E3 2018: Microsoft Conference of Unexpected Announcements
Going into E3 2018, the company that had the least amount of info to work with was Microsoft. We had a fair understanding of what other conferences were going to cover, but for Microsoft, it was wild guesses and speculations. With Crackdown 3 pushed to 2019 and little else known, expectations for Microsoft’s conference was low. As it turns out though, this could have set them up to perhaps have the best conference they have ever seen. If you watched our reactions to their conference, there were a few legitimate surprises alongside with games we didn’t expect to see. Just how many of them were there? Well, sit back and relax as I go over my thoughts on Microsoft’s E3 2018 conference.
The conference began with the announcement of 343 Industries next title in the Halo Series: Halo Infinite. For as quickly as it was shown off in the conference, it came to a sudden end with no clues of what the game will be. While I can’t say I’ve been a big Halo fan myself, it is nice to see a possible “back to basics” although we’ll probably have to wait for more details at around this time next year. All that we know for sure is that Master Chief will make a return and that this is indeed the next chapter. The game will also make use of the brand new “Slipspace Engine.”
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
Revealed last year, we got to see more on the upcoming sequel to Ori and the Blind Forest. There is no doubt that Ori and the Will of the Wisps look just as amazing as the first game, but it looks to hold the same elements that caught our attention and brought us to tears. There will also be all-new combat and customization options while exploring the exotic world. I haven’t had the chance to play the first game yet, but after watching this, I might actually go and check it out. Just how much darker will the story go? And how will the game tear apart our feelings and make us wish for a happy ending? No specific date is known at this time, but it will come out in 2019.
Shadows Die Twice
First teased back at the Video Game Awards Show, many thought this was a teaser for Bloodborne 2. Instead, it was Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. Just as shocking as it was to see this game appear during Microsoft’s conference was how the publisher was going to be Activision. An interesting turn of events in spite of how From Software’s previous titles has seen a variety of publishers in the past. With the gameplay shown and the variety of moves at your disposal, you can bet that there are quite a few things you can do with your sword and grappling hook. Definitely looks fun and can’t wait to check it out when Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is set for an Early 2019 release.
Almost as a repeat from last year, we have Terry Crews helping to promote Crackdown 3 in a way only Terry Crews can do it. While there was quite a bit of gameplay shown off, there weren’t that many new things shared during the conference that fans didn’t already know. I did enjoy the first Crackdown game while I tolerated the second. Hopefully, the third game will be able to respark interest in the series, although we’re at a point where it needs to come out sooner than later. The game is set to finally come out in February 2019 and will be available on the Xbox Game Pass at launch.
Sea of Thieves Expansions
With the latest Sea of Thieves expansion out, it should come as no shock that additional expansion will be making their way to the game soon. Over the next several months, we will see two more expansions that will come out on July and September respectfully called Cursed Sails and Forsaken Shores. What these will entail for is unknown, but it will mostly continue to grow and expand the world of Rare’s pirate game. Can’t say much on it myself since my experience with Sea of Thieves has been fairly mixed. I’ll probably elaborate that more later on in another article.
It was unexpected to see Todd Howard of Bethesda suddenly appear at Microsoft’s Conference, but he came out to talk briefly about the next Fallout game. We will go over Fallout 76 in greater detail in Bethesda’s conference article, but here, we got an expanded trailer showcasing West Virginia 20 years after the bombs fell. Not much else was shared at the time as one can say that this was build up to Bethesda’s conference a couple hours after Microsoft’s. If I were to drop a minor hint though, I will say that I’m interested to see how fast we the fans can turn Fallout 76 into Fallout 3 with the “nuke” aspect of the gameplay.
Kingdom Hearts 3
Those following the production of Kingdom Hearts 3 might have caught on that the next game was going to be multiplatform. Still, it caught many off-guard to see a trailer for the next game here rather than during Sony’s or Square-Enix’s conference. This was also our first reveal of the world of Frozen, alongside with a few new abilities for Sora that gives him Ice Skates. There are quite a good number of things that one can pull out from the trailer, but the biggest one being the aforementioned release date we got earlier this morning of January 29, 2019. Hopefully, we may also get to see the Big Hero 6 world before this week is out. Or even during Square’s conference.
Forza Horizon 4
There was no brand new car on-stage this year, but we did get the reveal of a new Forza game. Racing in historic Britian, the game will feature over 450 new cars and will introduce a dynamic season system. This will not only change the look of the area but also affect the area around you, including freezing over the lake. Can’t say there is an interest in racing games for me, but I can’t deny that Forza does have that quality to racing games to it. Forza will be racing in On October 2, 2018.
While Cuphead was many decades in the making, the DLC will be next year. Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course (DLC. Get it?) will bring back Cuphead and Mugman as they join Ms. Chalice for an add-on adventure on a new island. The new location will have new weapons, charms, and even our new leading lady with a few tricks of her own. What crazy antics will the boys get into this time? Can’t wait to dive back into Cuphead next year and see what chaos will emerge.
