E3 2018 kicked off to a good start with the EA press conference, and Microsoft seeks to keep up the trend. Known for holding one of the most lavish shows every year, this one’s no exception, with plenty of lightworks and surprise guests in store.
It’s grown to become a yearly affair for the team to reveal a new iteration of the Xbox, but that was absent from the line-up this time round. In its place is the Xbox Adaptive Controller that was announced prior to E3, alongside a whole slew of exciting titles – 50 games, 18 exclusives, and 15 world premieres in total.
Here’s everything that was covered in the Microsoft press conference, right from their very own exclusives like Gears Of War 5 to the highly-anticipated trailer reveal of Kingdom Hearts 3. Knock yourselves out.
Word on the market is that a new Halo would be in the works, and Microsoft pulled no punches by revealing a beautiful short of Halo Infinite to kick off the show! Sporting beautiful visuals, Halo Infinite sees the return of Master Chief, teased by means of his iconic tactical helmet. Building upon the open-world shooter trend, it seems to be set in a vast environment, alongside the introduction of some never-before-seen vehicles.
Fallout is back, this time with a world that’s four times as big as the previous games, and set in West Virginia. Serving as the prequel to all Fallout games, it focuses on the mystery behind Vault 76, within a beautifully-crafted apocalyptic setting. Needless to say, this is the one to look out for, and the hype has never been stronger. A release date has yet to be confirmed, but pre-orders will be available from June 15, 2018 onwards, coolio!
Kingdom Hearts 3
13. Years. The time has come for Kingdom Hearts fans to dive back into the magical world of Sora and friends when it arrives January 29, 2019! With plenty of new game mechanics in store, which includes the appearances of various Disney characters like Ralph from Wreck-It-Ralph and Frozen’s Elsa, one can certainly look forward to a fun adventure layered with a deep narrative. Judging from Sora’s exclamation that he “won’t let her fall to darkness”, Kingdom Hearts 3 seems to be sticking to the roots of the series – friendship and love. The hype is strong, guys!
Taking on the fun spirit of the Crackdown series, we see Terry Crews jumping, shooting, and ramming through everything and anything. Filled with humour, insanity, and nonsensical hilarity (bonus: Terry Crew’s amusing shouting), players will definitely be in for a fun time. As said by Terry Crews in the trailer, “If you wanna get on my level, get on my jam” – and players can get to do so on Feburary 22, 2019. Oh, and if you need another initiative to play this? There’s a rubber duckie rocket launcher! Yes, really.
Devil May Cry 5
The reappearance of Dante and Nero, adrenaline-pumping action, and intense car chases – there’s plenty to look forward to the new Devil May Cry! 10 years after DmC4, Capcom’s new title now uses MoCam technology to ensure that the characters are as authentic as they can be. Touted by Capcom to be the “best game ever made”, it does look promising, although the change in character design may take a while to get used to. At the very least, it seems Nero’s vengeance is back in full force, as he goes on a mission to take revenge on the loss of his arm. See the twins back in action in Spring 2019!
Forza Horizon 4
A racing RPG, that’s what Forza Horizon 4 appears to be. Spanning over various environments such as sand dunes and city roads, the game’s set in Britain, boasting some interesting weather elements that cycle between rain and shine across dynamic seasons. It’s slick, smooth, and allows for seamless co-op play, so gear up for a thrilling ride on October 2, 2018.
Gritty visuals within ruined landscapes, Metro Exodus takes on a Snowpiercer-like style, bleak yet morbidly beautiful. In addition to weapons and customisation options, players are privy to zipline manoeuvring a la the Arkham series, as well as burning items with a lighter. Slated for release on February 22, 2019, it’s going to be the ultimate fight for the survival.
The Division 2
Bearing a very close resemblance to Far Cry 5, the long-awaited continuation of The Division transports the player into a post-chaotic world, where retaking the capitol serves as the main aim of the game. A look at the gameplay mechanics reveals them to be rather solid, with a party conquering a control point of Air Force One under smooth, fluid frames.
