Microsoft had a lot of ground to make up after the awful 2013 they suffered from. Sony outmatched them in nearly every way heading into the console launches and have ultimately struggled since then. Microsoft needed surprises, and they needed them fast, whatever they could do to crawl back from their past mistakes.

A price drop was obviously in the cards, as well a new IP or two…but no one thought that it would have been what it was, if anything the choice for the new game is poetic to the heavyweight fight between Sony and Microsoft. Ultimately, it stands as a testament to the melodramatic fan reactions and direct jabs between the two big names in the games industry. Sony pulled a dagger on Microsoft in 2013, and they retaliated with a sword and shield in 2014.

Games to Watch

Sunset Overdrive—Insomniac Games: Insomniac, Xbox One Developer. Allow that to sink in a bit.

Sunk in? Good.

Perhaps the biggest news of E3 last year was the Insonmiac partnership with Microsoft, and this year it returned with the heavily advertised new title Sunset Overdrive. Insomniac is a studio with a heavy preference towards Sony consoles, which is the understatement of the E3 reviews. Quite literally every single title besides Outernauts and Fuse, Insomniac was featured exclusively on Sony’s consoles, with Fuse being the developer’s first foray into a multiplatform title. From their first title that exploded into popularity in Spyro the Dragon to their Playstation 2 and 3 mainstays Ratchet & Clank, Insomniac will bring a colorful and absolutely stunning title to Microsoft’s platform. Insomniac’s Playstation 3 constant Resistance fell into mediocrity as the console generation moved on, a new console and break from their franchises could prove to be a wonderful change of pace, as even their platforming mainstay Ratchet & Clank began to fall off in terms of quality. Sunset Overdrive promises to bring the rediculousness that’s trademark to Insomniac developed games, with a dose of “agile combat”, a concept that was last seen at E3 with the dead-on-arrival Brink. A quick moving ridiculous shooter with zip-lines abound may very well be the thing that moves consoles for Microsoft.

Projected Release – October 28th, 2014

Fable Legends – Lionhead Studios: Peter Molyneux’s Fable is a series that coexists with the word “disappointment”. With almost every game Peter Molyneux’s been a part of, what comes with it is unreasonably high expectations due to unrealistic features. Fable 1, 2 and 3 have failed to deliver on one or many promised features. With Peter Molyneux gone, Lionhead wants to move away from the strict RPG elements to one with a co-op, dungeon crawler flavor. Lionhead has promised that the game will feature five players in total and one villain. The villain will take on a Dungeon Master role, planning the quest, enemies and traps for the heroes to overcome. No doubt a unique take on the dungeon crawler genre from a digital standpoint, adding tabletop elements could prove to be incredibly interesting, and with Lionhead promising a lifespan between 5-10 years for their title, this is their chance to move on from the Molyneux era on a high note.

Projected Release – TBD

Conclusion

Microsoft made all of the expected moves, even adding yet another Halo game to the mix. The price cut was a good idea, though with their strong focus on games the question still remains in the back of this writer’s mind of if the Kinect-less Xbox One will have revisions in the UI to make it more tolerable without the motion capture device. Changes will be necessary of course, whether sooner or later, preferably sooner. Microsoft essentially brought themselves to even footing with Sony, though with a few million consoles as a handicap. They have hopefully recovered completely from their terrible 2013 and will help encourage an actual console fight instead of a beatdown.

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