The first of the big 3 took the stage to kick off the second day of E3 in style, and they came out of the gate swinging. Halo is back baby, with a brand new engine under the hood. And hopefully, the ghost is still in the game, because with a ghost I will absolutely destroy your mother fu…*stares into the distance*. Sorry, sorry, having Halo flashbacks. In conjunction with 343, Microsoft announced that Halo Infinite will run under the slipstream engine. What this means exactly for the visuals, and performance of the game remains to be seen, but they did show an engine demo so we can get an idea of what the engine can do. Other than that, there was a bit of mystery around the upcoming adventure in the Halo Franchise. Phil Spencer claimed that this would be the biggest adventure in the Halo Series, and it looks like our main dude, ya boy, ya mans, the main act, Master Chief, is back babayyyy.
Ori: Will of the Wisps
The much beloved indy title, Ori and the Blind Forest, gets a sequel shout out here next on stage. This is another exclusive for Microsoft. While it’s not technically a heavy hitter franchise, it does have a following, and the first game was widely considered to be good, holding a god damn 10\10 on steam from over 22k reviews. While this style of game is not my personal cup of tea, I cannot deny that it looks absolutely, ridiculously, obscenely gorgeous. Wow.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
But, do you like samurai? Are you a fan of sword fights? Well let me tell ya somethin’ brotherrrrr, maybe Sekiro is for you. Based on the announcement video at E3 this game looks a little bit like a faster paced dark souls style game, perhaps more similar to Nioh. Either way, it’s great to see something adjacent on Xbox, as Nioh was a phenomenal entry into the Playstation catalog of games. Now if only we could get a friggin Onimusha title for current gen. Sigh.
Well here’s a heavy hitter knew was coming, Fallout 76. Set in West Virginia, Fallout 76 serves as a pre-quel to the other games. Apparently the game is somehow four times larger than any other Fallout game to date. There will be more information in the Bethesda round up. But, a new video did premier during the Microsoft presentation.
Life is Strange: Captain Spirit
Next up, Life is Strange gets a quick shoutout with a free stand alone game called “Captain Spirit”, announced to release on June 26th.
Next up was a quick throw to Crackdown 3, which has seen it’s share of delays and controversy already. Given that this game is supposed to be one of the big console exclusives, hopefully this ship gets turned around. Originally, when it was shown last year fans remarked that it didn’t really look that impressive visually, then came the delay, which Microsoft claimed was to tighten up the game and deliver the experience we deserve. The game is slated for a February 2019 release at this point, but by then, will anyone care is the question. I hope this game does well, but with so much good stuff coming out of this E3 it may get lost in the shuffle.
Originally a PS4 Exclusive, it looks like Nier Automata is making it’s way over to Xbox One with Xbox One X Enhanced capabilities. This is a game that many Xbox fans were bummed out about not coming over when it originally came out, looks like their time is up, and our time is now. *Cue John Cena Music* Oh yeah, and it’s like…two weeks away. WHAAAAT!?
Next up we got a look at the gorgeous, dystopian future, survival horror, first person shooter set in the remains of a Russia torn apart by nuclear fallout and the horrific monsters mutated by it. Metro 2033 and Metro Last Light are two of my favorite, and in my opinion, two of the most under appreciated games of the last decade. That’s not to say they haven’t received praise and solid scores from users, just that it’s not a game that is often brought up in conversation. However, it’s time to start a new conversation, with Metro: Exodus. Set in 2036, it takes place a few years after Metro Last Light, the game will take place over the course of one year, with dynamic changing weather to reflect the seasons as the story progresses. And, this time the world is a little bit more open than the previous games. I wonder how open it will be.
Kingdom Hearts 3
Yeah dude, KH is coming to Xbox. That said, they didn’t go crazy with this announcement, but they did drop some new game play footage showcasing the Frozen universe that has been added to KH canon. Can’t wait to see if this game lives up to the hype.
