E3 2019: Microsoft Press Conference Summary
There are some big things we can hope to expect from Microsoft. I did mention my expectations being a new console, along with some big titles that have been missing. This E3, Microsoft was quick in revealing and let their games and news speak for itself. That’s what I want out of an E3 presentation. It was trailer after trailer followed by small talk, then more trailers. I like this format. And nothing beats the massive bomb that they dropped in Cyberpunk 2077 with Keanu Reeves.
The Entire Microsoft Press Conference
If you want to watch it, it’s right below. Further down I’ll be adding my thoughts and summary of the games announced, etc.
The Outer Worlds
The first game being shown is The Outer Worlds. Looks like a futuristic RPG FPS. They show off how you can take multiple paths in the story which you can choose to be altruistic or just a straight-up murderer. Always like the choices, but I usually have a hard time making mean-spirited choices. The different weapons look really fun, and there’s even one that can shrink enemies. Should I also expect Rick Moranis? This time we’re fighting Capitalism (ironically), boys! Comes out October 25th, 2019.
Last year, it was announced that Ninja Theory joined Xbox Game Studios. This year they are sharing a brand new game they are working on. It’s going to be a competitive team multiplayer game with third-person action gameplay. The game will let you pick from what seems to be an assortment of 10 characters. It will be 4 vs 4. It will have a mix of shooter combat and melee combat. I imagine they will be taking a Free-To-Play format, but they will definitely be adding more characters. The combat looks like a ton of fun and I’m interested in playing it. I better be able to take selfies. The Alpha starts on June 27th, so we may start seeing registrations soon if they aren’t out already. I’m bad at looking things up.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
When it comes to games, I have a soft spot for games that combine 2D platforming and beautiful art. The game looks phenomenal. The art is gorgeous, the music is breathtaking, and the gameplay looks super fun. It’s not appreciated enough in gaming to be able to go from nightmarish figures to warm scenery and all of it to be beautiful. It’s a 2D platformer and it’s giving me chills. Comes out February 11th, 2020.
So we’re going have a Top-Down RPG that’s very much like Diablo, but Minecraft themed. The trailer says that it’s by the creators of Minecraft. Diablo-style games are a lot of fun and people seem to like it. If you’re a fan of Minecraft and Diablo, this is a game for you. This could serve as a bridge to introduce Minecraft lovers to the wonderful world of Diablo-style games and vice-versa. It’s going to be a 4-player local and online co-op. We need more local co-op games in a time they are slowly disappearing. Expect it to drop in Spring 2020. It’s coming to Windows, Xbox One, Xbox Game Pass, Switch, and PS4. Now make it Cross-Play!
Phil Spencer Segment
Phil Spencer hype. Basically, a lot of people play video games. Flexing about how many games they are announcing and showcasing. Along with word of a new console coming up… more news on that later.
Star Wars Jedi: The Fallen Order
They showed off more of a story-oriented trailer to Star Wars Jedi: The Fallen Order that focuses more on the story than gameplay. A lot of the footage is from what EA showed the previous day, but there are a few new scenes. I can’t say enough how much I love this robot companion. The little robot is full of personality and it’s going to give the game an extra charm. Even though I don’t expect the game to look as good as they are showing it off to be, I still expect to enjoy. November 15th is the release date.
This looks creepy as hell and is based on the Blair Witch cinematic lore. The trailer has a time loop theme in which we see the game through the character’s eyes sees himself in a video recorder as if someone or something was following him. Comes out August 30th. Just in time for Halloween month. Yes, month. All of October is Halloween. It’s going to be a first-person game and it’s described as a Psychological Horror.
Cyberpunk 2077 starts off with a story cinematic trailer. A gorgeous view of Night City greets us at the opening. We get to see some of the stories and the game looks even more exciting with the story trailer showing off some of the weapons like hidden blades that come out of prosthetic arms. They are the same mantis-like weapons we saw in the teaser way back in 2013. The game looks absolutely brutal. Like a cyberpunk GTA. Along with the hidden blades, one of the women was able to hack the character, so there will very likely be powers to disrupt. This would give players the freedom to play the game however they want. After the trailer, we were given a surprise – KEANU FUCKING REEVES.