Dying Light 2
Post-apocalyptic games have always been popular in the gaming community, and Dying Light 2, successor of shooter Dying Light, is next to join the fray. What sets it apart, however, is its choice-based system a la Detroit: Become Human, in which players have to stand by their decisions and bear the consequences after. With a fluid parkour system that boasts natural movement, the game is more than apt for the implementation of stealth, adding a layer of thrill and danger. Let’s just hope that we won’t have to decide who lives and dies, because that’d certainly be a difficult choice to not only make but to live by as well.
Just Cause 4
As expected of the Just Cause franchise, its newest installment is filled with the same wanton destruction and nonsensical mayhem, which means great fun is in store, especially when fighting in a tornado is an exceedingly normal happening. Set for a December 4, 2018 launch, this is one game that certainly doesn’t take itself too seriously, making it the ideal choice for fun-seeking individuals.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider
The final instalment of the Tomb Raider origin trilogy sees a matured Lara Croft continue her treasure-hunting adventure, with extra doses of action, explosions, and puzzle-solving. Slick graphics, smooth motion, and a seemingly convincing story narrative – Shadow of the Tomb Raider looks set to be the perfect ending to a well-beloved series.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
First announced at E3 2017, Ori and the Will of the Wisp serves as the sequel to Metroidvania title Ori and the Blind Forest. Where the visuals were already gorgeous in the predecessor, this one further enhances them, overlayed with the signature blue-ish, warmer tint in all its glory. With puzzles in the way, it promises plenty of exploration and fun variety for players, making it a masterpiece to look out for. Besides, good environmental music is always a plus!
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
Samurais. Sword fights. Feudal lords. Sekiro Shadows: Die Twice comes as an unexpected entry, but it’s certainly not unwelcome. There’s plenty of dynamic fighting to go around, and with the implementation of what looks to be a deep and interesting lore. With seemingly hack-n-slash game mechanics, this should be a title worth the consideration of RPG players when it drops in 2019 – though a challenge is to be expected, given how the brains behind this game are the same ones for the Dark Souls series, FromSoftware.
The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit
Dontnod Entertainment’s Life is Strange was a delightful mix of realistic and time travel elements, but its next title The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit mainly focuses on a fantasy genre of sorts. Set in the same world as the former, the game follows a child’s imagination as he explores a world filled with a borrowed art style. It’s innocent fun with a creative narrative – but the best is definitely the sweet, sweet price of free when it releases on June 26, 2018!
Nier Automata: Become As Gods Edition
The critically-acclaimed Nier: Automata sees a new addition to its ranks – the Become As Gods Edition – with all DLCs in tow! Step back into the shoes of 2B and 9S on June 26, 2018, and relive the wonderful game design and gameplay experience once again.
Sea of Thieves DLC
Ahoy mates, two DLCs are on the shore for this pirate adventure! Titled Cursed Sails and Forsaken Shores, these two additions sees the introduction of dark lands, with plenty of fire and ash to boot. While the latter won’t be available till September 2018, the former will be released in June 2018.
The extended trailer of the Nordlys war story didn’t reveal much, but at least we got a deeper glimpse of the underlying narrative that features the series’ first-ever female protagonist.
We Happy Few
Finally, the post-apocalyptic, Bioshock-esque game has a new trailer, and it’s equally creepy and interesting at the same time. The music used is more than apt for the title – cheerful overtones covering up the darker side of things, making it the perfect representation of the world the game’s set in. Creepy, yet uniquely intriguing, We Happy Few appears to be well worth the wait, and has finally been confirmed to be released on August 10, 2018.
Tales of Vesperia Definitive Edition
The Tales series strikes back with another new instalment! Taking on an anime art style in the trailer, it goes back to the JRPG roots of the franchise, with the genre’s signature turn-based combat system and familiar faces. Fun times ahead!
Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds War Mode
The popular battle royale shooter looks set to welcome winter with various new content in store! A new map is in store for the game, featuring a snowy terrain, and for the first time, footprints in the snow.
Black Desert Online
The sandbox live-action MMORG heads over to Xbox, complete with combo chains, manual shooting, and sieges – it’s multiplayer galore!