Sea of Thieves: Cursed Sails & Forsaken Shores
After one of the most disappointing launches of a game that I can remember in the last few years, Sea of Thieves seems to have leveled off in terms of controversy and player base. Unfortunately, the lack of crowd response when these pieces of content were announced at E3 this year seemed a bit…telling. Sea of Thieves fans felt as though the game under delivered in a big way, in terms of content in general, the art direction being a little childish, and horrendous spawns, as well as the fact that the stuff you’re fighting so hard to get gold to acquire, is all just cosmetic. Hopefully this update adds something worth talking about, because at this point, you can pretty much sea all there is to see in a mere few hours. That said, I may hoist the sails and give this game one more shot when these roll out in the near future.
Forza Horizon 4
Forza Horizon is back. This time it’s been announced that the entire game world will be a shared instance with other users. They didn’t say how many users can be in one “world” at a time. However, it was mentioned that seasons will change throughout your period of time playing the game, and seasons will change across the entirety of the games population, so that everyone is experiencing the game during the same seasons. Oh ya, and it’s 60fps Xbox One X Enhanced baybeeeeeee. Look out for it on October 2.
Microsoft Investing in the Future
Next up, Phil Spencer popped out to talk a little bit about where Xbox is headed in terms of investing in their already existing titles, and titles coming out. With that said, Microsoft has set up a new first party studio called “The Initiative.” They have also brought on Undead Labs, Compulsion Games, Playground Games, and Ninja Theory are on board as well. AWWW YELL YEAA!
We Happy Few
This is a game that has been part of the Xbox Preview Program for quite a while at this point. The game will be launching with some controversy however, as it has banned in Australia. Much of the game is centered around the use of the drug “Joy” and it’s affects on society. However, there are other drugs in the game, and Australia was like “Not cool bro….keep that ish.” However, it hasn’t been banned anywhere else yet, so look forward to this survival/rpg/roguelike/horror mash up coming to you on August 10th.
Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition
Hey, look at that, a Tales game on the Xbox One! The Tales series has been a long running, much beloved RPG franchise. While this is only a remaster of the game that we saw on Xbox 360, it was a fantastic title, and I can’t wait to give it one more go.
The Division 2
Microsoft next up announces a sequel to Tom Clancy’s “The Division.” This time the game takes place in Washington D.C. There aren’t a ton of details at the present time about what the story looks like this time around, but the game looks very similar to the original but with much more lush environments and plant life. The Division 2 launches on March 15 2019, with a beta to launch before hand.
Game Pass and ID@Xbox Montage
There was a quick throw to a game pass ad basically, with an update letting us know that using machine learning, Xbox Game Pass games should be able to load 2x faster than other games. After that we were treated to an ID@Xbox game montage. The montage includes games such as, Fringe Wars, Conquerors Blade, Islands of Nyne (Battle Royale), Sable, Session, Outer Worlds, and several more. There was also a brief mention of Tomb Raider after this, but there will be more on that during the Square Enix round up.
Next up, from Crea-ture studios, a brand new exclusive skateboarding game for Xbox. Over the years we’ve seen everything from Tony Hawk, to Grind Session, to Skate, and now Session. Skateboard games have had an up and down history, some amazing, some terrible, but something new is always welcome.
Black Desert Online and Devil May Cry
There was a quick mention of BDO coming to Xbox One. This one is a bit of a head scratcher considering the game came out in 2014 for PC. Either way, up after that was an announcement trailer for Devil May Cry 5. It looks like the game is introducing another new character who seems to have some sort of electrical powers associated with his attacks. Let’s be honest, it’s a DMC game, you know what to expect by now. This game is going to be all about combos, cramped hands, and trying not to toss your controller across the room on harder difficulties. That said, the game looks visually amazing, and I can’t wait to see what the story is this time around.
Cuphead is rolling out some DLC next year with a brand new character, new weapons, and a whole new island.
After that was an adorable as f….ox game called Tunic, from a one person studio called Finji. This looks like an absolutely gorgeous SNES Legend of Zelda style adventure game starring the cutest little fox. The fact that one person made this is quite impressive.
Jump Force is a new fighting game coming out that takes all the nerd anime stuff people from my generation grew up with and goes “What if Naruto fought Goku, and then Lufi rolled up and started throwing hands?” This game basically takes a bunch of Shonen characters from several anime universes and throws them together into some sort of crazy ass mega battle fighting game. I. Can. Not. Wait.
