Roundtable: Expectations Of Microsoft’s E3

I’m at a bit of a weird place with Microsoft. On one hand, I’ve been steadily enjoying both exclusive and multi-platform games on my Xbox One, but on the other hand, most of the year remaining has little to no exclusive titles that interest me or have wooed me enough to become excited. I’m expecting there to be a lot of Halo, Forza, Fable and maybe even some Sunset Overdrive to top it off.

But what I truly want to see is new and exciting experiences for the Xbox One, and to have every game that was previously announced accounted for in some way, shape or form by the end of their conference. Where is D4, for example? The Kinect based adventure game has been largely quiet and absent from all media exposure since it was unveiled almost a year ago.

I’ll be pretty blunt, I’m not interested in a new Gears or a new Forza game at all. So what I’d really like to see from Microsoft is the inevitable Killer Instinct announcement for Season 2. I’d also love to see if the rumours that Microsoft have secured a PlatinumGames-developed exclusive title were true too, since they’re easily one of my favourite developers of the past generation just gone. I’m not sure if I want this, but I’m also expecting to see a new Ryse announced too, since it was rumoured so long ago.

Xbox Kevin
After a disastrous introduction of the Xbox One and finally getting rid of the mandatory Kinect rubbish, I’m very excited to see Microsoft buckle down and win back some fans. Having a raffling contest to bring 100 fans into the actual conference is a very nice touch, as Microsoft are determined to get down to earth gamers into the mix, especially when conferences are purely press only events. Microsoft are also using a Twitch stream to constantly show what’s going on at E3 and on the floor.

What about games? I’m dying to see whether my hopes of a Halo 2 Anniversary release will come true, as something akin to the Combat Evolved re-release may, may just be enough to convince me to jump on board the Xbox One train. Of course, some Halo 5: Guardians footage will be good to see, but it’s mainly the prospect of a remastered edition of Halo 2 that has me excited.

Remedy’s Quantum Break is another potentially rewarding game, with a strange but unique mixture of implementing a TV show that runs concurrently with events in the game. Has it been done before? Not to my knowledge. (Does Defiance count?) But with Remedy’s track record of excellence I have faith it will be executed well.

Of course, I expect to see a lot of Sunset Overdrive. The insanely colourful and vibrant parkour shooter looks good, and I’m hoping to see a lot more gameplay after the short four minute video we got.

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Is it too much to hope for another Gears of War? Despite my respect for developers People Can Fly, the last Gears title, Judgement, left a very bad taste in my mouth. All signs point to an in-house development, but with Microsoft being very tight lipped with the series, I wouldn’t expect any actual gameplay and a release date very far down the line. Expect a teaser at most.

And of course, what would a Microsoft conference be without a Call of Duty demo?

Expect less fish and more exo-skeletons. Let’s not forget Microsoft pretending like it’s an Xbox exclusive game even when it’s not. Seriously, that was really strange. Let’s move on.

Xbox Shannon
Microsoft will be out to prove a point this year. It’s clear that they know that it has to be all about the games. They took the total wrong approach last year in thinking that they gamers wanted other forms of media on their gaming consoles but they were totally wrong. They’ve come out of the blocks and announced Halo 5, as well as Forza Horizon 2. It’s safe to say that these two games will be at their conference in a big way. It’s already been stated that Quantum Break has been pushed back to 2015 and won’t make its appearance which is shocking to me, but also means that they obviously have more in store.

I think that it’s easy to assume that Microsoft will show a game that makes the Kinect worth owning but I really don’t believe that will be the case. Microsoft have back flipped on their initial decision to include the Kinect with every Xbox One and for this reason, I believe that Microsoft may show off games that have Kinect related features, but won’t show any huge first-party Kinect based games.

My big wish for Microsoft’s conference would be to see Rare announce something exciting. I know that it’s not the Rare of the old days, however the new Rare have still shown that they’re excitingly creative. Whilst Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts was not the game people were hoping for, Viva Piñata is still one of my favourite games on the Xbox 360. It was a brand new experience that has gone unrivaled for more than five years. All in all, I just hope that Microsoft show some new experiences. Sure, they’re going to tease Gears of War and Halo but I want them to spread their wings and be more than that.

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