Microsoft’s E3 extravaganza has just closed the curtains, so it’s time to compile my hasty, often illegible notes into a coherent update for all of you who just couldn’t be bothered to watch it. ;).
Xbox One X
The Xbox Scorpio’s birth name has been announced. The Xbox One X will be hitting retailers on the 7th November at an expected release price of $499. After some impressive specs were thrown our way, we were privy to an amazing lineup of content ready and waiting for the console. Before we get into all that though, let’s just take a moment to relay some of the specs that stood out the most to the avid Xbox fans of the audience.
Reactions to the Xbox One X’s compatibility with all Xbox One S games and hardware extras were audible throughout the room. The console will take care of the upgrades all by itself, and can make games look better even on a screen that doesn’t support 4K – something Sony might want to look into. With its liquid cooled system that functions alongside optimised power management throughout the smallest but most powerful Xbox console yet, it certainly impressed by the numbers.
And with 42 games to be featured, including 22 of those all important exclusives, Phil Spencer introduced the software lineup amidst a flurry of continued buzzwords. Remember guys, this is diverse, broad, and innovative – just repeat those words to yourself a few times and you’ve got the gist of everything Spencer had to say.
Forza Motorsport 7
A desert landscape and a few lone camels had us all scratching our heads until a few engines revved off screen. Cue a massive trailer launching into everything Forza Motorsport 7 has to offer… if all it has to offer is relentless shots of cars simply going very fast. It probably will be a spectacular game, but you wouldn’t have guessed it from the trailer.
With dynamic weather and the largest collection of Lambourghinis and Porsches ever collected, October 3rd 2017 should live up to its Forza heritage. A 6 year partnership with Porsche was discussed, including the fairly bizarre unveiling of their latest 2018 Porsche 911 GT2RS. Interesting if you like cars I suppose.
Straight off the bat I was incredibly impressed with the sound effects in the new Metro title. From the clack of a reload to sloppy footsteps on cave puddles, the soundscape of this game proves its devotion to atmosphere. Featuring a post apocalyptic world through the lens of a first person shooter, it looks like the Metro lads have left Moscow and are hurtling towards your living room for some point in 2018.
Assassin’s Creed Origins
Well who would’ve guessed it.
Assassin’s Creed Origins takes place in Egypt! ;).
It looks like Ubisoft finally shook off its Unity glitching troubles because this game looks gorgeous. We were treated to a cinematic trailer before an exploration of the gameplay features in the new title. Those new mechanics and features we reported on earlier in the week seem to have been true as well, which is a turn out for the books.
With literal IRL eagle vision and confirmation of ship mechanics via a brief shot of some boats, the birthplace of the Brotherhood was disclosed in full orangey desert hues. A little of the story was unveiled as well, as devs spoke about Bayek’s trials against corrupting forces in Ancient Egypt, the fight against which brings about the foundation of the Brotherhood itself. The very beginning of civilisation, the assassins have truly been there since the dawn of time.
The alpha gameplay footage showed us the compass mechanics in action, which seems to benefit from the overhead view of your eagle companion to alert you to the enemies previously visible on the minimap. Weapons look much easier to delegate, though nothing was mentioned about crafting. We were left with a final release date of October 27th 2017.
After Spencer’s extended attempt to make Mixer happen (it’s not going to happen), we got a look at multiplayer combat experience Battlegrounds. With 3 million PC players so far, the Xbox exclusive was well received by the crowds.
State of Decay 2
Onto the obligatory zombie game, this action title combines ruthless zombie slashing with what seems like strategy and building elements as you build up your camp.
Decision branches also seem to present in this sequel, with the trailer dedicating considerable air time to character development and life or death choices. Some pretty standard enemy classes ended the trailer with an announced release of Spring 2018.
The Darwin Project
This Xbox exclusive looked like Xbox’s desperate attempt to cash in on some eSports action. Featuring a live, and ever so cringey, reporter rehearsing his lines, the cartoon survival combat arena looks like pretty much every other game that exists alongside it.
I admit, I was skeptical about a big Minecraft reveal at E3 2017. I never read about it and I hadn’t heard anything official surrounding it, but I guess I just wasn’t looking in the right places. Lydia Winters led us through a slew of new updates to Minecraft ready for the second half of 2017. Crossplay with Xbox Live will offer online play across mobile, VR, Windows 10, and console devices alongside player made skins, new maps, textures, and massiver servers to host it all.
A free 4K update is on its way for fall 2017 giving the indie classic a brand new look with the Super Duper Graphics Pack bringing it up to 4K standard.
Dragonball Fighter Z
The 3v3 class Japanese fighter game was the first suggestion that the American gaming golden boy was looking beyond its own shores for inspiration this year.
This MRPG featured your typical natural landscapes, monuments, ramshackle villages, dilapidated buildings, trolls, soldiers, giants, knights, and monsters. But damn does it look good doing it. Making the most out of the power behind the Xbox One X, this RPG just looked stunning.
