E3 2013 Coverage Part 2

e3primer6   Now onto part 2 of my Microsoft Press Conference commentary from E3 2013. This time I’m focusing on the Xbox One console platform. So far, as a hardcore gamer myself, I’ve found the information regarding the Xbox One rather lackluster.

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   First on the block for Xbox One, RYSE: Son of Rome. Phil Spencer, the head of Microsoft Game Studios, has lead the charge with this visually stunning live gameplay demo. RYSE, is coming to us straight from Crytek, a studio known for creating beautiful, in depth worlds and phenomenal game play. RYSE definitely delivers. Playing as a Roman soldier, you’ll be able to battle multiple opponents, command troops in real-time, and call in  for support. This title will be available at the launch of Xbox One.

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   Next up to bat, Insomniac Games, and their new open world stylized shooter, Sunset Overdrive. While Insomniac is a familiar name in the gaming world, it is surprising to see them on the Microsoft stage what with all the titles that they’ve created for Sony over the years. It was only a trailer, but the game itself definitely looks like it would be fun to play.

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 And onto the main course with Forza Motorsport 5. Turn 10 and Microsoft Game Studio have hit the road screaming with this continuation of a great racing franchise. The new tech in the Xbox One coupled with the improved game engine, FM5 is mind blowingly beautiful. The texture and feel of the cars looks as though it’s going to leap off the screen. You can almost sense that new car smell. The new technology thanks to cloud computing, removes classic racing AI. Everyone has a ‘drivatar’, a learning program that gives the races a more human feel. Your drivatar reacts as you would in a race, even while you’re offline. You could be at work or school and your drivatar will earn you credits from racing.

   They touched on Minecraft, a short demo of Quantum Break, trailer for D4 and a quick game play demo of Project Spark.

To further add to the tech demo of Xbox One, Microsoft touched on the SmartGlass integration with the new console and Live membership. This lead to the demo of Killer Instinct for the One which rolled right into the Game DVR and Upload Studio. This allows you to record game moments, and share them online with your friends. You can also stream your game play live now on the One via Twitch. Microsoft is doing away with the 100 friends limit on Live and is also changing from Microsoft Points, to real world local currency for Live purchases.

   Finally, Capcom Vancouver, brings it to the crowd with a live demo of Dead Rising 3, another Xbox One exclusive. Just like the previous Dead Rising games, there is no loading time, and the game environment is massive. Capcom brought back the weapon creation and customization we’ve grown to love with this franchise. Everything is a weapon and you can make your own. SmartGlass integration is added to allow for calling in friendly fire when in a hotspot.

   After some minor technical issues, DICE  was able to take the stage and showcase the new Battlefield 4. The live demo was running at 60fps and looked stunning. It would seem that Microsoft was just quickly showcasing the new titles and studios. Quick glimpses of a yet titled game by Black Tusk Studios, the apparent return of Halo. There was no mention of any information about their games sales model, the lack of backwards compatibility, and the inability of buying used games or trading games in through retail outlets. Microsoft also announced Xbox One will launch across the world this November at $499/€499/£429.

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   The final highlight was Titanfall. Brought to us by Respawn Entertainment, founded by Jason West and Vince Zampella, formerly of Infinity Ward. Titanfall is a mecha combat/pilot/fps all rolled into one. As the demo showed, there are multiple ways to play. You don’t have to rely on your mech/Titan. You can pick and choose how you’re going to complete your combat scenarios.

   All in all, it was an impressive line-up, albeit disappointing news as well with regards to the online policies, gaming sharing/trading and such. One thing is for certain, Sony has it’s work cut out for it.

