Microsoft have hosted their annual E3 press conference. Showcasing the upcoming releases and developments for Xbox and Windows 10, the conference featured one of the biggest lineups of games the company has ever shown, with over a dozen exclusives.
Master Chief Returns
The conference opened with a first look at the next chapter of the Halo series: Halo Infinite. Described by Xbox Head Phil Spencer as “Master Chief’s greatest adventure”, the game was announced thanks to a cinematic engine demo video showcasing the landscape and some of the inhabitants of a new world.
Several new and upcoming titles had their world premiere trailer debuts at the conference:
- Ori and The Will of The Wisps will be released in 2019
- Feudal saga Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice will be coming from Activision and From Software in 2019
- Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit is a new story set in the universe of Life is Strange and will be free to play from June 26
- Crackdown 3, which was recently delayed to February 2019, was given a new cinematic trailer featuring star Terry Crews.
- NieR Automata will be released with all DLC enhanced for Xbox on June 26 with the Become As Gods Edition.
- Sea of Thieves will be getting two new DLC packs, The Cursed Sails and Forsaken Shores in July and September
- EA gave players another look at Nordlys War Story from the upcoming Battlefield V
- We Happy Few debuted a new trailer ahead of its August 10 launch
- A new trailer for PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds announced that War Mode will be coming to consoles along with new map Sanhok and a winter themed map teased for later in the year
- Winter 2018 will see the release of Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition
- The world of Shadow of the Tomb Raider was expanded with the premiere of a new story trailer.
- Session is a new skateboarding title coming from Crea-ture Studios in 2019
- Black Desert will be coming to Xbox later in the year, with a beta planned for the autumn.
- Cuphead will be getting The Delicious Last Course DLC in 2019, adding new levels, bosses and playable characters
- Indie title Tunic will be coming to console and PC in 2019
- Jump Force will see will see characters from Dragon Ball Z, Death Note, One Piece and more in an epic title coming in 2019
- Battletoads will be making a return to consoles with a new game coming in 2019
- Just Cause 4 will see Rico Rodriguez take on the power of the Black Hand come December.
- A new story trailer for Metro Exodus follows Artyom and his fellow survivors looking for a new home in the Volga, and a confirmed release date of February 22, 2019.
- With a release date in January now confirmed, players got another new look at some of the worlds coming to Kingdom Hearts III, including Frozen, Wreck-It Ralph and Tangled.
- Dante makes his long-awaited return in Devil May Cry V, set for release in Spring 2019
- Fans got a new look at CD Projekt Red’s futuristic epic Cyberpunk 2077, thanks to some help from a hacker inspired cinematic trailer.
To round off all of the previews, there was a showcase of titles coming from ID@Xbox. Featuring over a dozen titles, including Super Meat Boy Forever, Sable, Ashen and Generation Zero, the extended trailer gave players a glimpse of some of the indie titles that are coming to Xbox and PC.
Fallout is coming
Ahead of the Bethesda press briefing, fans got an exclusive look at an extended trailer for Fallout 76. Taking to the stage during the conference, Bethesda’s Game Director Todd Howard confirmed the game will be a prequel to the Fallout series so far, focusing on the titular vault and its occupants as they emerge from the vault into the wasteland of what was one West Virginia.
In addition to the trailer for Fallout 76, Howard also announced that Fallout 4 will be added to the Xbox Game Pass and available for players instantly.
Forza Invades Britain
Up next was the premiere of Forza Horizon 4. Scheduled to be released on October 2, the latest edition of the racing franchise will come to the shores of Great Britain. Speaking at the event, Playground Games’ Ralph Fulton announced one of the most prominent new features of the game will be the ever-changing seasons.
Going through the year in the game will result in the landscapes constantly adapting to the change in weather, and with it will come new races, previously unreachable locations and new challenges for players to try out. Also, Forza Horizon 4 will be a completely open world experience, with players able to connect with each other seamlessly for races and co-op play, while the new Forzathon Live events will encourage players to work together to unlock prizes and bonuses by completing limited time challenges and events.
Concluding the segment with a live demo, Fulton also announced that Forza Horizon 4 would also be available on Xbox Game Pass at launch.
Looking to the Future
Along with all of the game announcements, Microsoft also took some time to talk about their plans and projects outside of development.
First was the announcement of several acquisitions made by the company to expand their creative base. These included Playground Games, Undead Labs, Compulsion Games and Ninja Theory. These studios will work alongside the newly announced Initiative studio, which will be based in Santa Monica, with a strong commitment to making Xbox exclusive titles.
Towards the end of the conference, Phil Spencer also announced that the company is currently working on cloud engineering to enhance and facilitate streaming, AI technology to interact with gamers and the community as a whole and also that development has begun on a new Xbox console.
Finally, there was news on the development of the Game Pass programme. The Xbox subscription service, which offers access to a wide range of new and classic Xbox titles, will be receiving the Fast Start algorithm as part of the next update. This will allow players better access to their games and will work with players gaming patterns for better optimisation. It was also announced that Fallout 4, Tom Clancy’s The Division and The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited were now available to those with Game Pass, with plans to add several upcoming titles to the Game Pass library the same day as their global release.
The Division Returns
Scheduled for release in March 2019, Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 sends players into the very heart of America with the action moving to the nation’s capital. Set in the aftermath of a deadly viral outbreak, The Division 2 was unveiled with a cinematic trailer and co-op gameplay demo.
As part of the Division, players will be agents tasked with clearing out the infected, scouting for survivors and trying to find a way to secure what remains of the iconic former capital to try and rebuild society.
Players looking to get a first-hand experience of The Division 2before launch will be able to sign up online for the Beta, which is scheduled for later this year, through the game’s official website.
The Dark and the (Dying) Light
Next up for the conference was the reveal of Dying Light 2. Set in a so-called “modern Dark Ages”, player choices will be at the core of this survival sequel. Speaking at the conference, Narrative Director Chris Avellone took fans through the new settings and explained how the choices made by players will have a lasting effect on the rest of the game.
Using a live gameplay demo, Avellone took players through the consequences of choosing who to side with over a water supply dispute. However, these choices only showed what happened during the light of day, with Avellone continuing with the explanation that the turn of events that happen at night, when the infected begin to rise, would be different to the daytime.
Gears and Gears and Gears
Rounding out the conference was a look at what fans can expect to see from the Gears franchise over the next year. First up was the announcement of a new mobile game coming in 2019. Gears Pop will see the franchise pair up with Funko, makers of the popular vinyl figures to create a new mobile experience.
Secondly, Gears Tactics will be coming to PC and put the world of Gears into a turn-based strategy title. Set before the primary series, it will bring a new outlook and story to the saga.
Lastly, Gears 5 was officially unveiled. Set for release in 2019, this newest outing will focus on Kait Diaz, who has been suffering from recurring, vivid nightmares that are making her question everything about herself. After a tense exchange with JD Fenix, Kait makes the choice to leave her unit behind to go in search of answers. Joined by Del Walker, Kait will explore what it means for her to be human and how much of her Locust lineage and her mother’s legacy has forged who she is.
Watch the conference in full below. Full information about all the games featured can be found at https://www.xbox.com/en-GB/e3
Words by Megan Roxburgh