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E3: Microsoft Coverage

With Microsoft’s conference now over, it’s time to continue our coverage of E3 this week. Let’s take a look at what we saw.

Halo Infinite 

The show opened up with our first look at 343 Industries’ next project; Halo Infinite. This was a game engine demonstration, and it looks like this will be a continuation of the main series as opposed to a spin-off, and we’ve got what looks to be a new art style too. We also saw quite a bit of wildlife in the trailer, which would be great to see in the final product.

Outside of that though we didn’t see much else. It’s clear that we won’t be seeing it’s release for quite some time, as the trailer only utilised in-engine footage and we didn’t get a release window for the game either.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps

Following this we were treated with another trailer for the latest Ori game which detailed the gameplay that we’ve grown to love. Ori and the Blind Forest remains as one of the Xbox One’s shining stars among a rather underwhelming exclusive line up, and Will of the Wisps looks like it’ll bring that same quality.

The game will release in 2019, and if past releases are any indication I’d expect to see it within the first half of the year.

Sekiro Shadows Die Twice

Next up we got at From Software’s latest title. From the looks of it, we’ll be getting a game that features the same souls-like gameplay that From Software have become known for. However, this time around it looks like the gameplay will be much faster, as we got to see the playable character utilise a grappling hook to get around and we also saw them lunge on top of an enemy for a takedown.

Sekiro Shadows Die Twice will release in 2019.

Fallout 76

Todd Howard was next up on stage to show off Fallout 76 for the first time. But before that, Todd talked up the strong relationship between Bethesda and Xbox. This will continue, as Fallout 4 will be making its way to Xbox Game Pass today.

Fallout 76 is a prequel to all of the other games and at four times the size of Fallout 4, it’s the biggest one yet. It’s set in the hills of West Virginia, your character is the first to emerge from the vault to find a wasteland unlike the one we’ve seen before.

The trailer showed off a number of locations in the game, and I thought it looked pretty good, much more interesting than the world of Fallout 4 as a matter of fact. This could be a different story upon release of course, but it’s a good sign for now. The trailer didn’t elaborate on the rumoured online aspects that the game supposedly has, but it’s definitely possible that we could get confirmation on that during Bethesda’s conference.

The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit

Square Enix and Dontnod Entertainment unveiled what looks to be a spin-off of the Life is Strange series, which is clearly using the same art style and engine. We’ll be in control of a young boy named Chris and it’ll be called The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit.

Surprisingly, the game will be available for free from June 26. Because of this I’m not expecting it to be a long experience, but it’s a great gesture from Square Enix and Dontnod Entertainment.

Crackdown 3

Crackdown came back for another appearance at E3. Terry Crews was back too, and the gameplay trailer showcased some of the tools that’ll be available to us when playing the game. This included guns as well as vehicles. It also showcased a bit of destruction too.

While I didn’t think it looked amazing by any means, I thought this was a much better showing for the game than the last few years. Let’s hope that this is a good sign for the game’s development cycle.

Unfortunately, we haven’t got an exact date but we do know that the game is currently scheduled to release in February 2019.

Nier: Automata Become as Gods Edition

Nier: Automata was arguably one of 2017’s great games that didn’t quite get as much attention as it deserved. Now, Nier is making its debut on Xbox One alongside all previous DLC that has been released.

Nier: Automata Become as Gods Edition will be available on June 26.

Metro Exodus

Metro Exodus was recently pushed back to 2019, but it’s made another appearance at Xbox’s conference and it looks as good as it did last year. I’ve always loved the atmosphere in the Metro games, and Exodus looks like it’s going to continue that trend. In this trailer, we see Artyom in a number of different areas, combat enemies both human and animal. We even got our first look at a large mutated shark that doesn’t seem too friendly.

Metro Exodus will release February 22, 2019. That’s becoming a very popular release date. I wonder how many games will stick to it?

Kingdom Hearts III

We were treated to a new trailer for Kingdom Hearts III, which confirms the long rumoured Frozen world featuring character Elsa, Olaf and more. We also got a look at a number of other worlds and characters in the game, including Wreck it Ralph, Tangled, Hercules, Toy Story, and Monsters Inc.

I wasn’t expecting to see Kingdom Hearts III during Xbox’s conference, but I’m definitely happy that it showed up. Let’s hope that one day we’ll see the first and second titles on the console as well. Kingdom Hearts III releases on January 29, 2019.