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E3 2013 Coverage Part 1

    e3primer6Starting off with my E3 2013 commentary is the news from Microsoft regarding the Xbox 360 and Xbox One and a few of the titles coming down the pipeline.
   Microsoft opened the show with a first look at the new Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain. The new MGS is an open world, with real-time dramatic weather, and realistic passage of time in the game world. There are new modes of transportation, new stealth model as well as more in depth stealth play. Graphically the game footage looked stunning and far more realistic than previous MGS games. Looking forward to getting some hands on time with this title. This game release will be an Xbox One exclusive release.
   I’m happy to report that Microsoft isn’t hanging the 360 platform out to pasture just yet. They made the release stating that they’ve improved the Xbox 360 console, shrank it down, made it quieter and further enhanced the platform. This is good news for all of us who currently own the console in it’s current iteration.
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   It’s available starting today in the United States, UK, Canada and Australia, with more territories coming soon, according to Microsoft.
   Pricing for the slimmed down model will be the same as the older model, with a 4GB (no Kinect) running $199.99 and a 250GB model priced at $299.99. A 4GB system that includes the Kinect will cost $299.99.
   Also coming down the line with the news of the new 360 platform is improvements to Xbox Live. For anyone who currently has a Gold Live account, starting July 1st up until the release of Xbox One, you will receive 2 free, full game downloads per month. That’s right, you read that correctly, Microsoft announced they’re giving away 2 games for free per month! This from the company that never gives anything away. 😉
   Onto some game information for the 360, 3 announcements were made on the stage this morning. First being the release of World of Tanks 360 Edition, a new title from Press Play Studios, Max: The Curse of Brotherhood and the return of From Software’s Dark Souls franchise with Dark Souls 2.
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   Wargaming.net CEO, Victor Kislyi made an appearance onstage, and announced the release of World of Tanks 360 Edition. The game itself, just like it’s current pc counterpart will be a ‘free-2-play’ title. This means that you can download and play the game for free. But, just like most ‘free-2-play’ titles, you can purchase in game specialty items and premium tanks for real world money. Massive maps, 15 vs. 15 battles and some of the most powerful tanks ever made from around the world. Myself, I look forward to this title and trying it out on my 360 console after playing it for years on the pc. The release is set for this summer and will require you have a Gold Live account to play.
   Yusuf Medhi rounded up the 360 announcements with trailers for 2 more 360 titles coming soon.
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   The first one, Max: The Curse of Brotherhood from Press Play Studios, follows the main character Max. He wishes away his annoying younger brother Felix with a spell he finds online. The trailer shows Max following his younger brother through a portal to a magical world. Using only a marker, yes, a marker, you have to assist max through the game on a mission to undo his wish and rescue his younger brother.
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  From Software showed off their trailer for Dark Souls 2, following the same minimalistic plot, and ‘no easy mode allowed’ mentality that brought acclaim to the first title in the franchise it would appear that this visually stunning and lore rich world will be opened up again to the players.
That’s it for the first part of my E3 madness. Later this evening I’ll be dropping down the info from Microsoft about the Xbox One and the game releases slated for it’s arrival. Then onto what EA Games and Ubisoft have to offer along with a posting tomorrow morning about Sony’s big news about the PS4 and plethora of titles coming with that new console.

Still busy at getting my house in order…

Again, I have to apologize for my lack of posts recently. Been working away on my house, slowly getting the projects I’ve let slip for the last while completed. I didn’t realize how badly I had let some things lapse with the upkeep. Thankfully it just requires a little more elbow grease to rectify then anything else. Repairs and renos are slowly coming along. Hopefully I’ll be back to my artwork and photography again shortly.

Been keeping busy, new frontiers of creativity to explore….

I’ve been recently on a journey of rediscovery, and it’s been an experience and a half thus far. Thanks to the help of some friends, family and my doctor, I’ve started back into my artwork. I usually work with traditional forms of media, but recently (only the last week) have moved into the digital realm. And I have to say that I enjoy it. I’ve picked up on it quickly and I’m absorbing the information regarding this new realm of expression like a sponge. Quite frankly, I’m very happy for the first time in a long time.

Brings me to the other topic, what I truly think was stifling my creative process for alot of years. Depression.

This is a topic that for some, is a touchy subject, though I cannot imagine why. We’re all human and very susceptible to it, in one form or another. But luckily there is help for those who seek it. I spent many years denying the simple truth that I had an issue. Probably what lead me to become very despondent , detached and isolated from my family, friends and loved ones. The worst part is, I didn’t even realize that I was doing it. But after seeking some professional help, and starting into a therapy regiment, I now realize that I wasn’t only hurting myself, but everyone around me. Thankfully though, the damage is not irreparable and the people important to me are very forgiving and understanding about what’s happened and why. Also, my mind is clear for the first time in almost 15 years. Which has lead me back into my art.

This is currently something I’m in the midst of working on, it is still a WIP as I get used to using a tablet and pen instead of paint and canvas…

This is the original pencil sketch I scanned from my sketchbook.

This is the original pencil sketch I scanned from my sketchbook.

This is the current work so far after being imported into Photoshop. I still have much to complete as I read through different tutorials and learn how to paint in Photoshop with some falir and realism..

This is the current work so far after being imported into Photoshop. I still have much to complete as I read through different tutorials and learn how to paint in Photoshop with some falir and realism..