Another year, another E3. The annual event is upon us again, with each showcase promising to deliver a host of juicy gaming content. While a separate affair, yesterday’s live stream of EA Play has helped to set the tone and pace for the main show – and the pressure was on Microsoft to get the show floor off to a great, roaring start.
The team’s efforts look to have paid off, following a whole spate of world premiere trailers from Xbox-exclusive titles (as previously announced), surprise reveals, a new console announcement, information about future development, and then some. There was no shortage of buzz to go around, and the usual lavish stage action only served to project the team’s presence.
Knock yourself out on all the gaming goodness that took place over at Microsoft’s showcase, for we are trailing down the recap route.
Project Scarlett And Halo – A Deadly Combination
Microsoft’s much talked-about Project Scarlett has finally been unveiled in official capacity, and Xbox enthusiasts can expect a host of new and improved features in tow.
As the team’s most impressive console, it’s said to be four times more powerful than its Xbox One X predecessor, with 120fps, 8K resolution, next-gen ray-tracing technology, and the use of SSD as a virtual RAM working together to deliver a seamless, enhanced gameplay experience.
Scheduled for launch in Holiday 2020, it will be accompanied by the likes of Halo Infinite, a Project Scarlett-exclusive that’s also slated to release within the same window. A new trailer on the show floor revealed nothing about gameplay mechanics, although it did provide a deeper glimpse into the in-game environment, realistic CGI effects, wide scenery shots, and all.
In the reel, Master Chief is seen floating unconscious in space, and is later brought back to life by a seemingly stranded UNSC soldier on a space ship. As it stands, not much lore has been detailed, and everything is still one big mystery – as it was before. Cortana’s line of “I chose you because you were special”, however, does seem to promise a lot more in store.
There’s a lot of action, lots of swearing, lots of grittiness, and…KEANU REEVES? It’s a good day to be a sci-fi fan, and there’s certainly plenty of that to go around. Set in the metropolis of the future where body modification is the norm, the story follows a protagonist outlaw, as chaos starts to unfold in the vast, open-world game fuelled by branching storyline. Get ready when 16 Apr 2020 arrives, for that’s when cities will be burned.
Undeniably one of the most anticipated titles of the showcase, Gears 5 has been revealed to be “going back to where it all began”, this time with a new female character taking the lead. As the main mission will revolve around discovering the origins of the Locust Army, fans can look forward to revelling in the adrenaline of smashing aliens and busting hives.
Additionally, the team also showed off a three-player co-op mode called Escape, described to be “aggressive and (with) high stakes”. It’s set for release on July 17, 2019, with the main game launching on September 10 – but that’s not all: each pre-order will yield players with a Terminator Dark Fate character pack, which comes at the cool, cool price of free.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
The EA Play 2019 live stream unveiled the world premiere trailer for Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order yesterday, but it appears there’s still more to show. The two-minute trailer showed off the prowess of young Jedi Cal, as he takes on AT-AT walkers through the whole maneuver of cockpit infiltration, knocking out the pilots, and hopping on to control the metal titan himself
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order arrives on November 15, 2019.
The worlds of Lord of the Rings and Dark Souls have collided, and Elden Ring is the result. Described to be a “FormSoftware title through and through”, the fantasy game is bound to come with hard-as-nails combat in tow, alongside an open-world concept and boss monsters of varying uniqueness. Nothing of significance has been unveiled in the trailer, but the broken magical Elden Ring serves to be the heart of the narrative. With the combined minds of George R.R Martin and FromSoftware, this is surely a project of note.
Scheduled for launch on September 13, 2019, the newest Borderlands 3 reel amps up the chaos and insanity meter, showcasing plenty of shooting glory and high-octane action. Mayhem is coming, indeed.
Dying Light 2
Undead, chaos, and survival action galore! Dying Light is all geared up for a return with an Infected driving the narrative, and will drop in Spring 2020 for Xbox One, PS4, and PC.
Age of Empires II Definitive Edition
Age of Empire II is bigger, better, and stronger than ever before. Apart from conquering factions in 4K, players can also get to experience fully-remastered audio and a new campaign when the Definitive Edition launches on Fall 2019.
Microsoft Flight Simulator
Spectacular city landscapes and detailed environments is the name of the game for Microsoft Flight Simulator, as the game takes to the skies in 4K glory, courtesy of Microsoft’s Azure cloud artificial intelligence.
Forza Horizon 4
Put on your seatbelts, as Forza Horizon 4 is set to get a lot more goofier on June 13. With the Lego Speed Champion expansion, the racing world has been invaded by many, many building bricks that have replaced the original architecture.
The Outer Worlds
Following last year’s debut, Obsidian Entertainment’s Outer Worlds started the showcase off with a startingly bang. Highly reminiscent of the Borderlands formula, the game sports brilliant visuals against a seemingly open space backdrop, where dangers lurk in darkness…or people themselves, who can either be a “villain, hero, or psychopath”. The sense of eeriness and discomfort that come with the dystopian setting is but a plus. A big plus, in fact – we’re stoked for this.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
A date has finally been set aside for the release of the wonderful world that is Ori and the Will of the Wisps. Come February 11, 2020, players will once again be able to dive back into Metroidvania goodness, alongside new bosses, NPCs, and movement mechanics.
