"It's a F**cking Video Game!": Microsoft @ E3 2014


Somebody must have tasked Phil Spencer with two missions yesterday when he took to E3’s stage in Los Angeles: 1) Avoid showing off anything regarding, related to, or even remotely reminiscent of TV apps and 2) Slowly strangle anyone who dares utter the word “Kinect” while staring into their eyes as their soul fades from their body like a light dimming.

I say this because Phil made damn sure the only thing that took center stage besides camera-shy, stammering game developers was the games themselves. What ensued was probably one of the better conferences held by the company in quite some time – Microsoft wasn’t going to let Sony blacken their eye again like at last year’s event.

Below, I’ve collected (almost) every title named at the Xbox presser. Be sure to click on each game’s name to peep an accompanying trailer.

See, don’t I take care of you guys?

  • image The “Unity” in Assassin’s Creed Unity made a whole lot more sense (as I suspected, sadly, it has nothing to do with Operation Ivy’s seminal classic). Unlike the competitive suite paired with previous games, Unity allows for four player co-op assassin-ing. Together, you’ll witness the French Revolution from an all-new perspective: beneath stylish beaked hoods (seriously, how the hell don’t people figure these guys are assassins almost immediately?).
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    Okay. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare made a strong case for itself. Black Ops II tickled the near future, but AW is thrusting itself right into the sci-fi genre. Hard. Hovering smart grenades, mechanical exo-skeletons, friggin’ jetpacks. I’ve been demanding this type of lunacy from Call of Duty for awhile.
  • Crackdowns back, baby. The Agency needs you to quell crime in the city in the most humane fashion possible – by bringing down half the goddamn city on top of criminals. Video games aren’t… subtle.
  • Not big on embarrassing myself for the sake of my Xbox’s enjoyment but Dance Central Spotlight gets a shout out because the vastly inferior Just Dance needs to just stop.
  • Super Ultra Dead Rising 3 Arcade Remix Hyper Edition EX Plus Alpha. That name was all the convincing I needed.
  • The Division doesn’t fail to impress. Unfortunately, the very obviously scripted online “chat” seen in the video does. Real people are never that coordinated. I mean, there’s not even a teammate spinning helplessly around in a corner because he dropped his controller to go clean dishes to stop his mom’s stream of shouting.
  • image Dragon Age: Inquisition is lookin’ some kind of wonderful. Next-gen console owners have been quite thirsty for some fantasy RPG goodness, and damn does this look like it’ll hit the spot. Been very much itching to hit dragons and hit on my party members.
  • Evolve revealed a brand new monster: The Kraken. As you would expect, it’s a flying Cthulhu-a-like that can vomit fire. What do you mean you weren’t expecting that?
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    Multiplayer has been toyed with in the Fable universe before to… limited success, putting it kindly. Fable Legends’ class based co-op seems like the right shot pint o’ mead needed to bring this franchise’s name back to glory. Requested: four player chicken kickin’.
  • Society has been wiped out. All that’s left of man’s marvels are buildings that kiss the sky and sports cars that worship the road. A roving pack of muscle cars speed through the countryside looking for more than just fuel to stay alive – they’re looking for themselves. Or whatever. I really don’t know what Forza Horizon was about, but Forza Horizon 2 sure looks pretty.
  • Though it’s coming out at the tail end of 2015, we still caught a glimpse from Halo 5: Guardians featuring a growly narration from Mr. Keith David. Chief’s hellbent on answering some heavy questions about his newly revealed destiny. Trouble is, he’s got a secret admirer – with a similar fashion sense – on his trail. Be he friend or foe? More importantly, be he playable?
  • image Then came Halo: The Master Chief Collection which, hang on to your teabags, includes Halo Anniversary, Halo 2 Anniversary (ayuh, all re-did for the Xbox One), Halo 3, and Halo 4 compressed onto one Master Chief shaped disc (most of what I said is true). The bundle also includes each game’s online multiplayer resurrected, each host to every map ever, even DLC ones. But I bet you’re all like, “That’s just not enough goddamn Halo.” Shit, man. Now you asked for it. The game also comes with the live action series Halo: Nightfall plus Halo 5’s multiplayer beta. It’s a cubic ton of Halo. People are gonna literally OD on Halo. There will have to be support groups. Drops November 11th.
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    Playdead’s back, following their cult hit Limbo with another grimly artistic adventurer, Inside. What do we know about the game? Nothing except that all it took was an extremely vague, atmospheric trailer to sell me on it.
  • Phantom Dust completely slipped under my radar when it originally debuted on the Xbox over one-hundred years ago (back in 2005). The folks behind the rebooted Killer Instinct are up to their old modernizing tricks in bringing this obscure IP back to life. Looks like it’ll either be amazing, completely awful, or somewhat mediocre.
  • Project Spark is adding galactic creations tool so users can make science fiction themed levels! What this has to do with Conker is inexplicable.
  • image Ms. Croft returns in Rise of the Tomb Raider. The trailer depicts her all goofed up by adventuring. Listen, kids, avoid tomb raiding at all costs. It just takes one tomb to get you hooked. Eventually, you’ll be begging strangers on the street to raid their basements just to get a fix in. 
  • Scalebound looks like one of those generic games filmmakers pre-render into their movies because they can’t afford licensing actual games. But it’s from Platinum Games, and I long ago made a blood oath to play anything Hideki Kamiya made.
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    Sunset Overdrive is what happens when you mix a weekend of working through your old Dreamcast collection with absinthe chugging. It’s pure nonsense. That’s why it looks so damn fun. If Insomniac can blend togehter the perfect cocktail of humor and over-the-top action, they’ll make Suda51 eat his heart out.
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt displayed some pretty vivid crytid cruelty in its gameplay presentation, but that’s all right because it was awesome. I like me an Action RPG heavy on the action.

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