Microsoft Conference – E3 2017
Microsoft came out swinging in what needed to be a big show for them. They mostly delivered too with a very solid show that brought some big surprises and some great games. Apart from the lack of games for later this year, Xbox is probably in the best position it has been for a while now. Good to see.
– Microsoft kicked off the show with Scorpio, now Xbox One X. It is a small black box funnily enough. Smaller than any other Xbox. Liquid cooling obviously helping that. It is hitting November 7 and will retail in Australia for $649, which isn’t too bad considering the US price of $500. Not much of an Australia tax there. This is a machine for people that want the best of the best but at that price point, it is easy to see it being within reach of most punters in a year or two.
– You launch a new console, you launch a new racing game. Forza 7 was on show and honestly, it looked great. Microsoft managed to get the Porsche licence for the game which is very cool and the graphics were rather impressive. Of course, this sort of game isn’t for everyone but for those that dig fast cars, Forza always delivers.
– Next was a big surprise. A new Metro game. I am not shy about sharing my Metro love so I am super pumped that a new Metro game is coming out. It looked amazing, truly creepy and haunting. I hope this is the game that brings the franchise to the masses because the Metro games are a beacon of FPS storytelling and atmosphere.
– Following surprise of Metro, the most leaked game ever took the stage. Assassin’s Creed Origin hit the stage to show off some Egyptian gameplay. It looked very smooth and the combat system seems to have gone through an overhaul but it is hard to tell if it is a significant departure from previous Creed games. There is a loot system though and all the kids love loot right? I am happy to give this the benefit of the doubt though and I am actually pretty keen to go hands on.
– Player Unknown Battlegrounds is hitting the Xbox for a timed exclusivity period. This game is taking the PC by storm so hopefully, it gets a good port for consoles. It would a shame if the game didn’t translate because of some dodgy, rushed programming. I haven’t played it yet but I am told by many, many people that it is a huge amount of fun.
– State of Decay 2 hit the stage in a big way with an extended trailer that looked great. The first game was a very rough diamond that I have a lot of love for so I am keen to see the outcome of a huge cash injection from Microsoft. It looks to be a more refined, polished version of the first game at this stage, but I am ok with that. The only sad thing is the game isn’t hitting until early next year. The wait hurts.
– A new arena shooter that gave off a Hunger Games vibe called The Darwin Project got shown off in the worst possible way, with a shout caster. It looked like it could be fun but I have a feeling it will get lost in the crowd.
– The Minecraft section was blessedly short this year. Minecraft is getting crossplay across all systems (yay!) it is getting a community marketplace (cool!) and it is getting a 4k update (who cares, it’s Minecraft).
– A quick game montage followed with the PC MMO The Black Desert, a neon adventure game The Last Light, a quirky platformer called Artful Escape and A Japanese brawler called Code Vein. All looked great and all deserve a quick look at their trailers.
– Then came the big one, Rare’s return to form. Sea of Thieves got a huge chunk of gameplay and it looks like a lot of fun. I have a feeling that this game will really rely on have a good group of friends to play it, but if you do I think it is going to be something special. Sign me up Captain, I am ready for the high seas in Early 2018.
– Then it was a surprise, Super Lucky’s Tale. A 3d platform game. It looked like it could be fun but it is always hard to tell how this sort of game plays from a video. It should, at the very least, be some solid family fun.
– When then got something that we never thought would happen. A release date for Cuphead. September 29. I just worry that the sheer amount of hype for this game is going to cripple it on release. It still looks amazing though.
– My excitement hit fever pitch when we were presented with Terry Crews: The Game! Actually, it was Crackdown 3 but Terry was there and that makes me happy. Crackdown 3 looks like a lot of explosive fun and it is releasing on the same day as the Xbox One X, November 7.
– The Indie montage was next and some of these titles looked great. I am particularly excited for Path of Exile on the Xbox. I think that will suit consoles wonderfully.
– Ashen got a big new trailer with a wonderful aesthetic and some punishing combat on display. It looks to have elements of Dark Souls as well as more traditional adventure games and it really could be a sleeper hit.
– Another surprise, though this one was rumoured, Life is Strange is getting a prequel. The new season is called Before the Storm and the first episode will hit on the 31st of August. I know a lot of people that are super excited by this one.
– Shadow of War then took over the stage and introduced the world to the greatest gaming character ever, Bruce the Orc. But in all seriousness, this looks to be a smashing game with an improved nemesis system that allows players to build an army of orcs to help them along the way. I really enjoyed the first game and this looks to be even better. LOTR Hype!
– The surprises kept coming with an Ori sequel announced. Ori and the Will of the Wisps. Looks stunning, but being an Ori sequel, that isn’t a surprise.
– Speaking of more surprises, Microsoft announced original Xbox games will be coming to the backwards compatibility program. It is a kind of superfluous feature but it is nice to have the option. It also means that classics like Crimson Skies will also be playable again, which is nice for fans that are desperate for a new game.
– Finally, Anthem hit the stage. Teased yesterday in the EA Play show, Anthem is a new game from Bioware and it really blew the crowd away. It looked amazing, something of a combination of Mass Effect and The Division. The graphics were jaw-dropping and gunplay looked tight. We all know the danger of getting hyped over a Bioware game now, but it is hard not to be excited by the potential that Anthem has.
So that was the Xbox show. A great show with the only problem I can see a shortage of games for 2017. That said there is a tonne of great stuff on the horizon for Microsoft and the Xbox One X certainly looks like a mean bit of kit. I think that Xbox owners will be happy and a few people on the Sony side of the fence might be tempted by the Xbox One X as a second console.