Microsoft’s E3 2018 press conference has come and gone and left behind a massive list of games to look forward to in the coming years. From exclusives, of which they announced a great many of, several world premieres, and some additional content that we’ve all been waiting for. It’s a long list and I don’t want to waste your time, so let us begin.
Microsoft started off strong with this E3 presentation, starting off with “Halo Infinite”, now running on the Slipspace engine. Giving us a glimpse of the iconic Halo ring, Microsoft promises to the viewer that “Halo: Infinite” will be Master Chief’s greatest adventure yet, in which he will save all of humanity.
Some time was also spent talking to the audience about the Gamers Outreach project, a charity that provides game consoles and games to sick children in hospitals so that they can enjoy games they otherwise wouldn’t be able to, given their conditions. It was a very nice gesture, and frankly, it’s a cause I can definitely get behind.
As a transition, Spencer talked about games as the great unifier, bringing people together of all kinds from all places. He then promises that in the upcoming year, there will be fifty games coming to the Xbox One, including 50 games, 18 exclusives to be shown in the presentation, and fifteen world premieres.
The first game we get a very good look at is an exclusive, “Ori and the Will of the Wisps”, an artsy platformer with impressive visuals and amazing color design. It appears to be a much stronger, better looking version of its predecessor, showing the dedication that comes from the indie scene.
Following the forested world of the Ori games, we get our look at From Software’s “Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice”, a game that we previously only got a short look at. The game seems to be more aggressive than some of From Software’s more recent games, as attacks are bigger and the gameplay is faster than the Souls games that I’m familiar with outside of “Bloodborne”.
“Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice” showed off some Japanese-inspired environments with some pretty impressive eastern weapons, the game seems promising enough, and getting back into the action seems to be quicker, as the player dies in the gameplay trailer only to immediately stand back up. However, whatever was lost in that death is currently unknown.
For the next announcement, the Lord and Savior Todd Howard ascends to the stage to tell us a little bit about “Fallout 76“. Calling it a prequel to the previous Fallout games, the game starts with the player being among the first to leave the vault and enter a wide unknown.
The game is said to be 4x larger than “Fallout 4” and the video that went along with it shows off some unknown mutated creatures and vast landscapes. As impressive as that might be though, it remains to be seen how great (or not great) the game will be. Nevertheless, we will know for sure once “Fallout 76” launches in November of this year.
Next up, we got another world premiere, this one from Don’t Nod. A game set in the “Life is Strange” universe, we get a game—”The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit“—that seems to be about a child’s imagination, as a possibly malnourished if not sick child is playing with toys and pretending to be a superhero, often switching over to what he’s imagining for interesting effect. Cool stuff, but there is not much can be said about “The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit” (at least not for now), the game seems to be neat, but not personally my cup of tea.
Next up we got a game that we’ve been waiting to hear from for a while, and out of nowhere “Crackdown 3” shows up just to remind us that the game is still being worked on. The trailer itself is nothing too crazy. It’s high-impact action and neat destruction, but all-in-all.
Sure, it’s nothing new to what we’ve seen from the game in the past. There is one new thing to be said though, because we did find out that the game is coming to Xbox One and PC in February next year.
The following game is one that didn’t deserve to be at this release and seemed to be there to buff up the presentation. “NieR: Automata: Become as Gods Edition” will be releasing in June. As much as I love the game, this isn’t really an announcement that needed to be made at E3 since it’s a game that has been around for a while, and time should have been spent on the new games.
The next game, however, more than deserved to be showed at E3 2018. I’m talking about 4A Games “Metro: Exodus”, and it sure got its time in the light, showing off gunplay action in an outside environment. I don’t personally know much about the series itself, though the trailer was interesting enough, giving us the release date has been set to the 22nd of February, 2019.
A quarter way through the presentation, we got a look at Kingdom Hearts 3’s Frozen level, as well as the interesting plot twist that Aqua has now fallen into darkness given the time between the 2.8 game and now. Though this trailer was slightly off-putting as the music was playing, but there were no sound effects.
It made it weird to watch, honestly. We also get to see levels from “Tangled”, “Wreck it Ralph”, “Monster’s Inc”, “Hercules”, and the new-and-improved Gummi system. Finally giving us what we wanted was a release date, set to release in January 2019.
Next up, we have not one, but two DLCs for the Xbox exclusive “Sea of Thieves”, titled “Cursed Sales” and “Forsaken Shores”. However, not much was shown regarding these two DLCs, but we have a release date, July and September for the two.
