Xbox and Microsoft had their annual E3 showcase this afternoon and Jeff, Dave from nerdbacon.com, and myself had the pleasure of checking out this years show. The following is a rundown of the show that includes some brief thoughts I had while covering this event. I won’t go into detail on every game shown, as there were quite a few, but I will at least list them in the order shown and put whatever release date was given.
The showcase started with a montage of Xbox games from yesteryear continuing up to the present. It provided us a hint at what is to come later in the show. Then the Xbox godfather himself, Phil Spencer, graced us with his presence and showed off the new look of the code named “Project Scorpio”. Instead now we are allowed to call this console by its real name, the Xbox One X, Shortened up is X.B.O.X.. I accurately predicted this name and even if I hadn’t, I really like the name. This name lets us know that the console will be among the family of Xbox consoles and not a new generation addition. The Xbox One X, when released, will be the most powerful console ever created, the smallest Xbox ever released, and will be available to the public on November 7th, 2017.
This console essentially is a small gaming PC for your living room. Papa Phil said that on stage we would see 42 games, featuring 22 “Xbox Exclusives”. After a few moments of technical jargon, (16 nanometer technology, liquid cooled vapor chamber, 4K UHD blu ray player etc), Phil Spencer brought out the Forza Motorsport team to show off the next installment in that franchise.
Forza Motorsport 7 will be released on October 3rd, 2017 in glorious 4K, running at 60 FPS, and is a Xbox and Windows 10 exclusive play anywhere title. During this demo they featured in game footage on an Xbox One X and of course it looked fantastic. A lot of the details that are there won’t be noticeable while racing 100+ mph but when slowed down it looks amazing. This game was the perfect type of game to show off the consoles power and exactly what we expected. The extra “wow” factor was bringing out a reveal of a super car that the world has yet to see. This was a first of these types of reveals NOT done at a car show. The 2018 Porsche 911 GT2RS will most likely be the car on the cover of the game and also lets us know how much money we DON’T have.
Metro Exodus was the next game shown and will be released sometime in 2018. The next game in this franchise actually featured quite a bit of gameplay both underground and out on top of the world. The trailer was well presented, looked fantastic, and kept the viewers on their toes while these creatures came from all around. This game will not be a console exclusive.
The heavily leaked Assassins Creed Origins wowed the crowed with its dazzling trailer and gameplay. This title featured gameplay in Egypt with large beasts, towering pyramids and more of what we’ve all grown to love from this series. Assassins Creed Origins will be sliding into your homes on October 27th, 2017. This game will not be a console exclusive.
In what I’m calling the biggest “get” for Xbox was featured next in the show. Steamers delight, PlayerUnknowns Battlegrounds is coming to Xbox late 2017 and will have updates to the final version exclusively for the Xbox One X version. This gave them a chance to mention their streaming service MIXER, thus letting us know there will be enhancements to this service at some time in the future. This exclusive to Xbox was a huge moment and a very surprising one at that. I could not believe that they pulled this rabbit out of their bright green hats. Kudos to Microsoft, Xbox and the team over at PlayerUnknowns Battlegrounds.
Next, Xbox went into games overdrive showing trailers for games back to back to back. Something another company we’ve watched has done for the last few years. These titles mentioned were quicker trailers that showed off the games
Deep Rock Galactic – Xbox One Console Launch Exclusive
State of Decay 2 – Xbox One Exclusive, Play Anywhere title
The Darwin Project – Xbox One Console Launch Exclusive, Mixer Interactivity
Minecraft – Uniting players from all consoles, PC and mobile, DLC and a “super duper graphics” pack
Phil came back out to talk about his trip and time over in Japan. He said at Xbox they are looking for games that are fresh and fun. He wanted to bring over some games that were able to “surprise and delight.” The games featured in this segment are the types of games that Xbox traditionally lacks. The games shown were Dragonball Fighter Z (Early 2018), Black Desert, The Last Night, The Artful Escape (coming when its damn ready) and Code Vein (2018). These games featured beautiful art styles and allowed us to get games here in the west, on Xbox, that you otherwise wouldn’t have been able to get. Trust me when I say that these games were fresh and fun to look at. Each game had a unique style that I just couldn’t turn away from.
Sea of Thieves was the next title showcased and honestly it was presented really well. The presentation varied from last year and had a cheeky voice that narrated the game play instead of having the live streamers run the show. Sea of Thieves looks fun, the art style was impressively displayed, and they showed off some cool battles. To be honest, this game looks like it could be a blast but I still have plenty of questions. Sea of Thieves is releasing early 2018 and is still currently going through some technical alphas.
Tacoma, the next game from Fullbright, who brought us Gone Home, is coming first to Xbox on August 2nd, 2017. There was about a minute to a minute and a half trailer that didn’t show too much.
The next moment was the biggest troll moment of the show; We were greeted by an orange tail poking up on the screens, quickly moving back and forth. This moment was packed with some of the highest of highs and lowest of lows as Xbox unveiled a 3D action adventure game not called Conker. Instead they brought us Super Lucky’s Tale, out November 7th, 2017. All I have to say about this game is that it was a cutesy game that will allow kids to have a game to play on their Xbox devices. But seriously, fuck this game. #NotMySquirrel
To our delight they tried to suck back up to the disappointed audience and give us new Cuphead info! Cuphead was briefly mentioned and briefly shown but we did get a release date. September 29th, 2017 we will finally get our hands on this game and I truly hope it’s ready.
