The E3 Xbox Media Briefing: a story told in iPhone photos
So there we were, sitting smack in the middle-ish of the massive auditorium, surrounded by all manner of producers, developers, and other media outlets:
Me: "Mike, dude, are you excited?!"
Mike: "Hell yeah I'm excited!"
Me: "Sweet! Matt, you excited?"
Matt: "Double hell double yeah!"
Me: "Awesome! Let's make a Vine of our press badges and happy faces and put it on Twitter!"
...and that's when we realized the 4G in the arena was too choked for a video upload, and none of our phone plans support USB tethers. Ok, fine. New plan: let's take a bunch of pictures on an iPhone. Because reasons.
So here we go! The words below will serve as your captions -- salient bullet points to guide you through the gallery of lovely, hi-res iPhone photography in a dark room, hanging out at the bottom of this page.
- The event kicked off with an extended look at the upcoming Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain. Does it look completely awesome? Why, yes, yes it does. It also looks like there's a lot of crouching, and I wouldn't be shocked if 2015 saw a DLC epilogue, Metal Gear Solid 5.5: Snake's Inevitable Back Surgery.
- Another feature of this (did I mention it was stunningly beautiful?) game is persistent, actual, real clock time. I'm not sure what this means for the gameplay, but we were treated to a view of Snake next to an ethereal watch-face. My take: Hideo Kojima knows what he's doing. Just go with it.
- World of Tanks is coming to -- wait for it -- Xbox 360. And you know what? It looks crazy fun, and I've always preferred driving tanks with console controllers anyway. Not much else to say there, except big ups to Wargaming for coming to consoles. Here's hoping it works out for them like it did for Minecraft.
- ...speaking of which, Minecraft is coming to Xbox One. I doubt it'll look much different (even blockier?) than it does now, so please imagine the same graphics on a much, much bigger scale, as I didn't take any pictures of it.
- ...and speaking of that, please excuse me for neglecting to photograph Ryse: Son of Rome. You see, the thing is, I couldn't get my jaw off the floor long enough to photograph the damn thing. Maybe a little heavy on the quick-time events, but goodness, ancient warfare certainly seems brutal, and Ryse looks like it will deliver handsomely.
- Does Forza 5 look incredible? Yes, but we already knew that. We did learn two new things, however: firstly, that the game has a brilliantly innovative learning-AI system that populates your tracks with "real" people, and secondly, that you can apparently hide a McLaren P1 inside a stage. Which, when you add smoke and a booming soundtrack, looks sick as hell.
- Quantum Break is another unfortunate case of "this game looks so damn cool I didn't take any worthwhile pictures. My bad, everyone. My bad. But chase that link on the game title for the full trailer.
- Next up was Project Spark, which looks like a natural cross of Little Big Planet and some version of "Iterative Programming for Dummies." In other words, it's a huge, open-world-builder with so much meat on its bones that it's almost intimidating. Make a pet rock. Train him to follow you. Turn him into a warrior mech. Yep!
- By the way, Spark is also malleable enough that you can, oh-hang-on, make a complete, playable Geometry Wars clone.
- KILLER INSTINCT. ZOMG. JAGO. SABREWULF. I AM 8 YEARS OLD AGAIN. THAT IT ALL.
- Next up, Dead Rising 3 as an Xbox One exlusive. The pictures don't show it, but this is the first game I've seen that truly feels like the end of the world.
- By the by, Microsoft also showed us Dark Souls 2 today, coming soon to Xbox 360. Violent, beautiful, dark, awesome. No pictures in here, just thought I should tell you: the game looks excellent, and it's nice to see continued support for a system that I think still has some legs on it.
- From there, the gallery devolves to a series of title screens. Why? Because the game footage was so enthralling that I couldn't possibly have put a phone in front of my face. This goes for Witcher 3 and Titanfall, mainly. Especially Titanfall. Goodness that game looks fun.
- And on a final, personal note, as a massive fan of Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP, I can't wait for Below. Again tapping the talents of composer Jim Guthrie, the team over at Capy look to impress. I frankly couldn't figure out the bent of the game from the footage we were shown, but I'm not sure I care -- it looks very similar in tone to Capy's last title, and I can't wait for it.
- Oh, also: new Halo trailer. And just for good measure, if you're still reading, check out this trailer for Sunset Overdrive and try and tell me it doesn't look like a ton of fun.
- Let's go ahead and augment that comment about being pumped for Below. Rather, I can't wait for ALL OF THIS. Looks like it's going to be a fun generation.