Sea of Thieves

Following its release in March, we saw the Hungering Deep update added to Sea of Thieves a few weeks ago. Today, we got a look at what’s coming next. This trailer revealed that we’ll be getting a new location known as the Forsaken Shores, where skeleton crews hide ready to venture out into the seas.

The Cursed Sails content update will be available in Sea of Thieves in July. Meanwhile the Forsake Shores will arrive a little later in September.

Battlefield V

During yesterday’s EA briefing we were promised a look at one of Battlefield V’s War Stories. We didn’t see much, but we do know that we’ll be in control of a Norwegian resistance fighter who will have to pay an unthinkable price to save herself and her family.

Forza Horizon 4

It’s not much of a surprise to many, but the acclaimed Forza Horizon series is back for its latest entry in the series. This time around the game will be set in Britain, and it will feature dynamic seasons in a shared open-world setting.

We were treated to a live gameplay demo of the game, and it doesn’t look like the series will be skipping a beat as it looks as great as ever. The demo showcased the changing seasons, and the changes that will take place. This includes adjustments to the environment and the activities that will be available.

Forza Horizon 4 will be available on October 2, and it will also be available for Xbox Game Pass members on the same day.

New Studios

Phil Spencer appeared on stage to announce the creation of a new Microsoft Studio in Santa Monica, known as The Initiative. This is exactly what Microsoft need to be doing to in order to strengthen their first party output in the future.

Alongside this new studio, Microsoft also revealed that they have acquired a number of already established studios. The first of which is Undead Labs, known for developing State of Decay. They’ve also acquired Playground Games, which is a massive benefit. Phil hinted that they’re working on a new entry in one of Microsoft’s most successful IPs, which is rumoured to be Fable. They’ve also acquired Ninja Theory, who recently worked on Hellblade. Finally, they’ve acquired Compulsion Games who are hard at work on finishing We Happy Few.

We Happy Few

Speaking of which, following the announcement that Compulsion Games were now a Microsoft-owned studio, we got another look at the game.

This definitely looks like an interesting game, I’m not entirely convinced by the gameplay side of things just yet, but I’m definitely loving the Bioshock vibes that I get whenever I see the game.

We Happy Few will be available on August 10.

Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds

PUBG made an appearance, detailing some of the new content that’s going to be made available in the game throughout the rest of the year.

This content includes the game’s third map, a new war mode, and what looks to be a holiday update scheduled for later this year.

Tales of Vesperia Definitive Edition

In celebration of its ten-year anniversary, Tales of Vesperia will return by making its way to next gen consoles in the west. Tales of Vesperia Definitive Edition will be available later this year.

The Division 2

Following this we got our first proper look at The Division 2. Following a trailer that detailed the background behind the games narrative, we were shown a gameplay demo.

I thought the demo was a great first look at the game that showed it off pretty well. There’s one thing that annoys me though, and that’s the god-awful, overdone team chat that’s become a recurring theme with The Division.

The Division 2 will be available on March 15, 2019. Remember that Ubisoft still have their conference coming up, so expect to see some more on The Division 2 during their presser.

Xbox Game Pass

Ashley Speicer made her way out to talk up the success of Xbox Game Pass, and revealed a new way to provide players with faster access to games. This is what they call Fast Start. Fast Start uses machine learning techniques based on how gamers actually play their games to, resulting in the ability to start games two times faster than before.

They also talked about some more upcoming games coming to the catalogue. Halo: The Master Chief Collection will be available later this year, as well as Forza Horzion 4 and Crackdown 3. Furthermore, games like Ashen, Warhammer: Vermintide 2, After Party, and Phoenix Point will all be available on Xbox Game Pass on the same day as release.

Today, Tom Clancy’s The Division, The Elder Scrolls Online and (as announced earlier) Fallout 4 are available on Xbox Game Pass.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Shadow of the Tomb Raider made an appearance next, with a very entertaining trailer that showcased various aspects of the game. It looks like Lara has accidentally unleashed a deadly force, and it’s up to her to fix her mistake.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider is out September 14. Expect to see more of it during Square Enix’s very own E3 stream.

Session

If you’re missing the Skate series, Sessions might be the game just for you. To be honest, I thought this was Skate 4 at first, but that wasn’t the case. The trailer didn’t show much at all, but it looks like it might be somewhat inspired by the series. No release provided for this game, so perhaps it’s only early in the development stages.

Black Desert

Black Desert Online is coming to the Xbox One. I’m not a big MMO fan, but if you’ve played the game on PC you’ll know what you’re getting here. The Black Desert beta will begin later this year. 

