Xbox hits a home run with their conference
E3 2018 hasn’t even officially started and Microsoft has already given the gaming community a lot to talk about. With more than 6000 people in attendance, today’s press conference was the largest in Microsoft’s history. More over, a record breaking 52 games were shown on stage including 18 console launch exclusives and 15 world premiers.
Let’s take a look at the highlights!
Xbox One exclusive games
Microsoft opened the press conference with the footage of a brand new Halo game—Halo Infinite. Master Chief returns in the next chapter of the epic Xbox franchise, developed by 343 Industries. Created with a brand new engine entitled Slipspace, Halo Infinite looks like it could very well be the best looking game in franchise history. Not much is known about the game but the footage shown gave us a glimpse into the future of Halo.
The Crackdown 3 trailer featured Terry Crews as a super-powered Agent that was full of mayhem and destruction. As a big fan of the original game on Xbox 360, after seeing this trailer I went from cautiously optimistic to full on hyped for it. I can hardly wait for February 2019 to come.
Forza Horizon 4
Another Xbox franchise staple is getting a new game, Forza Horizon 4. Set in historic Britain, Forza Horizon 4 is a completely new take on the franchise and brings dynamic seasons in a shared open world that changes every week. Forza Horizon 4 on the Xbox One X features native 4K resolution and HDR support. In addition, there is a 60fps mode on the Xbox One X. Forza Horizon 4 launches October 2, 2018.
The next game in the Gears of War franchise was shown, or should I say Gears. Yes, that’s right, the latest game is simply titled Gears 5. Set to release sometime in 2019, the footage shown featured Kait. In what looked like the most beautiful world in the series to date, you’ll journey across the vast world with solo, online co-op, or local split-screen co-op play. Gears 5 will support 4K Ultra HD, HDR and 60 frames per second.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
The highly anticipated sequel to Ori And The Blind Forest, Ori and the Will of the Wisps made its gameplay debut. The new game is every bit as beautiful as the first and then some! The sequel sports an immersive world, dynamic combat mechanics, challenging puzzles, and gripping enemy encounters. From what was shown today, I am sure fans will not be disappointed. Ori and the Will of the Wisps is set to release in 2019.
Xbox One console launch exclusives
In addition to Xbox one exclusive games, Microsoft showed a number of console launch exclusive games.
Two new maps for the highly popular PUBG were shown. The first shown was Sanhok, a smaller-scale map that gets its inspiration from islands of the Southeast Pacific Ocean. The second map was snow-covered and said to release later this year. The popular squad Deathmatch mode from the PC entitled War Mode is coming. We can expect to see both Sanhok and War Mode late summer 2018. Finally, a brand new tool called Ballistic Shield was shown. This allows setting up quick cover for explosive and close-distance attacks.
Cuphead, one of Xbox’s best games from 2017, is getting DLC—Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course. This DLC features a new playable character, Ms. Chalice. In addition, there is a brand-new island, new weapons, new charms, and new bosses. I can hardly wait to return to the world of Cuphead and Mugman.
Session is a skateboarding game inspired by the early 90s and early 2000s. From what I saw of the footage shown, long time Tony Hawk and Skate fans will want to check Session out when it gets its console launch exclusive on Xbox One.
One of the cutest looking Xbox console launch exclusives shown was Tunic. Its an isometric action adventure game about a fox. You’ll explore ancient ruins, fight monsters and uncover secrets.
The Xbox brand makes an investment in first party studios
If there was one thing that the Xbox One is missing, it would have to be the lack of original content from first party studios. Luckily, Phil Spencer acknowledged this need several months ago. At today’s press conference it was made clear that Microsoft investing in first party game development studios. Five new teams have been added to the Microsoft Studios family.
The first team is a brand new Santa Monica Studio known as The Initiative. The second team joining the family is U.K. based Playground Games known for its work in the Forza Horizon series. Hellblade developer Ninja Theory has joined the Microsoft Studios family—this announcement pleasantly caught me off guard.
Xbox Game Pass catalog continues to expand
If you have read our previous article on Xbox Game Pass, you’ll know how much we love it. Today, head of engineering at Xbox Game Pass, Ashely Speicher announced new games and technology for the service. Starting today, Fallout 4, The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited, Tom Clancy’s The Division are available on the service.
Several other notable titles will be launching this year on Xbox Game Pass the same day as release. The titles mentioned were Warhammer: Vermintide 2, Ashen, Afterparty, and Phoenix Point.
In addition, a new technology called FastStart is coming this June to select titles on Xbox Game Pass. This technology will allow you to start your game twice as fast and play after downloading just a fraction of your title. This new technology identifies the files that you need to begin playing and downloads those files first.
Console quality streaming and the next Xbox console
Near the end of the press conference, Phil Spencer mentioned Microsoft is working on a service that will stream console quality games to just about any device. In addition, Phil mentioned that Microsoft engineers are hard at work on the next Xbox console.
Microsoft blew my socks off this year with their E3 208 press conference. The amount of Xbox One exclusives, Xbox One console launch exclusives, and third party games shown was mind-blowing. Games such as Devil May Cry 5, Kingdom Hearts 3, Fallout 76, Tom Clancy’s The Division 2, Metro Exodus, Sekiro Shadow Die Twice, Captain Spirit, and many more are all coming to the Xbox One.
Microsoft is committed to making Xbox the best place to play games. Their commitment to Japanese developers like Bandai Namco, Square Enix, Capcom and From Software is a great start to what looks like to be a bright future.
Let me know in the comments section below what you thought of the Xbox press conference and what games were your favourites.