MICROSOFT E3 MEDIA BRIEFING
Last week, the Electronic Entertainment Expo opened with Microsoft’s annual media briefing. Unlike last month’s Xbox One announcement, which concentrated on the new console’s various multimedia features, the game demo-heavy press conference shifted focus to the software. With new entries in its “Halo” and “Forza Motorsport” franchises as well as fresh games like “Ryse: Son of Rome” and “Titanfall,” the Xbox One’s prospective launch line-up boasts an impressive assortment of exclusives. But not all of Microsoft’s announcements were cause for enthusiasm. The $499 retail price ($100 more than that of the PlayStation 4) raised quite a few eyebrows. And Microsoft’s refusal to elaborate on the new hardware’s more controversial features made the console an easy target for competitor Sony.
While the Xbox One is now confirmed to be the priciest entry in the new console generation, the extra expense isn’t unjustified. Unlike the Wii U and PlayStation 4, each Xbox One has the gesture control and voice recognition of Kinect built into the hardware. The Xbox 360’s current incarnation of Kinect as an optional peripheral presently retails for $100. More troubling is Microsoft’s fuzzy position on digital rights management. It’s been established that Xbox One games will require online authentication every twenty-four hours simply to function, but how this will affect the lending and reselling of games remains unclear. Microsoft maintains that such policies are under the control of third-party developers and are yet to be determined, and Sony is already poking fun at the confusion, pointing out that sharing PS4 games will be as simple as handing the disc to another person. Hopefully, Microsoft will have these issues sorted out by the Xbox One’s November release.
“RYSE: SON OF ROME”
Originally announced way back in 2011 as a Kinect-only exclusive for Xbox 360, this third-person, hack-‘n-slash action game has found a new home on the Xbox One, where it showcases the console’s tremendous graphical power. Players will take the role of a Roman general, leading troops into battle as well as taking on opponents single-handedly with a series of simple combos and “God of War”-style quicktime events. While the game is no longer controlled exclusively with Kinect, gesture and voice commands will be utilized when issuing orders to your infantry, so you’ll be able to tell your men when to advance towards the enemy and when to halt and raise their shields to deflect an incoming barrage of arrows.
Xbox One’s most exciting new IP has got to be this mech-based first-person shooter. Players will have the option to proceed on foot or climb into the cockpit of a hulking “Titan” in order to operate the heavy guns. While being an exclusively multiplayer game, “Titanfall” will include many of the tropes of single-player campaigns. Cinematic cut-scenes will open and close each story-based mission, lending context to the battles and thus making them about more than merely shooting the other team more often than they shoot you. Each multiplayer bout will have plot-specific objectives as well as non-playable characters to advance the overarching narrative. CV