Keanu Reeves shows up to the stage and I’m freaking out along with everyone else. It’s incredible how much love Keanu Reeves has, and I see why. The man is to be admired. He seemed a bit nervous, but he was still having fun. I don’t think this E3 is going to have a better secret than Keanu Reeves. Before leaving the stage, Keanu leads us into another trailer that was more focused on the gameplay, and the release date. It looks excellent, and we see more of the world along with some combat. It shows hacking training robot to take down a target and attacking someone from behind hinting towards stealth combat. CD Project Red, you are the hope this industry needs. It drops on April 16th, 2020. If they want to be hip and cool, maybe they’ll delay the release by 4 days.
A story-driven 2D adventure game in which you wich you will be able to build your home. It looks to have an emphasis on connecting with the other characters. On top of that, the art is gorgeous.
Anyone who’s played Battletoads knows the theme instantly. For those that don’t know what Battletoads is: It’s an action beat ’em up sidescroller. It will have a 3-player local coop, which is a feature more and more games aren’t including. The game will release sometime in 2019.
RPG Time: The Legends of Wright
It’s a hand-drawn RPG. I do not know if I’m seeing gameplay or not, but the game looks super interesting. What the heck is going on? It’s like a comic. Almost reminds of games like Comic Jumper and even Viewtiful Joe, but this is more on the charming side.
Many Independent games were shown and will be available on Xbox Game Pass. It’s nice to see support for Independent Developers. Sarah talks about expanding the Xbox Game Pass library. Which is good for those that want to try the service and those that currently use it. The Xbox Game Pass is also available for PC now. It’s currently in open Beta for PC. Xbox Game Pass for PC is 9.99 USD a month.
Xbox Game Pass Ultimate was announced and it’s 14.99 USD a month. It includes Xbox Game Pass for Console, Gold, and Xbox Game Pass for PC. Considering that XBGP for PC is 9.99 USD a month, XBGP Ultimate is a pretty solid deal. Of course, it all comes to what your needs are. It’s not something for everyone, but I like that they are offering different options and more deals.
Microsoft Flight Simulator
A flight simulator coming 2020. What more can I say? I almost thought it was real footage at first. Looks pretty nice. They are going for extreme realism. Now let’s do our best to keep this planet just as beautiful.
Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition
So it’s getting a full remaster, and it will be the third release. People really seem to like it and neat for the fans of the game. You can sign up for the Beta here.
Taking place in Colorado Springs, a drunk character introduces us to the third installment of Wasteland. Funny that he’s drunk considering cannabis is legal for recreational use in Colorado. Or maybe he was also partaking in “herbal remedies”. What do I know? I’m not judging.
They added 7 new development studios to Xbox. Cool, so where are the exclusives? Where’s my Fable? Where’s the RARE love? They even added Double Fine Productions to the Xbox Studios family. As cool as this is, I would love to see some of the beloved games that Xbox already has under their belt.
Good news for the fans of the first Psychonauts! You’re getting a sequel… after over a decade.
Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
Some of the most fun I’ve ever had playing video games was playing Lego Star Wars. All 9 films in one package will release in 2020.
Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot
It’s an RPG focusing on Goku, also known by his Saiyan name – Kakarot. The trailer doesn’t show gameplay, but in gameplay, you can definitely see a lot of the RPG elements. It’s open world and the animations are fantastic. You can see Goku’s Gi move around and he’s greatly animated in his gestures. When you get close enough with enemies you will enter into a fighting mode that looks very similar to DBZ games like Budokai. You’ll be able to fish and gather other ingredients for food, and you can even cook! They have done the DBZ stories so many times, and it really seems like they are bringing something new here with the RPG elements. You’ll even be able to play as other characters. Early 2020 is when you can expect it to release.
Another time-loop themed game in which you have to save your wife. A story-driven game in which you are looking for the truth and trying to save yourself and your loved one. It’s your job to solve a mystery.
Way to The Woods
It’s an adventure game in which you navigate yourself (a deer) and a fawn through a ruined city to get home. You’ll have to protect and take care of the fawn so you both make it back safely.
The main character seems to be having a dissociative panic attack and hints to her having a connection to the Locust Queen. If they keep that as a theme of the game, I will be really impressed. This game will be released on September 10th and you’ll be able to play 4 days early with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.
