Microsoft E3 2013 Keynote Review

Cor, and there we have it. One down. Several more to go. Well one to go if you don’t count Sports Hour and whatever the hell you want to cheaply refer to Ubisoft’s show as. My vote’s ‘The Danger Zone’. Your suggestions on a post card please boys and girls, but anyway, onto business. Microsoft certainly kept their word that their conference would be ‘all about the games’, which is great in theory, instantly conjuring the image of a utopian realm wherein we all spend our days submerged in a vat of awesome gaming greats. But not so much in practise, especially if your goal is to increasingly prove you have no idea who you’re talking to, bumping into onstage props and saying excuse me ma’am. That said, it wasn’t quite the travesty that the announcement show was, chiefly because to match that, they’d have to have demonstrated the One’s future by billowing great buckets of urine out into an audience forced at gun point to applaud as it happens. Or something.

Anyway, Microsoft started well and ended well, kicking off the show with an undeniably, eye-searingly beautiful, excitement-inducing, action packed and sweepingly epic trailer for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Hideo Kojima even accompanied Don Mattrick, and his unendingly ill-fitting suit on stage, to mutter something incomprehensible to unbridled applause. After sidling off, we’re treated to the news that, yes, they’ve redesigned the 360. Again. And it will be available this very day! Again. Had the company not pulled off this exact manoeuvre two years ago, that might have been even partially interesting. But they did. So it wasn’t.

We found out World of Tanks, the legged-lady-loving PC hit is making its way to the 360 on a free to play basis, and we’re told Dark Souls II will be out in March for the machine next year. Question is, will we still be paying attention some five months into next gen?

The meat of the show was a little on the trundling side, lots of CG and reportedly in-engine trailers that didn’t actually show much gameplay, and whilst visceral, historical Roman 3rd person action game Ryse looked pretty, it was littered with QTEs and certainly didn’t seem to push many of those envelopes. Or boxes. Or boundaries. You get the picture. In fact that seemed to be a bit of a running theme throughout; there was nothing that really dragged me to the edge of my seat and threateningly told me to listen up. Other than perhaps the broken English announcement of Wargaming West’s World of Tanks. He sounded peculiarly mad.



With Sony-loyal developer Insomniac delivering their wacky Mirrors Edge/Crackdown/Despicable Me type affair as an Xbox One exclusive, and a smattering of similar such flailing grasps at innovation (Project Spark for one is a notable world builder whose announcement came complete with nauseatingly painful, wooden, scripted back and forths) toward the end, things began to look a little more solid.

Dead Rising 3 looks like the next gen update everybody’s clearly hankering for, with a bigger game world and a few noticeable touch-ups that turn it into a GTA-with-Zombies type affair. And nobody’s going to argue with that sentiment. Similarly The Witcher 3’s trailer was one of the few that was rousing enough to actually generate that age old, long-forgotten ideal excitement. That is until the finale anyway.

With Master Chief showing up, inexplicably wearing a poncho and a hood in the desert, with only the ‘Halo’ title simmering into view (as in, no Halo ‘5’) not to mention an interesting blink-of-an-eye expose of Below, a new game from the developers of the excellent Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery, it was down to the closing game to arguably save MS’ reel.

Former Medal of Honour: Allied Assault (2015) and Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (Infinity Ward) head honcho’s new studio Respawn Entertainment (thanks guys, thanks a lot) finally announced Titanfall, their new futuristic, mech-encumbered FPS. It looks magical, and the more we thought about it, the more we simply wanted to play. Known for their ability to create a compelling, balanced and grounded shooter that doesn’t get washed out and diluted by futile trinkets made to make Johnny Everyman guffaw and splutter with delight at the sight of the copy/pasted box, Titanfall is potentially the most exciting prospect we’ve seen at E3 2013 thus far. Though you might have seen the word Xbox One exclusive bandied around, the game is actually coming to the 360 as well as the PC. So not exclusive. At all. And good news by anyone’s standards.



To finish off this little tirade, Microsoft announced the machine would be available in November, and cost a slightly concerning price. £429 to be precise. Too much? Certainly they’d have done better to keep it below £400, what with the overbearing and consumer-battering onslaught of DRM they’re introducing. What do you think then? Are we excited? Appalled? Aroused? Let us at Respawn know what you thought of the show below, and if post-400 quid is simply too much for you to buy into the One.


Author Description

Rob Vicars

Rob is a writer, wearing many hats that do not belong to him. When not scribbling ardently for his games blog Respawn in... 5, he pretends to be a musician, a videographer, a game developer and an alright guy.

There are 1 comments. Add yours

  1. Pingback: Microsoft’s Absent E3 2014 Keynote | Respawn In...5 June 9, 2014

    […] leering at a nearby Jack Tretton precariously half-clutching a microphone. This was one year ago at E3 2013. Eleven months later and Microsoft claimed they’d been working tirelessly to decode our message […]