After that DICE and EA show cased a brand-new story trailer for “Battlefield V”, in which we get to see clips from the single player campaign, but not much is actually known for sure outside of the fact that the protagonist is separated from another character and falls into the waters below.
Moving on. For once, Microsoft elected not to bring a car to their reveal of the new “Forza” game, something I was personally happy about. The new Forza game, “Forza Horizon 4”, which showcased a variety of environments, dynamic seasons, an open world, and takes place in a world where every car is another player. The game is set to release October 2nd of this year, and is available on Xbox Game Pass.
Microsoft then took an intermission to talk about Microsoft Studios, and how in order to produce quality content, they’ve brought in the likes of Undead Labs, Compulsion Games, Ninja Theory, Playground Games, and they’ve created a new studio called The Initiative. All of which will be working to produce games under Microsoft. I guess they couldn’t risk Ninja Theory making another “Senua’s Sacrifice”.
Back into the games, we got some story details of “We Happy Few”, which shows an unseen figure becoming more concerned with the state of the people, all while being encouraged to go the way of everyone else and wear the mask and take the pill. The full release date will be August 10th, 2018.
So, what next? Well, “PUBG” received a new trailer for Xbox One, showing off war modes, new environments, new ways to play, and more. Most which personally, I would have expected at its premiere release.
For JRPG fans, don’t worry, “Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition” has your back. Yes, the game is finally coming to the West this winter. So for those of you who’ve never played a “Tales” game, this might be a good place to start.
Moving back to the West, we received the World Premiere of “Tom Clancy’s The Division 2” (the game takes place during a Civil War in America, seven months after the events of the original game in the winter in New York City). “The Division 2” tells the story about a corrupt Washington, which has divided the nation. It also showed off some team gameplay featuring the most coordinated team that never exists on the planet.
Square Enix then showed off a trailer for “Shadow of the Tomb Raider” which shows Lara going into a Mayan tomb, taking a dagger, having a city become flooded, and cue montage of Tomb Raider scenes. We see explosions, taking out enemies, fighting big cats, and a number of things that are usual for Tomb Raider games, ending with a tag of “Become the Tomb Raider”, as we’ve seen from every “Tomb Raider” advertisement since Square’s reboot.
Following the “Shadow of the Tomb Raider” trailer was something that confused me. You see, I expected “Skate 4”, but instead, we have “Session”, which appears to be a skating/skateboarding game. Sadly enough though, there isn’t much that can be said about “Session” at the moment, but it’s there for those of you who’d like to know.
Following the “Session” trailer we get a look at “Black Desert”, a console exclusive MMORPG. It shows different areas of a massive fantasy world, including some mysterious black stone and the alter it rests on, telling us that the desert hides a secret. We see a scene of war and different large monsters, as well as a wide variety of spells.
Next was the game that I’ve been waiting years for. Yes, that’s right, “Devil May Cry 5” got a World Premiere at the conference. In the trailer, we see Nero riding in a van with his mechanic Nico on the way to take on some demons.
The demons have officially invaded the town of Red Grave and armed with the Red Queen sword, the Blue Rose gun, and the new Devil Breaker (a mechanical replacement to the Devil Bringer of DMC4), Nero plans to fight back against the mysterious figure that seems to lead them.
Since we last saw Nero, he has lost his arm, and seemingly Yamato, to a shadowy figure. The trailer shows off a few new tricks and combos, showcasing the different powers of the Devil Buster, and ends with an aged Dante riding on a motorcycle to show off that, yes, this is the return to the original series that longtime fans have been waiting for. The game is set to release Spring of next year.
Going back to exclusives, “Cuphead” is getting a DLC called “The Delicious Last Course” that features a new Island, bosses, charms, weapons, and now includes Ms. Chalice as a playable character. It’s set to release in 2019.
Up next we have an exclusive colorful game called “Tunic“, the game’s E3 trailer showed a fox character grabbing a sword and starting an adventure. It appears to be an isometric adventure game that spans many different environments. It’s very reminiscent of early “Zelda” games in its fighting style, but still very much its own thing. As cool as that may sound though, “Tunic” has no set release date as per the presentation.
Going into what appears to be an action/fighting game we have “Jump Force“. The game features characters from a variety of different shows such as Goku and Frieza from “Dragon Ball Z”, “Naruto”, and Monkey D. Luffy from “One Piece”. This game from Bandai Namco doesn’t have a lot of information released on it quite yet, but it has fantastic scenes of the characters going all out to fight against Frieza, ending on a strange shot of two noncombatants, Light Yagami and Ryuk from “Death Note”.
