“Go big”. That’s what Microsoft’s Executive Vice President of Gaming, Phil Spencer, promised he and the team would do this year. He also said that they will be “as big at E3 as we’ve ever been”. Exciting stuff indeed. This came not long after Sony announced that they would not be holding a live E3 conference this year, and indeed for the first time ever. With Nintendo sticking to their “direct” format, it leaves Xbox holding the only live conference from the big three. This provides an opportunity to steal the show. What better time to “go big”?
It’s as an exciting time as I can remember being an Xbox gamer right now, and I was impressed with Microsoft’s tour de force at last year’s presentation. Phil’s boasting has had me thinking for a while how he plans to make this year’s offering the strongest ever. I naturally have a few suggestions, or more likely demands, to ensure it lives up to the hype.
Gears 5 is a pretty safe bet really. I’m a huge fan of this franchise, and was very nervous when Gears of War 4 was announced. Thankfully, it turned out to be an excellent continuation of a seemingly wrapped up story, and had me eagerly awaiting the next entry in the series. It would not be fair to keep us waiting much longer for this, so a release date is crucial, which hopefully points towards the back end of this year. If the team throw in some new gameplay to whet our appetites, it’ll be a good job well done.
It’s been heavily rumoured that Playground Games, the studio behind the excellent Forza Horizon series, are working on an as of yet unannounced “AAA open-world” title. It would be awesome to fully confirm this exists as Fable 4, as after the closure of Lionhead Studios, this was once thought impossible. The series has a strong fanbase who have never given up on the possibility of it being released, and it now almost feels inevitable. Hopefully we will get to see a flashy trailer and if I’m allowed to be really greedy, some gameplay would be very much appreciated too, thank you very much Microsoft.
Halo: Infinite is a frustrating one. So far information is pretty scarce and 343 Industries is taking its time with it, which is no bad thing in my book. As a lifelong Halo fan who was bitterly disappointed with Halo 5: Guardians, I desperately want this final outing to be a classic. Suggestions that the series is “going back to its roots” can only be a good thing. Rather strangely it’s title is missing the number 6, however it’s pretty much been confirmed this is the next game in the main series, following on from Guardians.
What we need is gameplay, and lots of it. Fans are desperate to see the game in action and are hoping 343 have learned from past mistakes. What would be nice to see is Halo: Infinite being a launch title for “Xbox Two”, calling back to the release of the very first game for the original Xbox. The latest rumours suggest the game will be out sometime around Christmas 2020, so this isn’t entirely impossible. Open your conference with this Microsoft, and start as you mean to go on.
Splinter Cell 7
Every year I tune in, and wait. I wait for that iconic trio of green lights to appear, or gravelly voice to introduce itself and take me by surprise. I’m not talking about some rubbish cameo or remaster. I’m talking about the next chapter for Sam Fisher; Splinter Cell 7. It’s been the longest wait for fans between games in the series and we still don’t know if this is officially being worked on.
The franchise has always felt most at home on Xbox, despite eventually being released on pretty much every platform going. It would be the perfect way for Microsoft to close their conference and give so many Xbox gamers what they have been longing for.
Now this one is pretty much guaranteed. Thank goodness, however, we aren’t currently playing on the Xbox 720, otherwise come this year’s E3 things would be getting ridiculous. It is for sure the most important part of the conference, getting the reveal of the “Xbox Two” or “Xbox Scarlett” right. It’s the perfect opportunity, in Sony’s absence, to blow us away with what the new piece of hardware can do. We can safely assume Microsoft will have some mightily impressive tech demos ready to show us, as well the the aesthetics of the console and controllers. With that, we can also expect a hefty price tag which will almost certainly be the most expensive Xbox console to date.
This is also a great chance to properly nail backwards compatibility, something Xbox has never managed to do. Rather than waiting for your game to become available in the latest update, or buying it again digitally, it would be great for all your games to work on launch day. That said, with Game Pass clearly being a focus for Microsoft, this may not be as high on the priorities list.
Rumours currently suggest two versions will be released, mirroring the Xbox One S and X. “Anaconda” will be the all-singing all-dancing most powerful release whereas “Lockheart” will be something similar to the recent Xbox One S All Digital Edition linking somehow to project xCloud. Of course we know nothing for sure until E3 where we are all hoping these questions, and more, will be answered.
So, that’s what I want to see Microsoft bring to E3 2019. What would you like to see Xbox deliver? Drop your comments below.