Halo and other triple-A franchises star in Microsoft's E3 2014 opener

Microsoft Call of Duty E3 2014
Microsoft opened with Call of DUty

Microsoft wasted no time during its E3 2014 press conference, getting right into the games with a series of live demos and trailers that showed off what's to come for the Xbox One.

As usual for any Microsoft presentation, the highlight this year was Halo. Microsoft announced a multiplayer beta for Halo 5 taking place in December, as well as the long-expected Halo 2 Anniversary Edition graphical overhaul, which will be included in a new Halo collection with Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2, Halo 3, and Halo 4.

Called Halo: The Master Chief Collection, it features all four games running on their original engines at 1080p and 60fps, with 100 multiplayer maps, dedicated servers and 4,000 gamerscore worth of achievements to unlock. It will also debut Halo: Nightfall, a digital series with Ridley Scott's name attached.

In a subsequent announcement Microsoft called it "a beast of an offering brimming with more bonuses, enhancements, and extras than you can shake an Energy Sword at." It launches November 11 2014.

Surprisingly, there's more

Predictably the presentation opened with gameplay footage of the futuristic Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, revealing a release date of November 4 2014. The game's weapons, including a multi-purpose grenade, appeared futuristic, but after Call of Duty: Ghosts the lack of dogs in this footage was disappointing.

Next came the debut of footage from the open-world driving game sequel Forza Horizon 2, which developer Turn 10 revealed will launch on September 30 2014.

Some new footage from 2K's Evolve showed off a Lovecraftian octopus-faced monster - Cthulhu confirmed? - and the game's Assault, Medic, Trapper, and Support classes. From the developers of Left 4 Dead, Evolve is expected to have fun 4-player co-op action.

Assassin's Creed Unity

The French setting is ripe for stabbing in AC Unity

The next demo was even more impressive, as footage from this year's Assassin's Creed game, revealed to be Assassin's Creed Unity, showed off four-player co-op and a setting in the French Revolution.

The Dragon Age: Inquisition trailer that followed was surprisingly colorful, considering the drab visuals of its predecessor Dragon Age 2. The video also lent gamers hope that the third game in the series might be better than that last one.

Another highly anticipated triple-A game, Insomniac's Sunset Overdrive, also got a release date in a fourth wall-breaking trailer: October 28 2014.

Sunset Overdrive

Sunset Overdrive seems to have everyone tickled

Switching gears, Capcom announced a new DLC expansion for Dead Rising 3: Super Ultra Dead Rising 3 Arcade Remix Hyper Edition EX Plus Alpha, a celebration of Capcom's "31st fanniversary." It features past Dead Rising protagonists fighting side-by-side, with plenty of nods to other past and present Capcom franchises.

Rock Band and Dance Central studio Harmonix made a brief appearance, discussing a new digital-only Dance Central game and the studio's in-development Disney Fantasia title, which they revealed will launch October 21 2014.

And it was no surprise seeing Fable Legends, but it was definitely nice to learn that there's a multiplayer beta coming this fall. Legends will let players assume the role of the villain more than any past game in the Fable series, with the ability to set traps and design challenges for other players.

Project Spark's presence was no surprise either, and as usual Microsoft promoted the range of different games players can create with Spark's robust tool set. Surprisingly Rare's wayward hero Conker the squirrel made an appearance, though his role in Spark is unclear.

Finally Microsoft debuted an artsy-looking 2D platformer called Ori and the Blind Forest before moving on to discussing the Xbox One's 2015 slate.

Michael Rougeau

Michael Rougeau is a former freelance news writer for TechRadar. Studying at Goldsmiths, University of London, and Northeastern University, Michael has bylines at Kotaku, 1UP, G4, Complex Magazine, Digital Trends, GamesRadar, GameSpot, IFC, Animal New York, @Gamer, Inside the Magic, Comic Book Resources, Zap2It, TabTimes, GameZone, Cheat Code Central, Gameshark, Gameranx, The Industry, Debonair Mag, Kombo, and others.

Micheal also spent time as the Games Editor for Playboy.com, and was the managing editor at GameSpot before becoming an Animal Care Manager for Wags and Walks.