E3 2018: Microsoft Highlights

by Goran Damnjanovic, Gaming Columnist

Published in Gaming and News on 12th June, 2018

Microsoft destroyed E3. The company showed how a perfect E3 press conference should look like. They showed 50 games, with people talking just for a couple of minutes at a time, between trailers. It was perfect and filled with new video game announcements. There were some exclusives, but most games will be available for PS4 and PC. And just to remind you, Xbox exclusive means that the game will be available for Xbox and Windows 10, not just for Xbox.

Microsoft's press conference was stuffed with new games. We saw so many trailers that are quite hard to remember them all and will talk just about the best ones. The show started with a beautiful trailer that showed amazing environments, strange heard of animals and many cool vistas. It ended up being a teaser for a new Halo game called Halo Infinite. We didn't get a release date but we saw Master Chief taking his helmet and loading up an AI in it (Cortana is back, probably). Next, we saw a trailer for Ori and The Blind Forest Sequel titles Ori and The Will of the Wisps. The game looks even better than the first one and music is still as enchanting as it was in the original game. The game should come out in 2019.

The flood of games continued with titles like Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, a new game from From Software that looks like a perfect ninja game that never came out. The game looks amazing and its gameplay looks like a faster version of combat seen in Bloodborne and the last Dark Souls game. In other words, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice could be another smash hit once it comes out in 2019 (and yes, PS4 owners will also have a chance to play it). We also saw a bit of Fallout 76 but more on that later, in our Bethesda conference coverage. Recently delayed Crackdown 3 got a gameplay trailer starring Terry Crews and while destruction and explosions look astonishing, it seems that all those delays affected graphics since the game looks a bit dated when it comes to visuals.

Kingdom Hearts 3 also had a trailer, but more on that later, and we also saw a charming prequel for Life is Strange 2 called The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit. The game is a free to play title that follows one Saturday morning of a young boy and has a very powerful imagination and you will have the chance to download it on June 26th. Metro: Exodus trailer showed the game's pseudo-open world environments along with some gunplay (which looks better than in two previous games), and superb visuals. We also saw a glimpse of the story showing some religious fanatics who call Artyom and his company heretics. The trailer showed a couple of nasty monsters and was accompanied by Angel by Massive Attack, a perfect song for the action on the screen. We also found out that Sea of Thieves will receive two expansions in July and September and that Halo: Master Chief Collection is coming to Xbox Game Pass along with The Division, The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited and Fallout 4.

And then it was time for the star of the show: Forza Horizon 4. The game features photorealistic graphics. Really, it looks so much better than Horizon 3, which was a looker to start with. The game will feature dynamic seasons on top of dynamic weather (which was a part of Horizon 3) and will take place in Great Brittain. Environments are stunning, car models look like they were scanned and simply transferred into the game from the real world, and the racing is adrenaline-pumping as ever. The game will finally feature a shared open world. Yup, just like in Test Drive Unlimited 1 and 2 (oh, the first one was so good!), you will share the world with other players online, which is great! The game comes out on October 2 and will be a part of the Xbox Game Pass from day one.

We also got to see trailers for Shadow of the Tomb Raider, The Division 2, and Just Cause 4 (more on these later). And then Chris Avelone came out to the stage - if you don't know, he is the guy who wrote stories for Fallout 2, Planescape Torment, Knights of the Old Republic 2, and other cult classics - and announced Dying Light 2! The game is set years after the first one, and it seems that the city you play in (looks like Paris) will be much larger than the one seen in the first game. Dying Light 2 will feature a robust choice-and-consequence system with a huge number of branches in the game that will give you a different experience based on your choices. Of course, parkour and superb combat are still there.

Microsoft also showed a new skate game titled Session, and cool new DLC for Cuphead called the Delicious Last Course (get it? DLC), and Devil May Cry 5 starring Nero from previous game (2013's remake of the series was not mentioned so we think that Capcom decided to ditch it), with a brief appearance of Dante at the end of the trailer. We got first look at the upcoming brawler called Jump Force that features all the biggest Anime stars including Naruto, Goku, and characters from Death Note, and a teaser for new Battletoads, a sequel of the cult classic NES title.

And then we found out that Gears of War 5 comes out in 2019 and that the game will star Kait Diaz from the last game. Gears 5 looks excellent, with snowy environments, lots of gross enemies, and intense action that is dotted with horror atmosphere. But the best part of the Gears of War part of the conference is the fact that we will get a PC exclusive Gears of War turn-based strategy game titled Gears Tactics that looks like X Com in Gears universe. It is happening years before the first game and follows a Gears squad who will try to hold Locust forces from taking over a city.

Other news include a recent Microsoft acquisition of four new studios: Playground Games (Forza Horizon), Ninja Theory (2013 DMC, Hellblade), Compulsion Games (We Happy Few), and Undead Labs (State of Decay 1 and 2), along with the formation of a new in-house studio called The Initiative. It seems Microsoft is preparing for the new generation of consoles that should land in 2020 or 2021 and we hope that these five new outlets will make some cool new exclusives in years to come. Phil Spencer confirmed that the company is working on a new Xbox console and that Microsoft will try to bring game streaming tech to every device in upcoming years. Microsoft conference ended up with a huge bang with Cyberpunk 2077 cinematic trailer that showed the city the game takes place in along with its culture, and a couple of cool, regular life in 2077 scenes. The game looks incredible but no, CD Projekt Red didn't announce the release date for it.

Star of the Show: Forza Horizon 4. The game looks amazing and it seems like it will be the best game of the series.

Biggest Surprise: Microsoft's acquisition of four new game studios. It seems Microsoft finally decided to tackle on the Xbox One's problem of the small number of exclusives for the console.

Biggest Letdown: We didn't see more about Halo: Infinite. It looks like the game will be huge and it's too bad that they didn't show a bit more.

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