E3 2017 Day 2: Microsoft

By Shamus
on Jun 11, 2017
Filed under:
Video Games

It’s day 2, which means it’s time for Microsoft to shuffle out on stage and play another round of “How Do You Do, Fellow Kids?”

They’re expected to show off the new Xbox hardware. I’m looking forward to getting angry over the part where they once again fail to apologize for Games for Windows LIVE. I’m anticipating that they will follow that up with a bit where they pretend like there’s nothing wrong with the Windows Store.

I’d embed the Twitch stream, but for some idiotic reason the Twitch player always auto-plays. That’s obnoxious. So instead you’ll have to settle for this link right here.

XBOX One X

“The most powerful console ever made!”

You mean more powerful than the OTHER one? Because when it comes to power this is really a two-horse race.

“Power, compatibility, and craftsmanship.”

I really like these three design principles. They’re really bragging on the “full backward compatibility”, but really, they NEEDED that. Otherwise they would balkanize the audience, because not everyone is going to want to upgrade so soon after the last one.

“Smallest Xbox ever.”

It’s also rectangular, which means you can put things on it, or put it on other things. I’m glad Microsoft has swallowed their pride and is ready to start acting like their device is part of the living room, not the center of it.

“We’re going to show you 20 platform exclusives!”

(Audience cheers.)

Why are you dingbats cheering for exclusives? Those aren’t good for you. They’re good for Microsoft.

So now they’re going to show off a bunch of games back-to-back. My comments on each:

Forza 7: I want to believe this gameplay footage is real, but after a decade of bullshots I can’t help but think of the disappointments of the past. I mean, No Man’s Sky looked pretty amazing before release. So did WATCH_DOGS. You don’t have to cheat very often before everyone assumes you’re cheating all the time. (And yes, I’m aware that both of those examples were by other companies and not by Microsoft, but this is an industry-wide problem.)

Metro Exodus: Looks like staged gameplay filled with canned cinematic moments. That makes for good cinema, but doesn’t really tell us much about the game.

Assassins Creed Origins: I know this series has a lot of fans, but to me it disappeared up its own asshole about five sequels ago, and now it’s just a bunch of sound and fury.

PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS: I don’t have anything to say about this, except that apparently “exclusive” now means, “Not on the other major console”. I mean, this game STARTED on the PC.

Deep Rock Galactic: I’m so glad we have these fancy 4K next-gen consoles so we have this game that looks like Team Fortres 2. I kid. It looks charming.

State of Decay 2: The zombie genre is long played-out. What can we do to freshen it up? How about base building and crafting? That’s played out too? Well shit.

The Darwin Project: Whatev.

Minecraft: They’re unifying mobiles, Windows 10, and Xbox players into one multiplayer system. That’s a good idea. I’d be more excited if the Windows 10 store wasn’t a land of sadness and malfunction.

Dragonball FightersZ: There’s no point in me snarking at this game. It’s not for me and I don’t even know enough about DBZ to know if this will resonate with fans or not.

Black Desert: I liked Black Desert when it came out on PC last year. My problem was that after 30 hours I felt like I was still in the same forest. I just got bored with the same color palette and soundscape and wanted to see something new.

The Last Night: Oh my goodness. I NEED to play this based on the art style alone. That is magnificent.

The Artful Escape: Remember ten years ago when computers had a fraction of the power they do today, and everyone was aiming for photorealism? Now we’ve got all this power and suddenly everyone is going for highly stylized visuals. This is probably doing more for the look of the games than processor advances.

Codevein: Some sort of JRPG?

Sea of Thieves: Some sort of pirate-based MMO? Not really my thing, but I like how the demo was fun to watch.

Tacoma: Another “exclusive” lifted from the PC. You can buy this right now on Steam. Nope! My bad. I was confusing Tacoma with Event[0]. Different games.

Super Lucky’s Tale: So Xbox is having a go at Mario? It will be interesting to watch Lucky die on this hill. Pretty visuals, though.

Cuphead: Wow. A game animated in the style of early American cartoons. Huh.

Crackdown 3: I remember the original Crackdown as being a little dull, but this looks like all the best parts of Saints Row, given life in a different franchise. Cool.

Shadow of War: Yeah, I know everyone loves this stupid thing because the nemesis system is cool, but I hate this series. It’s a gross bastardization of Tolkien mixed with a clumsy bastardization of Batman. The idea of using THE RING OF POWER to raise an army is just… no. There are so many ways that’s wrong. The One Ring can’t be used like that. And even if it could, it couldn’t be used like that by a human. And even if it could, the entire history of The Ring is accounted for and there’s no room in the timeline for Talion’s possession of it. And even if you patch over that with some retcons, you’ve still got the problem that Talion and his story is completely wrong for this world in a thematic sense. And even if you ignore that, there’s still that problem that he’s a stupid boring asshole. Talion is an obnoxious lore-shattering Mary Sue and I hate everything about him. A pox on this game.

