After a relatively pedestrian paced start to E3 with the EA Showcase, the event went into Microsoft sized, Forza Horizon 4 speed overdrive with the Xbox Showcase.
Several dozen games were announced, many as World Premiers and Xbox Exclusives, Microsoft announced acquiring Double Fine Studio and if you can believe it, Keanu Reeves made an appearance but even he was overshadowed by Project Scarlett and Halo Infinite.
It was a big, action packed show, so watch our video review below and read further down the page for more insights.
The Outer Worlds Update
Microsoft kicked off their presentation with some footage from Obsidian Entertainment’s upcoming, The Outer Worlds that will be released on October 25th, 2019.
The whole thing was a trailer with a bunch of in-game footage where we’re introduced to the dystopian future where corporations are running everything and everyone believes that’s for the greater good.
Except one person.
This stranger turns up at Halcyon Colony and starts causing chaos and we’re told, nothing will ever be the same again.
It’s a pretty cool trailer and the build of the story is good because they describe the background narrative without giving away too much of the game’s plot – just enough to make you interested.
We’ll find out later this year when The Outer Worlds is released what’s motivating this stranger to upset the proverbial apple cart.
Bleeding Edge World Premier
Next up are the team from Microsoft in-house studio, Ninja Theory, with the upcoming third-person action combat game, “Bleeding Edge”.
The Ninja Theory team have said that the game has been in development for a couple years and that it will be kicking off in technical alpha on June 27th, 2019.
Bleeding Edge is a 4v4 online melee game with a very loud, expressive color palette for the characters that have a bit of cyberpunk feel to them.
One of the things the developers have been working hard to achieve it to make each of the characters “feel” a bit different based on their strengths and move sets – visually speaking, the characters are all very distinct, so it’s good to see they also will have a different play style.
Interestingly, for a melee style game, some players will have ranged weapons, but apparently the damage will be lower to maintain balance, but either way, that’s an interesting strategy angle for a melee game.
As the game is soon entering technical alpha, you’ll be able to try it for yourself and find out.
Cyberpunk 2077 Details and Reveal
CD Projekt Red’s Cyberpunk 2077 has been teased for a while now, and fans were eager for an update on the release date or any other details on the new game.
The trailer shows off the protagonist’s outlaw mercenary background in the sleazy world of Cyberpunk 2077 which is visually stunning to look at.
After the protagonist gets shot in the head with a shotgun, they are woken up in a scrapyard by a mysterious character who says that the pair of them have a city to burn.
The camera pans up and reveals that this figure looks and sounds awfully like John Wick actor, Keanu Reeves.
The trailer ends and out walks on stage Keanu Reeves, and the crowd went wild.
Clearly, CD Projekt Red are doing something right by having a celebrity play main character, Mr Fusion, complete with the John Wick long hair.
Keanu talks to the audience a bit about how he was approached by CD Projekt to play the role and his experience working with the team. Keanu also delivers the release date of Cyberpunk 2077, being April 26th 2020.
“Star Wars Lego: The Skywalker Saga” Announcement
A surprise announcement of a brand new LEGO Star Wars game won the crowd’s approval at Xbox’s E3 showcase.
The trailer shows off some of the best and most famous moments across the Star Wars movies, remade in LEGO.
It wouldn’t be a LEGO game without some of the witty and charming humor that these games are loved for, so we get to see Darth Maul yawning whilst blocking Obi-Wan Kenobi’s lightsaber without even looking and Kylo building a Vader snowman on Starkiller Base.
The Skywalker Saga contains all 9 movies in one game, and from what we’ve seen, it’s not just the old games collected and remastered. It will be released in 2020.
Xbox Game Pass for PC and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate
Gaming is changing in a big way.
It’s not just the quality of the games themselves or the style of games being developed, it’s the entire business model and delivery of the games themselves that is set to undergo a massive change.
Subscription services are the future for companies because it gives them predictable revenue on an ongoing basis and reduces their risks because they can release smaller games and build atop the successful ones using the cash flow generated by subscribers.
Microsoft has been out in front of this trend with Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass is now considered a revenue driver for the Xbox business – this push to subscription services is not just an Xbox strategy, this is a Microsoft business strategy.
Sarah Bond, the Head of Xbox Partnerships, took to the stage to announce the beta launch of Xbox Game Pass for PC immediately for a $1 first month, $4.99/mth during the beta, a likely price of $9.99 when the service goes live later this year.
Customers of this service will be able to download and play over 100 games right now for their Windows 10 PC including titles like Metro Exodus, Halo: Master Chief Collection and Football Manager 2019.
Carrying on from there, Sarah Bond announced the new Xbox Game Pass Ultimate which includes Xbox Live Gold, Game Pass and Game Pass for PC for just $14.99/mth and when Gears 5 is released in September, you’ll get that on Day 1.
Considering what else the Microsoft Xbox team were talking about, this new set of services were really an interesting focal point of the entire presentation.
Gears of War 5 (Gears 5) Update
Gears of War 5 (Gears 5) has finally been given a proper release date after being announced a year ago by The Coalition. Gears 5 is set for a September 10th, 2019 release date.
From the trailers, we can assume that it’s most likely that we’ll be playing as Kait Diaz as opposed to J.D. Fenix in the new Gears instalment.
Along with the game receiving a full release date, we were also introduced to 3 standalone game modes outside of the campaign.
