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As has become a new tradition at the show, E3 kicked off with Microsoft’s E3 press note. Introduced by 343’s Bonnie Ross, the show started with an gameplay demo of the upcoming Halo 5: Guardians. Picking up with Locke, Buck and the other Spartan IV’s assigned to hunt down the Master Chief, the team travels across the galaxy and eventually to the last Covenant stronghold of “the great journey’s” acolytes.

Halo 5: Guardians

Locke, Buck, and company are on a mission to hunt down the Master Chief.

Following up the single player demo,  343 Creative Director took the stage to introduce the new multiplayer mode promised at this year’s E3, “Warzone”. Incorporating “all elements of Halo’s sandbox”, the new mode looks to be a mix of traditional competative multiplayer mixed with the dynamic events of Covenant drop ships invading the battlefield and dropping in AI as players are fighting one another. The mode looks to promise interesting chaos into Halo’s sandbox, so hopefully more will be shown as E3 continues this week.


Halo 5: Guardians – Warzone Trailer

Players and AI fight in the same space in this new MP mode for Guardians.

Rounding out the rest of the conference,  “Rise of Tomb Raider” was demoed at the show by Square Enix. The timed holiday exclusive to the Xbox One showed Lara traversing a mountain as a blizzard engulfs her and her comrade as they scale the landscape.

Rise of the Tomb Raider – E3 Gameplay Demo

Lara is in search of a lost city, conveniently hidden in a mountain surrounded by a blizzard.

Rare finally made it’s return to “core” gaming experiences with the reveal of “Sea of Theives”, an open-world pirate game reminiscent of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker’s aesthetic and design.

Sea of Thieves

Rare’s new title developed for the Xbox One.

On top of “Sea of Thieves”, the “Rare Replay” collection was also announced at the show. Promising 30 games for $30, the title promises to be a walk down memory lane and was a pleasant surprise at this year’s conference.


Tying in the trend of online co-op, the free-to-play title, Fable Legends was shown again at this year’s E3. Not much was discussed or announced, as Windows 10 integration was already known. There’s still no release date for the game yet, but a new trailer can be seen below.

Fable Legends

Fable Legends co-op gameplay in action.

And finally, ending the show was the announcement of the Gears of War series returning to an Xbox console. Rod Fergusson, Exceutive Producer of the series at Black Tusk Studios, the Gears of War 1 Remaster was introduced along with a gameplay demo of Gears of War 4, showing off new protagonists and a new setting.

Gears of War 4 – Gameplay Demo

New Gear of War 4 gameplay on the Xbox One.

Of all the announcements at the show, the biggest was the introduction of backwards compatibility for Xbox 360 titles. With 100 titles promised for this fall, the Xbox One will be able to natively be able to run Xbox 360 games simply by inserting the disk in the game, downloading the app, and playing. Not much else is known currently, but Xbox One features such as screen capture and streaming are promised for these old titles, too.

Halo: Reach

Halo_Reach_-_Visual_IDHalo: Reach, a title that may never see a remaster due to the Xbox One’s backward compatibility.

Overall, the show pushed content above big ideas. Backwards compatibility was the big announcement and the demo of Hololens, Microsoft’s internally developed answer to VR, with Minecraft were interesting. However, there didn’t seem to be a strong direction for the future of the machine on display. Familiar brands ruled the show and expected announcements were very by the numbers. There seemed to be a lot Microsoft was holding back on at this conference, with Phil Spencer, head of Xbox, hinting at more to come throughout the week. Hopefully this will include more details on Halo 5’s Warzone mode, more information about the OS update promised this fall, and more developer interviews highlighting content coming to the machine this fall.

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