Dying Light 2
One of, if not the best, zombie games that has ever been made is coming back like it never left. Dying light combined some of the most fun parkour climbing, zombie stabbing, skill tree using, open world rpg, elements you’ve seen in gaming, and slammed them together into a zombie gaming experience like none other. As much as I loved Dead Island, Dying Light took everything that made that series fun, and multiplied it by 2. If DL2 is half as good as DL1 it will still be far ahead of the curve. Apparently this time around, there will be hundreds of choices to make that will actually affect the game world. While we’ve heard this a thousand times before in other games, I hope they mean it.
SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!
Just Cause 4
Just Cause is another open world franchise that is a little bit more ridiculous, and typically gives you a little bit more freedom than a lot of games in terms of weapons, vehicles, and how you can just get around in general. There’s hundreds, if not thousands of hours on youtube of people just doing ridiculously crazy shit with the grappling hook, explosives, wingsuit, and so on. Just Cause 4 can only add even more ridiculousness to a franchise that is consistently fun in every way, shape, and form.
Gears of War
We all knew this was coming eventually, Gears of War 5 that is. However, two other Gears of War games were also announced at E3. Gears of War POP! and Gears of War Tactics enter the catalog of GOW games in the near future. There isn’t much information about Gears of War POP! Yet, but good ol Rod Ferguson mentioned that it will be a mobile game that will be a Rush style MOBA. Other than that though, it just looks like Gears and Funko are working together to cash in on the POP! craze before it finally bottoms out.
Gears of War Tactics, however, is actually going to be a full fledged game for PC. So far from the trailer it looks like it’s a tactics game that is quite similar to the style that Xcom has been using for their games. GOWT takes place 12 years before the events of the original Gears of War game, so we may expect to see a young Marcus Fenix, or perhaps brand new characters all together? Either way, it’s a head scratcher that this is not being released for console, as it is only a PC release at the present time, but we’ll see if it stays that way in the future.
Finally, the main show, Gears of War 5. Despite the fact that GOW4 ended on a cliffhanger, it looks like Gears 5 takes place years after Gears 4. One of the biggest notable differences, is that JD has beefed up, and lost hair, and some of the other characters look a little bit bigger, and more worn down. It looks like Marcus is till around, and that Kait Diaz may be the main protagonist this time around. One interesting detail is that the armor they have on looks more like the traditional COG armor. I can’t wait to see the story beats Gears 5 is going to hit.
Some Smaller Stuff
Phil Popped up with just 5 minutes left in their presentation. Phil mentioned that Xbox is working on a console streaming service that works on any device. Not sure what this means yet, but we will see. Oh, and he mentioned that they are currently developing their next console, but it probably won’t show up for a couple of years. No big deal.
Cyberpunk is the next project from CD Projekt Red, the people who brought us the amazing Witcher series. Microsoft ended on a bang here, as Cyberpunk has had a ton of buzz around it since it was mentioned that it might be in development. It looks like we’re not only getting it, but that it’s going to just be crammed to the gills with content. One of the coolest features I’ve heard of being in the game, is that you will run into characters that speak other languages. You can acquire translator implants to understand what they are saying. You can own apartments, augment your character with implants and weapons, fully customize them visually, and so on. With so much hype, it seems like it’s destined not to deliver, as most hyped games are. But, with CD Projekt Red at the helm, this is the first time in a long time that I am not worried about the game delivering on the hype.
For the first time in several E3 presentations, Microsoft whipped it out, slammed it on the table and said “Your move.” With the announcement of two new games from their biggest franchises, getting both Neir Automata and Kingdom Hearts 3 over the Xbox, a much loved PS4 title and a series that has never seen an Xbox console before, showing how gorgeous Metro: Exodus looks on Xbox Enhanced, promising 60fps for Forza Horizon 4, the acquisition of several studios, We Happy Few coming out, and a few other announcements, this is the strongest Microsoft has looked at E3 in years. However, I would have liked to have seen a bit more information about Halo and the new system it runs on, as well as an explanation for why Gears tactics isn’t coming to console. Despite the biggun exclusive announcements, again, Xbox didn’t deliver a plethora of originals this year. Overall, still a great presentation.