E3 2014 Wishlist: My hopes and fears for Xbox One

Xbox One (Console) Screenshot - Xbox One

E3 2014 is Microsoft’s chance to prove that they aren’t a shadow of their once-great Xbox and Xbox 360 brands. The Xbox One has been a misstep for them -- some may even call it a disaster -- but they’ve been making strong moves to fix it. The option to remove the Kinect and save $100, in addition to the extra 10% power increase, brings the console ever closer to the level of PS4. There are still things to be addressed, but Microsoft is finally back on the right track. E3 is a chance to hammer that point home.

Apologies must be made

Xbox One interface

A year ago, Xbox One was poised to be an anti-consumer, restricted, expensive, heavily-flawed device. Since launch and in the intervening months, Microsoft has addressed most of those issues. Now is the time to apologize to consumers and make right by early adopters. There are more improvements that can be made, and I hope that when MS isn’t focusing their conference on games that they talk about what they’re doing to make Xbox One a better console.

My suggestion? It’s time to start addressing the interface. The Xbox One interface is a confusing, labyrinthine mess. It would be great to see an interface refresh in a future dashboard update. The main thing, though, is that Xbox One has to establish itself as an alternative to PS4. So far MS has spent a lot of time appeasing customers to bring their console inline with the PS4. Now they have to go above and beyond and start showing that it’s more than “as good” as PS4.

All the potential going forward

Halo 5

We’ll likely see stuff like Sunset Overdrive and Call of Duty at Microsoft’s E3. We might even see something new from Lionhead or a new Gears of War. A new Crackdown would be cool too! I’m sure we’ll also see Forza Horizon 2, which is the real Forza sequel that I’m really excited about. There’s a lot of potential surprises, but for my money, here’s what I want to see on Xbox One at E3:

Halo 5 and Halo: The Master Chief Collection - Halo 4 was a disappointing game that I still managed to play for dozens of hours. The series is a strange beast for 343 to wrangle at this point because they have so many different kinds of fans to please. For Halo 5, I hope they take a fresh start and claim their own stake in the franchise. For The Master Chief Collection, I hope we see something lovingly crafted to suit the franchise. Halo Anniversary was okay, but I’d like to see a revision that takes advantage of the hardware and remains faithful to the original vision of the games. Halo 2 multiplayer maps would be a welcome addition too.

D4 - Quantum Break likely won’t be shown until Gamescom, so Swery 65’s D4 will have to be my sleeper hit for E3. Deadly Premonition was such a crazy moment of lightning in a bottle that I have my doubts D4 could ever recapture it. I’m not sure I’d want it to. As long as the game is something weird and unique it will have my attention.

An indie game push that isn’t overbearing - Microsoft wants a piece of the indie game pie just as Sony does, but their approach so far has been a turn-off to some devs. As it was on 360, Microsoft tends to be a bit too controlling with other people’s games. While that has resulted in them securing an awesome exclusive like Below, it also means they don’t have nearly the same amount of cool, weird stuff that PS4 has. I’d like to see Xbox One get a genuine indie push that everyone can be happy about.

A teaser for a Rare game that isn’t total BS - The acquisition of Rare by Microsoft so many years ago was seen as a bit of a waste to some people. Their games weren’t huge sellers and weren’t always well-received either. Then Rare started making Avatars and Kinect Sports and they became something else. They have a clear purpose and function within Microsoft now, but damn, would I like the old Rare back. I’m sorry, but Viva Pinata and Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts were both awesome, underappreciated games. More of that, please.

State of Decay / Class4 - The original game was a surprise and managed to carve out its own spot in the zombie genre. Undead Labs aims to use the original as a building block for an MMO on Xbox One. The trick here will be for them to show something that doesn’t get lost in the crowd of undead online survival games that have become so pervasive.

There are sure to be a lot more surprises and I bet you guys have a bunch of other games you’d rather be seeing at E3. What are your big Xbox One wishes? Let us know in the comments below.

Enjoy random thoughts about the latest games, the Sega Saturn, or the occasional movie review? Follow me @JoeDonuts!

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Joe Donato Video games became an amazing, artful, interactive story-driven medium for me right around when I played Panzer Dragoon Saga on Sega Saturn. Ever since then, I've wanted to be a part of this industry. Somewhere along the line I, possibly foolishly, decided I'd rather write about them than actually make them. So here I am.
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