Gamescom: 7 things we learnt from Microsoft about Xbox One
Microsoft hit the ground running with the first press conference of Gamescom 2015.
Exclusive games and new Xbox tricks made us sit up and listen. Following on from a decent show at E3, it's looking like an interesting time to own an Xbox One.
1. Crackdown 3
The game had been announced, but this was our first look. As expected it's set to be another open world superhero sandbox affair.
"Life in gangland is an intricate web of dangerous interconnections [...] a criminal hierarchy to be dismantled any way you choose" is how they're selling it and it suggests more of the open world choose your next mission fun we've seen work well elsewhere. It'll certainly be interesting to see if the developers have taken a leaf out of Shadow of Mordor's books with the army hierarchy type mechanic.
One novel aspect that has a lot of potential is the multiplayer games with 100% destructible environments. The mode allegedly uses 20 times the computational power of an Xbox One, achieved using servers in the cloud. If the trailer (below) is anything to go by, this could be a seriously fun battleground.
2. DVR on Xbox One
Microsoft are making a serious push here to make the Xbox One live up to all-in-one entertainment system tag. Users will be able to record live TV and stream the recordings to any Windows 10 device. You'll also be able to schedule recordings using other devices.
So, picture the scene: You've recorded some new show on your Xbox One. You're watching it on your Windows phone and realise you really like it, but haven't set the Xbox to record. Bip bop boop and your phone has just set your former games console to record. Apparently all of this will come in a free subscription service. Good idea, as long as we're not all on Netflix.
On first sight you might think "oh no, not another Eragorn movie" but no, this is a new IP from PlatinumGames. You play Drew, described as a young loner, who finds himself bonded with a dragon, Thuban, the last of his kind. The two "lone-wolf heroes" need to learn to fight together in order to defeat the enemies that threaten the Earth, Draconis (where the game takes place) and a vast about of parallel worlds.
The game looks great (trailer below) and looks to be broken up between fighting larger numbers of small enemies and huge single entities. You can lone-wolf it alone or play co-op against what appears to be truly massive monsters.
An RPG element kicks in with your choice of dragon and their continuing evolution.
Coming from the developers that brought us Bayonetta, this is surely a one-to-watch landing in 2016.
4. Quantum Break
"Time is Power." The name of the trailer sums up the key novel point of the game: using time as a means to kick ass. Starring Shawn Ashmore (of icy X-men fame) and our own Aidan Gillen (of Game of Thrones and many a bad guy role) the game looks fantastic if the trailer is anything to go by.
The use of slo-motion entered games in a big way thanks to Max Payne, so it's only fitting that the same developers, Remedy, are looking to kick it up a notch. The game is due 5th April 2016.
5. Halo Wars 2
The original Halo Wars divided opinions. It wasn't quite original enough to make a mark in the RTS realm and was so far removed from the FPS experience of the main games that there wasn't the automatic franchise love. But, it was a pretty decent game, one I devoured in a weekend sitting but never thought there'd be a sequel. Well, tada!
It's only an announcement trailer and doesn't really tell us much beyond the fact that it features humans and Brutes (or Jiralhanae if you ever meet one in the street.)
The blurb promises massive battles, fast-paced action and an all new Halo story. Coming to Xbox One and Windows 10 in Autumn 2016.
6. Windows 10 on Xbox One
This was flagged before but there were no details as to when. As of the Gamescom presser, we now know this is landing in November. Expect this to add even more PC-like functionality to your Xbox One, including fun with Cortana.
7. Xbox Chatpad
New official hardware announced at these big events is usually of interest, because it gives you a sense of where the company sees things going. The chatpad takes another step towards merging console and PC. The keyboard feature is pretty handy, though everything seems to be going voice controlled at this point.
Programmable buttons allow for quick access to screenshots etc., and combined with the stereo headphone jack it feels like they're catching up with some of the features on PS4 controllers. Playstation owners won't be impressed, but current Xbox One owners should welcome the chance to upgrade. The chatpad is out mid-2016 for Xbox One.