Damn. I was hyped leading up to Microsoft’s E3 conference. 2017 is going to be their year I thought. The launch of the Scorpio (now known to be the Xbox One X), a litany of new AAA exclusives releasing over the course of the next year, and the implementation of Xbox Game Pass (a program that could revolutionize how Xbox does business). Microsoft fueled my hype when they began, with a conference that was going to be almost 2 hours in length, with 42 games being shown, alongside the Xbox One X. Yet this momentum slowly died out. This listing of 42 games included uninspiring glimpses at known exclusives such as State of Decay 2, Crackdown 3 and Seas of Thieves (only one of which is actually releasing this year), an onslaught of indie ports (including The Last Night, Osiris: New Dawn and Hello Neighbor) and the occasional AAA bombshell (all of which turned out to be multi-platform). So Microsoft’s showing proved to be less impressive than I thought. Let’s take a look at what they did show.
5) Metro: Exodus was one of the most visually stunning games at Microsoft’s conference. However what held me back from fully falling in love with Exodus, was my confusion. Was this a gameplay demo or was this a cinematic trailer designed to appear to be real gameplay. Something about the scripted demo lead me to believe the latter. However, the grotesque creatures of this post-apocalyptic world and subtle horror ambiance made this one of the more exciting reveals of Microsoft’s conference.
4) Microsoft announced a plethora of Indie titles coming from PC to the Xbox One family. With long awaited games Cuphead and Tacoma receiving imminent release dates. However, the most exciting announcement was that the wildly successful Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds will be releasing exclusively on Xbox One. Battleground’s is an open world multiplayer shooter, where players are pitted against each other, Hunger Games style. The game released this year in early access on Steam, and I’m extremely excited that console players will be able to give it a go.
3) Developer Dontnod has already announced a sequel to Life is Strange. However what we didn’t expect was that Deck Nine Games is working on a three episode prequel to Life is Strange titled, Before the Storm. The prequel won’t involve any time travel elements like the original game and will focus on familiar character Chloe Price and her best friend Rachel Amber. Life is Strange was one of my favorite games of 2015 and I can’t wait to try out episode one of Before the Storm when it releases on August 31st.
2) Assassin’s Creed Origins received its first gameplay demo (after a litany of leaks) on Microsoft’s stage. And yes, we are going to be exploring ancient Egypt on October 27th. Helmed by Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag’s (arguably the best Assassin’s Creed game) director Ashraf Ismail, Origins puts you in the shoes of Bayek. A man who was once a magi, and is now forming what will come to be known as the assassin’s brotherhood. Origins seems to take a lot of inspiration from other hit titles. Horizon Zero Dawn’s bow and arrow combat and stealth system, Far Cry: Primal’s Owl scout (now an eagle) and even Dark Souls’ combat. We waited an extra year for it, and I am ready to jump back into Assassin’s Creed.
1) This is where I was let down by Microsoft’s conference. Because the highlight of the entire show wasn’t a must have exclusive, it was a third party title that will also release on PlayStation 4. Anthem was announced at EA’s conference with a brief cinematic trailer. Bioware showcased their new I.P. in full at the Xbox conference. The game looks like a mashup of Mass Effect, Destiny and Vanquish. Explore the games narrative in first person and then jump into the third person perspective as you and several other players jump into your Iron Man-esque suits and fly through a lush open world. Anthem from a gameplay and design perspective is the most innovative and exciting game of E3 so far, and if Bioware add their trademark storytelling in as well, this could be a smash hit.
Were you a little let down by Microsoft’s conference like me or are you excited with the direction their heading in. For everything on Microsoft and E3 stay tuned to Thenerdstash.com.