Microsoft’s E3 2018 Xbox media briefing has been one of the most promising of the last few years, as it was a combination of good things to come shortly and, finally, a longer-term project for the American platform owner’s future.
It’s been an action-packed press conference and one that has provided us with a strong message – after a few years spent in desperation, fans have now something to be happy about and that something is that Microsoft is putting its wealth at good use in gaming, too.
In making this quick “5 things to remember” list, I have to leave some of the most interesting topics out, but it’s worth noting that a new Devil May Cry game has just been announced and looks rather impressively similar to Scalebound, and Dying Light 2 is going all in with its new and branching story by Chris Avellone.
Crackdown 3 seems to have taken advantage of the delay, and of the new developer attached to the project instead of Cloudgine/Reagent (Elbow Rocket), while Forza Horizon 4 is pushing on the cooperative modes and introducing seasons in the new setting of Great Britain.
E3 2018 Xbox Media Briefing Review
So, without further ado, here are the five takeaways from the Microsoft’s E3 2018 Xbox media briefing.
Microsoft Studios Acquires Five New Developers
One of the issues lately with Microsoft, precisely after they shuttered most of their European studios like Lionhead and Press Play, is that it was lacking the creative force to build new intellectual properties, new games, new franchises. Until today.
Phil Spencer has indeed announced that Microsoft Studios is being joined by five new developers, which also feature former second party software houses Playground Games (also working on an unannounced open-world title) and Undead Labs.
There is the newly established The Initiative led by ex Crystal Dynamics’ Darrell Gallagher in Santa Monica, and just acquired Compulsion Games (Contrast, We Happy Few) and Ninja Theory (Enslaved, Heavenly Sword, DmC Devil May Cry, Hellblade).
Microsoft Studios now features 11 first party studios and, while the process of making new games will still take a while, it looks like there’s finally a bright future ahead for Xbox gamers who love single-player and compelling narrative based experiences.
Microsoft Has A Game Streaming Service And A New Xbox In The Making
As a final part of his speech, Phil Spencer has briefly mentioned a few things that are currently in the making at Microsoft, among which we can find a new game streaming service.
Back in the days, Electronic Arts’ Blake Jorgensen had already revealed that Microsoft had something like that in the works, but this is the first time the platform owner discusses that in public.
While it might take a couple more years for things to become more concrete, there’s something more to add on top of that, as Spencer has already pointed out there’s a new Xbox being developed at the R&D department.
That’s a way for Microsoft to say that Windows and cloud-based streaming stuff are concrete things they’re looking into, but that they’re not leaving the traditional console market and that they’re still going for the Xbox One X design, power and price target for the future.
It was a very short teaser, but one that fans all over the world have been waiting for so long. I don’t know precisely where the anticipation comes from, as the latest Halo entry, Halo 5: Guardians has only been released in 2015.
But still, there’s a lot of hope people has poured into this franchise in a moment where Xbox didn’t seem like it could be introducing exclusive content anymore. The teaser, as I said, was very short but came complete with a few very meaningful news.
First of all, the game is going to be available on PC Windows 10 and Xbox One since day one. It’s something that’s never happened in the history of the series and represents a moment of great change to it, but also one of a response to the feedback of the Halo Online community which was eager to have Halo content playable on PC.
On top of that, there are two more news which is relevant to the players: first, there’s a new engine called Slipspace, which has already shown what it’s capable of, with the 4K60 target really on hand now; second, Master Chief is going to be the sole protagonist, even though we don’t know what’s the position of the game on the series’ timeline yet.
Gears of War 5
Gears of War 5 represents the return of yet another, hugely beloved Xbox franchise. It was quite a given that it was in the making, but still, it comes as an element of highly requested novelty to the Xbox One entire software portfolio.
Interestingly, apart from the news of a new mainline Gears of War in the making, there are also a few more things to discuss. Kait is going to be the first female protagonist of the series, and in a scene of the gameplay trailer, she’s crying for the death of someone who could even be JD Fenix.
Anyway, we’re going to have multiple moments of “relief” when it comes to having a break from shooting, as seen in the gameplay trailer with sections on fancy vehicles and a bit of exploration, just to give some more breath to a usually action-packed franchise. And Marcus Fenix is going to be more in the game and in the story as the main companion.
Finally, there are two more Gears games in the making now. As rumored, one is a turn-based strategy title in the likes of XCOM and Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, simply called Gears Tactics, which is being built in cooperation between The Coalition and Splash Damage. The other isn’t a battle royale, but a mobile game called Gears Pop!
Wrapping it up, we have a quite surprising Cyberpunk 2077 gameplay trailer. It’s surprising for plenty reasons, among which we can find a cyberpunk game which looks more like a Ready Player One tie-in rather than a Blade Runner one, something that’s, again, quite surprising in my opinion.
Anyway, the core of the trailer was very, very cool. The whole clip had a Rockstar Games vibe in it, to a certain extent it looked like it was a Grand Theft Auto game set in a dystopic and falsely bright alternative future, which is something I really think is telling us how good has CD Projekt RED become over the last few years.
On top of that, the graphics were amazing. The trailer is said to have been built completely in the engine, so that is something we can expect to be watching, and playing, at least on the most powerful consoles around or on a good PC. Vehicles are seemingly going to be a part of it, too.
Sadly, it doesn’t come with a release date, nor even a launch window. CDPR hid an open letter in the trailer (somehow) where it states that it’s still planning to release the game “when it’s ready,” and that – among the other things – it features a tool to create our own character before we start the story.