The doors to E3 2015 don't officially open until today, but the traditional pre-event media day was particularly crazy this year.
Microsoft was responsible for probably the biggest hits of the day, but with big news from the likes of Bethesda (technically the day before day zero), EA and Ubisoft as well, it was definitely one chocked full of gaming news.
Here's a quick recap of the best bits.
Microsoft's #XboxE3 briefing
Things started off with a bang. Early doors we saw not only some new Halo 5 footage including campaign mode and the new Warzone mode, but Xbox chief, Phil Spencer, gave the best present of all to many long time Xbox gamers; Backwards compatibility with Xbox 360 games. It's available to preview members right now with a big handful of Microsoft titles included in it. It'll launch to everyone later this year with around 100 games supported, with many more to follow after that.
We've since learned that this is being done through software with Microsoft building a full Xbox 360 emulator to run on the Xbox One. All game developers have to do is give their permission and Microsoft has done the rest.
The big hardware announcement was that of the Elite Controller for the Xbox One. A $150 'pro' class game controller that allows custom button mapping and a bunch of other stuff for the more serious gamers to get into. It'll of course work with Windows and Xbox One and it'll be on sale from October.
Game wise, well, where to start. We've already mentioned Halo 5: Guardians, but the Xbox event had many more surprises to talk about. Recore is a new, original IP from the creators of Metroid Prime, Rainbow Six: Siege will coming to Xbox One later this year with Vegas 1 and 2 in tow for free, and we learned that Fallout 3 will be included completely free of charge to Xbox buyers of Fallout 4. And that's without even getting to the ID@Xbox titles, Xbox Game Preview and Rare Replay, a 30-year celebration package of Rare's best, classic titles.
We also got a look at just how Minecraft is going to go down with HoloLens. Microsoft is building a custom version that allows you to manipulate your creations with your hands, play on a wall, or even have it rise out of your coffee table. But the neatest thing of all, perhaps, is how you'll be able to lean forward into your builds and just see inside buildings. More is promised for the upcoming MineCon event in London in a few weeks.
Oh, and Gears 4. How would we forget. Coming late next year we got our first look at the all-new, next-gen version of the insanely popular Gears of War franchise. It's still early, but we'd be lying if we didn't say we were pretty impressed. Not to mention the forthcoming Gears of War Ultimate Edition, a re-mastered take on the original. Beta sign ups are open now for a short time, but the finished product will be in our hot little hands this August.
Bethesda - Fallout 4, Doom, Dishonored 2
Bethesda actually kicked off all the E3 excitement the night before Microsoft took to the stage. We had a good idea of what was coming, but that didn't make it any less impressive. First up is the Doom reboot, and to quote my wife:
"Did he just chainsaw that guy's face off?"
That guy was of course a big scary alien thing, but yes, it's Doom, and it is violent. Just how Doom should be. The visuals look stunning, and it certainly set things off with a bang.
Dishonored 2 was also announced at the event for Xbox One, PC and PS4, as was a new Elder Scrolls card game for Windows. But let's face it, Fallout 4 was the star of this show. Not only did we get our first proper look at the game (causing some of the Windows Central writers to lose their minds completely!), we learned a little about the storyline and that there will be a ridiculously awesome special edition coming with a real, working Pip-Boy for you to wear and interact with as you play.
For more on the Bethesda announcements, check out the links below.
- Fallout 4 demo atomizes minds, dated for November 10 launch
- DOOM revealed in full, alongside vast map creation tools for consoles and PC
EA and Ubisoft
Both companies held their own events last night and both had their own, respective big announcements. EA was up first and after the earlier news that Titanfall and Dragon Age: Inquisition are headed to the EA Access vault, we got a look at some new titles coming this year and next. Mass Effect: Andromeda opened the show with a flashy trailer, and besides the name and the fact we'll get in in the 2016 Holiday season, not much else was said.
Some of the big franchises were represented with first looks at the new Need for Speed and FIFA 16 games, not to mention the announcement of Mirror's Edge Catalyst and new title, Unravel. But the star of EA's show was undoubtedly the gameplay video of Star Wars Battlefront. One of the most anticipated releases of this year, we got to see first and third-person viewpoints, combat with AT-ATs, the ice world of Hoth and X-Wing/Tie Fighter dog fights.
Then there was that battle between Luke and Vader. Star Wars fans (myself included) look like they're in for a treat.
- 5 minutes of Star Wars Battlefront gameplay rounds off EA's E3
- EA details Mirror's Edge Catalyst, coming to Xbox One and PC in February 2016
- EA reveals Unravel, a charming platformer with physics based puzzles
- Explore a new galaxy in Mass Effect Andromeda, coming in 2016 for Xbox One and PC
- EA promises the 'definitive' Need for Speed experience at E3
Ubisoft opened its show by acknowledging the issues so many have seen throughout the past few months with Assassin's Creed Unity. One would imagine the team there has learned some valuable lessons. Speaking of, we got a closer look at the London based Assassin's Creed Syndicate, as well as a new announcement from the South Park creators of their latest game, The Fractured But Whole. Out with the wizards and elves, in with the superheroes.
Perhaps the most exciting announcement was the all new title, For Honor. A multiplayer melee combat game, Ubisoft claims it's actually representing a whole new genre. Find out more about Ubisoft's announcements at the links below.
- Assassin's Creed Syndicate detailed in fresh 4 minute gameplay trailer
- Ubisoft reveals For Honor, a visceral multiplayer melee combat game for Xbox One and PC
- South Park: The Fractured But Whole is bringing some crude RPG humor to Xbox One, PS4 and PC
The new Xbox One dashboard
This came towards the end of the day during the Xbox Daily show. You can catch it every day during E3 on your Xbox console or right here on the site, and the first edition had a treat in store. The Xbox One dashboard and UI is being overhauled later this year when the console gets its own version of Windows 10, and Major Nelson was on hand to show it to us for the first time.
Tiles are gone, sideways scrolling is replaced with vertical, the iconography is very much Windows 10, comparing very well with the current Xbox app for desktop PCs that's in preview. Oh, and Cortana. You'll need a Kinect for the voice activation aspect, but everyone's favorite digital assistant is coming to the Xbox One as well.
Phew! Such a lot of awesome news and we're not officially inside the show yet. Keep it locked to Windows Central throughout the week for all of the E3 coverage you need to know about. To keep up with absolutely everything be sure to follow us on Twitter and bookmark our dedicated E3 page at the link below.