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Today, Microsoft held its press briefing for Gamescom 2015 in Cologne, Germany. To begin the presentation, Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer opened the show with a reminder that Rare Replay launched today. Rare Replay bundles all of Rare’s best classic titles, except those franchises still owned by Nintendo, in a 30 game collection for only $29.99.
After the brief reminder, Spencer reaffirmed the company’s commitment to exclusive games and content before diving right into new footage of three very exciting upcoming titles.
First up was a new gameplay demo of Alan Wake developer Remedy’s newest title, Quantum Break. Following the demo, actor Shawn Ashmore (Iceman in the original X-Men trilogy) took to the stage to share a little about his experiences in acting in both the game and the accompanying television show, which was also briefly shown. It appears that the game will focus on the story of the heroes while the show will prominently feature the villains. Actors Dominic Monaghan of Lost and The Lord of the Rings fame, Aiden Gillen (Littlefinger from Game of Thrones), and Lance Reddick from TV’s Fringe, The Wire, and Lost were also confirmed to be a part of the project. Remedy also finally provided a solid release date of April 6th, 2016 for Quantum Break.
Following Remedy’s demo Microsoft showed off footage of the newest entry in the Crackdown franchise, now titled Crackdown 3. As shown in previous trailers, environmental destruction will apparently play a central gameplay role, with the Gamescom demo touting “100% destructible environments.” It’s telling that in that same trailer, it specifically references Crackdown 3’s multiplayer experience. This was emphasized at the end of the demo with a message stating, “multiplayer begins Summer 2016.” While there was no footage shown of single player gameplay this may mean that the game will be co-op only when it launches next Summer.
To complete the trifecta of huge reveals to open the show, Platinum Games Studio Head, Hideki Kamiya, took to the stage to demo live gameplay of their upcoming open world action-RPG, Scalebound. The demo featured main character, Drew, fighting enemies alongside his dragon companion in an area called The Grassland. The demo showed off a bit of strategy gameplay with Drew ordering his fire-breathing friend to take out enemy towers above while he battled with enemies on the ground. The demo then moved forward to show Drew squaring off against a boss-like creature called The Mantis. Here Drew and his dragon companion had to attack together in tandem to bring down the beast. The demo concluded by revealing a tentative release window of Holiday 2016 and the inclusion of four player co-op.
Following the Scalebound presentation, Xbox’s Head of Platform Engineering, Mike Ybarra came on stage to discuss the new Xbox One dashboard update coming this Fall. After revealing some impressive stats about how much use the recently announced backwards compatibility program has seen from Xbox Preview members, Ybarra went on to announce that all Xbox One owners will received the new update, with backwards compatibility included free of charge, this November.
Ybarra also announced that full DVR TV recording capabilities will also be available for free in 2016. Players can record their favorite shows while they play games and can even stream or download recorded shows to any Windows 10 enabled device. Just like with backwards compatibility, the DVR features will be available subscription free to all Xbox One owners.
After focusing briefly on backwards compatibility and updated DVR features, Microsoft jumped right back in to the game reveals and announced that Xbox One exclusive fighter, Killer Instinct, will see a third season in March 2016. A special guest character, Rash of Battletoads fame, was also announced and will be available for download starting today.
Castlevania creator, Koji Igarashi then took to the stage to show off a new character from his recently kickstarted game, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. Igarashi promised that his team is working diligently to get the game released as soon as possible.
ID@Xbox got its own highlight reel at the show with reveals of Ron Gilbert’s new point-and-click adventure title, Thimbleweed Park, along with footage of Cities: Skylines, Worms: WMD and We Happy Few, which appears to have a look and feel reminiscent of Bioshock.
A brief Windows 10 segment followed and confirmed that upcoming titles Gigantic and Fable: Legends would be cross-buy and feature cross-platform play between both Windows 10 and Xbox One. There was also a flashy Direct X 12 demo reel.
Following the Windows 10 announcements, Minecraft developer, Mojang, took to the stage to show off their new title, Cobalt via a new gameplay trailer. Cobalt will be available on Xbox One and PC in October 2015.
Microsoft kept rolling with the game reveals as demos and trailers for Homefront: The Revolution, FIFA 16, Dark Souls 3, and Just Cause 3 were shown.
Next up was a brief trailer for upcoming squad shooter, Rainbow Six: Siege, which showcased Germany’s most elite anti-terrorism unit, GSG 9 in action in the game.
Like the first third of the show, the latter portion of Microsoft’s briefing showcased their most hard-hitting console exclusives.
First up was the reveal of Arena, a new eSports-focused mode for Halo 5: Guardians featuring 4v4 Slayer, and core objective-based match types like CTF. Highlights of a match between Epsilon eSports and Optic Gaming was shown. To close out the Halo 5 presentation, Microsoft revealed a new Halo 5: Guardians themed Xbox One console and announced the Halo World Championship which features a prize pool of $1,000,000.00.
New footage of Forza 6 was shown along with one final gameplay trailer for Rise of the Tomb Raider which showed off combat, hunting, and exploration.
To close the show, Phil Spencer took to the stage once again with a surprise reveal of new RTS, Halo Wars 2. Halo Wars 2 is the follow up to Halo Wars which was developed by Ensemble Studios, who was shuttered by Microsoft shortly after the initial game’s release. Halo Wars 2 is being developed by Creative Assembly who is most well known for the Total War RTS franchise.
What did you think of Microsoft’s Gamescom 2015 presentation? Was it better or worse than their E3 showing? Let us know below.