Phil Spencer acknowledged after God of War’s release that Microsoft was sorely in need of some big budget single-player epics like that. While I think it’s probably too soon for them to push anything out of that magnitude, intention is everything. Even the promise of a game like that could perhaps satisfy the disgruntled Xbox One adopters, who haven’t had a lot to cheer about lately. I think it’s a given we’ll see Halo and Gears in some capacity, but I’m hoping that we’ll finally get release dates for Below and Crackdown, games that were promised to us way back when the console launched. Plus, if the partnership with Platinum Games isn’t too damaged, perhaps the rumoured Devil May Cry 5 could come to Xbox first. I’d love it, if only to see the fanboys throw the toys out of the cot.
I know that Microsoft will be guns blazing this year. I feel bad for them, as they’ve had really solid press conferences over the past few years, but you feel like it’s never enough with gamers. I expect we’ll see a new Forza, Gears of War and Halo, but I really hope they play on some of Rare’s properties. It’s crazy to think that they have access to all of these old-school Rare games, but don’t use their other talented first and second party studios to reinvent them, which we’ve seen Sony and Nintendo do so successfully with their franchises.
Microsoft needs a big win this year, and the recently-announced Xbox Adaptive Controller is an excellent feather in their cap. That said, Sea of Thieves and State of Decay 2 have been underwhelming to say the least this year, and they need to come out and show off something that’ll get fans back on board. There’re rumours pointing to a slew of new Gears of War games, but I’m personally hoping for the announcement of Halo 6. It’s the big AAA blockbuster that Xbox needs right now, and with a healthy online component, it should be able to keep players at bay for a long period of time. The green brand needs their mascot back in full force.
Microsoft can’t afford to hold back this year and they’ll need to leverage their best IP to stand against PlayStation’s first-party roster. Sadly, Microsoft doesn’t own the Sunset Overdrive IP (its developers Insomniac Games do and they’re busy with Spider-Man) but it’s easy to forget they now own Minecraft. Surely it is time they better utilise that juggernaut of an IP to drive console sales, either through exclusive Xbox content, or an exclusive Xbox spin-off game. Maybe even Minecraft 2?
Microsoft are in a unique position this E3 but one thing is certain – they need to not only deliver with their current line up but demonstrate a commitment to the future. They’ve got little on the horizon right now and it’s a bit frustrating as I’m barely excited with their current line-up. I want to see Microsoft back some of their old IP that they’ve not done to death already. Fable is the big one being rumoured but I’d kill for something like a Perfect Dark reboot of sorts. Retro is totally in right now too, with Spyro and Crash reminding us why we loved gaming growing up, so I’d love to see Microsoft capitalise on that with a proper redux of a Banjo or Conker too.
Last year at E3, Microsoft had me optimistic for the future of the Xbox with a press conference that seemed to put the focus on unique gaming experiences first. While games like PUBG, Forza Motorsport 7 and Assassin’s Creed Origins have come and gone since last year’s presser, there are still a lot of titles that have seemingly gone missing in action. Here’s hoping the likes of The Last Night, Below, Black Desert Online and Ori and the Will of the Wisps make a return with some solid info and release dates. More crucially, I sincerely hope that we’re treated to at least a few reveals of big first-party titles that aren’t (the still very welcome) Forza and Halo sequels. Also, I have a gut feeling Xbox will finally surprise drop their new avatars during the presentation. Please.
Please don’t cancel any more games. Please announce some new AAA single player titles.