E3 2019 - Microsoft XBOX Press Conference

June 10, 2019

Introduction

 

Before E3, I mentioned in my expectations that this was Microsoft's conference to lose. They had the momentum after the last E3 and a year that has brought many good services to the forefront of this XBOX product. 

 

Let us see what was announced and did it live up to expectations. 

 

Announcements

 

I am not going in order as I did not have my notebook with me when I was watching the Press Conference. 

 

The one thing that Microsoft is hitting home with is its message. They are really letting go of that one box does everything for your entertainment, to very game focused. I think that this is a good strategy and I think in the long run it will serve them well. It does not mean that they will not do it, just that they will not announce it to the world. Games are the future. 

 

The Outer Worlds

 

This is a game from Obsidian Entertainment who is now part of the Microsoft family. This was the opening sequence and it looked good. I cannot say one way or another if I am excited for this or not. It looked cool but I will probably wait until the price goes down before I purchase this game. 

 

The Outer Worlds Trailer

 

Bleeding Edge

 

This is another first party offering from Ninja Theory who is also owned by Microsoft Game Studios. For me personally, it lokked a little like Borderlands? I am sure that it is not the same game but it just felt that way to me with the different weird characters. Again this is another entry that I am not too excited about. It will also be available for PC and XBOX One June 27th, 2019

 

Bleeding Edge Trailer

 

Ori and the Wisps

 

This game looks spectacular. I never really played the first game but now I really want to. This is a type of game that is right up my alley. It is a platformer that seems to have some strategy elements as to how to beat a boss or get through a section. This the second time that I have seen the game, but this time it seemed to struck a cord with me. May be it is because there is an actual date now of February 11th, 2020. I cannot wait to check it out. 

 

Ori and the Wisps Trailer

 

Blair Witch

 

I do not know how I feel about this one. It seems to be an action horror game. I am not really sure that I want to play that again? It seems that these kinds of games are coming out every year and I think it is time to change the theme a little. I guess there are fans out there that live for these games. I am ok with Metro 2033 or Dead Space

 

I will say something though, it does look gorgeous. I think that if it would be more in the way that Murder: Soul Suspect was made, I think I would like it more. 

 

Blair Witch Trailer

 

Spiritfarer

 

One of the games that I found cute and well animated is Spiritfarer. There is not much in terms of what the game is about from the trailer. All that is shown is that you need to learn to say goodbye and that seems to be a deer. 

 

I have to admit that I love the animation but I am not sure if I would pick this up. May be if it is free on XBOX Live with Gold at some point. 

 

Spiritfarer Trailer

Psychonauts 2 and Double Fine

 

This one was a 2 for 1 as Microsoft announced that they are adding one more studio to their XBOX family with the acquisition of Double Fine. This company founded by none other than Tim Schafer is known for such critically acclaimed games such as Psychonauts, Brütal Legend, Broken Age and Grim Fandango Remastered.

 

In addition to this announcement we were also introduced to a brand new Psychonauts game called Psychonauts 2. This game has a cult following and many of those players have been wanting another game in the Psychonauts series and they were given one. 

 

Pshychonauts Trailer

 

Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga

 

I am a huge Lego games fan and I even own many of the previous Lego Star Wars games. However, I cannot get excited for this. It has been done many times and I think, it just fell flat. I am sure that there will be people buying it but it will not be this guy. 

 

Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Edition Saga

 

Forza Horizon 4: Lego Speed Champions

 

The previous entry is a great segway to this entry. As I mentioned before, where I felt like the Lego Star Wars thing has been done numerous times, this felt different. You are going to be able to play a Forza game engine with Lego's. My inner 5 year old was giddy when I saw this. I am not sure why. 

 

The trailer also looked really awesome. 

 

Forza Horizon 4: Lego Speed Champions Trailer

 

Phantasy Star Online 2

 

On social media I saw many people that were excited for this game. Although I see why people like it, this is just not for me. The trailer looked good but it was just not my cup of tea.

 

It will be out Spring 2020

 

Phantasy Star Online 2 Trailer

 

Elden Ring

 

This is a game that was collaborated with George R. R. Martin. You may know him from a small show called Game of Thrones.  I must admit that this trailer looked awesome and I wanted to hear more about it. However, it does seem like we will have to wait a while before we can have our hands on this potentially epic game. 

 

Elden Ring Trailer

 

 Battletoads

 

This game was leaked last year and it is back again this year. From the little gameplay that we saw, it seems to take some elements from the original. The example of this is the sewer stage where you have obstacles and you need to avoid them in record time in order not to die. I like the fact that it is animated and they did not try to make it 3D. 

