E3 2017

Now that all the news have come out and I’ve had enough time to digest everything I thought it was a pretty good showing.

Xbox One X

Perhaps one of the biggest and most anticipated news is the reveal of Project Scorpio, the development code name for the Xbox One X. Going into E3 we knew it was going to be a power house from Digital Foundry’s exclusive coverage but not the name, price, form factor and release date. Microsoft’s Xbox media event (on Sunday) started off confidently revealing the Xbox One X (X.B.O.X.). The name is ok, it’s not good, not bad, just something to call it by. I mean before we knew what an iPhone was, we’d have thought it’s a stupid name for a phone too. What surprised me though was the form factor. It’s actually smaller, but heavier, than the Xbox One S. That much power yet smaller than the S? Amazing! We can expect the X to launch 7th November 2017 for £449.99.

Pricing controversy?

A lot of people wanted the Xbox One X to launch for a much lower price and they think it’s a misstep on Microsoft’s part for the £450 price tag. I disagree. To hit 4K gaming at 60 fps for £450 is insane value for money. I don’t think I can build a gaming PC at that price for that performance. I might be wrong, but a PC requires a GTX 1080 for that kind of performance? Even if it’s a 970, you’d spend half your budget on the graphics card alone. The many people who wanted it to be lower are wishing that this console is going to help Microsoft take the lead back in the “console war”. It’s not going to happen. The best strategy for Microsoft is to build their brand back up in preparation for future launches. Sometimes you have to lose the battle to win the war. Listening to Phil Spencer’s interviews after the reveal it sounds like this is what they’re going for.

4K 60fps is not mandatory

Yep, Microsoft is going to let the developers decide how they want to use the power of the X and whether they want to do 4K @ 60 fps. It makes sense as not every game needs to be running at 60fps and sometimes you have to sacrifice resolution for fps. Even the Assassins Creed Origins demo is not running in native 4K. It’s using checkerboard rendering technique that we’ve already seen on the PS4 Pro.

What this means for 4K on console

I’ve seen people saying that developers haven’t really been taking advantage of the PS4 Pro extra power so what makes people think they will for the X? Well, the difference now is that there are now two machines that can output 4K graphics. Before it was just the one machine so the proposition of doing all that extra work to target the one console isn’t a good one. Also, it seems like games can be “ported” over from the Xbox One to the X pretty quickly in development terms. So if it’s not a painful process, I guess that’s more reason to support it. Also, I’m hoping it scales nicely from the X to PC. Even if developers choose not to do anything special, the X will run games better by default because of it’s better performant parts.

I am getting one

It sounds expensive to buy one right now. I’ll wait and see if the price starts to drop. I have the Day One Xbox One and I want to turn that into a dev kit so I can start making games. So I’ll replace it with an X, unless I hear rumours of a new generation around the corner.

Even more backwards compatible

Team Xbox has announced that the backwards compatibility program has been extended to include original Xbox games. Only two games have been confirmed so far and they don’t expect to be able to have a library as extensive as the Xbox 360 because of licensing issues and what not. I would be grateful if they just make the guilty gear game work as I bought it with the knowledge that it would. Turns out that only America supported that and not the UK.

Just take my money

These are the games I’m pretty much guaranteed to buy. I love the developers work and they have my faith in the product already. So here’s my cash in advance!

Forza Motorsport 7

The first game they showcased in 4K was Forza Motorsport 7 (and oddly revealed a new Porsche on stage…). This game looks amazing. It’s also a play anywhere title so I’ll definitely get to try this feature out more extensively and see what to expect when it comes to the original Xbox One moving to the X. There’s custom avatars (oh yes!) and dynamic day time and weather! It looks great and the new additions means that a new element in racing has been introduced to Forza series. We now need to access road conditions on the fly! In Forza 6, it was either dry or wet. Now, since the weather is dynamic, we could be racing on dry surface one minute and it could start to rain the next. Also puddles might start appearing as more water falls from the sky. I’m hoping that the dynamic weather system means this much detail to the gaming mechanics. Looks like a lovely addition to my Forza collection.

Dragon Ball Z Fighters

Oh my god. When I first saw the opening moments of the trailer I thought “oh, not another stupid Dragon Ball game”. But this game is different. It’s incredibly stylish and it even had a part where Goku knocks energy blasts away. It was afterwards that I found out that ArcSys (the makers of Guilty Gear and BlazBlue series) are behind this. I’m really excited to see how this turns out because ArcSys (Arc System Works) makes high quality fighting games. Yes, BlazBlue and Guilty Gear are high up there on my 2D fighting games list. Also, I loved Dragon Ball Z when I was a kid. It’s going to be awesome if they move and feel authentic. Dragon Ball Z is also a surprise because within the Xbox games portfolio they’ve not had that many Japanese games so this was a pleasant surprise. Let’s hope this is Play Anywhere AND cross platform play.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps

This came out of nowhere. I remember reading an online report a few months ago that a sequel was in the works but I completely forgot about it. As soon as the music came on it felt familiar. Then the beautiful, beautiful art just confirmed it’s an Ori game. I literally grabbed my head in disbelief. Oh my god I can’t believe it. I loved the first Ori game so this is on my “must buy” list.

Life is Strange: Before the storm

I enjoyed the first season and I probably will get this three episode prequel about Chloe and Rachel. I wonder if they’ll do anything that will not make sense now that we know what happens in three years time.

Oooh I might give that a try

These games are the ones I’m unsure of but leaning more towards the yes I’ll buy it side. Of course I’m going to read reviews before deciding.

Crackdown 3

Terry Crews is awesome. So a game with him in it is going to be awesome. The trailer was pretty good and it looks like your character is a police officer with super powers. It looked interesting and I think the closest game I have to it might be Sunset Overdrive. I’m going to look at reviews for this before committing to a purchase but at the moment, it looks pretty good.

Cuphead

When I first saw Cuphead I was very excited about it. The old cartoon aesthetics makes it so unique. But having seen it so early and it appearing so often I’ve kinda lost steam for it. I really hope it gets good reviews because that’s what is going to help me decide whether I buy the game or not.

That looks so cool… but doubt I’ll get that

Wow man, awesome. Looks so cool man. But it just doesn’t appeal to me and I probably won’t get it.

Anthem

By far the best looking game at this year’s E3. But the Destiny/Division vibe has put me off a bit. I’m not really into those kind of games. I tried the Division out and it’s not as fun as I thought it was.

Metro Exodus

This game was shown quite early on in the press conference and did very well to set the tone and atmosphere of the game. It looked very pretty but it didn’t really appeal to me.

All in all

I thought it was a pretty good showing for Microsoft. There was a point in the press conference when I thought “this is all very violent”. Luckily there were some lighter games in the mix too. Microsoft also wanted to get a point across, I think it was something to do with the number 4… and a letter? L? K? Throughout the conference they were flaunting 4K in every opportunity that they could. We get the point. Looking forward to how everything turns out for the rest of this year.

Here’s the full Xbox E3 2017 briefing:

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