Deep breath.

Moving on, they cap off this rapid-fire list of new titles with an announcement of Xbox 360 compatibility. “You probably already have a library of titles on your Xbox X.” That’s a really strong move. The $499 price tag sounds reasonable, given the opening lineup and processing capabilities.

Anthem gameplay demo: So EA didn’t show off Anthem at their OWN show, but they showed it off for Microsoft? Interesting, particularly since this would have been the crown of their show.

In any case, I’m genuinely interested in Anthem. It doesn’t look anything like a BioWare game, but it looks good anyway? It looks fresh and new. I could nitpick the extremely staged gameplay demo, but my heart just isn’t in it. I’m eager to see what happens with this one.

So that’s the Microsoft / Xbox show. Overall, I was impressed more often than I was annoyed, so I guess it was a success.

I didn’t expect to have this much to say about their show, but then they went and surprised me. The Bethesda show is later today. Rather than stick it on the end of this post, I’m going to give it a post of its own.

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2020202017There are now 97 comments. Almost a hundred!

From the Archives:

  1. Scampi says:

    I’m looking forward to getting angry over the part where they once again fail to apologize for Games for Windows LIVE.

    Despite my ongoing admiration for your ability to detect problems where I don’t see any issue, often bringing me to change my stance on topics, I have to grant them the possibility they actually never experienced any problems with GfWL.
    I myself used it for very few games and it worked absolutely fine for me. I never once had to actually log into the online platform itself and was able to play my games offline, undisturbed by any meddling from their side.
    And while you have every right to be angry at them for whatever exactly you experienced, I will probably never be actually able to understand it.

    • Dreadjaws says:

      Please understand that you’re one of the very few lucky ones. This isn’t Shamus complaining about a particular issue he’s had, most people have had problems with the service. That’s why so few games have ever used it and so many patched it out after Microsoft discontinued it. Here’s a rundown of merely a few of the many problems I’ve had with the platform:

      – Client would randomly decide not to connect.
      – Client would connect but it would randomly decide my password was wrong.
      – Client would connect when my password was actually wrong (I’d enter an old password and it would still work). To be fair, this only happened after the system’s “death”, but still, Jesus.
      – Client requires you to enter a game’s CD Key every single time you install the game, even if it’s part of Steam and obviously not pirated. It’s annoying, but it can be lived with. The current problem is that if you purchased a game from Steam and they removed the option to show the CD Key (such as for Resident Evil 5) you lost all your progress.
      – Savegames would be lost or corrupted. Constantly.
      – Client would require an update. It would crash at the end, forcing a reinstall (and sometimes a restart) and it would happen again, forcing an external update install.
      – Client required the purchase packs of its own currency (Microsof Points) in order to make internal purchases. Some DLC could only be acquired through the client, which means you were forced to purchase MP, which means you always had to spend more money than the content actually cost.

      Again, these are only a few of the issues with GFWL and I too used it mostly offline. Take a look at Shamus’ articles on the subject to see a few more listed. Also, trust me, if you had tried to use it online, the problems would definitely start to show up in droves.

      • sheer_falacy says:

        I only ever had one issue with GFWL: It made Batman more or less impossible to play until I switched to offline mode. When I signed in to GFWL, the framerate just went straight to shit.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Huh…Thats a weird bug.Im not surprised by that,but I still wonder how in the hell that could happen.

        • Writiosity says:

          It was also responsible for 10-15fps loss in Fallout 3. And back in 2008, 10-15fps was a BIG deal.

          It was such a problem that someone made a mod to fully disable GFWL, bless their little heart.

        • In context of Scampi’s original point, I hope you can see that “It just fucked over one game of mine to the point of unplayability” is pretty damning. It’s like someone saying “Hey, my Pinto only burnt my fingers a LITTLE bit”.

          GFWL borked Fallout 3 and its mods for me badly. I barely used the thing and it still screwed up.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      I have to grant them the possibility they actually never experienced any problems with GfWL.

      Even if they had not,they had plenty of dissatisfied customers giving them detailed reports of various problems and configurations that would reliably replicate the plethora of problems.There really is no excuse for such a shoddy product to remain shoddy.Even ea managed to make origin into a decent piece of shit….Sorry,I meant piece of software.Its just that ea and piece of shit go together so well.

    • Rane2k says:

      “Works on my machine” is a classic software development excuse. And it is not a good one.

