EliteGamer.com had previously claimed that a lot was riding on this particular E3. Although one dissenter had to shoot his mouth off by being less pessimistic for the ailing giant. Microsoft @ E3 leaned heavily on their usual bombast but they had a couple of games for show too.
According to Phil, saw 50 games, of which 18 were exclusive to Microsoft. The ‘exclusive’ part will surely incite debate over the meaning of the word since practically every title in this category is available to play on Windows 10. Microsoft probably don’t care; they get paid anyway.
Exclusive to Microsoft
Starting with impressive natural scenes being punctuated by Master Chief’s iconic helmet, we were introduced to Halo INFINITE…
We saw an impressive natural landscape that intrigued with its vagueness. Until space marines dropped a flare. Does this flare signal a co-op or MMO featuring the Chief? I dunno.
We were fed some more open-world clues via the sweeping vistas and speeding Warthog – but beyond that, it’s anyone’s guess. Halo INFINITE is based on the ‘Slipstream Engine’; interestingly, this is first time that a specific engine has been touted by Microsoft marketing.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
2015 tear-jerker Ori and the Blind Forest was a beautiful game and Ori and the Will of the Wisps seems no different.
There was little in the way of detail with a vague 2019 release date but the gameplay-esque trailer contained new worlds, new attacks and some impressive 2.5D visuals for us to chew on.
Terry Crews claims Crackdown 3 is big, a bit like himself and a skyscraper. His words.
When making more sense, he also hinted at an RPG system – promising us we could eventually jump 60-storey building.
Terry Crews talked of whipping his tank out and this mechanic should add some Ol’ Spice to the orgy of destruction that we have come to expect in a Crackdown sequel. The date hasn’t changed- we are still on for February 2019
Gears of War 5, Gears Tactics, Gears POP
Gears of War had three announcements in a breathless few minutes. The first was a bizarre Zing! POP crossover that is a non-specific ‘Android’ game, Gears POP! The cutesy image of Zing! dolls meeting the brutal, steroidal world of Gears off the shelf is a strange prospect. It should be interesting to see where it goes.
The second was a PC-exclusive turn-based RTS that looks part-Halo Wars, part-XCOM. Gears Tactics is set 12 years before the main series and what was shown was devoid of any recognisable characters.
Showing some gameplay was nice but the lack of solid date coupled with the ‘pre-alpha footage’ tag means Gears Tactics could be some way off.
The real meat of the Gear presentation was obviously Gears 5. Split between two fronts, players follow Kait Diaz around her hometown and the Capitol. We also learn that Kait’s Outsider ancestry and penchant for edgy, Locusty jewellry could be central to the plot.
Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds – New Maps, New Mode
One of the more divisive uses of the word ‘exclusive’, Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds had a stylised mix of running past pertinent info like release dates and snippets of in-game footage.
At least two new maps will drop. ‘Sanhok’ has already had its name and general vibe detailed and it has confirmed to be smaller than previous maps. This should lead to closer-quarters combat, bringing battle royale aficionados together more than ever. Sanhok is due on Xbox One this Summer.
The second map is pencilled in for Winter 2018, hopefully heralding a new age of parity with PC. Deathmatch-style ‘War Mode’ will also come to console PUBG this Summer. It really has come full-circle…
Forza Horizons 4
Based in Britain, FH4 is an open-world driving/racing game as usual. It is however, completely online now with everyone’s world synced up.
This massive multiplayer sync-up includes the new seasons which look to bring incredible immersive environmental effects as seen in the excellent Project Cars 2. We know that Forza Motorsport 7 features some impressive weather effects but the extent to which it transfers handling modifiers to the arcadier sister-series remains to be seen.
We saw the McLaren Senna in some live gameplay. There were other vehicles being given a runabout but the Senna stole the show. Forza Horizons 4 is set for a 2nd October 2018 release.
Sea of Thieves – Getting Stuff to Do
Two new DLCs will wash up on Sea of Thieves’ shores this year. Cursed Sails drops this July and sees our crew head to a new isle, likely inhabited by the accursed.
The second DLC looks a bit more interesting – it seems like an entirely different world, possibly a new map but it’s certainly an ancient evil. Or at least, according to the fortune teller…
Cuphead – DLC continues Charm Offensive
Infuriating-but-fair retro shooter Cuphead is getting its first add-on, Cuphead & the Delicious Last Course. In the DLC we are going to a new isle to be hammered by new bosses. A new piece of delph joins the 1930s-style duo.
Microsoft’s New Studios
Microsoft have partnered with or commandeered five studios.
Undead Labs, PlayGround Games, Ninja Theory, Compulsion Games. All of these are now under the Microsoft umbrella.
To help us digest this news we saw an exclusive trailer for We Happy Few from Compulsion Games. The PS4, Xbox and Windows 10 release is still slated for 10th August 2018 but Microsoft’s acquisition is certainly going to bring changes for the franchise going forward. Whether that is exclusive DLC for WHF or just exclusivity for the potential sequels remains to be seen.
Xbox Game Pass Gets a Buff
Microsoft continued their support for Game Pass announcing plans to help you play your titles “twice as fast”. Called ‘PlayFast’, games will presumably download in pieces and the touted MS AI is said to improve this service over time. I imagine it will choose to download multiplayer or single-player first depending on player habits.
Every single first-party title came with the reminder that they are available at launch on the service. Crackdown 3, Forza Horizons 4, Gears of War 5 and the upcoming Sea of Theives expansions are all signed up to coerce €9.99 a month from you.
We also had word of some titles of various levels of excitement – ESO Online, Fallout 4 and The Division are all available today
Halo: Master Chief Collection, Forza Horizons 3, Ashen and Vermintide will arrive on the service later this year.
SuperTodd Pops In
Todd Howard walked in for a small chat and dropped some good news for now and some for later.
Fallout 4 now on GamePass
Fallout 76 Exclusive Info
The probably more exciting news was that Fallout 76 will be a prequel set in the biggest open-world Fallout game yet. Four times bigger in fact. Set in West Virginia, FO76‘s trailer was crammed with details and some snippets about Vault 76.
Vault 76 was used as a control in the vault-wide experiments. A baseline to compare with the rest of the twisted-but-scientific Overseeing that happened elsewhere after the nuclear war.
Mulitplat Trailers – Best of
Devil May Cry 5
An action-packed trailer confirmed that Dante and Nero will fight together in DMC5. The Spring 2019 date seems a long way away but a robot arm and how it came to pass are juicy nuggets to find in such an early trailer.
The Division 2
Ubisoft chose Microsoft’s show to announce The Division 2. Following up their New York-based post-apocalyptic MMO shooter is a Washington D.C-based one. We were shown far less urban environments.
A heavily-stylised gameplay trailer showed some team-work complete with rehearsed dialogue showed the outskirts of an urban area reclaimed by nature along with refined looting and what looks like a Christmassy setting.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider
Lara’s ‘timed-exclusivity’ seem to be behind her but her artefact-pinching days continue. In an eventually-fast-paced trailer, we saw Lara almost literally herald the end of the world by pinching one artefact too many. A Mayan sword proving too tempting for the Brit this time.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider launches on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC on September 14 2018.
Just Cause 4
As a big fan of harbinger of democracy, Rico Rodriguez, it was easy for this games writer to get excited by the sight of his destructive power.
The trailer is just a supercut of Rico, explosions, Rico again and some more explosions. Details that stood out include ‘fighting a tornado’ and a December 2nd release date.