Gaming

E3 2019 Round Up – Microsoft

This year’s E3 was going to be an interesting one for Microsoft with a lot of expectations following from their announcements last year of acquired studios and upcoming products and services. How it played out was much of the things people expected (to a degree) bookended the overall presentation with the surprises sitting nicely in the middle. As a result there was a lot to see from start to finish.

  • Obsidian’s sci-fi RPG The Outer Worlds will also come to Game Pass when it releases on October 25 – unexpected seeing it is still a 2K published game. Good for Game Pass though!
  • Ninja Theory has a new 4v4 third person fighter called Bleeding Edge that’s very Borderlands in its presentation at first but takes the character designs a lot further into the wild direction. Alpha test scheduled for June 27.
  • Ori and the Will of the Wisps coming February 11 2020. Boss type battles played a big role in the trailer on show and they all look huge and it continues to be a very pretty game.
  • Minecraft Dungeons will be coming to Xbox in 2020 and supports 4 player local and online co-op. It’s almost a Diablo lite… maybe closer to Gauntlet even.
  • There was another trailer for Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order which confirmed details from yesterday’s demo. It continues to look like it’ll finally deliver on what players have wanted for a single player Star Wars game coming from the Disney/EA deal.
  • A new horror game called Blair Witch was a surprise. At first we thought it was Alan Wake with the use of flashlights in the beginning of the trailer but then it went a little into Resident Evil territory so it looks like it’s trying to take cues from some of the best.
  • Cyberpunk 2077 had another trailer with a reveal of a launch date of 16th of June 2020. The game also revealed that it includes a big cameo by none other than John Wick himself, Keanu Reeves (!). The crowd reaction summed up how everyone felt about that. This game will sell bucket loads.
  • Battletoads is really coming back in a 3 player brawler that ratchets up the cartoon factor which makes this feel like a natural upgrade to the original games.
  • Game Pass Ultimate which bundles Game Pass with Xbox Live Gold now extends to the recently announced Game Pass for PC. Microsoft offers a VERY decent redemption deal for players wanting to move from the existing Gold subscription to Game Pass which is great incentive to move across.
  • Microsoft Flight Simulator makes a return to PC and surprisingly Xbox too. For someone with an Xbox compatible flight stick this’ll be an easy purchase for me. If someone could spontaneously combust with joy I think Grocs might have judging by his reaction from the announcement!
  • Microsoft haven’t finished on the studio purchases and this was a bit unexpected with Double Fine now part of the Xbox Game Studios team. Amazing to think this has happened but there’s been quite a bit of history between the two dating all the way back to the original Psychonauts. Hopefully this also means that the console remasters of classic LucasArts games will finally appear on Xbox.
  • Lego Star Wars The Skywalker Saga will cover all three trilogies. Though I’m interested in playing more Lego Star Wars I wonder how much of the past movie stuff will be rehashing what they’ve already done well.
  • The time loop mechanic in 12 Minutes hasn’t been fully revealed in it’s neat trailer but the mature themed thriller might be a very intriguing experience.
  • Forza Horizon 4 will have a Lego themed expansion coming in less than a week’s time. Much like the song says everything WILL be awesome. 😉
  • Gears 5 will arrive on September 10 with Game Pass Ultimate holders getting in ten days earlier. Pre-orders can get their hands on a Terminator Dark Fate pack too. A tech test will arrive soon on July 17 followed by a Horde test on August 19. A new mode called Escape was also revealed that reminded me little of what Left4Dead might be like with its point to point travels also had the added pressure of a time limit… in this case from an encroaching cloud of toxin.
  • A new Elite Controller is coming that supports 3 profiles, has adjustable tension for the sticks, improved trigger locks, Bluetooth (finally!) and an internal rechargeable battery that charges from within the storage case. I’m a massive fan of the original version (it’s still my “go to” controller) so this sounds like everything you’d want from the next iteration.
  • Project xCloud, their streaming solution is on its way and attendees at E3 were going to be some of the first to see it in action. In addition to streaming from Microsoft’s cloud servers there will be an option to stream directly from your own console which sounds like an extension of the existing feature in the Xbox app but turning it into something closer to PlayStation’s RemotePlay feature.
  • Project Scarlett was officially unveiled in a manner similar to Scorpio which later became the Xbox One X. Not much more was revealed but to confirm that like the PlayStation 5 it’ll have an SSD too and that the intent will be to make load times less of a problem… xCloud could play into this too. There may be more surprises as the Xbox team seem proud of it being a custom design but we’ll need to wait on that.
  • Finally the show ended with a teaser for Halo Infinite, which didn’t give too much away except to show that the game might just be a bit of a looker when it ships as a Project Scarlett launch title.

They covered an awful lot here and you can’t fault the quality of the presentation. Still, there were a few of notable things missing such as what else Playground Games (Fable?), Rare (Perfect Dark?) or Turn 10 (Forza Motorsport 9?) are doing but if Halo Infinite is aiming to be a Scarlett launch title it seems likely that if any of those games exist they will be too. Not a peep from new studio The Initiative either.

Plenty more in the presentation not covered here including a pile of ID@Xbox titles, Wasteland 3, a new game in Bandai Namco’s Tales series and a localised Phantasy Star Online 2. All up there were 60 games including 14 from Xbox Game Studios so there was bound to be something here for everyone.

The full presentation is below – you’ll want to jump ahead to the 25 minute mark and get to the meat of it.

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