The games of Xbox One: Ghosts, Quantum Break, Forza 5, EA Sports, and Battlefield 4
Most of Microsoft’s conference was focused on the new features they intend to bring to Xbox Live and the Xbox One operating system, but we did still get a look at a number of games that are coming to the console.
Microsoft’s reveal carried a heavy theme on live action sports in its new television initiatives, and that also extended to their games as well. EA Sports was a major presenter here, and showed off several new advancements in their marquis titles NBA Live, Madden, Fifa, and UFC, all of which are currently being developed for Xbox One.
“All four will launch in the next 12 months,” said Andrew Wilson, head of EA Sports at the presentation. “All four will be revolutionary, and all four will change the way you play.”
This so-called revolutionary advance will come through EA’s new Ignite engine, which we were told allows for four times more calculations per second, and ten times more animation detail.
EA’s announcement was sparse with details, and mostly revolved around a sports montage that looked a great deal like every other sports game montage we’ve seen. However, Wilson is making big promises for the next generation of sports games.
“Our games are now living worlds, with 3D crowds, dynamic sidelines, and a daily stream of new content that impacts the game you play,” he said.
EA will be providing exclusive content to Xbox One users in Fifa’s Ultimate Mode, but all four games will also come to PS4. This is pretty standard stuff when it comes to EA Sports marketing: Many buzzwords, little content.
Forza 5 and Quantum Break
The first Microsoft game shown off at the conference was Turn 10’s Forza 5, the latest installment in their simulation racer series. We did not get an extensive look at the game play, but it was still fun to watch because as Ben put it in his live blog, “This is straight up car porn. My God.” We found out that the game will be available at launch, and will be shown at E3 in some capacity.
The creators of Alan Wake and Max Payne, Remedy Entertainment, came next with a new game called Quantum Break which we’re very interested to learn more about. The trailer for the game swapped between live action scenes of a young girl talking to a 30-something-year-old woman, and action-oriented video game footage of a gun fight and a large boat crashing through a bridge.
The trailer came with the tag line: “Time is the fire in which we burn.” We didn’t get much detail here, but we’re very interested to see what’s next from this awesome developer.
Call of Duty: Ghosts
The finale of the show came with the world debut of Call of Duty: Ghosts. Ben dug into the game extensively earlier, but we also got a bit of new information here. For starters, the game is being penned by the writer of both Syriana and Traffic, Stephen Gaghan. The world of Call of Duty: Ghosts will be entirely new and wont be based on the stories or characters of the previous CoD games, and will star a hodgepodge group of soldiers from different branches of the US armed forces who were apparently scattered after America was attacked. This squad will include, refreshingly, an US army K9 unit that will be used to do things like sniff out explosives and protecting the team.
Multiplayer was teased although we weren’t given much to go on besides allusions to dynamic levels that will introduce environmental events like earthquakes and floods, some of which will be player controlled.
Activision also talked a great deal about the new graphics engine in the game which will allow for things like volumetric lighting, higher polygon counts, and self-casting shadows. Much of the demonstration focused on showing off the intricacies that are now possible with the new engine including facial details, and cuts and scrapes on characters’ hands.
The brief glimpses of gameplay showed off new abilities like sliding and shooting and leaning around corners. It was also announced that Activision will be offering all DLC for CoD: Ghosts for Xbox One first.
Shortly after the conference we also received word from EA that Battlefield 4 is also in development for Xbox One as well as PlayStation 4, and will launch on October 29, 2013 with a live demo available at E3 in June.
“Battlefield 4 delivers a genre-defining all-out war experience brought to life with unmatched visual and audio fidelity, superior character animations and dynamic destruction that ensures no two matches are alike,” reads the press release.
Overall, this felt very much like a prelude to E3. Though we saw a handful of titles, the focus of the conference was not on games, but on Xbox One’s cross-media capabilities. Most, if not every, game announcement came with the caveat that we’ll be seeing more at E3. This was really just the tip of the iceberg. Microsoft said they currently have more games in production at Microsoft Games Studios right now than at any other time in their history: 15 of which are coming in the first year and 8 are new franchises.
Microsoft was likely looking to keep this reveal palatable for non-gamers, while reserving the big video game announcements for their E3 press conference on June 10.