Microsoft gets it. We don’t have time for a lot of hemming and hawing. Just give us a block of trailers and announcements and let us do the talking. You be the rush hour radio DJ, Phil Spencer, and we’ll be your captive audience. (And I mean that literally because the Galen Center is impossible to get out of.)
Of course, that doesn’t stop them from doing some really dumb things anyway. The segment for The Darwin Project, for instance, blew minds for all the wrong reasons when a shoutcaster named Jethro Tull suddenly appeared on the stage to forcibly change a weird survival drama into an eSports match.
(Also, I’m not going to include everything they showed off at the show. That would be crazy. You don’t need to see another trailer of Tacoma or Cuphead to know they’re worth paying attention to.)
Project Scorpio Gets a Name (and a Price)
It’s weird that Microsoft loves fetishizing their hardware while this entire generation has been about how the Xbox One is less powerful than the PlayStation 4. I guess it’s also kind of weird that we still care about the CPU race when the most underpowered console in the Nintendo Switch also has the current game of the year with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. But more to the point, Xbox One X is a terrible name.
At the Geoff Keighley-predicted price point of $499, it’s a nice boost in horsepower. 1.172 GHz GPU, 12GB of GDDR5 memory, and 326GB/s of memory bandwidth. Not too shabby. But also at $499, that’s $100 more than the PlayStation 4 Pro and calls back the harsh memories of reactions to the commensurate Kinect-bundled price at launch. It invites the question of who this system is being sold to. VR enthusiasts without a PC? Or those that don’t want to be tethered to their desk? Simply Xbox loyalists? It’s interesting, to say the least.
Xbox One Gets Original Xbox Compatibility
What with the immense reaction to backwards compatibility with Xbox 360 games, it seems sensible that going further would be bandied about in a boardroom somewhere. It doesn’t seem sensible that they would actually do it, though, with the original Xbox as they announced. It’s awesome, don’t get me wrong, but that’s fairly bonkers, too.
Discs will work, digital licenses will carry over, and you can system-link play across all three generations. That is categorically insane, but you can’t help but love it. LAN parties just might come back in a huge way with this. See you guys in Blood Gulch.
Forza Motorsport 7 Has Women
Fuck yeah gender parity.
Pretty odd, though, that you’d have two professional drivers come out and not talk about what it’s like to play the game and compare it to their job. At least they used them better than EA used those YouTubers. Forza Motorsport 7 comes out for the Xbox One and PC on October 3, 2017.
Metro Exodus Goes Open World
That shit cray. The Metro games have always been haunting debilitatingly Eastern Bloc. Now developers 4A Games are moving it to an open world where the terror becomes emergent and it is a frightening prospect. And bumping it up to native 4K makes those monsters look way too real.
According to a post-press conference interview on Twitch, the game will have you embark on a cross-country journey throughout Russia as survivors attempt to find a place to live in the East. It takes place over the course of a year, so the game will also feature seasons along with whatever dynamic time/weather systems there are. It sounds goddamn terrifying and I can’t wait. Metro Exodus is slated for a 2018 release on the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.
Assassin’s Creed Origins Goes Egyptian
Does anyone still care about Assassin’s Creed? The movie was awful and the last game managed to only be decent after its predecessors meandered in quality between horrendous and jolly. More than that, one of the few things that made Syndicate enjoyable was the relatively modern technology of the Industrial Revolution, so having Origins take us back to Ptolemaic Egypt sounds like a misstep.
I guess there’s hope, seeing as how leaked details of the game and this trailer sound interesting, but that’s how every Assassin’s Creed goes. Trailer hits, people get hyped, details come out, and people get more hyped. All the way until release and then numbers indicate we’re likely to be disappointed. Maybe the Witcher-like combat will help. I dunno. It comes out on October 27, 2017, regardless for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is Exclusive
Instinct leads me to believe this is huge. Analysis leads me to believe this only helps out current Xbox One owners, which is still great, but the exclusivity probably won’t do anything to boost console sales. It’ll just irk PlayStation 4 owners that don’t also have a gaming PC.
And let’s be honest. Only people playing Battlegrounds like idiots ever come away with video that looks like this trailer. This is a great game that shows terribly because playing it well means doing the absolute least amount possible until you have to do something. Look for it on the Xbox One later this year.
Deep Rock Galactic is Astroneer with Guns?
So you take Astroneer, make it four-player co-op, turn everyone into dwarves, and give them guns and you get Deep Rock Galactic, I guess? Sounds pretty good to me. It lands in Early Access and Game Preview for PC and Xbox One in early 2018.
State of Decay 2 Brings Back Zombies
While it’s not at all surprising that there’s another game coming from Undead Labs (they signed a multi-title deal with Microsoft, after all), it is at least a little surprising that it’s a sequel to State of Decay. Not that that game was bad or anything, but it certainly only ever hovered around lightly bubbling fandom while also encountering mild controversy. We’ll see how it shakes out when State of Decay 2 comes out for the Xbox One and PC next year.
Minecraft Finally Looks Good
This might be all they need to do to get people to buy an Xbox One X. Get Minecraft its first major visual update since its launch six(!) years ago and make it look damn fine. I do, however, still think it would have been super funny (and 100% inexplicable) if this update made it look Uncharted-level realistic while still being blocks.
