Gamescom: Microsoft offers up plenty for 2013

By Melissa Platero, CCNN Writer

The time difference between Cologne, Germany and the United States might have made it difficult for you to tune into Gamescom 2013, but we’re here to recap all the latest information regarding Microsoft and the Xbox One. While Sony and Electronic Arts (EA) held public conferences that could be streamed online, Microsoft chose instead to keep their announcements behind closed doors with reporters. Don’t worry, though! All news was released online for international fans.

FIFA, Fighter Within, and Fable Legends are just three of the big names that made their debut at Gamescom. In addition, it seems like Microsoft may finally be taking the right steps towards making a better, more consumer friendly product by giving indie game producers their own space to publish self-made games.

At 10am in the morning in Germany (1am for the west coasters), Microsoft’s European Development boss, Phil Harrison, kickstarted the event with a sneak peek at FIFA Ultimate Team and its Xbox One exclusive features, like combining the most recent soccer stars with those of the previous years. Ruud Gullit (Dutch National Team) and Freddie Ljunberg (Swedish National Team) are two of the stars you’ll see in the upcoming FIFA game. They took the stage to talk about their excitement and how amazing it is to play alongside retired soccer legends in the new game mode.

To end the FIFA segment of the panel, Microsoft announced that all European pre-orders would receive a free digital download of FIFA. When Harrison was asked about whether or not North America would receive the same luxury, he said the company had nothing to announce at the time about a similar offer. Well, it’s a good thing the USA likes Madden more then, huh? FIFA will hit shelves September 27.

Xbox is capitalizing on their console exclusive features by introducing more and more games that will require the Kinect to play.

Next on their list of releases is Ubisoft’s Fighter Within. Using the catchphrase “Brawling against your friends just got real,” Fighter Within focuses on using “1 to 1 precision movement tracking” for fighting moves and real-time damage to characters in the game.You’ll also be able to show your friends and strangers who’s boss with the multiplayer feature. Fighter Within will hit the market in Fall of 2013.

We won’t blame you if the Kinect still doesn’t impress you. Trust us, we’re waiting for something extremely awesome to get us to believe Microsoft when they say Kinect is the future of gaming. Well, we may have just found it. In their newest game, Kinect Sports Rivals, the Kinect instantly scans and creates a digitally stylized champion that competes in different games such as tennis, rock climbing, and jet-skiing. Their innovative technology will take your “digital DNA” and recreate your facial features as well as your body shape. Talk about one crazy self portrait! So, maybe I’ll pass on the fighting, but I definitely want to see myself in avatar form that won’t be Na’vi blue.

If there is one thing Microsoft has yet to disappoint with, it’s the Fable game series from Lionhead Studios. Fable Legends is designed for four-player co-op where each of the heroes has a different skill; a prince charming look-a-like who’s swift with a sword, an archer that you play from a third-person shooter view, a female barbarian, and female magician whose powers slow enemies to a standstill. Now, if that isn’t exciting enough, let’s really get to the best part of the game. Now, there’s room for a 5th player in the game, because someone has to play… the villain! The villain controls the entire map in real-time, placing enemies, traps, and ambushes that the four heroes must overcome. So, whether you’re feeling particularly nasty, or like saving the world, Fable Legends will give you the option to do either one. There’s no release date just yet, but rumor has it that Fable Legends will also be playable on your smartphone or tablet.

If you’ve managed to get to this point and still don’t find any of these games peaking your interest, then do not worry, there’s going to be plenty more to choose from! There’s a new program called ”ID@Xbox” that will support independent game developers on the Xbox One platform. All registered devs will be given two free Xbox One development kits, full access to Kinect compatibility, and the entire Xbox Live toolset that includes achievements, multiplayer support, and Gamerscore. Pretty much, Xbox One is giving users a chance to publish their own games – be it a third person shooter or smaller arcade-like games – on the market for all Xbox One users to download. That gives Xbox One players the chance to explore plenty of new options if they’re tired of the mainstream games.

Okay, woah! That’s a lot of information to take in, but exciting nonetheless. So, anyways, how about I answer the question you’re probably dying to ask… when is the Xbox One coming out?! Well, I actually don’t have an answer to that, because Microsoft is still playing it coy. We’re just going to assume that Microsoft wants to get a step ahead of Sony’s November 15 release date (link to the sony article here). I’m predicting Microsoft will try to hit the market sometime before Sony has a chance to wow gamers!

Featured image courtesy of Microsoft. Videos courtesy of EA, Microsoft, and Lionhead Studios.