Well, I don’t know about you, but I enjoyed the trailer, and “Jump Force” looks very cool and truly promising so for. That’s also why I’m really looking forward to its release in 2019.
Getting close to the end, we have “Dying Light 2“, which shows off a functioning ecosystem, and we learn that the protagonist exists in a world with a number of factions including one called the Peacekeepers, though that seems to be in name only, as the scenes shown include taking on a number of human enemies.
Chris Avellone made it very clear that the choices that you make in “Dying Light 2” will determine what happens in the game and will change the experience. So with that fresh in mind, my main hope for the game is that the choices are actually meaningful, though since Chris Avellone is involved, I’m sure it’ll turn out well.
We also get the world premiere exclusive announcement of a new game in progress, “Battletoads”. Finally, we can call GameStop and they will, in fact, have “Battletoads” in stock. The game promises body morphing genre mash-ups, three player couch co-op, and 4K Hand-Drawn 2.5D graphics. The game is to release next year.
We get our first look at “Just Cause 4”, which shows a large world, tons of destructibles, and many ways to play. We get vehicles, tons of guns, a glider, and everything else you can expect from a Just Cause game. The game is set to release December 4th of this year.
One of the big titles everyone’s been waiting for, “Gears of War”, starts off with an announcement for Pop figures (everyone thought that the announcement was for GOW5 as soon as the GOW logo popped up, but no…), which will release next year, a tactics game called simply Gears Tactics, and the announcement for the new main series game, “Gears of War 5”, stylized as “Gears 5”.
GOW5’s trailer starts off with an emotional moment of a soldier getting killed, and a female soldier (Kait) needing to do something about their current situation. Another soldier is asked to watch out for her, and we get to see our look at the frozen world, some pretty well-designed enemies, weapons, one looking similar to that of the first enemy showcased, and it seems weird, but there’s no cover shooting to be found in the trailer despite the game being known for perfecting cover shooting.
Lastly, Microsoft wraps up their conference with the world premiere of “Cyberpunk 2077“. Having the most stylish intro with the creators seemingly hacking the conference to premiere the game, we get to see a little bit about the city. So we soon learn that the city in which the game takes place is the worst place in the country given its long list of problems.
Nevertheless, the “Cyberpunk 2077” E3 2018 trailer doesn’t give us much of an understanding about what the game is about, but we get to see a lot of how the world works, including cyberpunk rednecks, something of which I never thought I’d want to see.
There was also a segment MS E3 conference about the Microsoft Game Pass, for which many of these games are connected to. As far as I can tell, it’s sort of a Netflix for video games for which you pay for with a monthly subscription.
Well, that’s a wrap people, because that was everything that the Microsoft Conference had to offer at E3 this year. Personally, I was pretty impressed, but for the wrong reasons. You see, the problem that I have always had with Microsoft was their lack of exclusives, and this conference was mostly world premieres of games that are coming out for every system.
I mean, don’t get me wrong now. Because it’s not that what they had wasn’t impressive, because it was, but it seemed to me that a lot of the world premieres were mostly there to pad out the run time of the conference. Even then, I would have to say that they had one of the most impressive conferences of this year, so I can give them that much.
So, all in all, I have to say that Microsoft did really well with their E3 conference.
Entertainment Value: 3/5
Verdict: 3.5/5 (C+)
A lot of the conference was back to back to back bombardment of everything that they could throw at us. Which does, in fact, include a lot of stuff people wanted. However, a lot of content shown could have been shown at another time to allow them to focus on the titles that people really wanted. “Gears 5”, “Halo Infinite”, and many other games that could have used more focus could have more time dedicated to them instead of having us being bombarded back to back with other games that we have little information for.
Sony had the opposite problem, but I’ll be getting to them in a minute. The games Microsoft showed off were great, even if the majority of them were games that they didn’t own. There were more surprises than I expected, but mostly because they were coming from Microsoft instead of Sony or other conferences, which doesn’t make for the greatest surprise when you halfway expected them anyways.
That being said, this is probably my favorite conference from Microsoft in recent memory, though that can only speak for so much. My final verdict on Microsoft: Impressive, but next time, please don’t overextend yourself MS.
Robin Ek – Editor and co-writer.
This is a personal opinion of the writer, and it doesn’t necessarily represent the other writers (nor The Gaming Ground´s) opinions.
I’m not a fan of Microsoft and prefer Sony. That said, I was as objective as possible, and believe that Microsoft had a much better presentation than Sony.
The Gaming Ground
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