Xbox E3 2019 Briefing dazzles with new console, new Halo, new Gears, and Keanu
Microsoft is holding the press conference to watch this year. Why? Lots of reasons! Xbox Scarlett, Xbox on PC, rumors of Xbox heading into VR space, and more! However, the biggest reason to tune in to this press conference this year is the lack of Sony presence at E3. Usually Microsoft and Sony compete for all the big name AAA announcements but with Sony out of the picture, we are guaranteed to see all the big AAA announcements from notable third party developers right here!
So what did Microsoft have to show us at this year’s E3? Let’s take a look.
The Outer Worlds
Welcome to the bleak corporate post apocalypse, in game form! The very first trailer of the Xbox E3 2019 Briefing was The Outer Worlds and I got to admit; it’s looking a lot like Borderlands. A stranger shows up on an outer world run by corporations, loots a bunch of guns, kills people for no reasons, oh and there’s a morality system I guess. I mean let’s face it, you already know if you like looter shooters like this, and it’s looking to be a fantastic addiction to the genre. You can pick it up on October 25, 2019.
Bleeding Edge is the new cooperative multiplayer online 4v4 competitive game by Ninja Theory. It looks a little bit like Overwatch but with melee weapons instead of guns. Well there are sum guns, and throat mounted flamethrowers, and robot snakes, and giant sawblades. It’s absurd and fans of that sort of over the top absurdity will love to get in on the alpha on June 27.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
We finally got to see a new trailer for everyone’s favorite cross between Metroidvania and Princess Mononoke: Ori and the Will of the Wisps. We get to see Ori use a whole bunch of abilities from air dashes to grappling hooks as he avoids giant spiders, wolves, and tons of other denizens of the dark forest. It will launch on February 11, 2020, and you will be able to play it first with Xbox Games Pass.
Don’t have enough Minecraft in your life? Well this isn’t Minecraft but is sure it similar. A top down isometric RPG set in the Minecraft universe, you and three other players will don your armor, spelunk into dungeons, defeat enemies, and probably eventually get blown up by creepers. Its Diablo meets Minecraft, featuring both local and online co-op. Minecraft Dungeons will be coming out Spring 2020.
Jedi Fallen Order
We got to see a new trailer for EA’s new Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order featuring more Saw Guerrera and a November 15 release date, though we didn’t see much more than we saw at EA play.
Remember the Blair Witch Project? Well it’s coming to your consoles and Windows PC. That means a lot of wandering through forests and waiting for demons to frickin kill you! It showcased quite a few interesting mechanics, like being able to see ghosts through your camera, and needing to navigate through twisting and changing environments. It appears to be the story of what happened to the people who tried to rescue the original cast of The Blair Witch project and it’s coming out soon on August 30
CD Projekt Red focused primarily on story this year in the new Cyberpunk 2077 trailer. You are getting about what you would expect from a Cyberpunk story: a deal gone bad, a murder most foul, a seedy underground joint that sets up an ambush for our down and out main character. This isn’t the happy cyberpunk of modern day. This is the neon pink and blue grit that the genre became known for, the kind of cyberpunk that has you stabbing a guy’s torso with your robot blades before someone hacks your brain. And if you didn’t think that was cool enough for you, Keanu Reeves plays a major role. Who better to play a role in a Cyberpunk than Neo.
Keanu made an appearance on stage and hand waved away a lot of the game’s selling points like a huge open world and deep customizable RPG mechanics. He was just jazzed to tell us about the world and the release date of April 16, 2020. You can pre-order today!
Taking a hard left turn from Cyberpunk 2077, we bring you a new cartoony 2D ship/base builder, resource manager, exploration game, with an incredible fairytale aesthetic. No release date was given, but it made it clear that we are going to have to “learn how to say goodbye” so this is definitely going to emotionally devastate us.
Yep! The Battletoads are coming back, similarly animated. It’s basically everything you could have wanted from a Battletoads revival, from 2D beat ‘em up stages, huge bosses, outrageous moves, and of course… the dreaded turbo tunnel, now from a behind the back perspective. Unfortunately we did not get a release date for this one yet, but keep your slimy amphibian eyes peeled.
RPG Time: The Legend of Wright
Now this is one of the coolest ideas yet. It’s a traditional RPG done completely in flipbook style. To navigate your surroundings you will have to actually draw in new pieces of your environment! At times you will even have go outside of your flipbook to a world of paper-craft in order to get new moves and play minigames to advance. It’s a phenomenal fourth wall breaking adventure in the best style of Yoshi’s Crafted World meets Dragon Quest. RPG Time: The Legend of Wright will come out sometime in 2020.