      When developing software, it should work on all (or a large percentage, 99%+) of the target machines. In the case of GFWL that was “all gaming machines on Windows PCs”.

      They have an obligation to test their product thoroughly, and not throw it onto the market with huge bugs in it.
      And the bugs were there, I have not talked to a gamer that was happy with GFWL.
      And they were reported to MS, and nothing seemed to happen.

      For me personally it caused huge troubles with BulletStorm and Dawn Of War 2.

  2. Alex says:

    Between Doom, Prey and Bethesda’s usual Elder Scrolls/Fallout FPRPGs, I’m looking forwards to finding out what Bethesda reveals this year.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      They will reveal fallout,a third person action platformer,where you jump on heads of enemies,collect stars,and travel to different worlds connected by wide pipes.The protagonist will be a boy named pip,thus justifying the name fallout.

      • Echo Tango says:

        The nuclear hellscape would be the normal levels from Mario, and the bunkers would be the pipes levels. The fire flower is replaced with a plasma pistol, and the invincibility star is Psycho. Instead of a princess, you’re looking for your son Shawn. The lava is radioactive ooze.

        • Syal says:

          Enemies feature mutant troopas, radscorpion brothers, pipe ghouls, and the final boss, FEV.

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            See,all of those would make the game actually justified in being called fallout.The point of my original snark was that theres only the loosest of connections between the “spiritual successor” and the “remake name” it was given.

  3. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Typo police:

    I’m anticipating that they will follow tha tup with a bit

    I assume that was meant to be “that up”,and not some weird slang.

    Why are you dingbats cheering for exclusives? Those are good for you. They’re good for Microsoft.

    And I assume you meant “are not good”.

    It’s looks charming.

    Its looks are,or it looks.

    The Dawin Project

    I think theres an r missing.Or is it really called “dawin”?

    I my goodness

    O.

  4. Dreadjaws says:

    “Why are you dingbats cheering for exclusives? Those are good for you. They’re good for Microsoft.”

    I think you meant “Those aren’t good for you.

  5. Profugo Barbatus says:

    The Metro game had the PC breathing on the surface… Damn. Between that, and the gear looking different, I don’t think this one takes place in the Moscow area. Either the Moscow crew departed in that train we saw, or it takes place in a lesser hit area, like Saint Petersburg that they teased having radio contact too.

    Either way, I’m excited on that front.

    • Echo Tango says:

      The gas masks are weirding me out. In the previous games, they were needed everywhere that wasn’t a human-populated town/encampment. Now it’s…optional on the surface world? I guess it’d make sense if it’s been long enough that the surface world has had the noxious stuff washed away. Then only low-lying places like swamps and metros would need gas masks.

  6. Grimwear says:

    I’ll be over here praying Metro Exodus comes to pc. Also, that Ranger mode isn’t sold separately.

  7. Rory Porteous says:

    The Last night was originally a gamejam release if you want to play what it’s grown from.

    https://itch.io/jam/cyberpunk-jam/rate/4107

    • Echo Tango says:

      That was actually really fun, for a game with basically three scenes, and hardly any gameplay. :)

      • Rory Porteous says:

        For something made in 6 days it really grabbed my imagination. They mentioned they were going to make a full release of it 3 years ago so it’s great to see it not only come to fruition but to get the attention of Microsoft.

    • Richard says:

      Looks like it’s going to be on Steam next year. Win, macOS, Linux.

      I guess that is “exclusive” for a while. Maybe long enough to fix the worst gameplay bugs. Hopefully they won’t mess it up on PC – stands a decent chance given that XBox is a Windows 10 PC these days.

  8. The most horrifying thing about Shadow of War (and it’s predecessor), was discovering that one of the studios later folded into Monolith Studios was the team responsible for the ‘so faithful no-one who didn’t read the books was interested, I mean we actually hired “experts” in Tolkien Lore’ version of The Fellowship of the Ring….

    • Droid says:

      You mean WXP games? I could not for the life of me find a source that they were folded into Monolith, or that they are no longer active, even though their last title is from 2011 and their website is down.

    • Nimrandir says:

      My wife got that game for me as a present not long after we were married. I tried *so* hard to enjoy it, but I couldn’t find enough fun in the gameplay to revel in its faithfulness to the source material.

  9. beepbeep says:

    Anthem looks interesting. Power-armor and Iron Man style flight? Sign me up! I’m going to be keeping an eye on this one to see how it shakes out over the next year.

