E3 2018: Microsoft back in shape
Microsoft does not have it easy. Last year they came up with the Xbox One X the most powerful console to date that solves exactly zero of their problems. What would solve their problems is games for which you would like to bring in a Xbox . Microsoft has now (finally) realized that. During their press conference they showed a lot of games, with quite a few exclusives and a few wonderful surprises.
It started a little limp with a trailer (or actually teaser) of the new Halo game called Halo Infinite. And that was it. No release date, no gameplay. And that was also the worst in the entire presentation. Then came Ori and the Will of the Wisp, which looks great, just like the previous Ori games.
Do you remember the teaser of a new From Software game at The Game Awards last year? Who would have thought that we would learn more about that game during an Xbox presentation? And that that game would be issued by Activision?
Sekiro: Shadows That Twice seems to apply the well-known Souls gameplay in a samurai setting, like Nioh did before. Tight combat, dirty nasty enemies, everything you would want from a From game seems to be in it. The game will arrive somewhere in 2019 to Xbox, Playstation and PC.
The previously leaked game Fallout 76 has now also been unveiled. Exactly what kind of game it is exactly is not yet clear, but the trailer shows at least that the well-known fallout atmosphere is right.
A nice surprise was Life is Strange: The Adventures of Captain Spirit. A game that can be downloaded for free from 26 June and serves as an introduction to the universe where Life is Strange 2 is going to play. The trailer makes me fan of the previous Life is Strange games enthusiastic, and free of course is always good.
Of course there are also enough games that we already knew they are coming to, and a new trailer can then refresh the memory. Like with Metro: Exodus, which looks great again. Now hope that it is also beautiful during play. This game will appear on all platforms in February 2019.
For me less exciting: Crackdown 3. The trailer is full of explosions, and the game has – finally – scheduled a release in February 2019, but it’s not all that exciting. Hopefully it will play better.
It will be very busy at the start of 2019, because Kingdom Hearts 3 will come to Xbox and Playstation on January 29th. The Final Fantasy-meets-Disney game will make grateful use of the Frozen universe.
Exclusives and game pass
What Microsoft really needs is the exclusives. And there were enough of that too. This is how Forza Horizon 4 comes on October 2nd and it looks great again. Microsoft has also acquired a number of studios (including Ninja Theory, creators of the beautiful Hellblade ) in order to guarantee a constant stream of exclusive games.
Microsoft also continues to bet on their game pass program. Shortly through the curve: Netflix for games. You pay a fixed amount and you can download and play all games from the catalog. All new Microsoft games come directly into that catalog, and there is also extensive expansion with existing games.
Traditionally, there was also a short video in which an enormous number of games – mostly indies – flash past. Something for everyone!
A game that got its own trailer was Tunic. A super cool looking isometric Zelda-like game. We are really excited about it.
DLC for your favorite game
Microsoft also continues to support some of their games with DLC. This is how Sea of Thieves and Cuphead get new content. But the bigger surprise is that Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) gets a new mode called War Mode, which looks very hectic. This is of course not exclusive to Xbox. There will also be a new folder with snow to PUBG somewhere this winter.
Because who would not want Just Cause 4? Well, from December 4 you can start creating chaos on all platforms. Or how about The Division 2? It looks good again, the only question is whether the end-game content is in order this time. That is what we will know on March 15, 2019. And on September 14, the latest adventure of Lara Croft, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, is already out.
New new new!
Disappointed after the last Tony Hawk game? Still waiting for Skate 4? Well, Microsoft has a new skate game in development under the title Session.
Also announced without further details: Dying Light 2. The game world will change with the choices you make, which looks very cool. Furthermore, especially the open world game with free running that you are used to from the original.
All the Gears
Not one. Not two. No, three (!) Gears of War games have been announced. Well, now these are the first two spinoffs: Gears Pop (for iOS and Android) and Gears Tactics, an Xcom-like strategy game. Not that that can not be fun, but these two are not in the third Gears game that was announced:
Gears of War 5.
And if you thought Gears of War was always about broad-shouldered soldiers who went to shoot insects, this can be surprising too. It seems that they want to tell a somewhat more sensitive story – between shooting through insects, because it is and remains a Gears of War. We will be able to play in 2019.
It is already a complete list. Phil Spencer, head of the Xbox division, keeps his closing talk. We are happy. We were surprised and there are enough games to look forward to. Xbox has a decent line-up for the rest of 2018 and 2019. And that turns out not to be everything.
The punk in Cyberpunk 2077
The makers of the The Witcher games had already geteaset. And since then everyone has been craving even the smallest news about this game: Cyberpunk 2077. And no, we have not received a date. But what does it look cool. With such a closing, you can not help but admit that Microsoft has pulled everything out of the closet to put down a strong show. It will be very crazy if Sony (or Nintendo) goes over it.