Xbox Game Pass
Batman Arkham Knight, Metro Exodus, Hollow Knight, and Borderlands: The Handsome Collection are now available on Xbox Game Pass. They also mentioned Xbox Game Pass for PC which just launched today. Halo:The Master Chief Collection is also being brought to the PC for the first time via Game Pass. Now you can get a bunch of games curated for you every month for ten bucks a month. You can also get Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for $14.99 that gets you Game Pass for PC, Console, and Xbox Gold lumped in. Anyone can jump in today for the limited time offer of $1.
Microsoft Flight Simulator
Holy crap, it looks like we are actually getting a new flight simulator, a genre that has long been taken out of the public eye. Powered by real satellite data and “Azure A.I.” you can now fly your favorite planes, from huge Boeings, to small crop dusters, all over the world. It’s literally, a new game in the series that established the genre.
Age of Empires II Definitive Edition
Ever wanted to play Age of Empires II in 4K? Well now you can! Age of Empires Definitive Edition is coming to PCs this fall 2019.
Welcome to the post-apocalyptic, in winter, in Colorado…. Where everyone is a clown for some reason. It looks like the Wasteland series is getting even more tongue in cheek than it was before. Don’t worry, you’ll still be able to take out giant robot spiders and navigate interesting tiered maps in strategic combat. There’s just… going to be a lot of clowns.
Xbox Game Studios and Psychonauts 2
Every year Xbox announces their new studio acquisitions. This year, it was Double Fine studios joining the Xbox team, along with an in-depth look at Psychonauts 2. It looks to be the same strange Tim Burton-esque mental gameplay but now in HD on Xbox and Windows PC. No release date though. Maybe you need to hop into Tim Schaefer’s subconscious to get it.
Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
All of the Star Wars films are now under one Lego roof. You can play through all nine movies, yes even the latest one, in one game. This new major series compilation will release sometime in 2020.
Dragon Ball Z Kakarot
The brand new Dragon Ball adventure project got a new trailer this time, showing off the amazing Bandai Namco graphics engine bringing both the Saiyan Saga and the Frieza Saga to life. It’s not clear if we are going beyond that, but I can definitively say this is one of the best anime games in development right now. It is scheduled to release in Early 2020.
12 Minutes is a game about a man stuck in a time loop. Someone is coming to kill him and his pregnant wife, but every time he gets killed, the loop starts all over. It appears to be a game largely taking place in just one apartment, which is an interesting artistic choice for a thriller like this. Can you uncover the mystery, save yourself and your wife, and escape the time loop? We shall see, as this new project is only pegged as “coming soon.”
Way to the Woods, a game by Anthony Tan
This is one of the more interesting indie titles of this year. You play as a Deer and its baby trying to find their way out of civilization into the woods with nothing but your magic antlers to help you interact with the world around you. It looks to be a really interesting and almost meditative experience set for release in 2020.
Gears of War 5
The Gears trailer was kind of…. cinematic this year. We didn’t really see a whole lot of gameplay as much as we saw a strange abstract acid trip of Kait’s face set to Billie Ellish. They did reveal a brand new game mode, Escape. In Escape you play in a squad of three who has to infiltrate a hive, plant a bomb, and then escape. We still didn’t get to see gameplay though, just a cinematic trailer. They did, however, say that you could build your own hives and challenge your friends to bust them, and that you can try out this new mode at select Microsoft Stores in the coming weeks.
Gears 5 will release on September 10. You can play it early with Game Pass Ultimate or by pre-ordering the ultimate edition. You can play the versus multiplayer tech test on July 17th, and at Gamescom players will be able to play a Horde Mode test on August 19th. So there’s going to be a lot of content before its official release date. Finally, if you pre-order or play Gears 5 with the Xbox Game Pass by September 15th, you’ll get a Terminator Dark Fate character pack. Yes, THAT Terminator.
As an additional little Gears bonus, Gears Pop was announced, a fusion of the Funko Pop and Gears franchises launching on iOS and Android.
The Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2
It looks like we are getting yet another new Xbox controller built for pro gamers. Trigger grips, shorter hair trigger locks, swappable thumbsticks, rubber grips, custom profiles, a battery that last 40 hours, and more. If you are the sort of person in the market for a pro controller like this, you can pre-order now.
Dying Light 2
You know the drill for Dying Light 2, it’s like the only zombie series that’s still alive, which is ironic if you think about it. The new trailer this E3 gave us a look at its heavy parkour systems, allowing you to hop from building top to building top almost like you were in Mirror’s Edge, but with zombies. They also dropped a big story bomb, the main character Aiden is already infected and has a limited time left before he too ends up craving brains. Dying Light 2 releases in Spring 2020.
Forza Horizon 4: Lego Speed Champions
Forza is a racing series that prides itself on its realism and hardcore car physics… but screw that! Legos! Yes it looks like Foza Horizon 4 has an entire Lego mode, allowing you to race Lego Men in Lego Cars through Lego Worlds. Lego Speed Champions, an expansion for every other Forza player other than the hardcore car enthusiast, will release on June 13. That’s this week!
State of Decay 2: Heartland
OK, so maybe I lied when I said there was only one surviving zombie franchise. State of Decay 2: Heartland focuses on its narrative experience, which follows two separate characters on two separate paths that may intersect with each other through the game. They called it the biggest expansion yet, and it’s available now.
Phantasy Star Online 2
Holy crap, Phantasy Star Online 2 is finally coming to the west on Xbox. Remember Phantasy Star Online? The very first online RPG for the Dreamcast. Well this is the same series, totally free to play. If you aren’t one of those guys who specifically went out of their way to play the overseas version, then you owe it to yourself to give this a try when it hits our shores in Spring 2020.
You probably haven’t heard of this series. Look at it this way, it’s basically Korean Counter-Strike. It’s huge overseas and had a peak of over 8 million concurrent players. So while you may have not heard of it, the fact that Xbox nabbed it as a “first-on” console exclusive here in the states is actually pretty big. Give it a try sometime in 2020.
Tales of Arise
We got to see the trailer for the next Bandai Namco tales game, Tales of Arise. Not only is it one of the prettiest JRPGs we have seen in some time, but it showed off a lot of really neat mechanics. For example it looks like battles take place on the map instead of in a separate battle screen. However, they primarily did show the action of just two characters which makes me worry this Tales game may not be muiltiplayer, which would greatly disappoint its dedicated multiplayer scene.
We already knew this was a thing, but today we finally got a look at Borderlands 3’s new classes. There’s Moze “The Gunner” whose ultimate ability appears to be summoning a giant robot. Fl4k, “The Beastmaster” summons enemy beasts to fight for him and appears to be the new summoner class. Zane Flynt “The Operative” who has accuracy and teleporting abilities. Finally there is Amara the new Siren who can summon incredible magic Asura’s Wrath style arms to punch people to death. A lot of your favorite old faces are coming back, from Ellie to CL4P-TR4P to, of course, Lilith. Borderlands 3 will release on September 13 and we also got the formal announcement of Commander Lillith and the Fight for Sanctuary, a new DLC for Borderlands 2 that you can download now.
We got a new look at the new combined effort of Hidetaka Miyazaki and George R.R. Martin. Combining Dark Souls and Game of Thrones, one way or another you are going to die a lot. We didn’t see any gameplay but it felt kind of like space Lord of the Rings right down to the font used for the title. It did have muscly blonde haired duded hitting things with hammers and that is something I enjoy. Hopefully we will get some finer details over the course of E3.
Project xCloud and Console Streaming
E3 will be the location of the first Project xCloud location test. They announced a new mode that allows you to turn your Xbox into your own private game server. This will allow you to play your Xbox games on the go… provided that both your home internet connection and the internet connection at your destination can handle it.
We finally got a short look at Microsoft’s next gen console. Microsoft’s new policy is to design their new console around one thing and one thing only: gaming. Imagine that! They finally announced the very first feature of the newest Xbox, reduced load times. It looks like both Sony and Microsoft are going to be competing on this in the next gen too. This new console too will have an SSD and they said that they created yet another new SSD like we have never seen before (similar to Sony). They even said they were using the SSD as virtual RAM which is, something we really haven’t seen since Windows 95.
They spoke about its new processor which used Zen 2 and Navi-technology from AMD. They estimate that it is four times as powerful as the Xbox One X. They also mentioned that it would be using GDDR6 RAM to further increase speeds. They said we were looking at 120 FPS and 8k resolution capability along with Ray Tracing capabilities. They estimated that they are seeing general performance over 40 times more than the current generation.
It was a lot of buzzwords. Frankly we didn’t really see anything concrete about it, except its release date of holiday 2020.
And sure enough, a new Xbox comes with a new Halo, Halo: Infinite. Once again we didn’t get a whole lot of gameplay, but we did get a story trailer which seemed straight out of Aliens. What do you do when you find a frozen Master Chief floating in space? You plug him in and bring him back to life!
To be fair to this title, it’s planned to come out a year and a half from now so of course they wouldn’t show us much, but the picture of a collapsed Halo at least got us interested. Halo: Infinite will be one of the first launch titles for the Scarlett late next year.