Microsoft just completed their press briefing at the annual Gamescom conference in Cologne, Germany this morning and there were a ton of announcements and reveals for their upcoming XBOX and for the first time their PC line-up. Here are the highlights.
Hideki Kamiya from Platinum Games was on hand to introduce his latest project. A realtime Action RPG that allows you to fight alongside your dragon companion against human and monster armies. Actual gameplay was shown off that played very much like Dragon Age Inquisition, but with a Platinum twist. The game will support up to 4 player co-op online and from what I could tell of the gameplay (see for yourself below), it appears to run at 30fps which is a slower pace than we’re used to from Kamiya’s past projects (see Bayonetta). Not surprising of course seeing as this is a pretty rich and detailed world on display. IGN has an extended playthrough of the stage demo you can check out, as well.
The 4 player co-op is 4 humans and 4 dragon companions so, basically 8 characters against the enemy. The extended IGN demo teases boss battles that require co-op to complete. Nice.
That’s right, it’s officially a sequel now. It wasn’t so clear in the first glimpse we got a year ago that this was going to be an actual sequel to the other games in the series, but there you go. It looks decidedly better visually than the teaser trailer we saw last year which is great news. The footage shown was a mix between finished renders and pre-alpha gameplay. It looks pretty much like what we expected. The game will come out Summer 2016 in a multiplayer only version. Presumably to be followed by the story/campaign thereafter.
This was unusual and unexpected. The character we saw in all the previous demos of Quantum Break was replaced by Shawn Ashmore (Iceman from X-MEN movies) and a new story we’ve never seen before was shown in gameplay form with Ashmore’s character as a time powered individual trying to find his brother placed by Dominique Monaghan (Lord of the Rings, LOST). This new reveal creates a bit of confusion because now I’m not sure if Ashmore’s character replaces the previous one or if there will be multiple characters you can play as throughout the game.
On a more clarifying note, the developer talked briefly about the live action TV show component to this game and announced that the TV show would be a telling of the story from the Villain’s point of view while you play the game from the hero’s vantage. Sounds good to me. A tidbit of live action footage was shown, but nothing to help clarify anything.
The game is coming in April 2016 exclusively to the XBOX ONE.
HALO WARS 2
What more is there to be said; there’s more Halo Wars coming. The top-down RTS Halo game was a lesser played, but no less beloved entrant into the franchise and developer Creative Assembly (Alien: Isolation, Total War) has been tasked with bringing fans a new title in the franchise. The game hits shelves in the Fall of 2016. Creative Assembly has a long pedigree of working on RTS games in their past so, this is a good match up for the title.
ID@XBOX Game montage
Lots of new (and old) games announced for this program, including a few kickstarter projects that I’m looking forward to. One of those kickstarters is Thimbleweed Park from the creator of the Monkey Island game series. It’s very much in that vein of whimsical adventure gameplay and the title will be exclusive to XBOX ONE and PC. Another game highlighted on the indie side is the next game from Koji Igarashi, the creator of the hugely popular platform action series Castlevania. His new game was a hit on kickstarter as well and is titled Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. It was announced that the game will be available for both XBOX ONE and PC and will be a cross play title, this general means players game together regardless of whether they’re on console or PC. PC players against console or co-op across platforms. Pretty cool.
New features and Hardware add-ons
Microsoft announced a new attachable keypad similar to the one available on the X360 for easier typing. This is compatible for use on both XBOX ONE and Windows 10 PC. It attaches very much like you remember the X360 keyboard did, but appears to have a few more buttons than that one did. Click the image above for a more detailed look.
Also announced for XBOX was DVR recording feature. This appears to be limited to Over-The-Air TV reception so, don’t think you can replace your TIVO or cable box recording. The software feature will be free to users and whatever you record will be portable to PC or mobile devices via the XBOX Video app. Recording will work pretty much like you expect it. You simply choose the show in the One Guide interface and select record. It will record, even if you’re already using the XBOX for a game or other use. There was some fine print though that suggests you might have to record to an external drive if you want to use the simultaneous recording feature.
That’s it for highlights. We’ll discuss more of the news from this briefing in our podcast later this week so stay tuned.