Devil May Cry 5

After ten years since Devil May Cry 4, the series has finally returned with a proper sequel. Long-time fans will definitely be happy about this, although maybe not so happy about Dante’s DMC design returning. For what it’s worth, his classic appearance was shown at the end of the trailer. Perhaps we’ll have the option to choose between the two?

Devil May Cry 5 will be available in 2019.

Cuphead

Cuphead stepped into the spotlight next, and we got a look at some upcoming DLC that’s on the way. This includes a new playable character called Ms Chalice. We’ll also be able to experience a brand-new isle, new bosses and new weapons.

Cuphead The Delicious Last Course will be available in 2019.

Tunic

Next up, we got a look at a cute little game called Tunic. Tunic is especially interesting as it’s being created by one sole developer, and it looks great. We’re put in control of a small fox, who’s got some serious swordsmanship skills.

The trailer for Tunic didn’t provide a release window, but with just one person working on it, we might be waiting a while before we see the finished product.

Jump Force

At this point Phil announced that all of the remaining games would be world premieres, and first up was a title from Bandai Namco.

Universes have collided in Jump Force, and the heroes of Naruto, One Piece, and Dragonball Z are now connected in this new 3D fighting game. The trailer showed Goku, Naruto, Luffi, and Frieza fighting, and I’m sure we’ll see many more in the coming months. Could we also get characters from other series’? We’ll have to wait and see.

Jump Force releases in 2019.

Dying Light 2

Up next is a sequel to one of this generations most successful new IPs; Dying Light. It’s been 15 years since the outbreak, and those that remain are doing whatever they can to survive.

Dying Light 2 began with a brief trailer, but we also got a gameplay demo too. The demo highlighted how the decisions you make in the game can have an impact on the world. In the demo, we a mission revolving around securing a water supply that’s being hoarded by two survivors. By following one available decision, the player can share the supply with a faction in the game, which brings stability to the area. However, it also means that water is only available to those within that faction. Alternatively, you could choose to sell the water on the black market, which means everyone can access it and you get better trade options. The downside? It also brings out the most dangerous people in the area.

Dying Light 2 was one of the most interesting games in Microsoft’s conference, and if the decision-making system is as great as it sounds, we could have an amazing game on our hands.

Battletoads

After years of teasing, the Battletoads are finally making their return. Featuring body morphine genre mash-ups, 3 player couch co-ops and 4k handdrawn 2.5D graphics, Battletoads is bound to provide some variety in Microsoft’s line-up for 2019.

Battletoads will be available next year, and it’ll also be available to Xbox Game Pass subscribers.

Just Cause 4

Not much of a shocker here as the game leaked just a few days ago, but nonetheless the Just Cause series is back with its latest entry.

The trailer was delightfully destructive, and looks to be adding environmental effects with the addition of a large tornado. It looks cool, but I hope that they’re able to avoid the performance issues that plagued Just Cause 3.

Nevertheless, Just Cause 4 will be available on December 4.

Gears Pop!, Gears Tactics and Gears of War 5

There was a loud reaction when the Gears logo appeared, and there was a clear silence once we saw the characters in pop-vinyl form. Gears Pop! is a mobile game, and we’ll get to play it on iOS and Android in 2019.

Rod Ferguson of The Coalition also revealed a PC experience, called Gears Tactics. Set twelve years before Gears of War 1, you’re tasked with taking down a locust monster maker responsible for destroying whole cities.

If you were a little disappointed in the announcement of Gears Pop!, fret not as Rod also unveiled Gears of War 5. We were treated with an in-depth trailer detailing the game.

This time around, Gears of War 5 puts Kait in the lead role as the war for humanity continues to escalate. Kait’s been experiencing nightmares, and so she must journey up north to find answers.

After the relatively safe Gears of War 4, Gears of War 5 looks to bring a lot of new things to the table. Vibrant locations, new enemies, and more made Gears 5 one of the most exciting showings of Microsoft’s conference.

Gears of War 5 will be available in 2019.

Cyberpunk 2077

Microsoft closed the show with my favourite trailer of E3 so far. We finally got our first look at Cyberpunk 2077. It was only game engine footage, but damn was it produced perfectly. From the introduction on stage to the music, everything felt right with this.

We didn’t get a release window of any sort, although that’s probably not much of a surprise if you’re familiar with CD Projekt Red. They take their time with their games to ensure they’re as good as can be, and if this trailer is any indication they’re doing a pretty good job of it.

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