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Microsoft's E3 Briefing Packed A Ton Of Games And Charted the Future of Xbox

Marcus Stewart

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If sheer quantity decided the victor of E3, Microsoft would easily walk away with the win. Just as they did last year, the Xbox brand packed a ton of information into an over 90-minute presentation in front of their largest-ever live audience. To quote a stat from Xbox head Phil Spencer, Microsoft showed off 50 titles; 18 of them were console exclusives, and 15 that were world premiers. Microsoft addressed their first-party issue by announcing studio acquisitions, beefed up Xbox Game Pass, and even teased new hardware. Gamers walked away with a lot to digest, so let's make things easier by breaking down each announcement.  


I can think of few titles better suited to kick off a Microsoft show than a Halo reveal. In this case, we got a teaser trailer for Halo Infinite. We didn’t see much beyond scenic landscapes, some warthog riding, and a glimpse of Master Chief himself. 343 Studios later clarified that the video represents a tech demo for the Slipspace Engine and is not indicative of the actual game. Even still, Halo Infinite captured the imagination of the fans in attendance and started the presentation on a high note.


We got our first look at gameplay for Ori and the Will of the Wisps. It looks just as beautiful, and challenging, as the original and arrives sometime in 2019. That same year will also see the release of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. The next title by FromSoftware was previously teased during last year’s Game Awards. It eschews medieval influences in favor of ninjas and a feudal Japan setting. Don't worry fans; it still looks pretty tough. It arrives in 2019 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. 


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Bethesda Game Director Todd Howard took the stage to give the world another look at Fallout 76. This prequel to the Fallout series takes place in West Virginia 20 years after the nuclear war. Howard stated the game boasts a world 4-times larger than Fallout 4’s Commonwealth. The player controls a member of Vault 76, one of the first vaults to open and begin rebuilding the country. The trailer gave glimpses of various locations while Todd briefly spoke about the game’s general focus of survival and restoration. 


Life is Strange developer Dontnod’s lightened the mood a bit with a trailer for The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit. This charming title centers on a lonely boy who uses his imagination to escape a less whimsical reality. More importantly, it serves as a precursor to the still mysterious Life is Strange 2. In a cool move, Captain Spirit launches June 25 as a free download. 


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Crackdown 3  suffered yet another delay prior to the show (this time to 2019), but a new trailer reminded everyone of what the wait will be for. The Terry Crews-narrated trailer showed off the over-to-top firefights and platforming, with some Hot Wheels-esque driving thrown in.


Another crazy game in Nier: Automata, Platinum Game's breakout hit from last year, will arrive on Xbox on June 26. Packaged as the Become As Gods Edition, it includes all previously released DLC. 


Metro Exodus served up a new helping of gameplay. We got quick peeks at weapon customization, night vision segments, and terrifying creatures such as huge lake monster. Metro: Exodus continues to impress and arrives February 22. 



A new trailer for Kingdom Hearts III confirmed the game's arrival to Xbox, a first for the series. We got our first look at the world of Frozen, which stood as the video’s centerpiece. Tangled, Toy Story, and Hercules also got some spotlight. Aqua fans had their hearts broken when she appeared seemingly possessed by Xehanort at the trailer’s conclusion. Overall, this was a nice look at the game (one of several during the week) that had fans frantically counting down to the game’s January 29 release. 


Sea of Thieves left much to be desired, but Rare announced plans to fix that problem with two expansions. The first, Cursed Sails, launches in July. The other, Forsaken Shores, arrives in September. Outside of a short cinematic, no information was given regarding the actual content of these updates.


DICE followed up their EA showing with a very brief cinematic for one of Battlefield V’s Nordlys campaign story. It centers on a Norwegian resistance fighter battling against German occupation while also trying to save her family. No gameplay was shown and the video lasted maybe less than a minute.


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Forza Horizon 4 raced on stage. The next entry boasts dynamic seasons that developer Playground Games promises will dramatically alter races. Winter, for example, freezes over bodies of water, opening up new areas for players to reach. Additionally, the Xbox One X version features a 60 fps mode. Forza Horizon 4 comes to Xbox One and Windows 10 on October 2 and hits Xbox Game Pass the same day.


On the subject of bolstering the Xbox library, Phil Spencer announced the formation of new first-party studio The Initiative. He doubled down on that news by announcing the acquisition of third-party studios Undead Labs, Playground Games, Ninja Theory, and Compulsion Games. Since Microsoft paid Compulsion some lip service, we got new story trailer for We Happy Few. It showed off more of the wacky premise, showing how far the project has come. It has an August 10 release date.


