Microsoft began their conference not only with a booming announcer, but also with the reveal and first CGI trailer for Halo Infinite, the newest title in the beloved shooter franchise. Microsoft apparently heard loud and clear that players were not best pleased with how little time was spent with Master Chief in Halo 5 Guardians, and as such the game will focus on Master Chief and where his story leads after Guardians. The Slipspace engine that it supposedly runs on is a big selling point here, as it was created purely for Halo Infinite. The release date is yet to be announced.
After his own booming introduction the Head of Xbox Phil Spencer comes on stage to the audience repeatedly chanting his name. He gives a small speech about the closeness of the gaming community and how 100% of the proceeds from Xbox’s Game Pass go to children’s hospital charities, allowing those children the opportunity to game with their friends. Phil also announced there would be a whopping 50 games shown at their conference this year.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
Very similar to its predecessor Ori and the Blind Forest, this appears to be a Metroidvania style platformer with incredible graphics and a heart-wrenching story, despite the apparent lack of dialogue. Not much else was shown that wasn’t already in the first game, as a large focus on platforming and puzzle solving seems to be a centralised theme. Releases in 2019 for Xbox One and Windows.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
Shadows Die Twice was the tagline that was revealed at The Game Awards last winter, and considering it was from the Dark Souls developers, people immediately assumed it was Bloodborne 2. Today they were proven wrong however, as what we got essentially appears to be Nioh all over again. Not actually joking; it’s a Souls style game from the same developers with an ancient, perhaps Feudal, Japenese setting. Combat seems largely the same as any Souls game, but instead of horrific nightmare-inducing monsters to fight we seem to be facing slightly larger than average sumos and samurai. Published by Activision. Release date TBA but we know it’s “early 2019”. Available on both Xbox One and PS4 as well as PC. Remember: NOT Nioh 2.
Todd Howard made a surprise debut here at Microsoft. Strangely we hear about Fallout: 76, which has been the target for much speculation so far, at the Microsoft conference as oppose to Bethesda’s own one that takes place a few hours later. We know this is a prequel to all other Fallout games, as from the trailer it appears to take place both before and after the nuclear war. We even get to see a fully functioning and definitely not blown up White House, so we speculate that the outbreak of the war is the focus of the game. The game is apparently four times the size of Fallout 4, and from some of the enormous set pieces we see in the trailer this is easy to believe. Vault 76 may be the first vault as a character in the trailer, (looks like the President, don’t quote me though), talks about how proud they are of building a vault at all. The game is predominantly set in the wastelands of Virginia. It looks and plays almost exaclty like other recent Fallout titles, my bet is that they’re once again using the Creation engine which mostly stymies the hopes for ESVI. The release date has yet to be announced.
The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit
Fans of Life is Strange rejoice, Square Enix and Dontnod have another game on the way that is set in the Life is Strange universe. This is a totally free game - yes free, you don’t have to own Life is Strange or Before the Storm - which follows a young boy and his father, (currently unnamed), and the game seems to mostly revolve around the boy’s imagination and the stories he creates so easily. We know that his mother has passed away, and that he is an outcast at his school, but he simply wants to change the world. As of yet we don’t know how this will relate to the Life is Strange games or if any of the characters will make an appearance. Honestly such a wholesome looking game, definitely set to evoke a huge amount of emotion like the other games do. Available to download starting June 26th.
A full third-person shooter with superhero-esque gameplay elements, honestly brings to mind Saints Row IV in terms of gameplay and aesthetic. It’s a futuristic setting to be sure, with clothing, guns, vehicles and architecture all looking quite outlandish. Not only is the playable character voiced by Terry Crews, he straight up IS Terry Crews, through his personality and even down to his facial features in game. Genuinely thought I saw the game name spelt with a “K” at the beginning but Google results say otherwise. There obviously have been other Crackdowns and this one is supposedly a sequel to those. The game is released for Xbox One and Windows in February 2019.
Simply an Xbox One port at last, nothing else seems to be different.
Following on from other Metro games, Exodus seems to take place in a dystopian future in Russia following some kind of disaster, (Metro experts can fill in that gap). Like the others it is primarily an FPS, with what seems to be a large focus on gun customisation. Enemy types will range from infected humans - so basically zombies - a cult of human fanatics all armed to the teeth and a probably a fair few other grossly mutated creatures, (in the trailer alone we saw what seemed to be an enormous fish with alligator-like-teeth attacking the player on a boat. The game will launch for PS4, Xbox One and Windows on February 22nd 2019, notably the same day as BioWare’s new IP Anthem.
Phil Spencer makes a return, talking about why he loves the new Metro so far, and he guarantees that developer’s games will play best on Xbox One.
