Day zero of the 2014 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) kicked off Monday morning with a 90-minute press conference hosted by Microsoft to tout what's next for its Xbox One video game console.
Unlike in years past where games were presented alongside television features and Kinect-centered activities, Microsoft instead decided to focus on the games themselves with (thankfully) very little Kinect.
What drew my attention the most? These five:
Halo still reigns supreme. 343 Industries came out this year with not one, but two Halo announcements. Not only did they comment further on the development of Halo 5 Guardians in addition to showing a rather impressive-looking trailer, they also revealed that almost all of the previous Halo games are coming to Xbox One later this year in one tidy package. Called Halo: The Master Chief Collection, the title comes packed with the original four core Halo games from Xbox and Xbox 360. It's a good way for those who missed any or all of the first four numbered games in the series to become acquainted with them in time for next year's Halo 5 release. Fans of Halo: ODST, Halo: Reach, and Halo Wars, however, won't get such a treatment.
Sunset Overdrive is a game we both want and need. Tired of cover-based shooters with conveniently-located crates to use as protection from a flurry of bullets headed your way from a variety of baddies? Well, Insomniac Games (Ratchet & Clank) thinks it has the answer for you. In truth, I think it does as well. Their upcoming game, Sunset Overdrive, is a confessed over-the-top action shooter where to survive you need to keep moving - and it's all done in a style that only Insomniac can think up. Will it be game of the year? Probably not, but it'll be one of the games you'll remember for years to come.
Fable isn't as legendary as it once was. A new, multi-player Fable game was introduced to the sound of crickets. In development at Lionhead, Fable Legends has all of the trappings for a generic fantasy-genre romp in the forest. One thing new to the series (though not to gaming) is the ability for someone to play as the villain and basically play as a spiteful god against the heroes. While a new Fable game will probably finds its fans, it's quite evident that those fans are growing fewer and fewer.
Lara Craft official becomes the Tomb Raider. The rebirth of the Tomb Raider series last year proved a good move for publisher Square-Enix as it was in the running for game of the year consideration from a number of media outlets. It's sequel, Rise of the Tomb Raider, looks promising even though it's time during the Xbox press conference was brief.
Kinect can still be cool. Well, kind of. Only two Kinect titles were mentioned (not even shown, really) and both are from Harmonix. One is a digital-only new version of the once-popular Dance Central franchise and the Disney-centric Fantasia: Music Evolved. While neither are likely to be standouts, both should be fun - especially the latter since it has the backing of the Walt Disney Company. It is telling, however, that this was the extent of Microsoft's Kinect lineup as per Monday's press conference. With a Kinect-less Xbox One now being a thing, it might be a matter of time before Kinect goes the way of the PlayStation Move.
Barry White can be found on Twitter by following @SactoGamer.