Two new game types will be added to Gears 5, a competitive mode called Arcade, and Escape. On July 17th there will be a multiplayer tech test for Arcade mode. They have smoke and fire blowing. That’s something I didn’t expect out of Microsoft. In Escape your objective is to infiltrate a hive, plant a bomb, and escape. They didn’t mention it, but from the trailer, it looks like PVE. This leads to a trailer with scenery that reminds me of Aliens. It’s a cinematic trailer. But it looked pretty cool, so I’m not going to complain about not seeing gameplay.
After the Escape trailer, they are having a Gears 5 has a classic Terminator scene. I expected a Locust to step on the skull. But no. It’s a freakin’ Terminator expansion. Terminator Dark Fate will be a free bonus for people that pre-order or have the Xbox Game Pass.
Xbox Elite Controller Series 2
Tons of new improvements and a lot more customizability and built-in Bluetooth. It will have 3 different presets so you don’t have to change a setup when playing a different game. Most importantly, it has an internal battery. I’ve also heard that the D-pad for the Elite controllers is some of the best for fighting games. Looks great, but I’m scared of the price… 179.99 USD available on November 4th. Wow. There’s a lot of things I could do with that kind of money. Start saving up now. I really wish I could try that baby out.
Dying Light 2
We get some exposition on one of the characters and a possible mechanic in the game. Parkour your way to survival. Comes out Spring 2020.
Forza Horizon 4: Lego Speed Champions
With a supercar made entirely of Lego blocks, Forza Horizon 4 announces a brand new Lego-themed expansion. The Lego Speed Champions expansion looks awesome and cool. Lego and racing game fans rejoice because now we get both. Reminds me of an old Lego racing game I played as a kid on PC. I’m that old. Anyway, Lego Speed Champions will be available June 13th.
A Gears of War spin-off game. As the name would suggest, the characters look like Pop! figurines. We get to see some gameplay for this mobile game. Sometimes cute things and explosions go well together.
State of Decay 2: Heartland
The new expansion shows multiple story angles with two characters that have the same motivation for different purposes. It’s being advertised as the biggest expansion yet and it’s out now. Looks like there’s a reason to head back into State of Decay 2 again. Assuming you have stopped playing it.
Phantasy Star Online 2
A Japanese game on Xbox??? Excuse me. I’ve always said that Microsoft needs to add more Japanese RPG games instead of ignoring an entire market. Phantasy Star Online 2 is finally coming to Western countries. Phil Spencer claims it will be “only on Xbox”, but I’m still going to assume it’s a timed exclusive for the English translation because people have been playing it on PS4 and PC already. Thing is, it’s been in Japanese only, and the only way to play it was to use a web browser translator if you didn’t know Japanese to make a Japanese account. It’s going to have cross-play but it doesn’t specify so I assume you’ll be able to play with people on PS4 and PC. It’s very exciting to see Phantasy Star Online 2 coming to Xbox One, and especially finally getting an official English translation rather than relying on mods. I remember having a lot of fun with the first one, and it was an emotional rollercoaster. It’s set to release in Spring of 2020. Oh, and it’s free to play and hailed as one of the best, if not the best Free-To-Play game out there.
Phil Spencer (The Reprise)
Ok, I already mentioned that Phil is claiming Phantasy Star Online 2 will be on Xbox Only, but I don’t believe it unless it’s a timed exclusive. Xbox now has a partnership with Smilegate. More Marketing terms. Some PR.
Cross Fire X
It’s a cinematic trailer of a fighter plane taking off from an aircraft carrier and blowing up a building with a missile, armored vehicles, helicopters, etc. As someone who’s never played this game, what am I supposed to take from that? Crossfire has been a competitor to CS:GO. It comes to consoles, first on Xbox, in 2020.
Tales of Arise
A gorgeous JRPG coming to Xbox One. The Tales series are loved and adored by many people. Tales of Arise is coming 2020. Seriously. I’m really surprised that they are bringing these games to the Xbox One. Playstation still has most of these Japanese games, but this is progress. Please Bandai Namco, be gentle with the micro-transactions. I don’t mind supporting you.
Lilith comes in stating she “used” to be one of the 6 Sirens in the universe and she needs us. There’s no gameplay in this video, but there is gameplay at E3 such as here. It’s badass and over-the-top. Exactly the things we grew to love about the Borderlands series. We see past characters making appearances along with the new characters and we see a lot of the powers and abilities that are going to be usable. Claptrap is still being defeated by stairs. It’s not gameplay, but it serves that purpose. Borderlands 3 is available on September 13th. In gameplay footage, NPC characters will fight alongside you and will even be able to revive you if you have trouble getting your second wind. Finally, more useful NPC players that aren’t just on the sidelines, they are part of your experience directly.
