Microsoft E3 2014 Press Conference Recap

Find out what happened at the Microsoft E3 press conference today!

The Microsoft E3 2014 press conference was scheduled to begin at 9:30, but if you didn’t watch the pre-show that ran 30 minutes beforehand, you missed out on the announcement of TJ Combo joining the Killer Instinct roster as the first season two character. The new season is scheduled to begin this Fall, and at the end of the Combo teaser we saw what looked to be Cinder. That should have Killer Instinct fans pretty pleased.

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As the conference began, Phil Spencer (Head of Xbox) showed off Xbox One footage of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. The game looked solid running on next-generation hardware, even better than the trailer that was leaked a few weeks ago. We don’t yet know if the game runs at 1080p and 60 frames per second, but we’re sure Microsoft is doing everything it can to help make that happen.

Call of Duty was followed by a bit of racing fun. First off, Turn 10 Studios announced that the Nurburgring race track is available as free downloadable content (DLC) for Forza Motorsport 5 today. In addition, Playground Games will release Forza Horizon 2 on September 30th of this year. The full trailer for the game showed off the weather system, new locations, and a selection of vehicles players will be able to race.

Next up was Evolve from Turtle Rock Studios. The ambitious title looked about the same as the initial reveal trailer, but we got to see a bit more of the action. As a game that pits four players against a giant beast (controlled by a fifth player), it has been turning heads and gaining interest since it was revealed. The MS trailer touted that the beta would be exclusive to the Xbox One in the Fall, and we’re hoping to play it this week at E3 as well.

Ubisoft stepped up to the plate to showcase Assassin’s Creed: Unity. The main point of the trailer was to focus on the four-player co-op included in the game. You and three friends can team up to take on a single target as you sneak through crowds and stalk your prey until the time is right to strike. This should cause some “interesting” conversations while all four players try to sync up and make sure no one is seen.

The trailer for Dragon Age: Inquisition followed and it most certainly look gorgeous. The trailer showed off a number of exotic locations, and characters that players will be privy to when the game hits later this year. It almost seemed as though that would be the most impressive trailer of the conference, but then Sunset Overdrive followed it. As one of the most anticipated games of the year, it’s hard not to be impressed.

Things got a bit more odd as the next trailer was for the Super Ultra Dead Rising 3 Arcade Remix Hyper Edition EX Plus Alpha DLC for Dead Rising 3. It basically turns the game into an arcade-style beat ’em up. You can play as the main character from any of the previous Dead Rising games, and dress them up as any one of a number of classic Capcom characters. The game also features four-player co-op, which is where the action really gets crazy.

Lionhead Studios was up next, with a look at Fable Legends. The trademark humor was very much on display as the trailer showcased three different heroes battling against a variety of enemies. This time around you can even play as the villain, which is what a lot of people have been asking for, and now it’s finally going to be an option.

The indy games were shown next, starting with Project Spark. The trailer showed off many of the unique creations that have already been made, then announced that Conker would be available only in Project Spark. The trailer poked fun at Conker being absent for the last 10 years, but pointed out that now you can make your own Conker game. A trailer for Ori and the Blind Forest finished off the indy section. The Moon Studios title looked very picturesque and stylized.

While the announcement was leaked already, Halo: The Master Chief Collection was next up. The big announcement here was that Halo 2 will feature the same multiplayer as the original version of the title. In addition, all four games (Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, Halo 2, Halo 3, and Halo 4) will be 1080p and run at 60 frames per second. All of the games will also use dedicated serves and offer a total of 4,000 gamerscore. The set will include the live-action series, Halo: Nightfall, and offer beta access to Halo 5: Guardians. We also got fresh trailer for Guardians, showcasing the new lead and the hunt for Master Chief.

We then got a look at Playdead’s new title, Inside, followed by a few ID@Xbox trailers. What followed was a treat as we got our first look at the next Tomb Raider title, Rise of the Tomb Raider. The trailer started off with a hooded Lara Croft talking to a psychiatrist, then reveling in her dream as we see her exploring tombs by the end of the footage.

The Witcher 3 stage demo was next, and surprise, surprise, it looked like a graphically superior version of The Witcher. Jokes aside, the game looks to be shaping up well, as we were treated to a nice bit of gameplay during the stage demo.

Following The Witcher 3 was the surprise (and odd) announcement of a new Phantom Dust title coming. Ken Lobb, the father of Killer Instinct announced the game. At first it seemed as though we were going to see the TJ Combo trailer from earlier, but instead the audience was left wondering what they were watching until enough clues were present to pinpoint Phantom Dust. The game was enjoyed by a number of people back on the original Xbox, but it’s a surprising choice nonetheless.

Next up was a quick look at how The Division is progressing (despite being delayed to 2015), followed by a trailer for Platinum Games new title, Scalebound. If you’ve played Bayonetta, you probably have a good idea of how this game will play. We didn’t see much in the way of gameplay footage, but the CG trailer showcased what looked to be Bayonetta-style action.

The press conference came to a close with the announcement and trailer for a new Crackdown title. The game looks as crazy as ever, and Phil Spencer seems to have confidence in the developer and how the game will turn out. While some may have expected a surprise announcement after Crackdown, that’s how the conference ended. Still, there were a lot of announcements and a lot of games on showcase.

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Bryan Dawson
Bryan Dawson has an extensive background in the gaming industry, having worked as a journalist for various publications for nearly 20 years and participating in a multitude of competitive fighting game events. He has authored over a dozen strategy guides for Prima Games, worked as a consultant on numerous gaming-related TV and web shows and was the Operations Manager for the fighting game division of the IGN Pro League.