This one’s for the horror fans. The Blair Witch trailer sports some modern elements that would easily blend into today’s horror landscape, and actually does a good job at inciting uneasiness – upon first impressions, at least. There’s not much to go on, although its August 30, 2019 launch date probably means that more information will very soon be announced down the road.
Dragonball Z: Kakarot
Screaming is aplenty in Dragonball Z: Kakarot, which is actually rather characteristic of the anime. Set to revolve around the Saiyan saga to the final battle against Freiza, the game seems to feature support for 3D battles much like the Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm franchise, and will see the return of familiar faces like Gohan and Vegeta. It is primed for an early 2020 launch, and will be heading to Xbox One and PC.
Suit up, Raz! Psychonauts 2 sees the titular character squaring off against new bad guys at work, as the landscape progressively turns for the bizarre, Psychonauts-style.
Psychonauts 2 is slated for release sometime in 2019.
Phantasy Star Online 2
For the first time, Phantasy Star Online 2 will be heading over to the Western market. It’s about time, too – the title’s combat cross-play and JRPG elements have garnered plenty of fan response in Japan, and it’s only unfair the West is foreign to the experience. Spring 2020 will be the date to look out for.
Crossfire X is, very simply, a machine gun fest – though considering its war combat motif, that’s hardly surprising. Get ready to wreak havoc in tanks on onboardd warplanes when the title drops in 2020.
LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, all nine films of Star Wars have been repackaged as a LEGO game, including the latest additions Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Rise of the Skywalker. It’s as snarky as every LEGO title out there, and it’s set for a 2020 release.
From the creators of Minecraft comes Minecraft Dungeons, a which supports both 4-player local and co-op play. The dungeon crawler is primed for a Spring 2020 launch – a one-year delay after its planned 2019 release –, and is shaping up to be quite a fun title.
Tales of Arise
Another Tales title is in the pipeline! As with most installments in the franchise, the Tales of Arise trailer sports a strong sense of style and fashion, alongside breathtaking visuals, thrilling combat action, and many giant monsters. It’s been about three years since the last Tales game was released, so this sure makes for a nice surprise.
Snow everywhere. Wasteland 3 transports players to the cold, cold regions of Colorado, where big robots and concealed threats are laying in wait. Nothing much has been revealed as of yet, although a glimpse of the series’ signature grid-based combat system probably means that the title will retain existing elements, such as a branched narrative structure, as well as a choice-based mechanic.
Combining the elements of third-person shooter and competitive multiplayer comes Ninja Theory’s Bleeding Edge, where four-player teams take to the battlefield and duke it out. There seems to be a hint of Overwatch in the game – the roster features different heroes, each with varying skillsets – and the fun is set to arrive with an alpha release on July 27, 2019.
The intrigue is strong in 12 Minutes. With a story that follows a man who’s trapped in a time loop, this is one noteworthy indie title to keep an eye out for. Despite featuring a simple narrative and art style, the sharp intensity of the game can most certainly be felt, and that sure speaks volumes about its potential.
Way to the Woods
Deers and public transport seem like a very inconceivable pair, but adorable deer simulator Way to the Woods has made it work. Featuring crisp visuals and a heartwarming relationship between a mother and her child, it is expected to launch in 2020. Cuteness galore!
Spiritfarer is just wholesomeness all around. Taking on a gorgeous 2D animation style, the game tackles the theme of friendship and love, and will be coming to gamers sometime in 2020.
Rash, Pimple, and Zitz are back! The revamped three-player couch co-op game seems set to feature plenty of fun beat-em-up action and modern features, although a release date has yet to be announced.
Legend of Wright
If there’s one phrase to describe the first impressions of indie game Legend of Wright, it would be “glorious, glorious, stop-motion paper action. The amount of sheer effort put into the game is nothing short of impressive, and should make for an enjoyable play when it arrives to Xbox One in Spring 2020.
State of Decay 2: Heartland
State of Decay 2‘s largest expansion is now available. Players are set to face new dangers in the form of two different, separate paths, with them eventually converging to the same zombie-infested town. Misery sure loves company, huh.
A new Gears POP! cinematic promises more Funko Pop action against a humourous, fun backdrop.
Phew, that’s plenty of content to go through for the Microsoft showcase. In addition to the above, the industry giant has also unveiled further details and the complete games list for the Xbox Game Pass for PC – possibly the replacement of the existing Microsoft Store – as well as the announcement of a new Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2.
With this year’s press conference, the industry giant has most certainly outdone themselves. From a new console release to game reveal trailers, the team did a good job at covering all grounds, and the onus now falls on the remaining showcases to keep up the momentum. Next one on the list is Bethesda, so we’ll see you 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.