Playerunknown's Battlegrounds has new maps arriving in the coming as soon as this summer. Additionally, a new destination called War Mode is on the way. JRPG fans were happy to learn that 2008's Tales of Vesperia is getting remastered for Xbox One. This Definitive Edition includes previously Japanese-only content and characters and arrives this winter


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A gameplay demonstration for Tom Clancy's The Division 2 took viewers through a squad-based mission in the games Washington D.C. setting. The squad engages in a firefight against in and around a destroyed Air Force One. The Division 2 launches March 15 and you can sign up for the beta now. 


Ashley Speicher, head of Xbox Engineering, took the stage to talk about Xbox Game Pass. First, a new FastStart feature that launches select games twice as fast will be included in the June Xbox update. Additionally, Fallout 4, The Division, and The Elder Scrolls Online became available on Game Pass that day. Halo: The Master Chief Collection will join the library later this year. Future releases, such as Forza Horizon 4, Crackdown 3, and others, will be playable on Game Pass the same day that they launch.  


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Next we got the required ID@Xbox rapid-fire showcase showed off upcoming indie titles. The highlight reel included Outer Wilds, Afterparty, Warhammer II: Vermintide, Super Meat Boy Forever, Sable, Generation Zero, Dead Cells, and Ashen.


A new Shadow of the Tomb Raider trailer showed off more locations, including a Day of the Dead festival. We got a look at possibly the main villain, watched Lara stare down vicious jaguars, and watched her narrowly survive as a massive flood swept through a village. Following that was a short trailer for Session, a Kickstarted skateboard game that drew some comparisons to Skate, as well as a teaser for the Xbox port of mmorpg Black Desert.




The stylish reveal of Devil May Cry 5 offered a huge surprise. As a direct sequel to Devil May Cry 4 (and thus ignoring Ninja Theory's DmC), Nero returns as the leading man alongside a new female sidekick. Gameplay showed off Nero's new robotic arm and a what appeared to be a time-stopping power. Oh, and Dante rode in for a quick cameo at the end. Director Hideaki Itsuno proudly declared DMC 5 as the best game he's ever made and has a spring 2019 launch window. 


Another surprise came in the form of a DLC expansion for Cuphead. Titled The Delicious Last Course, it releases next year and includes a third playable character, Ms. Chalice, along with a new island populated with bosses. Meanwhile, Tunic, the adorable Zelda-style game starring a cute fox, emerged from hibernation and looks as pretty and fun as ever. 

Phil Spencer returned to state that everything shown going forward would be never-before-seen world premiers. That kicked off with the reveal of Jump Force. This crossover fighter cherry picks characters from Shonen Jump anime like Dragon Ball and Naruto and pits them against each other. Look for it in 2019.




Dying Light 2 premiered sporting a new emphasis on dynamic choice-making. The demonstration showed the player negotiating with a faction hoarding a crucial water supply. Depending on whether or not you follow them, the consequences physically alters the city and affects the population's morale and general way of life. Dying Light 2 features improved parkour mechanics and night gameplay, though not shown, remains a terrifying factor. 


Remember Battletoads? Rare hopes that you do because a new game is in development for launch in 2019. We didn't see anything of it, but we do know it'll support 3-player couch co-op and have a hand-drawn 2.5D presentation. 


Just Cause 4 made its official debut after being leaked twice before the show. A story trailer set up Rico's battle against the Black Hand private army. Fans also got to see the new weather effects, including a tornado (which Rico promptly jumped into). Just Cause 4 launches December 4.




The Gears of War franchise has not one but three new titles on the way. First was Gears Pop!, which features Funko Pop versions of the Gears cast. For strategy fans, Gears Tactics blends turned-based strategy with the series cover-based gameplay. Finally, a cinematic trailer for Gears 5 (yes, just Gears) established Gears of War 4's Kait Diaz as the new protagonist. The trailer appeared to center on her ancestral connection to the Locust, with J.D. and Marcus Fenix serving as support roles. 


Phil Spencer returned to the stage one last time to tease future projects such as Microsoft AI and a game-streaming service. He even confirmed that the next Xbox console was already deep in development. Just as he was bringing the show to a close, the briefing's feed was abruptly hijacked by one more game waiting to make itself known. 




CD Projekt RED's long-anticipated Cyberpunk 2077 made its big debut after spending years in hiding.The trailer showed off the sci-fi beauty of Night City as well as its seedy underbelly. The almost Grand Theft Auto-esque style trailer checked off the many of the cyberpunk genre's calling cards: humans with crazy machine parts, flying cars, and building-sized holograms. Everything looked gorgeous to the point of looking next-gen, though the game has been confirmed for this console generation. We still didn't get a release window but this incredible first look made arguably the biggest splash of any title shown throughout the show. 


So how do you think Microsoft's briefing shaped up? Let us know in the comments. You can also watch it yourself down below. 



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