Kingdom Hearts 3 (for some reason)
Out of nowhere he announces that Kingdom Hearts 3 is coming to Xbox One. For those who don’t know why, this is a huge deal as it’s the first time Xbox has ever had a Kingdom Hearts game at all. Apparently they couldn’t even wait for the Square Enix conference to show off some of the new gameplay they had, as a simple announcement would’ve been enough. We saw a fair amount from the new Frozen world and heard quite a lot from the characters that originate there. We also saw a bit more gameplay from the Toy Story world and some more new areas from Wreck-It-Ralph, Tangled and Monsters Inc. Summons are back from the looks of it, as Sora calls forth a fiery Simba from The Lion King. Other beloved characters and features make a return, like Hercules and the Gummi Ship, (okay maybe not all the features are loved). Organization 13 are back, potentially with new members, and if I’m not mistaken even Rikku makes an appearance. And right at the end of the trailer Mickey Mouse appears at last alongside Aqua, who is looking decidedly more edgy since we last saw her. So now we know at least that Birth By Sleep was worth playing. Kingdom Hearts 3 will release for PS4 and Xbox One on January 29th 2019
Sea of Thieves
Two more gameplay expansions are set to come to Sea of Thieves following the Hungering Deep’s success, (and probably the base game’s emptiness). The two new updates that are on their way are called Cursed Sails and Forsaken Shores. The trailer did not show much in the form of gameplay, but we know we have skeleton crews and ghost ships on the way which is always fun. Definitely more side story content, as the Hungering Deep was.
A bit more insight into the single player campaigns which seem to focus more on singular characters. Single player is called “War Stories”. Nothing else new after the EA conference before it.
Forza Horizon 4
The newest Forza Horizon has obviously been highly anticipated, and it appears to have delivered. First of all the game is set in a seamless open-world version of sunny Britain, so transitioning from single player into multiplayer is as easy as can be. Set pieces range from open countryside to snowy mountains so this will offer some interesting gameplay developments. Obviously the game is super impressive graphically speaking. There will be dynamic time of day, weather and season rotations for every player in the game, no matter where they are. The different weather and seasons allow access to different areas and change how the game is played. There’s even a quick chat feature on the D-pad, allowing us an easy way to make new friends. Global events are signalled by the arrival of blimps and the like for every in game player. Xbox One X actually has a 60 FPS mode which is nice, especially for a game that looks this good. The game drops on October 2nd for Xbox One and Windows and will be included in Xbox Game Pass on the same day.
Phil Spencer returns to talk about the five new development studios that Microsoft has partnered up with, (otherwise known as bought out), as well as the brand new studio they’ve created with some of the world’s best game designers apparently. This Studio is known as the Initiative. The other studios that are part of Microsoft now include Undead Labs, Playground Games, Ninja Theory as well as Compulsion games, creators of We Happy Few. Speaking of...
We Happy Few
The game gets another story trailer before its full release. For those who don’t know it’s a first-person adventure/survival game set in England, very psychadelic and honestly quite creepy what with the smile masks and drug that makes everyone fake happy. A release date for August 10th is revealed for PS4, Xbox One and Windows.
The game is getting two separate content updates; one this summer and another one in the winter. The summer update includes a more tropical map from the looks of it, as well as a new game mode called “War Mode”. From the looks of it War Mode seems to be more of a Team Deathmatch style game than the Battle Royale PUBG is known for. All we got for the winter update is another new map, a snowy one surprise surprise. Footsteps in the snow in PUBG seems like a terrible idea but oh well. If only they could actually fix the netcode of the game so it worked properly.
Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition
Typical JRPG coming to Xbox One, “Definitive Edition” suggests all previous DLC and updates will be included in this version. Despite the reveal here stating “For the first time in the West” the original apparently existed on the Xbox 360 in the West, not sure what happened there. Perhaps Definitive Edition already exists in Japan. Bandai Namco revealed that the game is coming not only to Xbox One but also PS4, Windows and even Switch, (the more good JRPGs on the Switch the better), this winter.
The Division 2
Set near the capital of Washington DC after the fall of civilisation, the sequel seems to carry on from where the last game left off. Gameplay is perfectly similar to the previous game, third-person cover shooter with looting and a focus on teamplay here. Some new gadgets and other combat mechanics, not a whole lot though. Thanks to a different setting than the first game some of the set pieces are much more breathtaking than the first game could hope to envisage. We saw some gameplay of the characters accepting a side quest and engaging a group of enemies in combat, nothing too outlandish. I despise scripted E3 demos and that’s exactly what this was, at least the actors pretending to be the players weren’t as bad as some of the other stuff we’ve seen at E3 over the years. The game has a release date of March 19th 2019 for PS4 Xbox One and Windows, though in the same vein as the first game a Beta is being released, with the option to sign up for this available on the official website for all platforms.
Head of engineering at Gamepass Ashley Spiker, that may be how it was selt, comes on stage. She talks about how great it is that you can play all these games without having to choose with Gamepass. Fast start is a new feature that, funnily enough, starts games up to twice as fast with machine learning technology. It launches later this June for “select titles”. Halo the Master Chief Collection is coming as well as Forza Horizon 4 and Crackdown 3 as they release. They’re doing it for other games as well like Vermintide 2 and a few others. So Gamepass can play The Division, ESO and in Glorious HD starting now. Looks like there’s a fair few games that are supported here, a few too many to keep up with.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider
Some Shadow of the Tomb Raider content came our way, as everyone should probably know by now it plays just like the other two but looks bloody amazing. The game has a Maiyan setting and features the typical Tomb Raider tropes of “Ancient Artifact that will Destroy the World” and “Evil Cult that attempts to murder Lara repeatedly”. Pre-ordering the “Croft Edition” gets you early access. Set pieces look incredible as always. A couple new combat mechanics, appears to have a heavier focus on stealth than the previous entries. Shadow of the Tomb Raider launches on September 14th this year for PS4 Xbox One and Windows.