  10. Simplex says:

    Shamus I am surprised you didn’t mention sequel to Ori and the Blind Forest:
    https://www.gamespot.com/articles/e3-2017-ori-and-the-blind-forest-sequel-announced-/1100-6450765/

    You can buy Tacoma on steam, but that is a preorder:
    http://store.steampowered.com/app/343860/Tacoma/

  11. Christopher says:

    Black Desert? Awesome! Might become my first mmo, I was really into the character creator demo they had and I like the fact that it’s got actiony combat.

    AC is super dull for me, but they added a bunch of horizon zero dawn stuff and changed the combat system entirely for this one. Combined with egypt, which is a cool setting, might be enough to bring me out.

    Crackdown looks fun!

    Anthem looks like not my thing. I like the iron man flight and then hated it when they brought out the guns and it looked like mass effect shooting.

  12. Supah Ewok says:

    I wouldn’t say that Anthem completely doesn’t look like Bioware. It looks to me like Mass Effect, only without any pretense at all of being an RPG.

    • Echo Tango says:

      The tone of the game seems to be all over the place. It’s got serious- / realistic-looking graphics and aesthetics, semi-plausible guns, but then it’s got cartoonish things like your friend power-fist-slamming the ground for an attack. It’s got a down-on-his-luck old privateer begging you to rescue his business aquaintances, right beside wall-breaking chatter about loot and experience points. If this game took itself less seriously and had a cartoon aesthetic, or took itself more seriously to match the existing game assets, I’d be way more into it. :)

      • Maryam says:

        The chatter from the gameplay video had to be from the players, not from game audio. It sounds very scripted, but it’s describing actions the players are taking before they do it (not to mention the talk of xp). There’s no way the game could anticipate those. And although it’s similar, I think the woman’s voice is different from the hiring cutscene at the beginning.

        • Echo Tango says:

          “although it’s similar, I think the woman’s voice is different from the hiring cutscene at the beginning”

          To me, it sounded like the voice-actress from the cutscene was playing the game, so I had no idea what was supposed to be in-character or out-of-character. At the point when they started talking about XP and loot, I had to stop and ask, “Wait, when did the game transition from cutscene to players chatting?” The beginning was definitely cutscene, and at the point of XP and loot it was definitely player chat, and in between was some blurry transition. Very confusing to me.

      • beepbeep says:

        The chatter was supposed to be players chatting amongst themselves while gaming. I thought that was plainly obvious.

        • Shamus says:

          I was not obvious. I was watching with someone else, and we were both initially confused. It wasn’t until someone explicitly mentioned “XP” that I was sure this wasn’t supposed to be in-game.

          * Often when they’re showing off gameplay they introduce the players, or at least give you a sense of who is supposedly playing. They didn’t do that here.
          * The demo opened up with a single-player style cutscene, and then transitioned to entirely multiplayer chatter with no hint that the demo was changing context.
          * Both players had a filter on their voice. This made it feel more like her audio was supposed to be part of the world.
          * They weren’t talking anything like real players, particularly at the beginning. The script tried to split the difference between in-character and out-of-character chatter, and the result was awkward and confusing.

          The clues were there, but they didn’t show up until several minutes in, and they were easy to miss.

        • Echo Tango says:

          It was also plainly obvious that these were actors hired to sell the audience on the game. They could have been sports-like commentators, but instead were inside the game. The people making the game are telling the actors what to say, just the same as the (different?) actors in the cutscenes. i.e. The game is being shown as both highly serious, and highly silly, by the same set of people.

          • Why couldn’t they record the devs or QA testers gaming session? Or wasn’t the game far enough in the cycle to do that yet?

            • Shoeboxjeddy says:

              This is an extremely common “Conference trailer” trope. Check out the E3 Division or Rainbow Six Siege trailers for extremely good examples of this “in-game VOIP chat” that sounds SO fake, it’s kind of confusing.

              Interestingly, AC Origins conference trailer has the character’s VA saying stuff that helps explain the visuals that DEFINITELY won’t be in game VA. Like, if you CHOOSE not to engage with random guards, the character won’t state that he’s “not ready” or that it’s “too risky.” Equally fake for the show, but in a different direction.

  13. Nimrandir says:

    Ah, Shadow of War. I remember getting a promotional e-mail from Sony about the game that started, “Forge a new Ring of Power . . .”

    I’m sure there was more text after that, but I was too busy mashing the delete button and telling my inbox to shut up to read any of it.

    • Sleeping Dragon says:

      I laughed so hard at this line (I think it’s like an opening of the game’s Steam description). I also sent it to a friend who’s a real Tolkien nerd to see him foam at the mouth. I can just imagine someone pitching it “and you will wield the power of that awesome ring that everybody is talking about! It’s going to be absolutely awesome!” It’s so ridiculously tone deaf I don’t even know where to begin.

