E3 2019 Predictions – Microsoft
With E3 under two weeks away it is time for the P2 team to get together and do what they do best, make wildly inaccurate predictions about what is going to appear at the big show. Even though it seems like E3 is a little bit smaller this year, we are still excited to see what rolls out. First up on our guessing chart, Microsoft.
Gears 5 is primed to Microsoft’s marquee piece at E3 2019, and with the last entry feeling very similar to how The Force Awakens did to Star Wars fans, I’ll be curious to see what Rod Ferguson and The Coalition are looking to do to differentiate the game from the initial trilogy. Don’t get me wrong, if Gears 5 remains a very familiar experience, I won’t object too much, it’s comfort food for me, but my interest in the game is continuing to build ahead of a presumed EOY release
Ori & The Blind Forest is one of my top 3 favourite games of the generation. It was a masterclass of the Metroidvania subgenre and mixed in a heartstring-tugging narrative to make it one of the most profoundly impactful gaming experience I’ve ever had the opportunity to play. Now that Moon Studios is hard at work on a sequel I’m stocking up on tissues for the inevitable tears that will burst from my eyes upon playing it. The last time we saw the game it was announced to be a 2019 game, let’s hope that is still the case.
Ninja Theory are masters of their craft. Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice was exceptional and was deservedly winning GOTY awards, DmC, whilst divisive in many parts of the gamerverse, I personally thought was great, Enslaved: Odyssey to the West and Heavenly Sword are gems of the last generation. In my mind, Ninja Theory is synonymous with quality, and now, as a Microsoft studio, they’ll have all the necessary financial support to make whatever dreams they may have come true. When you consider that Hellblade launched in August of 2017, there’s been enough time now for their next project to be well underway, so here’s hoping it debuts at E3.
Off the back of last year’s E3, I’d expect Microsoft to be showing a bit more of Halo Infinite and Gears of War 5, if not a new exclusive IP. Microsoft’s been a bit quiet in terms of exclusives, and it makes me wonder whether the days of Sony and Microsoft battling it out over which console has the better exclusive games is coming to an end with Microsoft bowing out.
Microsoft always has a few indies to show off, so it would be a bit surprising if those were absent. I’d say it’s also pretty likely that Microsoft’s push for Game Pass will continue (perhaps game streaming services are replacing the emphasis on exclusive games?), as well as info about the new Xbox console they hinted at last year.
As much as I’d hope that Microsoft has a new IP to show off, somehow I don’t feel like it’ll happen. I’m happy to be proven wrong! I’d also love to know if they’re working with Obsidian on another Pillars of Eternity title, but I doubt that’ll be talked about anytime soon if another entry in the series is on the cards.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps will get a release date, and it will be soon. They were demoing a pretty impressive build as far back as October last year at PAX Aus, so I think a release is imminent. In fact, Ori might get the shadow drop treatment, becoming available immediately following Microsoft’s presentation – and we already know it will be available on Game Pass.
Also, there will be some Forza stuff. Horizon 4 was last year, so maybe it will be Forza Motorsport 8’s turn. Additionally, they might announce future plans for free-to-play title Forza Street.
Microsoft will do an E3 sale, heavily discounting Xbox Game Pass (or the Ultimate subscription service). In fact, I’m counting on it so I can subscribe for the rest of the year – mine runs out in August!
Naturally, there will be a wealth of cool games added to the Game Pass library or at least scheduled to be added at a later date.
Microsoft will announce a collaboration between Rare and Playtonic who are working on Banjo-Kazooie 3: The Midlife Crisis of a Platonic Bear & Bird Couple.
Seriously though. I would really like another adventure of the Kazooie and Banjo variety. Yooka-Laylee had its charms but ultimately felt shallow in comparison to its ancestors. Playtonic will be better for the run and the next thing they make will smash it out of the park.
This year will be all about the Gears. It will be good to see more of what is planned for the latest in this popular franchise. I feel like Microsoft is onto a winner with how they approach these titles. They only come out every 3-4 years so you don’t get over saturated with them. This means I am ready for some more cover-based shooting and locust chainsawing. I expect Gears 5 to get a massive part of the show along with a solid release date and perhaps a beta for multiplayer.
