E3 is once again around the corner, and the gaming world descends into chaos and anticipation at just what will be announced during the conferences. Safe bets for what will be announced this year during Microsoft’s conference would be release dates and gameplay trailers for Gears 5 and Halo Infinite, the next Forza game, and also that other non-racing game that Playground Games have been working on *cough* Fable 4 *cough*.
But we’re not here to look at those nearly nailed-on predictions. Instead, here are some absurd predictions, but with just enough fact in them to make them almost plausible.
Fanboys beware, there are some themes you will find controversial and disturbing in this list, such as IP sharing and ripping on PlayStation. You have been warned…
The Yakuza series on Xbox
Let’s start this absurd list with a prediction that also happens to be top of my wishlist. Since the Western release of Yakuza 0 in January 2017 on the PlayStation 4, a new wave of players are experiencing the Yakuza series for the first time, myself included. But there is more to this prediction than just my hopes and dreams.
The Yakuza series revolves around Kazuma Kiryu, a one-time member of the Japanese crime family that in each instalment of the game’s travels around fictionalised versions of Japanese cities in tales that are deep with plot and lore. But as well as the story, the Yakuza games are famed for their combat, where fights can break out at any time on the streets of Kamurocho or Sotenbori, and their substories, which can range from the cute, to the downright weird. The Yakuza games have this amazing balance of gritty crime drama, mixed with surreal humour that is unlike anything else.
But enough about why I want them to come over to the Xbox, let’s talk about why they will come over.
Since the release of Yakuza 0, the first and second games chronologically in the series have also been remastered and released for the PlayStation 4 – in the forms of Yakuza Kiwami and Yakuza Kiwami 2. Kiwami meaning ‘extreme’. Also released last year was Yakuza 6: The Song of Life, the epic conclusion to Kiryu’s story. And then, also there were PlayStation 4 releases of Yakuza 3, 4 and 5, due to the success of the Western reincarnation of the series. So far though, only 3 and 4 have seen PlayStation 4 releases, and even then, this has only so far been in Japan. Why is this delay I wonder, when the whole reason for the re-releases of 3, 4 and 5 and current-gen consoles is for the Western audience?
Add to this the fact that Phil Spencer himself has long been wanting to see more Japanese games on the Xbox, even going so far as to travel out to the country to visit developers. Maybe this is to grovel and apologise to SEGA, as when the original Yakuza was pitched to Microsoft, they had no interest in it.
Thirdly, the Yakuza series has recently branched out to Steam by releasing Yakuza 0 and Yakuza Kiwami on the PC-based platform, with Yakuza Kiwami 2 on the way. But before the intro for Yakuza 0, there is a screen stating that “Real Yakuza use a gamepad”. Sassy? No doubt, but it is the silhouette for which gamepad which drew my instant attention:
Looks familiar doesn’t it?
Anyways, whilst this is way, way up on my wishlist, I don’t think this is beyond the realms of possibility anymore.
Absurdity rating: 3/10
Likelihood rating: 5/10
Xbox character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Whilst this next one won’t officially affect Xbox owners, I think this would still be an exciting prospect given how far the relationship between Microsoft and Nintendo has grown in the past few months.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate released in December 2018 and featured the largest roster for the series, with over 70 characters to play with and battle against. Not only that, there was the Fighter’s Pass, which would add another five characters to the already impressive roster.
Currently, only one of those fighters has been announced: Joker from the RPG Persona 5, a game which is not available on the Nintendo Switch, where Super Smash Bros. is exclusive to. Add to that the fact that characters such as Cloud from Final Fantasy VII and Snake from the Metal Gear series are also fighters in the game, but their original games aren’t on the Switch (or not until very recently for Final Fantasy VII), then it shows Nintendo are clearly looking further afield than their current first-party releases.
And then we have the fact that Cuphead has recently been ported over to the Switch, perhaps in preparation for the next reveal of the Fighter’s Pass? Not technically a Microsoft-owned IP, but it has been one of their better exclusives in recent years until it ported over a couple of months ago.
So, who do Microsoft allow Nintendo to borrow? The obvious choice would always be Master Chief; as far as mascots go, he is the closest to anything that Xbox has. Synonymous with the Xbox brand, that may have been who Nintendo were targeting, but Microsoft may want to play it safe at first.
My guess would be something from Minecraft eg. Steve/Alex or a Creeper. Minecraft has already penetrated pretty much every gaming console/device out there and is as recognisable as it comes. Having Minecraft-related weapons, or even a completely destructible environment based on the block-busting gameplay would really mix-up players’ playstyles in Super Smash Bros.
I fully expect Cuphead/Mugman to be added to the roster at some point also. Their finger clicking attacks and unique art style would also suit the game excellently. Plus, with the recent announcement that Devil May Cry is to appear on the Switch, could Dante make an appearance on the roster?
Absurd rating: 2/10
Likelihood rating: 7/10
Nintendo Switch games on Xbox One
Now we start to be a little bold with predictions, but this one goes hand-in-hand with the previous point.
The relationship between Nintendo and Microsoft is definitely growing, whilst the likes of PlayStation sit stubbornly in the corner not budging on the idea of cross-play functionality (come at me fanboys), so it is in their best interest to work together, by playing together. And as mentioned above, Microsoft-owned Minecraft is on the Switch, along with new additions such as Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice through Xbox Game Studios snaffling up various studios. Along with the long-rumoured appearance of Xbox Game Pass on the Switch – which may or may not be happening depending on who you ask – there is no doubt that Microsoft are keen to get the Xbox logo on as many devices as possible. Therefore, what if Nintendo were looking to do the same?