Cuphead – The Delicious Last Course
Studio MDHR’s adorable and old-school masterpiece welcomes The Delicious Last Course DLC, where new isles, boss enemies, weapons, and charms await. It also introduces a third character into the line-up, Mrs Chalice, and it should be interesting to see what her abilities can bring to the table as 2019 hits!
Bandai Namco’s brand-new brawler is a dream come true for anime fans, featuring a mish-mash of popular characters from One Piece’s Luffy and Dragonball’s Goku to Naruto. Reminiscent of Marvel vs Capcom and Dragon Ball Fighterz, Jump Force is jam-packed with combo chains, special powers, and ultimate attacks. Kamehameha vs Rasengan, anyone?
First created in 1991, Battletoads more or less fell off the grid as time passed – until now. Decked out in hand-drawn graphics, the game will include three-player couch co-op, alongside the bonus serving of snark and casual fun, so do keep a lookout for its release in 2019!
As a collaboration with Funko, Rod Fergusson from The Coalition revealed a new mobile game set in the Gears Of War universe. While no other details were revealed, we can help but fall in love with the lovable Funko POPs brought to live on screen!
Imagine Zelda, but in the form of a tiny fox. Finji’s Tunic goes big on exploration, with ancient ruins to uncover, monsters to fight, and mysterious secrets to unravel. In a world that’s overwhelmingly huge, being a small animal can be rather intimidating, but the beautiful graphics makes everything feel more spirited and carefree. A keeper of the indie genre, this is.
A new turn-based strategy game set 12 years before the events of the original Gears Of War, Gears Tactics is The Coalition’s take on the genre, with a character-driven story. Tactics is made for PC and it reminds us of XCOM based on the short amount of gameplay that was in the trailer. Fans of the Gears franchise and strategy games rejoice!
You will play as Kait from Gears 4, and after a rescue operation gone wrong, leave your squad behind and search for answers. The game looks to be more focused on story and exploration, and we see less squad-based combat in comparison to previous Gears titles.
It is supposed to be the “most beautiful Gears ever created” and we do hope so. There was no official release date, but we can expect the game to be released sometime in 2019.
With a new mobile, PC and Xbox game lined up for Gears Of War, Microsoft is looking to make this their new Halo.
Closing off the show is the grand reveal of the highly-anticipated Cyberpunk 2077, and boy, does it look fantastic! It has a style that’s reminiscent of Watch Dogs, with vibrant colours and cool sci-fi elements aplenty. Here’s an idea of what to expect: people with implants, a rebellion against organic material, and a special defence force called Psycho Squad. Really, really great stuff.
Xbox head, Phil Spencer took the opportunity to renew Microsoft’s committment to Xbox and gaming. This is a strong show of confidence in a time where Playstation looked unstoppable leading up to this year’s E3.
A total of 18 new exclusives were announced today, which could be what Microsoft needs to invigorate the Xbox ecosystem.
To further increase their capabilities in gaming, Microsoft announced the acquisition of 4 new studios; Undead Labs, Playground Games, Ninja Theory and Compulsion Games, and the creation of a new one, The Initiative.
Xbox also pledged support for indie games, through their Xbox Game Pass, where it would be now easier for indie developers to get their games listed and reach out the the large subscriber base it has.
The development of the next generation Xbox console is also in the works, but we did not get any details so far. Keep an eye out for announcements perhaps later in the year.
That wraps up the entire presentation from Microsoft! It’s good to see that Kingdom Hearts 3 is finally happening, although more of that will come later during Square Enix’s session. As usual, exclusivity is the name of the game for the console market, and it’s certainly worth keeping an eye out for the more interesting titles heading to Xbox, such as Gears of Wars 5 and Crackdown 3. Following this, Bethesda is next in the line-up to show off what they’ve got, so stay tuned to our coverage then!
Si Jia is a casual geek at heart – or as casual as someone with Sephiroth’s theme on her Spotify playlist can get. A fan of movies, games, and Japanese culture, Si Jia’s greatest weakness is the Steam Summer Sale. Or any Steam sale, really.