Microsoft’s E3 2015 show started with their trusty headliner Halo 5 Guardians, then dropped a bomb on the audience. Microsoft is enabling backwards compatibility with Xbox 360 games on the Xbox One. According to Microsoft, over 100 titles from the last-gen library will be playable on the Xbox One by the holidays with more to come. Retail discs and digital download titles will work with this feature. No work is required from game developers. They only need to approve the compatibility and Microsoft does the wrapper work on their end. Microsoft couldn’t resist sniping at Sony’s PlayStation streaming service by pointing out that their backwards compatibility service was free for gamers to use.
A spiffy new Xbox One Elite Controller is coming this Fall. It has paddles, a rocker directional pad, and removable widgets. They must help with the shooting somehow.
On the software side, Microsoft kept to exclusives for the most part, with a few mutiplatform titles. Forza 6, now with inclement weather and night racing was previewed with Ford’s help. Rise of the Tomb Raider was QTE heaven. There were videos of Ion from Dean Hall, (of DayZ fame) Dark Souls 3, Tom Clancy’s The Division, Fable Legends, and Gigantic. Tacoma, the newest title from Gone Home makers The Fullbright Company got a quick spot in the indie segment along with Cuphead, a gorgeous side-scroller done in the style of a 1930’s cartoon. Rare has apparently been busy with a Rare Replay collection that bundles up 30 of their games in a discount package, as well as working on Sea of Thieves, a new title featuring multiplayer pirating. Gears of War returned to Microsoft’s show with the Gears of War Ultimate Edition that remasters the original Gears of War for the newer console, and Gears 4 which is apparently all about walking through pitch-black areas very slowly.