PlayerUnknown’s BattleGrounds Update
For as strong of a first-year PUBG saw, it will only get bigger from here. During the trailer, we got word of not only a new location coming during summer but also a Snow theme location that will drop sometime in Winter. There will also be a “War Mode” that will bring giant group fights. Will these new locations help to add a new spark to the game? Never was a fan of the game myself, but I can see how some PUBG fans will be excited for the variety of content coming up.
Devil May Cry V
The Legendary Devil May Cry series is finally coming back. While Dante did appear towards the end of the trailer, the primary focus was on Nero. One particular detail that many caught onto was the idea that Nero was missing his demon arm from DMC4, and has a new robotic arm instead. Who made off with his arm? and who different will the three characters will be? Virgil will also make his grand return too, but it is difficult to say if he will be siding with his son or not. Be on the lookout early 2019. Can’t wait to hit the jackpot.
While the toads made their long-awaited return in games like Shovel Knight and Killer Instinct, they will soon get to be in their own video game again. The trailer itself did not reveal much as it is still in development, but the game has a date set for 2019. It will be hard to say how deep into the previous games it will go in terms of difficulty, but I can see a lot of old-school fans possibly getting excited for the return of the Toads.
What happens with Jump’s wide range of Manga All-Stars find their way into the real world? A new massive 3v3 fighting game is coming soon and will have characters from Naruto, One Piece, and Dragon Ball fighting all over the world such as New York City. At the end of the trailer, there was even a hint at Death Note. Just what kind of cast will we see? I’m not too sure if this is going to be like a mix between the One Piece and J- Stars Victory Vs Fighting games, but it will be nice to see this arrive on multiple platforms.
Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition
If you are one who plays the Tales of games, you probably know of two of the biggest titles in the series. In the case of Tales of Vesperia, it was the first game to dive into the next generation of consoles and was well received. This definitive edition expands on the original game with not only a brand new character but a certain someone who never got to join your party until now. The definitive edition will come to the west this winter. Will be nice to dive back into this game.
NieR:Automata: Become as Gods Edition
One of the biggest games we got last year on the PS4 will be arriving onto Xbox One later this month. This will not only bring the full experience of this masterpiece over but will also cover all previously released DLC. If you were unable to play this game last year, you owe it to yourself to check it out when it comes out on the 28th. Definitely is a unique game and I feel like I’d be spoiling if I were to talk about the game.
Microsoft’s Latest Partnerships
So while Microsoft has got its fair share of complaints about “not enough unique games” on the Xbox One, they seem to have taken that to heart and made a few acquisitions. While a new studio was set up called “The Initiative,” they also purchased four studios as well. These include Undead Labs who did State of Decay and Playground games, the studio behind Forza Horizon. Some of the more unexpected purchases include Compulsion games, creators of We Happy Few (which the trailer did look interesting too) and Ninja Theory, the guys who did DmC Devil May Cry and Hellblade. Quite a good number of studios under Microsoft now, and it will be fun to see what games we’ll see out of them in the future.
The Division 2
Tom Clancy’s online open-world action shooter RPG game has made it’s way to the heart of our nation. The Division finds themselves activated at Washington D.C. as chaos sweep capital. Will the agents be able to liberate the Captial Hill? I enjoyed the first game, but the end game really dragged on to a point where I stopped after finishing the main game. Hopefully, the sequel will have better pacing, although I’ve heard good things about the expansions. Join the fight to take back the capital March 2019.
Dying Light 2
The sequel to one of the best-selling open-world games of this generation puts the player choice in an all-new perspective. While the dangers of the night are still there, the missions you do will shape the world around you depending on the choices you make. Will you try and help establish order in the decaying city? Or allow it to fall into chaos?
From the creators of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Cyberpunk 2077 got the honor of closing out Microsoft’s conference. So many things were shown during this trailer that it would be difficult to list them all. Be sure to watch the trailer if you haven’t already as this will be a game to keep a lookout for.
Overall Thoughts: More Than to be Expected
While I could have covered the rest of the games, there definitely were more than a handful of games that we got to see in action. Even the Gears of War games all look to be fun in their own rights, including the 5th entry that they revealed. Overall, definitely was happy to see that there were several games Microsoft has in store for us while also showcasing games that many thoughts were going to be in certain other conferences.
Will this be to say that Sony can’t match Microsoft? Of course not. The trickier issue with Sony is that while no one knows what Microsoft was going to show, many have a good understanding of what to expect out of Sony, so they don’t’ have that element of surprise to their conference. Still, if Sony can do just as well as Microsoft, if not better, then this is definitely going to be an E3 to remember.
So what do you think?
Did you enjoy the Microsoft Conference? Did they show more than you thought there were going to show? And what games has your undivided attention? Be sure to leave your thoughts down below and follow us here at Culture of Gaming for more on E3 2018.
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