Top 5 Nicest Surprises at Microsoft’s 2018 E3 Conference
With another E3 in the books, one can’t help but just sit back in their chair and take a load off their mind. I’ll admit that in terms of E3 coverage, it’s demanding to not only write articles on the conferences and showcases but also provide live reactions to it. It sounds simple, but when you have to marathon nine conferences (including Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo) over a period of four days, you feel you have to take a vacation from your vacation. Still, it was a great ride and I can’t wait to do it all over again next year.
All that said, I will admit that after working on a fair sum of articles for E3, I felt as though I didn’t fully react to the conferences myself. I wrote pieces on a few conferences and provided commentary during the conferences live on our Twitch page. Now that the dust has settled down, I can take a deep breath and reflect on the announcements that felt made a huge impact. I’d like to take this time to reflect my thoughts on what I believe was the best overall conference at E3: Microsoft.
Now we all have our preferences about “who won E3,” and there is no wrong answer. Whether if you said, Sony, Nintendo, Bethesda, or even “The Gamers” (since the last one is a clear choice), Microsoft’s conference felt like the best one out of all. Rather than relying on one or a few games, there was a wide range of feature titles coming soon. Instead of a rapid fire of games coming next year, we got a nice breakdown on a few games. It was nice to get some elaboration for a few games while getting announcements we didn’t see coming. Most of all, it didn’t need to divert attention away from the game and “build them up” as they had a steady stream of titles through the conference.
For as much as I could rave about it as a whole, it would make more sense to into more details on what I felt were the more important announcements we got from their conference. It can range from either a game announcement to something broader than just showcasing something. I will also not focus on some specific titles if we expected them to show up at E3. It had to have an impact or to grab people’s attention by saying, “Yes. That just happened, and you didn’t see it coming.” So allow me to break down what I would say were the five biggest moments during Microsoft’s E3 Conference.
5) Shadows Die Twice reveal during Microsoft’s conference
Right before the Video Game Awards Show begun, we got a short teaser. It showed an exposed arm with no skin and muscle as it was being held together with wire. For many, they thought this was a sequel teaser for Bloodborne since this was being made by From Software. The problem was that Bloodborne came out three years ago, and that was enough to have people feel like a sequel was “too soon.” So while this would likely be a new IP, some excepted a follow-up trailer to come up during Sony’s conference.
Who knows if it was because they set Sony’s line up beforehand, Microsoft struck a deal or because of their other game coming to PSVR tile: Deracine. This trailer caught many off-guard when it appeared at Microsoft’s conference. And the gameplay looked fantastic too as it was in a setting different from Dark Souls or Bloodborne. The game had fast-paced action and the ability to revive where you died is also a possibility too. While I’m not much of a Souls player myself, this could be a game to check out. I’ll be on the lookout for next year.
4) Microsoft announcement of a new studio and acquisition of indie developers
2017 was a big year in gaming. It was also the time we saw some of the biggest games come out on the PlayStation 4 and the first year of Nintendo’s newest console. With so many astonishing games from both Sony and Nintendo, many players felt pity for Microsoft having nothing in comparison. There were Cuphead and Forza 7, but many players thought with the launch of “the most powerful gaming console ever!” that there would be exclusive games to go with it. Even if I play on Xbox One the most, I’ll admit that I missed out on a few popular games last year (even though it could be due to a lack of interest).
It would seem though that Microsoft wanted to commit in terms of acquiring several developers. A few of these were obvious choices, such as Playground Games who make the Forza games and Undead Labs who’ve done the two State of Decay games. The bigger shocks came from the other two studios they announced. Compulsion Games, the studio behind We Happy Few coming in August and Ninja Theory, which were best known for last year’s Hellblade. It is crazy to consider that Microsoft would drop so much money into several studios. They also launching a new studio called “The Initiative”, but this shows their newfound commitment to bring unique games to their system and for the next generation of games. Who knows if this investment will pay off, but it is a big step forward for Microsoft to have more exclusive titles soon.