Similar to Microsoft in the previous prediction not giving away their most prized possession in the form of Master Chief in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, it would be wrong to expect Nintendo to offer up Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey or the upcoming Pokémon Sword and Shield to one of their rivals. But one of their more multiplayer focused titles like Splatoon or ARMS would surely benefit from additional players on the Xbox One, considering cross-play is happening already.
Of course, the Xbox One isn’t portable like the Switch – not unless you have a GAEMS Sentinel – but that isn’t the point here. Microsoft and Nintendo are currently playing nicely together, and it is in each other’s best interests to share what they have.
Absurd rating: 8/10
Likelihood rating: 3/10
Speaking of that cross-play, that brings me nicely to my next point…
Final Fantasy XIV on Xbox One
Final Fantasy fans have been spoiled recently with the steady stream of releases of classic Final Fantasy games on the Xbox One, not to mention the XIII-trilogy becoming backwards compatible. Who would have thought a few years ago that Final Fantasy VII would be playable on Xbox One?
Still, there are a few omissions that have raised eyebrows. Final Fantasy VIII has not joined the rest of the releases, but a quick search online will tell you that the original code for the game is suspected to be long gone. But also, there is Final Fantasy XIV, which perhaps should have been included when it originally released. It may be an MMORPG, but by the time it released, the Final Fantasy series was already multi-platform, so it also seemed odd.
Remember back to when Microsoft didn’t want to entertain the idea of cross-play, much like PlayStation today? This is what caused the console to not receive a Final Fantasy XIV release, as Square Enix wanted everyone to be playing on the same servers. Today, Microsoft have done a complete U-turn on their decision and welcomed cross-play.
That’s one of the reasons it never happened, but there is also the simple fact that MMO’s typically suit a keyboard and mouse setup better. Or, at least, they did. Recent years have seen the likes of Neverwinter, Black Desert, The Elder Scrolls Online and TERA – all MMORPGs in the traditional sense – release on consoles with decent success. MMORPGs aren’t just for the PC anymore…
Plus, the Xbox 360 had Final Fantasy XI – the franchises first foray into an online game – though trying to install it and the PlayOnline service was akin to banging your head against the wall repeatedly. But with Xbox recently benefiting from a string of Final Fantasy releases, why wouldn’t this one be included as well?
Absurd rating: 5/10
Likelihood rating: 4/10
Nintendo have released two, PlayStation released one, and SEGA have one on the way this year: console makers are all about these mini retro consoles at the moment. Not only do they look good when lined up under your TV, they are an easy way to play older games that some may otherwise struggle to get hold of.
And we would be lying to ourselves if we said Microsoft hadn’t at least discussed the idea of reproducing the original Xbox in a mini format.
But, is this an absurd prediction? On the face of it, no; it would sell because there is already an established market for these mini consoles. Instead, let’s look at why this is absurd.
Xbox Scarlett – a working title – is coming. Likely next year – but I don’t think we are too far away from an announcement of sorts. Microsoft have a busy 18-24 months with hardware. The Xbox One S Digital Edition is now available, there is a rumoured Xbox One X Digital Edition, and then obviously the next-gen offering, so perhaps another – albeit smaller – console may not get the focus and attention it deserves at this stage. As we have seen, Nintendo did a great job with the NES and SNES classic, PlayStation did not.
And more importantly, Microsoft don’t necessarily need to do it. They have done a fantastic job with the backwards compatibility on the Xbox One, and many classic original Xbox games are already available; Fuzion Frenzy, Blinx, Conker and Jade Empire are all ready-to-go on the Xbox One. Notably, original Xbox Halo isn’t available via backwards compatibility, but considering it is part of the Master Chief Collection it again isn’t needed.
Are we perhaps instead getting a large list of new original Xbox games that are now available on the Xbox One via backwards compatibility?
Absurd rating: 7/10
Likelihood rating: 2/10
It’s tough – read impossible – to predict brand new IP’s so instead, here are a couple that would be great announcements during the Xbox E3 briefing.
Firstly, EA and Bioware are in dire need of some good press. Mass Effect: Andromeda released to lukewarm reviews, and Anthem was even less well received. A sure-fire way to get fans back onside would be to re-release the Mass Effect trilogy on current consoles.
It’s been teased and teased to the point where it almost felt it was inevitably coming. Yet still we wait. It’s time for EA to give the fans what they want, and they want a good game from Bioware.
Another option for a remaster would be TimeSplitters. THQ Nordic have been busy acquiring franchises such as TimeSplitters, Alone in the Dark and Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning – highly regarded and respected franchises – that have been left dormant for too long. But we have yet to see any further news from them. Hopefully not for much longer.
A TimeSplitters trilogy remaster with online capabilities would be amazing. Online shooters have become bigger and better with the addition of killstreaks, loadouts, customisations and everything else; having TimeSplitters back in our lives would bring the FPS back to its’ purest form: shooting people online.
Other potential remasters that have been banded round recently include Fallout 3, Dead Space and Modern Warfare 2 – likely alongside the rumoured Modern Warfare 4. With Sony not having an E3 conference this year, will the big new announcements be left to Microsoft to reveal? I’d wager a bet on at least one of these mentioned getting a reveal during E3.
Absurd rating: 2/10
Likelihood rating: 8/10
And that’s our list! Hopefully there is something in there that excites you, and hopefully the reasons we’ve given can give you some hope during the Xbox E3 briefing! Will you be tuning in? What are you hoping for? As always, let us know in the comments below!