      As a little aside, said nerd friend did point out that a Ring of Power is not synonymous with The One Ring but rather is a term that can be used for any of the 20 rings mentioned in LoTR (and possibly there is some mention of other, “lesser” rings in the Silmarilion? Though it’s debatable whether they’d qualify as “Rings of Power”? I’m not that deep into the lore tbh). Still a godawful travesty of everything that Tolkien wrote on Middle Earth.

      • DungeonHamster says:

        It probably helped me that I never got the impression Talion was using the One Ring, and also that I didn’t play it ’til my expectations had been drastically lowered by the movies. What Jackson did to Faramir, Denethor, Frodo and Sam, the Dead, etc. (not to mention the Hobbit movies) bugged me way more than the whole “forge a new ring and brainwash orcs” shtick. At least Shadows is only messing up themes and lore, not the main story.

      • guy says:

        The implication in the end of the first game is that you’re going to forge a new one, and you have ghost-Celebrimbor, who in this version made the One Ring, and in actual Tolkien canon made IIRC all nineteen of the other great rings and definitely at least the Three. Gandalf mentions that there are also lesser rings, and he’d assumed Bilbo found one of them because all the greater ones were supposedly definitively accounted for.

        The only use of the actual One Ring in the first game is the Bright Lord DLC, which has the grace to end the only way that’s going to: the Ring falls off Celebrimbor’s finger and onto Sauron’s because it knows who it likes.

  14. Christopher says:

    This liveblogging is actually really useful, besides as a document of your reactions. I overslept and missed most of it, then used it to check out most of the games.

  15. MarsLineman says:

    Shamus, thanks for this E3 series- it’s always great to read your impressions of the doings in the industry.

    Do you mind if I ask for clarification about your comment that Shadow of Mordor is a “clumsy bastardization of Batman”? I’ve been playing SoM and enjoying the combat (and ignoring the lore, which I definitely agree is counter-thematic to LotR). In which ways do you consider Mordor’s combat clumsier than Batman’s?

  16. RCN says:

    They cheer for exclusives for the same reason mets fans cheer on the Mets winning a game (assuming it is a team that wins games… just a team I know of) or people generally cheer on people they don’t know being miserable. Tribal mentality.

    “Those Sony guys are getting shat over! Hooray! That’s what they get when they snubbed us off with THEIR exclusives! Hah! Hope you like your console now, even though you just keep up with the brand because it is the first one your parents bought for you and you had little say in the matter!”

    It is just sad that whenever there’s two ways to do the same thing, tribal mentality will arise and people will fight to their deaths (or at least waste a really significant part of their precious time) defending THEIR way of doing it and hating the other.

    • Retsam says:

      There’s definitely an aspect of tribalism to it (though I’m not quite so cynical that I think most people enjoy seeing bad things happen to other people).

      Maybe a somewhat more generous way of phrasing it is that your average consumer is more interesting in feeling justified in their financial investment than they are in the long-term status quo of the industry. It’s not that they want to “see the PS4 people get screwed”, it’s just that they don’t want to feel like they wasted their money on the “worse” console.

      It’d be really nice to get to the point where “console exclusives” stop being a thing, but I don’t really see it happening. Even if a games industry without exclusives would somehow be beneficial to the console makers (and that’s a big if), it’s a prisoner’s dilemma, where not having exclusives is just an advantage for your competitors.

      Still, I do wish people would stop thanking the console makers for it.

  17. rer says:

    oh boy I can already feel the controversy around the last night considering the developer said (on his twitter) that the game was about “progressivism getting out of control” and “feminism winning instead of egalitarianism”

    specially weird because cyberpunk is a genre more commonly associated with evil megacorporations

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      specially weird because cyberpunk is a genre more commonly associated with evil megacorporations

      So exactly as described.

    • Marty says:

      I guess this explains why the 30 second long game was buggy and crashed–the dev is an idiot.

    • Scampi says:

      Well, that’s the common association, but I think it can be attached to many other scenarios with a sufficiently sophisticated, high tech enforced or supported government or ruling elite, especially of the dystopian sort.
      Shirley’s “A Song Called Youth” comes to mind as a vision that doesn’t depend on megacorporations.
      So…while I don’t know enough about the developer, I see how the idea might make sense, though it’s not guaranteed in any way.
      I might take a look at the game, though.

    • tmtvl says:

      I’m never gonna own an XBOX because Microsoft is more evil than Mephistopheles, but if TLN comes to a decent platform I’ll buy it in a heartbeat.