Borderlands Handsome Collection is now available for Xbox Game Pass, and there is going to be a brand new expansion for Borderlands 2 that will tie into Borderlands 3. This new Borderlands 2 expansion is FREE if you own The Handsome Collection. It’s available now! Get it. It’s good.
It’s a brand new world created by Hidetaka Miyazaki, the creator of the Souls franchise, and George R.R. Martin (so this is why you haven’t finished the Game of Thrones series). Elden Ring is a brand new game by FromSoft that promises to further expand the gameplay of the previous games. It’s grim, it’s dark, it’s also creepy. Exactly what we have grown to love about the Souls series.
A game streaming service is announced for Xbox, xCloud. You’ll be able to use a hybrid gaming cloud (no idea what that means). You’ll be able to play your games wherever. It’s unclear if the same will be for PC. Many people still deal with restricted internet usage, and they are promising that you’ll be able to stream games at 4K. Games are getting bigger, and streaming an entire game will be tough on anyone’s limited monthly allowance (fight for Net Neutrality). Though, they dropped a bomb about a new console.
Are we going to stop calling Xbox One and the PS4 “Next-Gen” finally? Because we’re years into this generation and I still hear PS4 and Xbox One being called “Next-Gen”. I know it’s marketing, but it’s incredibly annoying. Speaking of annoying, I believe that when it comes to ethical journalism, it’s important to look closely at the material being presented. Even companies like Microsoft don’t get free passes in getting scrutinized. I bring this up because the entire presentation left a lot of unanswered questions on the claims being made for a console that hasn’t even been made yet. And that’s what the following paragraph is going to be about. For now, here’s the segment if that’s all you’re interested in:
They are claiming that this new console will be 4 times more powerful than Xbox One X. I am skeptical about many things in the Project Scarlett announcement. They are claiming to use SSDs as RAM to improve performance. My guess is that they will be using an SSD as storage, which should dramatically improve load times. At least that is my speculation. Technology is always improving and evolving. We may not have flying cars, but at the very least technology is improving.
“We’re seeing framerates up to 120”. Yeah, but at what resolution? 1080P? If it can play in 8K, at what framerate? Consoles are looking more like PCs, anyway. They sure are claiming a lot for a console that hasn’t even been made. I know these people working on it are professionals and I am sure they know more than me. Am I saying Project Scarlett will be bad? Absolutely not. Project Scarlett is looking like an excellent system. I sure hope that a lot of the details get cleared up as we approach the release date.
Project Scarlett and is set to release in Holiday 2020. Let’s see if I have my life in order by then because I still have tons of games that I haven’t finished this generation. Which isn’t too much of a bad thing because Project Scarlett will be completely Backwards Compatible with all 3 previous generations of Xbox games. You know, the very thing they were claiming was impossible with the Xbox One. I’m proud of you, Microsoft. You’re learning from your mistakes.
Something I expected to be an entirely different game suddenly shows a very familiar suit of armor. I had thought the presentation was over until I got smacked with Master Chief is floating and getting a Pikachu sized jump start to his suit. He doesn’t even hesitate to jump into another fight. Not even a snack or some water. It’s important to hydrate or else he’s gonna end up looking like a raisin. Maybe that’s why he doesn’t take off his armor. At the end of the trailer, we hear Cortana to which I take as a hint that she might become back. Especially how earlier in the trailer he’s holding the AI chip and it says “no AI found” when he inserts it into his suit. What a way to end.
The presentation was excellent. There are many things to be excited about. Gears 5 looks excellent, and it’s nice to see more Halo. Hell, even the new Elite Controller looks sweet. I was very disappointed to hear that there were very few exclusives. Give RARE some spotlight, bring back Fable. There is so much potential. We can always go back and play the older Fables and games by RARE until the Sun burns out, but I want to see some love from Microsoft here. However, Microsoft and Xbox are giving us very few reasons as to why we can’t just play most of the games presented on PlayStation or PC. Even though I’ll probably be playing a lot of things on Xbox like I always have. Still, solid presentation. Very quick and to the point.