The Last Night
This was a bit of a mysterious one. One of those small games that often disappear into oblivion before the next expo, The Last Night did some incredible things with pixel graphics. I really hope this sticks it out, because even though we only caught a glimpse tonight it looks genuinely innovative and diverse – just call me Spencer now.
The Artful Escape
We went from weird to weirder. The Artful Escape looks like one of the best psychedelic rock concerts in the world. Fantastical space adventures, guitar riffs, space suits, and trippy platformer action awaits in whatever the hell this turns out to be.
A pretty standard RPG with JRPG hints is coming in 2018.
Sea of Thieves
Sea. Of. Thieves. What a game. Last year we saw sea combat and E3 2017 gave us so much more. I was honestly only expecting a nod to this online pirate game this year so when a full gameplay trailer with a fairly humorous Scottish voiceover piped up I was ready.
The trailer introduced the underwater exploration and treasure hunting elements of the new game, along with so much more. In our foraging of the wreck of the Cursed Dawn ship, we were rewarded with a good hoard of loot and a near miss with a shark. From there, we took a look at our map and set course for an island where X just so happened to mark the spot of more booty.
From here we saw riddle puzzles, cave exploration, the undead souls of other pirates who tread these very paths, trading outposts, dynamic weather issues and the dramatic appeal of exploring these islands fully. The best was yet to come though.
Jumping back aboard we soon ran into another group of players. We’ve already seen ship combat so we were given something new this time around. After filling our gun with ammo we climbed into a canon and fired ourselves over to the enemy ship to take the foes out by hand.
Coming early 2018, Sea of Thieves is easily one of the most exciting games to come out of Microsoft’s E3 2017 conference.
Super Lucky’s Tale
One for the kids now, or just the adults in need of some respite. This cheesy fox guy is on a journey throughout the exciting platforming world of Super Lucky’s Tale. It’s a conventional 3D platformer in almost every day. Sure, the Xbox One X makes this world look really, really nice but the simple platforming mechanics and fuzzy little buddy evoked a muted response from the audience
Finally, the indie kid done good is allowed to debut his Cuphead creation to the world after Microsoft bought it out a while ago. We only saw a split second of actual trailer, but it’s coming out September 29th, so not too long to wait.
Terry Crews took to the screen to give us a motivational speech that mostly revolved around the word ‘boom’ before jumping into some heavy action. Crackdown 3 looks fast, exciting and full of life. With no release date yet, though, you can just keep Terry in your dreams a while longer.
A Load of Xbox One X Games Through ID@Xbox
With over 500 games released through the ID@Xbox program, Microsoft were quick to jam a few together to show off their Xbox One X abilities. The games displayed were as follows:
- Osiris New Dawn
- Unruly Heroes
- Path of Exile
- Surviving Mars
- Fable Fortune
- Robocraft Infinity
- Dunk Lordz
- Minion Masters
- Dark and Light
- Strange Brigade
- Hello Neighbor
- Conan Exiles
“The dark is older than the light” is the leading line of the trailer for this new Xbox exclusive. The abstract, incredibly stylised survival plight seemed to be a narrative action title focused on pretty intangible themes and events. A weird one for sure, but definitely one to watch.
Life Is Strange 2
We already knew that Square Enix was reawakening its famous Life Is Strange game with a sequel. I didn’t expect to see it at the Microsoft E3 conference however. From the trailer, it looks like the second series acts as a prequel to the events of Arcadia Bay in the original. Before Max decides to show up, Chloe and Rachel get themselves in some sticky situations starting August 31st with the first episode.
Plus the soundtrack sounds just as good this time around.
Middle Earth: Shadow of War
This gameplay trailer focused on the new gameplay mechanic of dominating enemies to initiate them into your own faction of war. Oh, and a charming ozzy ogre called Bruce (well Bruz but you get the idea).
Xbox One X Enhanced Program
Things turned back to the hardware for a second, as if Spencer seemingly forgot to mention this at the beginning. Nevertheless, it was good to know that a ton of games including Final Fantasy 15, Resident Evil 7, Ghost Recon Wildlands, and Rocket League will receive free updates for the Xbox One X system through the Xbox One X Enhanced Program.
Xbox One S Price Drop
As is always the way, following its younger sibling’s birth, the value of the Xbox One S has dropped. I know the feels Xbox One S, I truly do. You can now pick up the console for $249.
I have to admit, I was more impressed by Anthem last night when we only caught a glimpse during the EA Play event. A proper look now, alongside the obligatory unrealistic scripts of in-game chat, made me realise this is essentially Destiny with an Andromeda exo-suit vibe and Horizon Zero Dawn world design. Hopefully they’ll change my mind as development continues.
What are you most looking forward to from Microsoft’s new cohort? Will you be picking up the impressive Xbox One X console (and remember how much it pains me to say that as a long time PlayStation servant)? Let us know in the comments below and have a diverse, innovating day.