didn’t work. I understand that Forza had made a deal with Porsche and they are now best of mates, but everyone in the audience and everyone watching online were there for the game play. And anyway, you can’t drink and drive – unless you’re driving online that is. So bring on the Ferrari Tequila Rossa. Broom broom!
From the first scenes of BioWare’s javelins landing atop the wall, I was hooked. It was as if STARK’s War Machine and The Hulk Buster had just smashed its way into the undergrowth of Evolve and told me that I could do whatever I wanted. There wasn’t a part of the game play that didn’t have me oohing and aahing at all the right points, shocked at how trees could move in such realistic ways as herds of giant mutant beasts ran away from storms. It was incredible. And, to be honest, the main selling point for Microsoft’s Xbox One X.
3. Bruz from Shadows of War
This guy was AMAZING! We all know how wonderful Shadow of Mordor was. But it wasn’t until watching the trailer for Shadow of War that I realised how fricking awesome the characters would be – especially Bruz, the Chopper. An Australian war-monger with witty one-liners, a love for life and a thirst for blood – I couldn’t stop chuckling during the presentation. I now NEED him in my life. This will not only go down as a must-have game but also as the new bar for voice acting, characterisation and downright entertainment in NPCs across all platforms.
3.The sheer amount of great titles the left you feeling dizzy as you were bombarded with exclusives, premieres, indie games and so much more.
Though there were a number of points during the show where Phil Spencer would trundle on in his Kevin Bacon lookalike outfit and his company branded Player One t-shirt, the vast majority of the show was a deluge of new titles that drew you in and made you want to know more. Multi-player games had you biting at the bit, desperate to phone your mates and get them on line with you. It was non-stop. It felt very much like a scene from A Clockwork Orange. My eyes were transfixed and I couldn’t look away. But with each new title, my anticipation for the future of Xbox grew: Anthem, so incredibly beautiful and possibly a Destiny-killer; Player Unknown’s Battleground, the ultimate indie game, for gamers, by gamers, finally making its way to console; the announcement of cross-play between all consoles with Minecraft: a glimpse of the future of gaming, where no matter what platform you own, it won’t stop you from playing with anyone else; and backwards compatibility to the classic Xbox OG, sending my retro-gaming heart a-flutter. Xbox has shed the dark days of media-hub-chasing mediocrity and returned to the heart of gaming. At last!
4.Trying to figure out if Phil Spencer was joking when he called it the Xbox One X
Even now, I’m having trouble calling it the Xbox One X – or should that be the Xbox One 10? Seriously… ? It had been called Project Scorpio for the past two years. And although that may sound like a naff aftershave, it’s still better than the Xbox One X. What is it with companies and poorly-naming their machines? We’ve had Nintendo’s Wii, confusing all five-year-old boys as to whether they were being told to go to the toilet or not; Playstation’s over-reliance on numerical increments and perhaps the addition of a letter here and there – imagination at it’s high point!; and now we have Microsoft’s Xbox One X. Sounds like a cheap knock off of a Vin Diesel movie. But I suppose it doesn’t matter what they call it really – I’ve still GOT to have one!
There was so much more to Xbox’s barrage on the senses that I could spend ages gushing about it but the truly greatest feature of the whole event was the fact that Phil Spencer and his team focused on the games. It wasn’t about Xbox being some form of home media hub or a new way to watch films & TV but a return to Xbox’s roots, a machine made for gaming, a middle finger raised towards the Sony regime and a rousing battle cry to gamers everywhere!
Xbox is back…. even if the name’s a bit crap.