The first being Versus Multiplayer and the new competitive mode “Arcade” which will have a tech test on July 17th.
Secondly, the all-new Horde mode, with a hands-on demo at Gamescom on August 19th where players can see how much character abilities affect gameplay.
Finally, the main focus of the Gears 5 presentation, the brand new Escape game mode, where players play as 1 of 3 hivebusters in a 3-player co-op mode where they have to infiltrate the Hive, set a bomb and escape alive with their squad. The Coalition studio head Rod Fergusson said “It’s everything you love about Gears, turned up to 11.”.
At the end of the Gears of War 5 presentation, we got a surprise visit from the Terminator T-800 Endoskeleton, who will be part of a character pack exclusive to Xbox Game Pass owners who buy and play Gears 5 before 16th of September. The Terminator Dark Fate character pack is available now if you preorder Gears 5 and have an active Xbox Game Pass membership.
Borderlands 3 Update
Another crowd favourite showed up when a new Borderlands 3 cinematic trailer was shown, showing off all 4 of the playable Vault Hunters’ abilities and capabilities in a fast paced and action packed battle.
In traditional Borderlands fashion, there were a whole load of funny moments and references like where Claptrap’s gun runs away and up a flight of stairs, referencing Claptrap’s one true opponent, stairs. Or where the trailer questions itself after showing a gun that shoots weapons and asking, “Shloot?”
The trailer starts off with Lilith talking about how there are always 6 sirens in the universe and how she used to be one of them, in the trailer she doesn’t have any siren tattoos either.
This is possibly explained in a later part of the trailer where both of the Calypso twins are using Siren powers. This would technically be impossible because sirens cannot be male. A popular theory is that the sister Tyreen can take away Siren powers and bestow them to others, this is also supported because Troy Calypso has the same siren tattoos as Lilith used to have.
After the Borderlands 3 trailer was over, a brand new experience was announced for Borderlands 2, a free DLC that is crammed full of new content that all leads up to the story of Borderlands 3.
A raised level cap of 72 to 80 was announced, a new tier of gear called “Effervescent” which are rainbow, prismatic variants of popular equipment, a new storyline revolving around Lilith and Sanctuary, and a new raid boss were also announced.
All in all, Gearbox demonstrated that they 100% know how to please crowds and fans.
Project xCloud and Console Streaming
With more details and showing a hands-on demo of Project xCloud, Microsoft has hit back with its own cloud-enabled streaming ambitions after Google got the jump this last week announcing the details of its Google Stadia gaming service.
Project xCloud will offer a streaming service similar to Stadia, but it will also leverage the existing install base of the Xbox One console to turn those devices into private servers, otherwise known as Console Streaming, that players can use starting sometime in October.
The possibilities for cloud streaming from both Microsoft’s Azure platform and your own Xbox One (and eventually Project Scarlett) console is very powerful and opens up a variety of new scenarios for gamers.
Project Scarlett – Microsoft’s Next-Gen Xbox Console
For a few months now, word has been dribbling out about Microsoft’s next-generation console, including the codename for the project, “Project Scarlett”.
Today, Phil Spencer took to the E3 stage and delivered considerably more detail to the partisan, Xbox audience.
Project Scarlett will be released around the Holiday season in 2020 and it is loaded with some very advanced, high-end tech toys.
The core processor is a custom designed chip that Microsoft built with AMD based on their Zen 2 core architecture.
The system will come with GDDR6 RAM and operate at 8K resolutions with up to 120 frames per second of video.
To improve performance even more, Microsoft is going to be switching to SSD for storage, but also leveraging that to provide a virtual RAM pool – this will provide a multiple factor improvement in both load time and how many assets games can cache.
Microsoft alluded to some interesting use cases for cloud-based experiences with Project Scarlett, but we’ll likely need to wait until Project xCloud is released to hear more about that.
Ok, let’s be honest – most gamers were excited by the details and dates about Project Scarlett, some people were happy to see a Game Pass for PC, and Cyberpunk 2077 probably got some people counting the days until April 2020, but really, everyone was hanging out to see Halo Infinite.
Saving the best for last, at the very end of Xbox’s E3 presentation, we see a UNSC Marine waking up on an abandoned Pelican and fixing the pressure regulator on the ship. After watching a hologram of what is assumed is his wife and daughter wishing him well, a friendly signal is detected right outside of his pelican and he wipes the window revealing Master Chief floating outside.
After restoring power to the Chief, the camera switches to a first-person perspective and 117’s shield recharges, the marine reveals to Master Chief that they lost and the camera pans to the Halo ring shattered. Immediately after, the ship is struck by an EMP blast and Chief inserts his combat chip into his armour only for it to display “ No AI detected”.
The trailer finishes upon hearing a disembodied Cortana voice say “I chose you because you were special, I knew we would be perfect together.”
All in all, an outstanding and dramatic trailer that preludes Halo Infinite’s release in Holiday 2020.
What Do You Think?
There was a ton of stuff crammed into the Microsoft Xbox E3 2019 briefing and showcase with over 60 games mentioned and over a dozen highlighted with trailers or demos.
The next twelve months are going to be an awesome time for Xbox gamers as we see Microsoft’s Project xCloud ambitions play out, a ton of impressive new games and the implementation of their new subscriptions services.
Is there anything specific that you’re looking forward to our something that you think we left out?
Feel free to drop us a line in the comments and let us know what you’re thinking.