Microsoft put the emphasis squarely on action at its annual pre-E3 press conference in Los Angeles, showcasing a variety of titles filled with guns, knives and other instruments of destruction.
Whether it’s the futuristic weapons of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, the hidden blades of Assassin’s Creed: Unity or the dual-wielding pistols of the Master Chief, there’s a good chance you’ll be causing some carnage this fall.
Leading the charge will be Halo: The Master Chief Collection, a compilation of Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2, Halo 3 and Halo 4 on a single disc. In addition to repackaging the games, the collection will “lay the foundation for the future” of the series, said Bonnie Ross of 343 Industries.
The compilation, which will be released Nov. 11, will also ship with Halo: Nightfall, a live-action series from director Ridley Scott, and give gamers access to a multiplayer beta of Halo 5: Guardians starting in December.
While the Master Chief always gets a welcome reception at Microsoft’s events, the larger applause this year went to Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, due out Nov. 4. With its mechs, jetpacks and gritty gameplay, it’s a new take on the multi-billion dollar series.
Prefer to go old-school? How about Assassin’s Creed| Unity, set in the French Revolution, which also features four-person cooperative play. Want to kill monsters? Evolve’s open beta, this fall, got a solid reception from the audience for its four-vs-one gameplay – with the one getting to play as a massive monster.
Maybe you’re partial to weapons with flair. In that case, Sunset Overdrive, due Oct. 28 from the makers of Ratchet & Clank, is the game for you – and seven of your friends, if you like online cooperative play.
Of course, there are less violent options for players. Forza Horizon 2 will bring high speed excitement on Sept. 30. Acclaimed developer Harmonix will double down on music, releasing both Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved and Dance Central Spotlight. The creators of game-making software Project Spark surprised fans by announcing they’ll be able to make levels featuring foul-mouthed squirrel Conker, a fan favorite. Ori and the Blind Forest, due this fall, looks to be a platformer with a touching parent/child backstory.
And all of those games are coming out this year.
For 2015 and beyond, the company showed an even more impressive lineup, including Lara Croft’s new adventure – Rise of the Tomb Raider – due holiday 2015.
It was new games based on old franchises that raised the roof, though. The surprise announcement that a reboot of Phantom Dust was met with raucous applause , and a new Crackdown hopes to redefine open-world gaming, utilizing Microsoft’s cloud technology.
“This week, we share a common purpose with our friends at Sony, Nintendo and the developers and publishers in this industry,” said Phil Spencer, head of Xbox. “That purpose is to showcase the passion and creativity with the fastest growing form of entertainment in the world: Games. …[And] this just the beginning. We will continue to invest and bring in new creators to Xbox One.”
The biggest surprise of all wasn’t something Microsoft said, but what they didn’t. Kinect, the once-revolutionary motion-controlled camera recently unbundled from the Xbox One, was hardly mentioned at all during the 90-minute conference.