E3 2018 is only two weeks away and the entire gaming community is excited to find out which announcement will shake things up this time. Microsoft surprised friend and foe alike when they let us know that the small E3 booth that everyone had been mocking will solely be focussing on Mixer and that the main shows and events will take place at their own Microsoft Theater, right across the street.
The Xbox E3 2018 Briefing on June 10 will kick things off and I’m willing to make some guesses as to what we’ll get to see:
Japanese Games Coming Over To Xbox One
I hope we’ll get to see a showreel with a bunch of Japanese titles that will finally be playable on the Xbox One after having been exclusive to the other platforms and/or PC until now. I’ve been very vocal on social media about some of these titles as I don’t see why titles like NieR: Automata or Kingdom Hearts 1.5+2.5 & 2.8 were only coming to Playstation 4. In fact, I had an article dedicated to this just recently:
Click on the image above to see my list. While some of those are a stretch, I’m crossing my fingers to NieR automata at least and perhaps some titles I didn’t think about.
Sequels To Existing Franchises
I think it’s safe to say that we’ll see some news about Microsoft’s existing series. While I didn’t expect to hear any news about Gears of War 5 yet, the Wallmart Canada leak did list it and Bethesda confirming RAGE2 (also on the list) shortly after kind of cemented it to be way more likely than anybody gave it credit for. On the other hand we have Halo 6, which is definitely being worked on as we speak but I wouldn’t keep my hopes up about getting a lot of info on it (if any).
The one game that’ll amost certainly be announced though, is Forza Horizon 4, which many are speculating will take place in Japan.
Speaking of which, the Forza developers have reportedly been working on a non-racing game. An open world RPG to be more precise and rumour has it this is the next numbered entry in the Fable Series. If there is one genre that has been lacking a solid entry on Microsoft’s console, it’s single player story-driven games and this just might fill the gap.
While Crackdown 3 hasn’t come out yet, it would be pretty unwise to waste too much time on showing us more footage from it as we’ve already had enough teasers at previous events and the only thing we’d like to hear about now is a release date set in stone.
Announcing A New IP
If there is anything Microsoft is being criticized for at the moment, it’s the lack of quality exclusives. If they want to have any chance, albeit slim, at taking away Sony & Nintendo’s thunder in that department, they’ll have to do more than release a few sequels to known quantities. It was a sad day for many Xbox fans when they heard a game like Scalebound was cancelled and hopefully they received the public outcry on social media well enough and they are making strides at bringing us something similar. The last exciting new IP that was released was Rare’s Sea of Thieves and the reception of that game has been pretty hit or miss, depending on who you talk to.
They did announce that they were starting a new AAAA (no, you didn’t miscount the number of A’s) studio and hopefully they are ready to at least lift the curtain a bit as to what they are working on and when we can expect it.
I’m personally hoping for some fantasy/sci-fi setting RPG (or ideally a mix of the two) and being blown away by the quality that deserves that 4th “A”. Though 2018 may still be too soon…
A Release Date/Price For The Hololens
While developers are already able to purchase a Hololens to test new applications and games, Microsoft has yet to announce an official release date and price for the consumer version. A few years ago, VR was still in its babyshoes, but we’ve seen recently that the quality of the games being made for it went up (Moss for PSVR) and also that it’s more popular than ever with games like Beatsaber topping the Steam Charts. If Xbox hopes to compete in the market, they can’t wait too much longer to announce their AR/Mixed Reality device and show us just what they are capable of.
One of the biggest limitations of those devices so far, is that they require a large amount of computing power, so you’ll need a powerful console or PC to run them. While the Xbox One X would certainly be up for the task, being the most powerful console out there, I imagine that Microsoft has the biggest Ace in their deck that the other companies can’t hope to beat: Cloud Computing. If all the processing work is done on remote servers, all you would need on your AR/VR headset is a superfast internet connection. I don’t know about you, but I’m stoked to dive into the Oasis! (That’s a Ready Player One reference, for those who haven’t read the book/seen the movie)
Marketing Deals With 3rd Party Games
Xbox has recently truly received its own department at Microsoft and with it, bigger budgets. While it’s understandable that they can’t pump out new exclusives from the get go, the increased “allowence” should make for a significant impact on how they market 3rd party games. We already heard the tagline “Plays best on Xbox One” a few times, but haven’t seen too many advertisements in the media or on the street. The reveal trailer for Battlefield V seems to have kickstarted a new season for Xbox however.
Who gets the marketing rights or DLC exclusive content can be a deciding factor in how many copies are sold. But it’s up to Microsoft to decide if those costs are likely to be recovered. At the very least, it would give their corporate image a much needed boost. Here are some other games that Microsoft is rumored to have cut a deal with:
- Borderlands 3
- Cyberpunk 2077
- Splinter Cell
Yes, you read that last bit right. There have been rumors of a new Splinter Cell releasing and what console would be better to show it on than the one that kickstarted the series? The Black+Green color schemes of both Xbox and Sam Fisher’s outfit + nightvision goggles even go hand in hand like a match made in heaven.
Xbox Live Avatars + Games That Use Them
Yeah, remember these? They were first announced at E3 last year with details like tattoos, piercings and even prosthetics being included, nothing should stop you from making your avatar look exactly like you. Perhaps even with emotions and facial expressions to match!
“Coming This Fall” – Yeah, about that…
I think we’ll hear more about them this year and we might even get to see some games that utulise them as well. Nintendo has been trying to incorporate their Mii’s in quite a few titles, from games built around them like Tomodachi Life or Miitopia to games that just let you them as an additional character like Mario Kart. It does serve as a good basis to guess what kind of games Microsoft could be working on though.
- A Kart racer
- A Tennis game
- Some kind of Sim/Life simulator game
- A turn based RPG (less need for animating movements)
Looking at their style, I wouldn’t even be completely surprised if they announce that you could use your avatar in Sea Of Thieves, albeit with a limited choice of sea-worthy clothing. If they make the code to use them readily available, it could make for some interesting 3rd party extra’s as well. How about being a support character in a game like Kingdom Hearts 3 or seeing your Xbox Live friends as NPC’s in Psychonauts 2… As long as the graphical style doesn’t completely oppose it, the possibility is there.
And you? What are your hopes for the E3 2018 briefing? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter!