It’s the Electronic Entertainment Expo once again! Not as fun as PAX, but it’s essential for the largest game developers to show us their upcoming titles and new tech. We kick off E3 2019 with the Microsoft Press Conference.
Beginning with Private Division’s OUTER WORLDS, the trailer shows off dynamic combat, hilarious character dialogue, and more of what most are expecting to be the answer to the disappointing FALLOUT 76.
Following this, we have a world premiere of Ninja Theory’s BLEEDING EDGE. A 4v4 melee combat game, boasting the combat director of games like HEAVENLY SWORD and DEVIL MAY CRY, with an aesthetic similar to OVERWATCH. I’m looking forward to the technical alpha, which starts on June 27th.
Next, we have gameplay and cinematic footage from ORI AND THE WILL OF THE WISPS. Beautiful environments with huge creatures chasing our hero. Can’t wait for this sequel and another whimsical yet breath-taking adventure.
For the MINECRAFT fans, Microsoft showed off gameplay footage of MINECRAFT DUNGEONS. If you love the MINECRAFT humor and aesthetic, along with a DIABLO-esque dungeon-raid mechanic, look forward to this one.
STAR WARS JEDI: FALLEN ORDER revealed some new and interesting footage that wasn’t seen during their gameplay reveal the other day. Being a little underwhelmed originally, seeing the protagonist climb an AT-AT and then proceed to pilot it definitely gave me a bit more hope for this one. Pre-order is available with a release date of November 15th, 2019.
Our second world premiere shows us a gentleman searching the woods for a lost kid. BLAIR WITCH, brought to you by the minds of LAYERS OF FEAR, has us relive the horror that was Found Footage films. With tastes of ALAN WAKE mixed with OUTLAST, I’m excited to see what horror this game brings.
The Showstopper of the Microsoft Press Conference
CD Projekt Red stole the show with this one. Not to say the previous or following showcases were lackluster, but everyone excited for CYBERPUNK 2077 had, even more, to go ape over after this one.
The clip starts with our main character (Samurai) arriving at the Fixer’s dwelling right after a heist. Your partner (Jackie) dies from a gunshot wound. Upon delivery of the goods, our protagonist is greeted with the Fixer’s bodyguard, showing off his bionic arms equipped with blades. After a scuffle and what seems like the end of the clip, our character reboots out in the open and greeted by a familiar face. In case Keanu Reeves wasn’t the most topical celebrity already, looking up at him with “…we have a city to burn,” sent chills down my spine. The clip was followed by the celebrity coming on stage and further explaining the world of CYBERPUNK 2077, leaving the audience with the biggest highlight of the show in my opinion. Release date is April 16th, 2020.
Indie Games and ID@XBOX
Next, we have an array of beautiful, interesting, and awesome indie games. We got to see SPIRITFARER, what appears to be a gorgeous 2D adventure game, which seems to focus on its aim of giving you the feelz.
A game that I’ve always been in a love/hate relationship with, BATTLETOADS, got a chance to show off. Three player co-op, 2D beat-em-up goodness. I’m sure the difficulty will still have game journalists quaking in their boots.
The LEGEND OF WRIGHT is a pencil art/comic book style RPG. Memories of PAPER MARIO encapsulate this one, with flip book style combat, humor, and style.
With more and more indie developers getting some spotlight, I really like what ID@XBOX aims to achieve.
The XBOX Game Pass
Microsoft seems to be making things up to gamers after years of focusing on media streaming. With its XBOX Game Pass, the focus is gamers and not just XBOX gamers. XBOX Game Pass was announced for PC recently, which allows PC gamers to access a huge XBOX library of games. They mentioned METRO EXODUS, GEARS 5, PREY, and of course the MASTER CHIEF COLLECTION, all of which available to play on your PC or XBOX today for $14.99 a month. That’s XBOX Live and the XBOX Game Pass for both PC and XBOX, for what is essentially a Netflix subscription.
Double Fine Productions Join Microsoft
Double Fine Productions joins Microsoft with Tim Schafer, himself, arriving on the stage. Upon this, we get a new PSYCHONAUTS 2 trailer. Raz is on his first real mission as a Psychonaut. The art, humor, and gameplay are all there.
After this reveal, we go into a few of the non-exclusive showcases. LEGO STAR WARS: THE SKYWALKER SAGA, boasts a story-line throughout all nine films. Then we got a taste of DRAGONBALL Z KAKAROT, which seems like a pure single-player adventure following Goku through his epic timeline in the Z-series. I guess it’s been a while since we’ve had a non-fighter DRAGONBALL game?
A very interesting reveal was 12 MINUTES. Showing a top-down apartment with a man and his wife turns sinister with the husband trapped in a time loop trying to save his wife and himself from a visitor.
Following this, what seemed to be the most expensive showcase, we have GEARS 5. The scene opens with a clip of our new female protagonist’s face as it’s morphs between other characters and the Swarm. All the while, Billie Eilish’s “Bury a Friend” playing in the background. Real edgy, guys.
After this, the stage starts shooting steam and fire as the camera drops into the floor of the stage revealing an industrial-like setting and a monitor. This opens up into the new Escape multiplayer mode for GEARS. A 3-player co-op where you plant a bomb in a hive and have to escape through the swarm. Seemed interesting, but no gameplay footage was presented. The only appealing part was the TERMINATOR Character Pack! Unfortunately, you have to pre-order. So close…
After the GEARS 5 showcase, we get a sleek video of the Series 2 XBOX Elite Wireless Controller, new footage of DYING LIGHT 2 (Spring 2020), and the FORZA HORIZON 4’s Lego Speed Champions. Definitely, a weird turnaround for the FORZA series. The trailer features the Everything is Awesome song as the game takes on a Lego Movie-esque aesthetic. Seems fun, definitely expanding that demographic if anything. This expansion launches this week!
Then we saw GEARS POP, a mobile game. Yup. Followed by a STATE OF DECAY 2 expansion called HEARTLAND, also featured on the XBOX Game Pass launch.
A big announcement for me was the reveal of PHANTASY STAR ONLINE 2. If you didn’t play this for Dreamcast or Gamecube back in the day, prepare to replace any current online RPG you’re playing. A bold statement, but I know what I’m doing Spring 2020.
In case that’s not enough of your Asian-influenced games, we also got a cinematic trailer for CROSSFIRE X (essentially the Korean COUNTER-STRIKE) and TALES OF ARISE for you Symphonia fans. Both scheduled for 2020.
Back to the states, we have more footage of Gearbox’s BORDERLANDS 3, along with a release date of September 13th 2019.
Then we have the DARK SOULS/GAME OF THRONES love child that is ELDEN RING. Very cool cinematic trailer, as expected, but no gameplay. Whether you’re a Miyazaki fan or a George R.R. Martin fan, these two powerhouses have a game that I’m sure will make you cry, but in an “I give up at life” type of way.
Near the end of the conference, we finally get to see some new specs of Microsoft’s upcoming console:
Project Scarlett boasts an impossible to imagine 120fps and 8k capabilities. Ray-tracing, AMD’s Zen 2 and Navi graphics. Expect less load time and having to save up for a new monitor. The aimed release is Holidays 2020 with HALO INFINITE. Speaking of which…
Couldn’t end on a high note without 343 Industries showing off HALO INFINITE. Master Chief is officially back in this beautiful cinematic trailer. We start off with a lone survivor trapped on his ship and floating in space. Nearing the end of his power supply, he comes across the floating body of the Chief. Using what power he has left, Master Chief is brought back to find that things have only gotten worse, revealing a demolished Halo and their ship under attack.
Microsoft’s E3 2019 Press Conference had one big negative: most of these reveals were simply cinematic trailers. There was not much gameplay footage to really show off what we can expect from these amazing titles. I’m definitely most excited for CYBERPUNK 2077, though. It’s a personal favorite. If I wasn’t already interested enough, the Keanu Reeves reveal along with all the awesome gameplay footage, really stole the show.
Through all of this, 12 MINUTES piqued my interest the most. Making decisions within a 12-minute loop, trying to prevent the death of you and your wife, seems like a trip.
Then there are the nostalgia titles that I can’t help but be a sucker for. PHANTASY STAR ONLINE, BATTLETOADS, PSYCHONAUTS 2. This was definitely one of the better Microsoft Press Conferences, so I’m hoping these awesome trailers are consistent with awesome gameplay. We’ll see…