3) Microsoft Double Dips Into Anime Fighting Games with Jump Force Announcement
Some are quick to forget that while Dragonball FighterZ is one of the bigger fighting games right now, it first appeared in Microsoft’s press conference. It was rather interesting to consider that, being a system focused in the west, you would have a rather prominent anime fighting game shown here of all places. So imagine if you will to see yet another anime fighting game, but in a much larger scale. While many didn’t notice the Hokage heads at the start, others didn’t waste time pointing out the Thousand Sunny, and Frieza’s ship. Even the place they were fighting was something no one saw coming: the streets of New York City.
While I missed out on the chance to play J-Stars Victory VS, this feels like a sequel to that game while taking expanding on the original. With the 3v3 Fighting, it looks like One Piece Burning Blood, while the action and chaos remind people of the Naruto Storm series or the aforementioned J-Stars. The game looked crisp and the tease of Death Note representation makes this a game for many to keep an eye out for next year. Does this mean that Microsoft hasn’t given up hope on connecting to a Japanese audience? Hard to say. I only hope that when the roster expands out, we get to see more recent mangas get representation like My Hero Academia. Let All Might actually use his United States of Smash in the United States.
2) Devil May Cry V Announcement Brings Back Nero with Metal Arm and Dante
The rumor mill can be a rather dangerous place to tread for the unprepared. Before PSX last year rumors circulated on Devil May Cry 5 getting an announcement. It could have been the best time to drop that piece of news off. This did not happen and left many fans disappointed. Still, many did not lose hope and banked on E3 to be when it would appear. Just like Shadows Die Twice though, many players were under the impression that it would appear at the other conference.
I will admit that I had my slight concerns about seeing Nero at first since he looked like Dante from DmC: Devil May Cry. After seeing Red Queen in his hands though, that was one crisis averted. The trailer itself did what it had to do to get everyone excited with the number of details revealed from just the premiere trailer. Nero is missing his Demon Arm as it appears Vergil might have stolen it from him. While fighting demons with one arm sound badass, it is awesome that we instead see him use a new robotic hand to dish out punishment. Add that in with Dante’s appearance at the end, and you got everyone’s attention for an exciting new entry in the Devil May Cry series.
1) Cyberpunk 2077 closes out Microsoft’s conference
If you were to look up lists of “Most Anticipated Games At E3,” chances are that Cyberpunk 2077 sat in the Top 3 lists. Revealed back in 2013, we had little to no information for five years until now. Rumors ran wild that this would be the year it would return, and it did five years later. When we talk about a game’s significance during a conference, some point towards the final game announcement that closes out the show. While Gears of War 5 would have been a good way to end the show, the sudden final trailer from CD Projekt Red got everyone sparking with interest and excitement. And the trailer shared did not disappoint.
While we did not see gameplay, there were still plenty shown in the trailer to show just how much the game progressed since its prior announcement years ago. There was plenty of surreal imagery on display and would catch those who are unfamiliar with the Cyberpunk series off guard, such as me. It’s difficult for me to talk about the game due to my lack of playing the other games. After this trailer though, it is going to be on my radar. Lets Hope CD Projekt Red will keep us in the loop on the development process, and we are coming soon.
It was nice to hear about Halo Infinite, despite being just an announcement it is coming. It is also nice to see three separate Gears of War games coming, but many felt as though that the next game was coming fairly soon. We can’t say much of Crackdown 3 as it remains in its own situation until the game finally launches next year. Forza Horizon 4 looks nice, but it has become a yearly game people expect to see. Even seeing Kingdom Hearts 3 at Microsoft’s conference can’t be that big of a shock if we already knew it was coming, and how it had several trailers after that one too.
Overall, Microsoft took advantage of the lack of interest and had a brilliant showcase. For as many games shown this year, one can’t help but wonder if they maybe the second coming for Microsoft to pick up on lost steam over the last few years. Not that they’ve been lacking, but compared to how Sony and Nintendo have conducted themselves, Microsoft can still do a better job. Let’s hope they will match their performance during E3 2019.
Other Honorable Mentions
- The next Xbox is in development
- Todd Howard drops by to show Fallout 76 before Bethesda’s conference
- The Division 2 premiere and game play demo
- NieR:Automata: Become as Gods announced coming to Xbox One
- Cuphead getting DLC called “The Delicious Last Course“
So what do you think? Were you happy with Microsoft’s conference? Which games did you not see coming? Leave your thoughts down below and be sure to follow us here at Culture of Gaming for more gaming editorials.
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