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E3: Microsoft Canada talks games

Jun 19, 2015

By John Powell - G4 Canada

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E3: MicrosoftForget the Blu-ray player. Forget the ability to play content from DLNA servers, USB storage devices. Forget about streaming live television or the console itself being an entertainment hub.

This year at E3, Xbox One was all about the games. From Xbox 360 backwards compatibility to Halo 5, Gears 4 and Rise of the Tomb Raider, much to every gamer's delight Microsoft's focus was on the games coming to Xbox One.

As mentioned during their E3 presentation, Xbox 360 backwards compatibility is finally coming to Xbox One this holiday season. Expanding the ever-growing Xbox One games library has always been at the top of Microsoft's priority list.

"Xbox has really centred on the gamer," Jeff Rivait, Xbox Canada's platform marketing manager told G4TV. "Backwards compatibility has been consistently at the top of the feedback list from our community. It was a feature they wanted to see on Xbox One and a reason for some to upgrade from a 360 to an Xbox One. It is really amazing to finally be able to deliver on that wish from our community and launch it into the Preview Program this week. We are hoping to have a 100 titles or more when it launches to the general public this holiday and going forward we will continue to add hundreds of titles."

E3: MicrosoftTo take advantage of this feature all Xbox One owners have to do is once the game enters the backwards compatibility program is download the digital title if they don't own it already or if they do, insert the original 360 game disk to install it once.

"Essentially, the software that is running is an Xbox 360 emulator so it works for digital and disk purchases," said Rivait. "The great part is that not only get to play those great classic games that you love from the Xbox 360 but you are also able to take advantage of the next-gen features of the Xbox One such as the Game DVR, sharing and things of that nature."

Eagerly anticipating the return of the iconic Master Chief in Halo 5: Guardians on October 27, some fans were left a little mystified by the reveal at E3. While they saw Spartan Locke and his elite squad in hot pursuit of Master Chief but it was not clear if gamers will actually be able to play as him or not.

E3: Microsoft"Master Chief obviously plays a big part in Halo 5 as well. I cannot give away too much more about the story but it wouldn't be a Halo game if you weren't playing as Master Chief for sure," Rivait observed.

A long-time Halo fan himself, Rivait cannot wait for all to be revealed closer to the launch.

"Being the first time a Halo experience built from the ground up is coming to Xbox One is going to be a huge moment for Xbox so it is something we are looking really forward to bringing to fans in Canada in a meaningful way," he said.

Another esteemed Xbox series, Gears of War, is returning this year with a remastered Ultimate Edition which, according to Rivait, will have some surprises for fans.

"In addition to the graphical enhancements, all new textures and animations, there is the downloadable content and some new content. There are great new multiplayer maps as well so for $40 it is a great value for Gears of War fans and we're really happy to deliver that this summer in anticipation for Gears 4."

E3: MicrosoftDeveloped by Vancouver's The Coalition, formerly Microsoft Vancouver and Black Tusk Studios, Gears 4 is being spearheaded by Canadian video game producer Rod Fergusson who worked on the Gears of War franchise while he was the director of production at Epic Games. To say the Gears franchise is in good hands is an understatement to be sure.

"It is really nice to have someone like Rod who is passionate about Gears of War and has been there since the beginning to lead the future of the franchise," said Rivait.

At E3 fans saw a short Gears 4 trailer in which two COG soldiers entered a deserted village while on the trail of a shadowy figure. Two moons hovered in the dark sky above them as they shuttled through the empty streets. At the conclusion of the chase, the soldiers are attacked by a bunch of crab-like creatures resembling monstrosities from the Cthulian mythos.

Gears of War: Ultimate Edition is set to be released this August while Gears 4 will be in the hands of gamers next year.

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About G4 in Canada
G4 Canada (formerly TechTV Canada) launched in September 2001. G4 is the one and only television station that is plugged into every dimension of games, gear, gadgets and gigabytes. Owned Rogers Media Inc., the channel airs more than 24 original series. G4 is available on digital cable and satellite. For more information, see