While a new 1TB model of the Xbox One wasn’t on demonstration during Microsoft’s stage show, the upgraded Xbox One Elite controller certainly was. Being able to freely customize the controller straight down to D-pad design and stick sensitivity is a great bump and could easily make Microsoft’s new controller the go-to standard for tournament players regardless of console. It remains to be seen if these enhancements, especially on the firmware level, can transfer onto other consoles or PC through the use of controller converters like the TitanOne or Mayflash. Though I didn’t learn of it until after the conference, that particular controller will set interested parties back $150.
Rare’s Replay Collection is a compilation of games that I remember fondly from my youth (Blast Corps) to the titles I missed out on growing up (Banjo Kazooie). At a $30 price for 30 games, this is a collection I’ll gladly pick up if even for a few titles from the whole collection. I only dread having to contend with the next wave of prank callers to GameStop asking for Battletoads. At least now I can tell people that YES, we do have Battletoads in stock.
The ID@XBOX program was given quite an adequate showing with focus on some of the more hotly anticipated indie titles to come. Gone Home creators new title Tacoma was showing off just enough to keep the interest going and little more of the title’s mechanics without giving too much away. Beyond Eyes was a beautiful exposition piece and stuck with an innovative mechanic of having a young heroine that’s blind and has to rely upon her other senses. The various senses such as hearing and smelling help to illuminate the wold in a method that evoked memories of The Unfinished Swan sans the mono-black experience.
Backwards compatibility coming to the Xbox One is a huge get for Microsoft. If it works as good as Microsoft claims and you can simply put in a disc then play, that could be a huge step up from the software-based compatibility that the Xbox 360 needed to handle original Xbox discs. I don’t expect the whole system to work 100% right out of the gate, but any movement in the right direction can certainly help bolster their gaming library. I fully expect Sony to shoot back with some expansion of Playstation Now during their conference later tonight.
Rise of the Tomb Raider looks to be more of the same style from the recent Lara Croft reboot. The suspense has been raised with new harrowing scenes that jump back and forth from in-engine cutscenes to live gameplay scenes but there wasn’t a moment that doesn’t leave me wanting. Tombs were given but a brief glimpse during the demonstration and I can only hope that they’re more front and center rather than being an optional puzzle.
Gears of War got not just one but two reveals that left the crowd cheering. An updated version of Gears of War (now dubbed the Ultimate Edition) just launched in public beta today for Xbox Live Gold members with a full launch coming later this August. That first adventure of Marcus Fenix should help the edge off from waiting until Gears 4 debuts on the Xbox One in what will feel like an eternity.