Phil Spencer has talked about the new studios that Microsoft has brought under its wing quite a bit in recent times. He even mentioned the fact that it is likely that at E3 we will see what they have been working on. Obsidian is busy with The Outer Worlds (which will probably have a big presence in the Microsoft show too) so I expect we will see what Ninja Theory and inExile have been working on. I also fully expect to see Playground announce their secret RPG project, which everyone knows will be Fable.
Microsoft splashes some more of that Developer money to buy some classic IPs that are due for a resurrection. I would love to see Microsoft fill the holes in their catalogue with some classic titles made new again for modern audiences. Things like Mercenaries, Alpha Protocol (which is a chance with Obsidian now a Microsoft studio), Outlaws or, if the gods are willing and EA sells it, Jade Empire. Even older Microsoft titles like Crimson Skies and Brute Force deserve another shot at the big time. Fingers crossed for some classics revisited.
Now onto what might possibly be the biggest news busters of E3 2019! Microsoft has hinted fairly strongly that they’ll be showcasing their new XBOX Console this year. I for one am expecting two separate consoles, one that is purely a streaming / lightweight machine and the other, a beasty ‘offline’ version. Each one will likely address the issues that we’ve seen in last generation’s consoles, namely not being locked down to 30 frames per second, low storage and extremely slow loading times.
Game streaming is indeed the way of the future, even though it’s not really practical for the vast majority of us out there. As the technology matures and our communications infrastructure continues to get better though, we’ll one day look back on these initial steps and go “wow, glad they did that, this is much better”. This isn’t my only prediction though and it seems the cat may already be out of the bag, but I’m expecting some big announcements on cross-play between Nintendo, Sony and XBOX. More so as a general “F U” to Google, but it’ll be a good thing for all of us consumers who have long awaited this sort of thing.
Even though they’re late to the party, I’d really love to see some sort of VR component to the new systems in development. Not just any VR component though, some sort of team up with a pre-existing headset (Vive / Oculus). Why re-invent the wheel when you can just leverage a crowd that’s already out there? But a killer app to come with it … which would be the Master Chief Collection that’s just about to be released on STEAM. Make it happen XBOX!
… also, a new Killer Instinct game wouldn’t go unnoticed, just saying.
Stephen del Prado
Gears 5, Halo: Infinite and Ori 2 will feature heavily as they’re probably the last hurrah Microsoft has up its sleeve for this current generation. Before the show is over they’ll drop some news about the rumoured ‘Lockheart’ and ‘Anaconda’ consoles coming late next year. I don’t think we’ll get much beyond specs – it’s still a bit early to kill off sales of current consoles completely with another Christmas season still to come.
With some exciting third-party titles like Cyberpunk: 2077 on the horizon, it remains the perfect chance for Microsoft to keep harping on about having the ‘most powerful console’ and what that means for third party performance on their platform. Add to this the value of Ultimate Game Pass and I don’t see why they can’t shift a few more units between now and late 2020.
In a bold move, Microsoft state that until developers can manage to achieve 60 frames per second at 1080P with a worthwhile HDR implementation, they won’t be allowed to access either 4K or 8K video modes in their upcoming console. It may seem petty, but this is increasingly becoming my preferred method of playing and I say this as an owner of a respectable Samsung 4K HDR TV. Give me performance modes or give me…whinging on the internet, I guess. Also, Viva Piñata 3 anyone?
After the reveal during E3 last year it is a sure thing that we will see more of Halo Infinite. As one of the few marquee titles that Microsoft still has on the books, Microsoft is sure to bring it out, although whether they give us a release date or not is another thing altogether.
Another one of their big titles, I am sure we will get to see more footage of Lancers carving up Locust, filling the screen with blood and gore. As with Halo, I don’t know if we will get a release date, but we should see more details about what we will see in the game.
Not just a beat-em-up side-scrolling game like the Battletoads of old. A game with a fine-tuned combat system akin to that of the Batman Arkham series, where the combat feels like it has weight rather than just spamming the attack button.