All we know is that it’s a skateboarding game with an urban setting. That’s it, just an announcement.
The MMORPG that has been in early access for ages finally gets an Xbox One port. A medieval/fantasy setting complete with Dragons, Giants and sorcerers, everything you could ever want in an MMORPG. The beta for it begins this fall.
Devil May Cry 5
OOOHHHH YEEAAAH who hasn’t been waiting for this for God knows how long? Ever since DMC was such a mediocre experience. We only got a CGI trailer with a little bit of gameplay, an it seems to be more of exactly what we love from this series. Alongside the over-the-top combat Dante now seems to possess a bionic arm? That’s yet to be explained but it seems to be the source of some of his old powers as well, perhaps it’ll mean a bit more than we realise. Trying hard not to think about OTHER Capcom character with a bionic arm, Spencer. Maybe Dante’s arm is Trish reincarnated who knows? OKAY new DMC, that’s pretty exciting. Hope it’s not DMC reboot Dante but it looks like him, just with silver hair and a bionic arm? This arm seems to have some of his old powers built in. It’s just straight up Devil May Cry 5 so hopefully not the same as reboot Dante. The game will be released in Spring of 2019, presumably for everything.
Producer Matt Walker and Hideaki Itsuno the director from Capcom arrive on stage. Itsuno formally announces DMC 5 and then passes the speaking role off to Matt with a “English is hard, you do it”, what a likeable fellow. Itsuno also said that they’re very proud of the direction DMC 5 is going as they listened to fan feedback, so perhaps it’s really not gonna be reboot Dante after all.
Some more content for Cuphead was revealed in the form of new playable character Ms. Chalice, new levels, weapons and everything.
This looks great if you’ve ever played a top-down Zelda game, very similar to that in fact. The playable character is a fox in a green tunic, (again ala Link). Combat, puzzle-solving and dungeon crawling are the main draws here. Incredibly cute and artsy art style here, not much to not love really. Tunic is an Xbox One exclusive, but a release date has yet TBA.
Phil Spencer is back and tells us everything from here on out will be a world exclusive.
We only have a CGI trailer for this game so far, no actual gameplay. What we do know is that it’s a game featuring a crossover of Shonen Anime’s 3 biggest heroes in Son Goku, Naruto and Luffy. So basically it’s the worlds of Dragon Ball, Naruto and One Piece coming together for what we can only assume is an action game of some kind. We get all 3 of these main characters fighting Frieza from Dragon Ball but that’s about it. Release date is slated for 2019.
Dying Light 2
Fairly similar to the first game as it’s a zombie infested dystopian future setting, with most of the gameplay focused around first-person combat and parkour. The main difference in this game is the choices that you make and the missions you accept will actually change how the world evolves, leading to new experiences for every person that plays it from start. Other than that it seems basically the same as the first. A bleak world as it is, there doesn’t seem to be a “good ending” per say, so expect a fairly depressing ride here. No release date yet,but it is coming to PS4 Xbox One and Windows.
Nothing but an announcement and the promise of 3 player couch co-op. Nice to see this series back from the dead at least.
Just Cause 4
Not much was shown here, much more was detailed at the Square Enix conference. Just Cause 3 but they made sure to say it was harder, enemies are more of a threat to Rico. There are also tornadoes, and who doesn’t love a few natural disasters?
So it’s a Gears of War mobile game, but specifically the Pop Vinyl figures? We don’t know how it plays yet we only got a cutesy announcement trailer.
In simple terms, an XCOM game with a Gears of War skin. It doesn’t seem to have any special gameplay elements to set it apart from XCOM, except maybe enemy design which does look mighty good.
Gears of War 5
What everyone was waiting for after the Gears of War content started. The story of Gears of War is totally lost on me but I recognise at least one returning character, so it will in fact relate to the previous games. Gameplay looks largely the same, cover based third-person shooter. Enemy design is stand out for being cool but is absolutely terrifying frankly. The set pieces are also widely varied and look particularly good on Xbox One X. Gears of War 5 currently has a release date of 2019, naturally exclusive to Xbox One.
Phil makes one last return to talk about how great their conference was, and explains how their engineers are pursuing console quality gaming wherever you are, as well as teasing another upcoming console. Then suddenly, the lights flicker out, and on the screen someone’s console launches one last trailer…
We heard about this last year and it’s finally been revealed. We don’t know too much about what sort of game this is, but in a dystopian future it’s very clear that life will not be easy. Under what appears to be a totalitarian government survival seems difficult, so a shooter scenario is likely. Despite the first trailer we got so many years ago we had to wait a long damn time just for an announcement of this game from CD Projekt Red, and there’s still no semblance of any gameplay, but we shall wait with bated breath.