 

Battletoads Trailer

 

Cyberpunk 2077

 

All I have to say is wow!!! This game looks gorgeous on every level and it looks like the exact type of game that I can spend hours playing. The character models looks spectacular and I really like what I saw in terms of story. It kind of seems like a Deus Ex meets Blade Runner. I am really happy to see this. 

 

Oh yeah, as the splash picture of the video below shows, Keanu Reeves is in this game as well. He also came out and said a few words. I must admit that it looked a little awkward, but who does not love John Wick himself!! 

 

The only minor disappointment is that we have to wait until April 16th, 2020 in order to get our hands on this game. I cannot wait. 

 

Cyberpunk 2077 Trailer

 

Gears 5

 

I am lukewarm on this title. This is a great series and I think very underrated. It very often falls in the shadows of the God of War and Halo. As a series it has always been strong and I do not consider any one of the previous games a disappointment. However, I expected to see more gameplay this time around. We got a glimpse of it and it looks awesome but it was not enough to say, yes I am buying it. 

 

The game will launch on September 10th, 2019 on PC and XBOX One. 

 

Gears 5 Trailer

 

Halo: Infinite

 

Last but not least Halo: Infinite was announced as a launch title for the new Project Scarlett (New XBOX). I have to admit that it looked really good. 343 Industries advised that this game will be a spiritual successor to the original trilogy of games. It does not mean that the story is being rebooted but there are elements that make you remember those first few Halo's. 

 

From the demo that was showed, Master Chief is rescued lying in space. Then you are brought in and your suit is reactivated. Then it looks like you are learning the controls. This is very reminiscent of the first Halo game. 

 

In addition to that, I am sure if anyone noticed but the suit of armor looked very similar to the original game. It looked more vivid and it looked cool. 

 

I think that this has revived my interest for the series. For Halo 4 and Halo 5, I was just going through the motions and playing them cause I loved the original games. This time, it feels different and I hope that I will be surprised. 

 

Halo: Infinite Trailer

 

Hardware and Services

 

Project Scarlett

 

Everyone in the room was expecting it and they announced it, a brand new console that will be coming out right before the holiday season, which tells me mid-November. They were hush hush on the details and specs but they did advise that it will be 4 times faster and more powerful than the XBOX One X. Price was also not discussed, so I assume this will come later on when they are ready. 

 

Elite Controller 

 

There was a new controller that was announced. It is said that it has been rebuilt from the bottom up. You can now adjust various buttons on the controller. For example you can change the tension of the thumbsticks. 

 

Game Pass

 

One of the biggest announcements for me was the Game Pass stuff. Game Pass as announced last month will now be on PC as well. 

 

They will not offer a pricing that is 15.00$ a month for

 

1) Game Pass on console

2) Game Pass on PC

3) XBOX Live with Gold

 

Now if you do a quick calculation of the current pricing 

 

1) XBOX Live with Gold = 59.99$

2) Game Pass for Console = 10$

 

If you add the 2 up it is the same price as the new offering. However, if you game on PC and console, then it is worth it as you get the PC one basically free. Since I am not a PC gamer for me it does not change anything. But it is cool what they are doing with this. 

 

Project xCloud

 

This is XBOX's response to Google Stadia. Some parts seem good but there was little information divulged during the Press Conference. 

 

You will be able to play the games on the cloud. The main difference with this compared to Google Stadia, you can play in one of 2 ways. 

 

1) Stream from Microsoft servers directly OR

2) Make your computer a xCloud server and access it on your device that way.

 

Also with Google Stadia, you pay a per month fee and you also need to purchase the games as well. So for now at least in terms of pricing I think XBOX nailed it. Now it is still to be seen how this service performs. 

 

It will be available this week to try out at E3 and the service will roll out in October. 

 

Conclusions

 

In the end, do I think they did well? I think they did. I saw many people bashing Microsoft that it was not a good conference. Some people said that even though Playstation was not there and still won and so on. 

 

I am not sure what people were talking about. If your complaint is that there were too many 3rd party games, I understand, but most games run better on the XBOX One X than the Playstation 4 Pro. We do not know about the next console, but for now that is the case. 

 

The first party games I liked. Ori and the Wisps and Halo: Infinite looked great. I do not think that they will win any PS fans to come over but they were solid announcements. 

 

The Game pass stuff is awesome and this is where Microsoft really shines. They lost this generation with their first party games but they won it in terms of services like Game Pass and backwards compatibility.

 

I think that it was not a Wow conference but it also was not a dud. I am looking forward to the different offerings that Microsoft XBOX has to offer and we may be pleasantly surprised. 

 

What do you think? Was I on the money or in left field somewhere. Let me know below. 

 

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