The next game felt like a big cornerstone for the showcase. We were greeted with loud music, Michael Bay-esque explosions, and none other than Terry Crews. Yeah the Terry Crews we all know and love. Terry actually plays a commander in the game and he loudly brought us Crackdown 3 and it didn’t disappoint. There were buildings falling, explosions galore, guns, and even more explosions. Crackdown 3 is a Xbox exclusive and will come crashing down on November 7th, 2017. This is one of the “launch titles” for Xbox One X. Let me just say that if I can play Terry Crews and hear more of his crazy, over the top banter then I’m sold. But even then I’m probably still picking this up on day 1. If you like Michael Bay style movies, explosions, and guns, you’ll probably like Crackdown 3.
ID@Xbox was touted next featuring some gameplay from multiple titles. Phil let us know that there are over 500 titles that the ID@Xbox program has released. Again more games that are getting life that may not have otherwise. Titles here included the Fable card game, Fable Fortunes, Osiris New Dawn, Conan Exiles, and the NBA Jam style game Dunk Lords. All of these games looked interesting in some way and I’m proud of what the team at ID@Xbox has accomplished. They have given us some great titles and this lets me know that there is more to come.
Ashen, an RPG that was announced back in 2015, was shown next and is an Xbox console exclusive. Not a big showing, but it was oddly mentioned again with no release date in sight.
The next game was a pleasant addition to the Xbox stage. Square Enix’s own Life is Strange Before the Storm Episode 1 is coming August 31st. If you enjoyed the first one, I’m sure you’ll enjoy the next. This story driven game was for the most part positively received and I thought it was a cool moment that a Square Enix game debuted on Xbox’s stage.
Another incredibly fun moment was the gameplay coming from Middle Earth: Shadow of War now releasing on October 10th, 2017. This game was delayed just slightly and many people expected this could be a game that would possibly launch along side the Xbox One X. The gameplay looked really fun and showed us a little more of what the nemesis system will bring in the next adaptation. Being able to take over orcs and add them to your league of crazies will be one of the many fun moments coming this October.
Ori and The Will of the Wisps is another Xbox exclusive shown off here. Ori is touted as Xbox’s big metroid-vania style game. There is no release date in sight, but the next Ori game looked so beautiful and it made me want to re-visit the original. It looked like you may be partnering up with an Owl that was possibly abandoned from the mama owl in the first game.
Without a doubt the next moment of the show was the absolute biggest moment. The crowd stood and cheered loudly, even getting an “I love you Phil”, as Spencer announced that not only are there 385 backwards compatible titles but we will be getting original Xbox titles later in 2017. This means games like Crimson Skies, which was shown, will be playable again on your Xbox One, One S, and the One X. This adds even more titles to the large library of Xbox games. Phil also added that games like Halo Wars 2, Killer Instinct, and Gears of War 4 will be getting 4K updates for free later this year. He also let us know that other third party games such as Resident Evil 7, Final Fantasy 15, and Rocket League, as well as games shown on the sides like The Witcher 3 and Doom will be getting 4K updates. More games, looking better, on your Xbox family of consoles.
The Xbox One X price had yet to be mentioned in the showcase until this moment. After the high that was the backwards compatibility and the 4K updates, we were hit with a $499.99 price point. I won’t go into too many details on whether this is good or bad here, I’ll save that for a different discussion, but this price point was what most of us were expecting. I may have been hoping for less but again, with the tech inside it’s not hard to see why they can charge the price they are. Love it or hate it, $499.99 is what the Xbox One X will launch at on November 7th, 2017.
Xbox ended the show with the brand new IP from Bioware, the creators of the Mass Effect series, Anthem. Anthem has been rumored to being a very “Destiny-like” open world experience. Another futuristic sci-fi open world experience with loot, gear, XP, and plenty of leveling up. Anthem lets you take control of your character in your custom “Javelin” Exo Suit that will give you different classes and play styles. I can honestly say that I’m hyped for this game. I was hyped during the EA reveal and I’m even more hyped after seeing how this game plays as looks. You won’t see this game until 2018 but I have a feeling this will be a game that will be big on all platforms, not just the Xbox.
My final thoughts…
Xbox has been my choice of main gaming since I got the OG Xbox from my father as a gift. I was a little thrown off by the marketing of the “Xbox One Console Launch Exclusive” because we were told that we were getting 42 games shown on stage and 22 exclusives. I didn’t feel as though that was met. My early reactions were pretty high. The shows pacing was amazing. They showed game… after game… after game. The crowd was really into the show, I loved the aesthetic of the Xbox One X, I loved the name, and I understood the price point. The console exclusives we are getting are great. The HUGE get that is PlayerUnknowns Battlegrounds shocked me (Day 1 pick up). Crackdown 3 will be stupid fun and no matter what game was shown tonight I kept saying, “Damn, that looks fantastic!” That was the theme and Xbox nailed that. But I’m still questioning where are my true Xbox exclusives? Sure with the addition of OG Xbox backwards compatibility, the additional 360 games being added constantly, and the games that are coming I still seem to find something to play. I love my Xbox and I’m going to get an Xbox One X on launch day, because why not? Should you? Well that’s for you to decide and I can help with that in another piece. Until then, enjoy what you have and I’ll see you out on Xbox Live.
My overall letter grade for the show: B
Level Up Justin
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