    • Just ignore the politics around this. People on all sides of the GG mess has lost the plot and have either their own private agendas and are ignoring the common good, whatever meaning or non-meaning there was has been perverted by all involved, they rather want to ruin the lives of others than help those in actual need.

      The game itself looks like a much needed spiritual successor to Bladerunner – The Game which Id’ argue is one of the best movie to game adaptions ever done.

    • Hypatia says:

      The game’s writer/producer saying on twitter, “Anyway, the game will present contrasting perspectives, it will not have an agenda of its own. Just like any well written character story” and “The game will not have an agenda” would have killed any desire of me to play the game even without the gamergate politics

    • To be fair, I think cyberpunk can explore tons of areas. Gender makes a lot of sense to explore there. I just worry that such a dev might be a bit… tonedeaf.

  18. Retsam says:

    Super Lucky’s Tale: So Xbox is having a go at Mario? It will be interesting to watch Lucky die on this hill. Pretty visuals, though.

    Apparently Lucky’s Tale was an Oculus launch title, I wonder if the name is a nod to Palmer Luckey, or if that’s just a coincidence.

    There’s definitely room for more than Mario in the 3D platformer genre, it used to be a pretty popular genre that’s rather fallen on hard-times, (largely abandoned by AAA, and Indies tend to go for 2D platformers), though it’s having a bit of a rennaisance, lately.

  19. Ninety-Three says:

    Remember ten years ago when computes had a fraction of the power

    Computers?

  20. Cybron says:

    So here’s the story of the ArcSys DBZ fighter from the perspective of someone very into fighting games and who doesn’t care about DBZ. The ‘mainstream’ of the fighting game community has been dominated by Capcom for a very long time, with everyone else fighting over the scraps. Their two biggest titles have traditionally been Street Fighter and Marvel vs Capcom. However, they really crapped the bed with the latest Street Fighter (which was incomplete at launch and is still pretty bad), so everyone else has been fighting over the freed up market share.

    The next game on their release schedule Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite. It’s supposed to be the next big Marvel game. However, it looks like it’ll have all of the problems of the latest Street Fighter AND a bad roster (the X-Men have traditional been a huge part of the franchise and it looks like they’ve been cut because of movie licensing). The core fanbase is pretty down on it. Now here comes ArcSys with a brand new game, riffing off a popular-ish subculture, with gameplay very reminiscent of Marvel vs Capcom’s signature style.

    In fact, leaks have said they’re intentionally going for a very Marvel vs Capcom style. ArcSys is great at the anime aesthetic, but have always been held back by the niche nature of it. DBZ is about as mainstream as they’ll ever get. This is ArcSys taking aggressive aim at one of the giants of the genre, and I’m super excited.

  21. PhoenixUltima says:

    I would take any claims of a Microsoft console having backwards compatibility with a fist-sized grain of salt. They said the 360 would be compatible with original Xbox games, and what that ended up meaning was “a handful of titles will be compatible with our shitty emulator, and if the game you love isn’t on the small list, tough shit”. And then later, when asked if they were going to add more titles to the compatibility list, someone over there said something to the effect of “we’ve already over-delivered on that feature”.

    So, yeah, I’ll believe the new Xbox has actual backwards compatibility with the 360 when we see it ourselves.

    • Shoeboxjeddy says:

      You seem to be a bit behind on this one. Backwards compatibility (from Xb1 back to 360) is already a real feature, working much better than the last gen of this ever did. The new thing they announced was “and the original Xbox games too.” It is a list of games that gets added to frequently, not just every game ever, but it’s already a LARGE list and they have not yet stopped adding to it.

  22. Polius says:

    A quick search didn’t reveal if anyone else mentioned this, but the Shadow of War trailer is almost verbatim what Shamus predicted during his Mass Effect retrospective when he said the ME sequels were like some character coming in during the second act to tell Frodo that the Rings could be used if you were just good and pure enough of intent and that the thing to beat Sauron was an army using its power.

    I didn’t hate the first game that much, but this one is just…. the most insulting thing about it is the tagline at the end. “Nothing will be forgotten” Except, you know, the entire thematic structure of the series.

  23. 4th Dimension says:

    So, despite being a fan of LOTR, I’m going to try defending Shadow of More Door. I found the game to be quite fun, and this one looks also fun.
    On the other hand it is clear that they are using LOTR lore as a shallow pretext for what is going on. Frankly as far as I’m concerned the world is an AU, or better yet should be considered completely separate from LOTR actual. As such it again was a fun game with a REALLY interesting mechanic vis a vis the nemesis system. Although all the immunities tended to get more annoying than interesting.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      The best way to play more door:Whenever a cutscene starts,skip it.Much more pleasurable that way.

