Ok, E3 is almost here, but this year I feel a little less excited about what Microsoft and the Xbox Team have in store, this is in part due to the fact that I don’t really play my Xbox One any more, but it’s also because they’ve kind of gone silent on what’s coming. The show is kicking off at 10PM on 11th June.
It’s pretty obvious what this year’s show will be about – the Scorpio. If the show isn’t completely dominated by it and games being shown on in 4k 60FPS, I will be very surprised. It will be good to finally get the dirt on the console, one, to put rumours to rest and two, to actually find out what it’s called, what it looks like, how much it will be and what games it will have. I’m guessing it will cost just under £500.
E3, for most people has always been about the games though, and whilst it’s nice to see new consoles being shown off, what good are they if they have no good games to play on them. The Xbox first party line up has been severely lacking recently and in a way I kind of feel like this E3 is make or break for them and this generation. If they don’t pull out some big hitters and amazing surprises then Sony are going to walk away with it again.
We will inevitably see more on Crackdown 3, the game has been murmured about for too long now, we need to see it in action, in full, and with a nice long gameplay demo and I fully expect that to happen. For me Crackdown felt a bit like a cult hit. I don’t think it ever sold like some other AAA games, but it was still a great game and the people that did play it really loved it – me included. Crackdown 2 was a little disappointing though, so let’s hope that the next installment is balls to the wall crazy over the top action fun. The prospect of being able to level entire cities is certainly an interesting one, but how exactly will that play out?
Sea of Thieves is a sure thing for the show, the multiplayer pirate adventure game has been consistently having closed alpha sessions over the last few months on the Xbox One, with the PC version just kicking things off now. I fully expect to see a release date announced along with some more details around questing and other adventures you can do whilst playing. I’d expect that release date to be fairly close too.
The thing with Sea of Thieves though, is that I’ll get it on PC, further negating my need for the XB1. I also don’t feel like it’s going to be a huge hit. Don’t get me wrong, I think the game looks great and I’m really looking forward to seeing more of it, but I feel like it will have a fairly niche following, I can’t see it appealing to the masses.
Another game that a definite for showing up at the show – Forza 7. Racing games aren’t my thing, but there’s no denying that the Forza games are always good for showing off pretty graphics and that’s one thing the Scorpio will want to do. Expect to see lots of slo-mo shots of cars, rain effects, close ups of car wheels and either some chilled dance or drum and bass music to accompany it all. You can’t say that racing games don’t make for good trailers!
The ID@Xbox crew always have a good section showing off some interesting indie titles and I’d expect no different this year. Maybe we will finally get a release date for Cuphead, maybe the hotly anticipated Below from Capybara games will finally resurface. Either way I think we will see some great gems in this section and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we get a lot more Early Access games popping up with the Xbox Preview Programme proving to be a success with games like Elite Dangerous and ARK Survival Evolved.
One game I am looking forward to seeing some more of is State of Decay 2, I played a little of the first one, although not loads, what I played I enjoyed. With the next game in the series featuring co-op play, I think it has a great chance to be a very good game. Right from day one, people wanted multiplayer for the original, so it’s a no brainer to go this route and I think it will be an excellent addition to the game.
The thing is, is so far what I’ve said feels all very run of the mill, very middle of the road, nothing feels particularly mind blowing. Phil Spencer has already teased that they have some new first party titles lined up, but what they will be is almost impossible to guess, but they will have to be very strong and very good looking games to compete with Sony.
I was initially going to go out on a limb and say we will see Halo 6, but 343 have quashed those rumours. I was thinking that if Microsoft were clever about it, it should launch with the Scorpio. If they’d done that, then the system is bound to shift better, the Halo franchise is a system seller, a killer app, whatever you want to call it, people want it and will buy consoles for it. Alas, it is not to be. 343 industries have said that they will be showing something during the press conference though and that what ever it is, it’s not linked to the next entry in the franchise, so that could mean Halo Wars 2, possibly DLC, or something linked to the older Halo games, although I’m not entirely sure what that could be.
With my guess at Halo 6 coming along I was thinking it might be too early for the next Gears of War game, but now that we know that’s not happening, maybe we will see more Gears? It does feel like it’s a little early for the next game in the series, but I do feel like Microsoft need one of either Halo or Gears of War. There are rumours that GoW5 might release this year, but they are very tenuous at best, but with MS needing something big for this show, it could happen?
What I want to see, not just from Microsoft, but from everyone, are some new ideas. I’m bored of the same old sequels; I’m done with HD remakes of games. I want some interesting new IP’s, something the Xbox brand has been lacking a little.
There is also the question of HoloLens, will we see that pop up this year, if so, in what capacity? Rumours have surfaced that Microsoft are working on a mixed reality MMO, so maybe this will have something to do with the HoloLens. Plus the added announcement of the Motion Controllers from them also add fuel to them either going the VR route, or finally utilising the HoloLens for some games.
Honestly, I think this year for Microsoft is pretty hard to predict, so much focus has already been around the Scorpio that it almost feels like the games are taking a back seat a bit at the moment, there aren’t even any good rumours around about potential games to be shown off. I barely play my Xbox One as it is and at the moment that doesn’t really look like changing much.
One thing is for sure, Microsoft and the Xbox team will need to come out at this show all guns blazing.