Separate from the “Super Duper Graphics Pack” update is the Better Together Update, which adds a new community marketplace and cross-platform play between all (read: every) the devices you can play Minecraft on. Look for the former to hit this fall and the latter sometime soon.
Dragon Ball FighterZ: Terrible Name, Decent Hype
The only—absolute only—reason I’m including a Dragon Ball Z game on here is because it is made by Arc System Works. You know, the people behind legitimately good fighting game series Guilty Gear and BlazBlue. (Admittedly, they did already make a DBZ fighting game with Extreme Butōden for the 3DS.)
But this is a 3v3 fighter and it aims to be a tournament-quality game. That is honestly reason enough to be excited for this game, not to mention it actually emulates the animation style better here than in any other game of the franchise, which is at least pretty neat to see for even non-fighting game fans of the property. Look for it to hit the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC next year.
The Last Night Looks Hella Dope/Controversial
Goddamn yes. This looks like one hell of a game, mixing together a Blade Runner vibe with pixel art that somehow exists over a depth-mapped 3D world. It is definitely one surreal and unique as hell visual style, that’s for sure.
On the flip side, founder of Odd Tales Tim Soret does have a sordid past on Twitter. He has expressed sympathies for Gamergate and has said the literal words, “I’m against feminism.” To his credit, he has owned up to it and apologized, but it’s going to be hard to shed that light completely. Look for it (if you want) in 2018 on the Xbox One and PC.
The Artful Escape is, uh…
What. The. Fuck. Just happened.
“Being the story of a teenager who embarks on a multidimensional adventure to inspire his stage persona.” The release date is “when it’s damn ready.” The developer is called Beethoven & Dinosaur. I don’t know what the fuck is going on despite spending the past 10 minutes looking into it and I’m so goddamn ready.
Code Vein Has Russian Anime Vampires?
It’s made by the same people that made God Eater, so you probably already know if you’re going to like this thing that involves supernatural protagonists hacking and slashing through a post-apocalyptic urban dystopia. It’s coming to the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC in 2018.
Sea of Thieves Still Exists
They finally found the right words to succinctly describe Sea of Thieves: “shared world.” But regardless, this game continues to look like a Rare-ass Rare game and super duper cool. Or at least has the potential to be super duper cool, so long as it actually comes out one day in early 2018 for the Xbox One and PC.
Besides, who doesn’t like whimsical pirates and shooting your friends out of cannons and fighting on the high seas?
Crackdown 3 Wants Terry Crews to be Terry Crews
Terry Crews is insanely good at yelling. It’s also kind of crazy how often Sumo Digital gets brought into a late-stage franchise to keep it going. They did things like Forza Horizon 3, LittleBigPlanet 3, and Disney Infinity 3.0. And they usually do pretty well.
So it’s pretty exciting to see them come in for Crackdown 3 after the first one set a lot of standards for modern open world action games and the sequel, well, didn’t do that at all. We’ll see if Sumo Digital has anything new to say or to add to the Crackdown world. It’s coming to the Xbox One and PC on November 7, 2017.
Life is Strange: Before the Storm
Oh gosh this is scary. Life is Strange may not be a great game in terms of mechanics (though it is really neat), but the way it tells this whopper of a story is one of my favorite video game experiences of all time. So returning to that world as a prequel with a new studio? Yeah, I’m terrified.
Based on this little featurette video, though, it seems like Deck Nine Games at least has a good understanding on what they should and shouldn’t do with Chloe. (Their history as Idol Minds, however, says otherwise.) Plus, having voice actor Ashly Burch join the writing staff seems promising. Look for Life is Strange: Before the Storm to release on August 31, 2017, for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.
Middle-Earth: Shadow of War Looks Grim and Good
I really like that every Orc sounds like a modulated Idris Elba. In fact, I hope that Idris Elba is secretly the voice behind every Orc in this game. But I also really like that this game even exists. Despite being many people’s game of the year in 2014, it wasn’t really all that impactful on the video game landscape.
But somebody out there in some room with a whiteboard and a PowerPoint presentation managed to convince people with ties to make this happen. And based on hands-on previews last month and the words of a friend of mine running the Shadow of War booth at E3 this year, it is exceptionally complex and intricate and kick-ass. Look for it on the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC on October 10, 2017.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
Uhhhh fuck yeah. Ori and the Blind Forest was not only my game of the year in 2015 but is also one of my favorite games of ever. It’s that rare blend beauty in presentation and ferocity in gameplay that yielded a memorable and affecting experience on what I now think platformers should feel like. It single-handedly converted a couple of friends into avid video game fiends.
So it’ll be both harrowing and pleasing to see Moon Studios return to that world. I hope they’ll have new things to say about either that fiction or the Metroidvania style they pretty much nailed the first time around, but who knows. This might just be a victory lap, but I doubt it. You don’t hit that sort of quality without a whole bucket full of ambition. No release date announced.
Anthem Has Gameplay
After the non-showing showing at EA Play the day before, it’s nice to see that Anthem is a real game with gameplay and graphics and everything. It’s also nice to see that despite the BioWare heritage and the sci-fi setting, this doesn’t look at all like Mass Effect.
The open world looks more actionable in its openness and less directed towards objectives and story beats. It does, however, have a similar aesthetic to Haze, and that’s a bit unsettling, but who doesn’t want to dive into an alien lake with a jetpack? Idiots, that’s who, and you don’t want to be an idiot. Expect it to come out in 2018 for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.