      • 4th Dimension says:

        Yeah, that would work. Or simply train your brain to blank out any refference to LOTR names. So it’s now just a power fantasy game.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          If you were to ask me just after I finished the game what was the story about,I would have to go for the wiki to check.It really is that meaningless.But it sure was fun to mind control an orc and then push him up the ranks,or to jump in the middle of an orc camp and cause havoc with your ghost powers,or to ride on the back of a huge troll.I still vividly remember all of those fun activities even though I havent played the game for over two years now.To me,more door is THE brainless fun video game.

    • Ofermod says:

      I recall reading or hearing somewhere that the first game would have been amazing as a Star Wars themed game, where you use sith powers to pull off the nemesis system. Much more thematically appropriate.

      Alternately, if you wanted to make it thematically appropriate, have the army-bulding backfire on Talion right at the end, such that he delivers to Sauron a massive orc army, and then he has to undo it and find redemption without his mind-control powers as an additional act at the end.

    • kdansky says:

      I was able to ignore the story, I just skipped every cut-scene after the very first one made clear what kind of high-level writing we’ll be seeing: Wife dies twenty seconds after introduction, queue revenge plot.

      My issue with the game is that it is barely a game. It’s more like a rendering demo that generates murder animations, and you have to mash buttons randomly to make it keep going. The Batman combat system is shallow to begin with, but Shadow’s balance it tuned so hard towards making it “fun” that there is zero challenge and depth left. Like Just Cause, there is hardly a proper game under all the pretty animations. And worst of all, the strongest strategies are also the most boring ones, such as sniping from a roof-top.

      It is not my job to make the game fun by doing self-imposed challenges. Someone got paid for that. When I want to make my own rules, I will break out some LEGO.

  24. Blue_Pie_Ninja says:

    I still don’t see anything justifying paying launch price money for a console most people already own. Here down under the Xbox One X (XbOX) is $649, yet the One S is currently around $300 or so. So basically the XbOX is going to be $300 more than the one you can already get, just for 4K 60fps.

  25. Scampi says:

    Smallest Xbox ever.

    The most powerful console ever made!

    On the positive side: They can legitimately be called liars if they ever make any of those claims again at a later point.
    On the negative side: If they want to stand to these claims, every Xbox produced in the future will be larger than this one. And less powerful.
    What’s the point in phrasing hyperbole in THIS specific way again?

    • Shoeboxjeddy says:

      Any time a company says “ever”, they mean “up to this point.” Being a pedant about this is beneath any thinking person, really.

      • Scampi says:

        To be clear-I know that’s what they mean.
        It just seriously annoys me.
        Can’t help it. Maybe it comes with having to suffer inexcusable communication failures regularly in everyday life.

  26. Sannom says:

    “I don’t have anything to say about this, except that apparently “exclusive” now means, “Not on the other major console”. I mean, this game STARTED on the PC.”
    Get on with the times Seamus, I still remember having that exact conversation with my mother when I asked for the Sands of Time as a birthday present. Playstation exclusive only meant that it wasn’t coming out on XBox and Nintendo, the PC was safe. And that was in 2003!

  27. Wide And Nerdy ♤ says:

    Thank you Microsoft for somehow making your fans excited while not at all making me feel like I need your console. In a year or two I’ll just update my video card.

  28. Brandon says:

    For the longest time I had the same issue with the Windows Store that you did, with it being unable to determine my PCs specs. But just a couple days ago it magically worked again. Maybe it was the Creator’s update to Windows 10, I don’t know. Regardless, it might be worth updating and revisiting the store to see it if is even a little bit less dysfunctional.

  29. The new Xbox name is both stupid and brilliant at the same time. Which is both ironic yet appropriate when you consider it’s acronym form. It’s a recursive acronym.

    XBox One X = XBOX.

  30. John says:

    Dear Shamus,

    Thank you for the Shadow of Totally Missing the Point rant. I really needed that.

    Sincerely,

    John

  31. Shoeboxjeddy says:

    Shadow of War: Yeah, I know everyone loves this stupid thing because the nemesis system is cool, but I hate this series. It’s a gross bastardization of Tolkien mixed with a clumsy bastardization of Batman. The idea of using THE RING OF POWER to raise an army is just… no. There are so many ways that’s wrong. The One Ring can’t be used like that. And even if it could, it couldn’t be used like that by a human. And even if it could, the entire history of The Ring is accounted for and there’s no room in the timeline for Talion’s possession of it. And even if you patch over that with some retcons, you’ve still got the problem that Talion and his story is completely wrong for this world in a thematic sense. And even if you ignore that, there’s still that problem that he’s a stupid boring asshole. Talion is an obnoxious lore-shattering Mary Sue and I hate everything about him. A pox on this game.

