HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE SHIFTER Microsoft opened the E3 games show on Monday with a indulgent look at its Xbox One console and the games that will go with it.
The paint is still drying on the consoles, and we are not even sure of its launch date, but Microsoft couldn't wait to wax lyrical about the console and treated its Xbox fans to an hour of whoops and wayheys.
Microsoft announced the console about a month ago and has spent the time since then explaining its controversial policies and blowing smoke about its controller.
There isn't much that we haven't heard about, except perhaps the software that will accompany the console. So far we are aware of games from EA, including sports titles, and Call of Duty: Ghosts.
At E3 the wraps came off a whole lot more. First off was a trailer for sneak up and ice someone title, Metal Gear Solid 5, the Phantom Pain.
Here we are promised more stealth and weather that reflects the real world. There was horse riding, lining people up in scopes, running around, riding a horse, crawling and wearing an eyepatch. When it finished there was a decent amount of whooping. Metal Gear Solid 5 will be an Xbox One exclusive, and just one of 13 next generation titles that you will only find on the Xbox One.
But before we got to the meat of the Xbox One we had to go over the Xbox 360 again The eight year old console has had a refresh so that it looks more like the Xbox One. This is available from today. It's slimmer, blacker and smaller. Gamers who have Xbox Live Gold will get two free titles a month. These will include Assassin's Creed 2 and Halo 3.
Other upcoming games for the Xbox 360 include Grand Theft Auto 5 and the PC based blow 'em up World of Tanks. According to the game developers the Xbox 360 is the perfect match for the team based armoured warfare smashathon and is the only console that it will appear on.
From there we went to the future and the Xbox One. Ryse: Son of Rome was first up and apparently involves Romans and the crap being smacked out of people. There are swords, explosions, and the promise of spilling "Barbarian blood". This looks brutal and the trailer/gameplay video seemed to go on for hours.
Before we knew it we were back to watching people being smacked around with Killer Instinct, which is back for the new console.
Next was Sunset Overdrive, an open world shooter that changes every day. This is supposed to be exciting and explosive, according to Insomniac Games, and to give it some credit, the parkour infused cartoony trailer did make it look like a lot of fun.
Start your engines, because a car game is also incoming. Forza 5. This has close links with car firm McClaren, and "is the beginning of a new era", according to the chosen mouthpiece, and goes for detail and texture as well as playability and hard driving. Opponents here are not just basic AI drivers, but Drivatars that drive more like human beings.
Minecraft, which may not seem like a natural fit on a high-end games console, will also appear on the Xbox One, and the special edition has a more polished look than its earlier versions, is bigger and has more stuff.
Quantum Break, a blurring of the lines between gaming and television, also popped up. Not a sequel to Quantum Leap, unfortunately, but this time-infused game from Remedy is another Xbox One exclusive.
We got an early look at Project Spark, which uses voice controls to let players build up worlds and games and share them. Lands can be sculpted using Microsoft's Smart Glass app, and the promise is that anyone will be able to build a simple game that can be remixed and rebuilt by other players.
Smart Glass was pored over, and we learned that users would be able to use their Surface tablets to set up a game, share invitations with other people and record the action. An Upload Studio should make it easier for punters to upload their "epic moments", as can links into Twitch, which will let you broadcast your games.
Speaking of friends, you will be able to have more than 100 of them. Microsoft also said that it is dropping its points system and will replace it with local currencies.
Next on stage was Capcom. They told us that the Xbox One is exciting, and they introduced Dead Rising 3, which is a zombie brain bashing game in which the hero uses an adjustable spanner to deal with his enemies and rooftops to escape from them.
We were told that anything and everything that you find can be a weapon, including - no surprise here - a gun.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt also appears on the "awesome" new console, and again you can turn to the Smart Glass app to boost and improve your experience. This is massive, and if you close your eyes while watching the trailer it might as well be that Ryse game that brought us into this.
Battlefield 4: Second Assault was next to take the stage, and our ears were warmed with talk of "dynamic gameplay" and all that jazz. A video with gameplay didn't want to take part in the proceedings, and we spent a good few minutes waiting for that to play. When it did, at 60 frames per second, people whooped appreciatively.
Next was What Lies Below, with its small and involved indie feel, and then we were introduced to a new Halo title, which does not have a small, involved, indie feel to it.
343 Industries said that Halo's debut on Xbox One takes "full advantage" of the power of the console, its cloud computing and its dedicated servers. Again this will run at 60 frames per second.
Last up was space shooter Titan Fall, another Xbox One exclusive.
Most important perhaps is the money, and Microsoft said that we are looking at an Xbox One recommended retail price in the UK of £429. µ
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