Microsoft hasn’t held back with their press conference this year, right out of the gate they showed a trailer for a new Halo game called Halo Infinite that might take the series into the open world genre if you look deep enough into the trailer. Whether it was more of the same storyline or open world the visuals were very impressive from the Slipspace Engine. No word on when we will see this and judging by the lack of actual gameplay footage I wouldn’t expect to see it in 2018 but you never know!
Phil Spencer took to the stage and announced that during the show they would be showing the audience 50 game, 18 of those would be exclusive’s and a further 15 were going to have their world premiere’s. This was a big year for Microsoft as many wondered if they were still committed to the console market and their XBOX brand and to show this commitment they would have to come to E3 armed with games and they did! Commitment was a word used by Phil Spencer himself later in the show where he underlined Microsoft’s commitment to gaming by announcing 5 new first party studio’s, these were:
- The Initiative
- Undead Labs
- Playground Games
- Ninja Theory
- Compulsion Games
The show continued with series of trailers for games such as Ori and the Will of the Wisps, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice – a third person samurai game by From Software then we got a world premiere from Bethesda who came to the stage to show us Fallout 76 – a prequel to the series taking place at Vault 76 which looked stunning in 4K and promising to be four times as large as the previous titles in the series. Pre-orders will start on June 15th.
Moving on the action got more intense with trailers for Crackdown 3 with a hilarious voice over from Terry Crews in all his over the top glory. The game’s release has slipped quite a bit and currently is on schedule for February 2019. Next up was Metro Exodus – a game we first saw at last years E3 and impressed everyone with its graphics. This is the third game in the series and looks every bit as good as the others and will be available February 22nd 2019.
Sea of Thieves is getting two new expansions this year called “Cursed Sails” and “Forsaken Shore” which should breathe some new life into this game which Microsoft hope to develop further as an exclusive IP. The game has had a mixed response from the community but enjoyed very good reviews from many outlets online and was one of the first crop of XBOX Play Anywhere titles where if you bought it on XBOX you also got a copy to play on PC.
One game that is sure to feature on LAG’s playlist is Forza Horizon 4. The series has enjoyed a lot of hours played across both the Forza Motorsport and Forza Horizon series. Forza Horizon 4 is set in Britain this time around and that was evident from the footage showing thatched cottages, winding country roads around lakes and high speed chases through Edinburgh. The game will feature four seasons – summer is bound to last just a few minutes if its a realistic British summer and the trailer also showed a frozen lake that gave access to previously unreachable locations. There is a new quick chat mode making matchmaking even easier and a 60FPS mode to keep everything looking super slick in 4K. The game launches October 2nd 2018 and will be including in Microsoft’s Game PAss service on the day of release so you might want to consider your pre-order if you intend to pick up a few more first party titles shown during the show.
Its pretty fair to say PlayerUnknowns Battlegrounds or PUBG as its known has taken the gaming world by storm – its certainly heavily played by the members here at LAG, it would also be fair to say the XBOX version didn’t have the best of starts when upon launch it ran really quite poorly even on the XBOX One X. The developers have not given up though and through a series of updates the game has gone from strength to strength adding new maps on PC and now XBOX One recently with the addition of Miramar. This summer see’s the addition of Sanhok which is currently in testing on the PC and due for its final release soon. PUBG will also get a ‘War Mode’ which parachutes players into a much smaller space and makes the action more instant and more intense. Towards the end of the trailer you get to see the new winter map thats in development that will be coming to the game later this year.
Following on from PUBG was a trailer for Division 2. The location for the sequel was leaked a few days ago online and this trailer confirmed that after New York the Division would be travelling to Washington D.C. The game looks better than ever and has come a long way from the originals launch which suffered from connection issues and gameplay bugs but was quickly polished into a really fun game. Powered by the Snow Drop engine the trailer starts off in what looks like a lush jungle only to open out into what looks to be some sort of botanical garden in Washington. The gameplay footage shows the team taking on a mission to get some needed meds held by a group holding station at a downed Air Force One. If you’ve played the Division the game mechanics will be very familiar and it looks to expand on the good position the series currently sits in.
We took a break from the non stop trailers for games to be told about Microsoft’s plans for its Game Pass service. Microsoft have been working on new algorithms to improve the Fast Start feature making it twice as fast as before. New games will also be entering the service with Halo Master Chief Edition being added later this year joining games such as Fallout 4, Elder Scrolls Online, The Division and Warhammer Vermintide 2. Microsoft also discussed their support for indie titles and enjoyed a lot of success with Cuphead last year and the game will get some new DLC in 2019.
Techland’s Dying Light 2 is a post apocalyptic survival game with parkour elements allowing players to quickly traverse the ruined city. Graphically it looked stunning and the developers discussed how decisions made by the players affect the people in the world around you. One example was where a deal was to be struck with a local gang who stockpiled much needed water. Given the choice you could murder the gang and distribute the water or strike your own deal and the affect of this was that as an economy built up around the water supplies feral gangs entereds the city making it more dangerous.
If thats not enough action for you then perhaps Just Cause 4 will be with more explosions, parachuting and general mayhem than ever before, if thats your thing the game launches on December 4th 2018.
Not content with just bringing a new Halo and Forza game to E3, Microsoft unveiled three new games based on another of their big hitting franchises – Gears of War. Gear of War Pop is a bubblehead style mobile game for iOS and Andoid and will launch some time in 2019 while a fully fledged sequel – Gear of War 5 (also tentatively dated as just 2019) see’s the team back from Gears 4. Also announced along with these titles was ‘Gears Tactics’ a turn based 4 man squad game very much in the mould of the old Warhammer and XCOM games which launches on PC next year.
Phil Spencer also discussed the next XBOX, we didn’t get any details or see anything but it was confirmation (as if any were needed) that Microsoft is already looking ahead at the next generation. Finally we saw Cyberpunk 2077 from CD Projekt Red.
You can watch the whole show again below