    So there’s some things missing from this analysis. Talion never gets his hands on the One Ring that Frodo has. He teams up with the Ringsmith guy from the books who made many if not all the rings and eventually makes a NEW ring in the lava at Mordor. The new ring has no canon restrictions. There’s also the very strong implication that the further he goes down this path, the less of a good guy he becomes. He’s more and more just a wannabe Sauron. Complaining that the new game about alt-canon doesn’t have the same themes as the main work is kind of… missing the point? Why should it try to deliver the exact same story and themes? Did Star Trek and Voyager and DS9 all have EXACTLY the same themes? Nah. The characters believed in different things and did different things in service to their beliefs. I think you’ve allowed your fandom to overcome what the devs are actually trying to do. YES, they want to make a badass action game in an established IP, but they can also be delivering a version of the “if you want revenge, first dig two graves” theme.

    • John says:

      Okay, let’s get some Lord of the Rings backstory straight. Not even the “three rings for Elven kings” are safe. They may not contain any of Sauron’s power because Celebrimoor created them alone, but they were still constructed using Sauron’s methods and they are still vulnerable to his influence. So it doesn’t matter if Talion gets a new ring from Celebrimoor’s ghost. That ring is not something that anyone who wants to oppose Sauron should actually use. Which makes sense, because not using Sauron’s tools and Sauron’s methods to oppose Sauron is sort of the whole point of Lord of the Rings anyway.

      I should add that the mere existence of Celebrimoor’s ghost is another sore point. Elf ghosts are an actual thing in Lord of the Rings, technically speaking, but they don’t actually do anything but dwell in the Halls of Mandos in the Undying Lands of Valinor until the end of the world. If elf ghosts could do what Celibrimoor’s does then Celibrimoor’s grand-daddy Feanor would have tried this schtick on Morgoth back in the Silmarillion.

      • Shoeboxjeddy says:

        The idea that using a Ring of Power can (or WILL) have serious drawbacks is definitely part of the plot. Talion will no doubt be fighting against some kind of corruption throughout the game.

        Complaining about what the one character does is sort of pointless too. This is a new story creating a sort of side-canon. Or slant-canon if you’re familiar with the concept of slant rhyme. No shit he didn’t do it in the books, otherwise this would be an adaptation of the book “Shadow of Mordor.” The movies already had ghosts doing entirely different things than they did in the books, so this is more of an exaggeration of that idea.

      • Syal says:

        The Three Rings were still being used in LOTR; one of the laments was that destroying the One Ring would destroy the power of the Three.

        I’m looking forward to the point where Talion has a battle of wills with Sauron, manages to wrest control of the Ring away from him, and then Morgoth shows up and punches him in the back of the head with a gesture at Sauron and an “I was using that!”

        If Celebrimoor can come back from the dead, Morgoth can too!

        • Taellosse says:

          Actually, while The Three were all held by someone (Galadriel, Elrond, and Gandalf), they were NOT using them so long as Sauron lived, because they feared it would expose them to his influence. The ONLY thing they were doing with them was hiding their existence and who held them.

  32. Duoae says:

    I actually thought that this conference was the strongest thus far. Again, not a lot of games that I’m interested in but otherwise the pomp and quality of the presentation was of quite a high level.

    Anthem looks interesting but I was so burned by destiny I’ll be looking to impressions after Launch.

  33. Taellosse says:

    With regards to Shadow of War, I don’t blame you for your distaste, but you seem to have mistaken a few key point: The One Ring does not appear in either the first or (we presume) the second game proper at all, it’s merely talked about. The ring Talion/Celebrimbor wield in this new game is a completely new one they forged together, using the techniques that Celebrimbor and Sauron mastered together in forging the other Rings ages past, and the fires of Mount Doom, designed specifically to harness their ability to twist the minds of Sauron’s minions into serving them instead. Celebrimbor DOES have the One Ring, stolen from Sauron, in The Bright Lord DLC for the first game, but that ends with Sauron reclaiming it and killing Celebrimbor (and binding his soul, perhaps unintentionally, to Mordor in the process).

    I don’t hold it against you that you don’t care for the series. I kinda enjoyed the first game, but got it long after it was released. I’ll probably get the second one the same way – after a collected-DLC version comes out and goes on sale, for ~$20-30. I like Tolkein canon, but I don’t view it as inviolate, either, and seeing it played with in interesting ways is fine – I just treat it as expensive fanon, which is what it is. But there are other settings I hold a lot closer to my heart, and when they’re done wrong, it can get to me, so I understand your feelings, even if I don’t share them in this case.

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