Posted By: wraggster
And with that, Xbox One is an Xbox again. To the relief of the millions watching around the world earlier today, Xbox One wasn’t referred to as an ‘all-in-one entertainment system’ at all during Microsoft’s E3 2014 media briefing; instead, we were presented with a string of new games intended to recapture some of the spark that made Xbox 360 the market leader and console of choice for the hardcore player last generation.Without an awkward celebrity cameo in sight, this was a press conference full of familiar franchises and game concepts. They had next-gen polish, fourplayer online co-op and dedicated servers. What were intended as surprises weren’t all that surprising, and once again, Microsoft’s efforts to promote more alternative fare from the indie scene felt forced. But at least they’re trying.Once part of the supporting cast, Phil Spencer is now in charge and was, amusingly, careful to distance himself from the previous regime. We’ve heard Microsoft talk of ‘listening to its audience’ plenty of times before, but here Spencer went one step further, wrapping up the briefing by referring to all that had unfolded as a look at “the new Xbox”. Without Don Mattrick, Marc Whitten or indeed Kinect in his way, Xbox One is now Phil Spencer’s console – it is his hand steadying the tiller and his tight focus on games made for a showcase which wasn’t quite impressive enough to get pulses truly racing, but enough to suggest that Microsoft now understands what players want.These were games made for that resilient, faithful core of Xbox players who know what they like and just want more of it. It was appropriate, then, that first out the gate was the new Call Of Duty, which looked like a confident amalgamation of all the sci-fi shooters that have gone before it. It was also our first mention of “raising the bar”, while being “built from the ground up” was saved to describe Forza Horizon 2, an open world driving game with a strong social element. You can group together with friends to race in a club – a Drive Club, if you will – and that kind of connected, co-operative play would become a theme to run throughout this year’s showcase. New footage of Evolve, Assassin’s Creed Unity and The Division all revolved around co-op, and just as the presentation threatened to become a little too earnest and serious, Sunset Overdrive arrived to offer a welcome shift in tone, brimming with colour and cheeky self-referential humour.