It looks like E3 2016 will be the year of console upgrades, for better or worse, with a PS4.5 almost a lock at this point. Of course Microsoft will respond in force with a subsequent upgrade to their own hardware, despite the existence of the Xbox One Elite which at this point has become already irrelevant.
With leaks reporting out of China of a new Xbox One (Xbox One Two anyone?) and a new report from a Microsoft insider, it looks like the Xbox One Two, for lack of a better name, will take front and centre for Microsoft’s E3 presentation.
Don’t expect this new console to do anything revolutionary. We can expect a slimlined version of the One with the power brick built inside+a possible new controller with an in-built microphone. With the original Xbox One already lagging behind in terms of raw power (with resolutions consistently behind the PS4) and the supposed rumour that the PS4.5 will be outputting 4K video for non-game content only, it seems possible the GPU will get a boost in the rumoured Xbox upgrade. Obviously you need to factor in the point that Microsoft don’t want to split their userbase further by making the new Xbox powerful enough to make the original One completely obsolete, but it’s a tricky situation that Microsoft are stuck in, as they will obviously need to keep up in the race to push the higher resolutions and better performance.
It’s imperative for Microsoft to maintain and create franchises to really sell their Xbox brand, as there isn’t much outside of Halo or Forza that may appeal to interested gamers. E3 will be the perfect platform to push not only big franchise movers like Gears of War 4 and Crackdown 3, but smaller indie brands through the Xbox ID program.[divider] [/divider]
This seems like a no brainer. After a lackluster E3 2015 premiere that was literally too dark to see, Microsoft need to swing out of the gates with a healthy dose of Gears, the franchise that took so many players to the Xbox 360 and beyond. Despite franchise runners Epic Games stepping back after a very well received trilogy, Microsoft are insistent on carrying the flame through Coalition Games (formerly Black Tusk Studios). Gears of War being the money maker it is, it’s no surprise that MS want to keep the momentum going, and hopefully a successful fourth entry is enough to make the franchise relevant again.[divider] [/divider]
After a severely lackluster sequel, original Crackdown creator David Jones has taken the lead directing job once again, which should be enough to excite any fan of the originals fantastic open world superhero game. Boasting a so-called cloud based real time destruction system which will provide 20x the computing power that the original Xbox One can handle, it’s hard to see what this cloud based software is capable of, and how smoothly it will work on internet connections that aren’t as stellar (aka everyone in Australia). Regardless, a new Crackdown is something many fans of the original are dying for, so expect Microsoft to showcase some more Crackdown.[divider] [/divider]
Platinum Games’ latest seems like a surefire win, especially considering that this is the team behind the original Devil May Cry, Bayonetta, Vanquish and Metal Gear Rising. Unfortunately it’s been delayed until 2017, but it seems almost guaranteed we will see more at this year’s E3, to keep the hype flowing. Nevertheless, it’ll be a long and painful wait for what will hopefully be another Platinum hit. The coolest thing about Scalebond is the fact that you’ll be accompanied by a dragon, who breathes out fire and assists you throughout the game. You’re able to give him commands which are integral to your success.[divider] [/divider]
ReCore was first revealed at last years E3. We don’t know a whole lot about the game but the reveal trailer was one of the standouts of last years show. The trailer showed a young woman being shown in a vast desert, being accompanied by a robotic dog. We know that the game is being developed by Comcept which was started by Keiji Inafune, in collaboration with Armature who were founded by designers that worked on Metroid Prime 3. It’s unclear whether the game will be released in 2016 but it’s guaranteed that we’ll see gameplay from the title. [divider] [/divider]
After the pirate craze of Assassin’s Creed IV, players are no doubt chomping for another pirate themed game to sink their time in, and Sea of Thieves looks like a game ripe with potential. There is very little information to go on, but apparently the game will feature ship battles, first person exploration and combat mechanics. It’ll also have a huge emphasis on user-generated content. I’m excited to see more of what Rare have in-store for this and how it will tie into the overall gameplay. Look to E3 for more information on Rare’s latest.[divider] [/divider]
The original Halo Wars released 7 years ago to quite positive reviews. Many critics said that it had a short campaign. Fast forward, and the second game in the series has been announced to be released in 2016 for both Xbox One and PC. I expect there to be quite a few advancements on the original game now that technology has advanced quite significantly. We now know the gameplay will be revealed, and with it more than likely to be the only Halo presence at their conference, i’m expecting a big showing. [divider] [/divider]
While they may be smaller in scale and budget, the huge varying degree of indie games that Microsoft have to show is possibly more exciting than any of the AAA hits. From the makers of Limbo comes Inside, another haunting and dreary platformer, which could be just as good as the wonderful 2010 hit.
Capybara’s Below looks like one of the most unique games for 2016, implementing unique visuals and a top down perspective with one unique twist: death is permanent. Expect a Binding of Isaac-roguelike playstyle in Below, which will hopefully be shown and released around E3 2016.
Aiming to emulate the style of 1930’s cartoons, Cuphead is a very cool run and gun side scroller that emulates the art and animations of the older Disney cartoons from over 80 years ago, the only key difference is running at 60fps instead of the traditional 24fps.
Of course with the ID@Xbox program, also expect to see games like Hyper Light Drifter, Goat Simulator, ARK and Plague Inc to see imminent release, not to mention dropped at E3.