Coming from a lackluster presentation last year that had a lot of games, but not very meaningful exclusives, Microsoft hopes to show to the industry that they are working on their first-party library. According to rumors, Microsoft might have some tricks up their sleeves, and we can hope to see a few exciting announcements.
It’s been almost 3 years since the release of Halo 5: Guardians and it appears to be the perfect time to announce the next iteration of Microsoft’s flagship franchise. The third main title of the series released by 343 Industries is surrounded by mystery and some uncertainty.
While Halo 5’s multiplayer was one of the best in the series, the campaign left a lot to be desired, something that really felt out of character in a franchise revered by its rich story. The silence surrounding Halo 6 has been very interesting, as there’s no idea on which approach Microsoft will take or if it will work as a reboot or as a sequel.
On Sunday we will find out what the future of the franchise holds. I would guess we will at least see a teaser trailer, but that will mean it won’t come out this year, if it comes out in 2018 I’d say that the conference will begin with a trailer and end with a gameplay.
Gears of War Spin-off
There are many talks about a Gears of War 5 announcement, but it seems too early to start talking about it, Gears 4 was released less than 2 years ago. Announcing a spin-off, however, could work extremely well, as Microsoft did with the Forza series, that grew with the release of the Horizon sub-series.
It could expand the franchise, avoid fatigue in the series and provide more time for The Coalition to work on the main titles. For a while has been rumored a survival horror game in the world of Gears, and it could become Microsoft’s main Fall product. I’d guess we’ll see a gameplay and it will come out in November.
Forza Horizon 4
This is the safest bet in the entire conference since Forza became an annual franchise. The surprising fact about it was that the Horizon series surpassed the Motorsport series both critically and commercially. Given the huge success of Horizon 3, we can expect for Horizon 4 to be even bigger and hopefully better.
There are rumors regarding a Japanese or English setting, with Japan appearing as a clear preference from fans. We can expect an extended gameplay and a possible September release date.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
After Ori and the Blind Forest’s critical and commercial success, its sequel was announced in last year’s conference with a beautiful trailer. We’ll probably see another trailer and a release date, I’d say in August so it won’t be buried by bigger releases in September. It could be released as part of Microsoft’s Fall schedule, but it doesn’t have the size to compete with AAA titles.
After another delay, Crackdown 3 will have a defining moment at E3. A franchise that isn’t big enough to create hype on its own, it will need to have an exciting showing to regain some traction, generate expectation around the project. We should see an extended gameplay with some major improvements and a bigger focus on Terry Crews’ character.
The Last Night
The most interesting game from last year’s conference, The Last Night is due to appear again, and we should see another trailer and finally a release date. I think it will either come out in this Summer or Earlier 2019.
Announced in 2013, Below has been through a rocky development, to the point it was delayed indefinitely in 2016. But it has resurged this year and we will probably get a release date on it. Given how long the game has been talked about, I think it might be available after the conference, or in July.
Revealed in 2015, Ashen is another indie exclusive with a long development cycle. Its unique design style and Souls-like battle system have garnered a lot of interest. Due to its slated 2018 release date, I believe it will come out in early August or early September.
Studio Gobo’s Exclusive
A partnership that was announced a while ago still remains a mystery, as we know absolutely nothing about it. If we look at their background, they mainly worked on the Disney Infinity series, but also in For Honor and F1 2012. If I had to guess, I’d say that they are working on a new Banjo game, possibly Conker, given their history.
Bohemia Interactive’s Project
Hinted by a tweet from the composer of the project, we might have a reveal on Sunday. Their project should be another exclusive and a shooter based on the studio’s history. It already has a tagline “What if Humanity Falls” and the studio has retweeted an Xbox tweet talking about Inside Xbox on Monday, almost confirming the announcement.
One of the most awaited games of the last few years, CD Projekt Red’s next major RPG is expected to make its debut on this E3. Since they have a past with Microsoft, it will probably appear on their stage. The fact that they can show it on the X gives it more credence, as it would make sense to show it running on the most powerful console available. It will probably have a huge gameplay demo and it should come out in 2019.
A rumor that has been going on for years but that this year appears to finally turn into a reality. The fact that Sam Fisher made an appearance on Ghost Recon: Wildlands and Michael Ironside’s interview at Inside Xbox where he hinted about a possible new title seems to corroborate the idea of an announcement.
All of that converging on a possible sequel and his return to the character for good. Given the series history on Xbox consoles, it would make sense if the title debuted on Microsoft’s stage. Not necessarily a gameplay, but at least a teaser trailer, with a gameplay demo on Ubisoft’s stage.
Having its gameplay debut on Microsoft’s stage last year, it is expected that Anthem will make another appearance. Maybe with a trailer focused on the story, but another gameplay would be welcomed, even though they might not want another huge sci-fi title on stage. The announcement of a beta exclusive to the console could also happen.
Kingdom Hearts III
This may be a long shot, but since it’s the first title to come to the Xbox consoles, it would be interesting to see a trailer or a gameplay on Microsoft’s conference. If it happens I believe they would also announce the release of all the remakes to the Xbox One.
Sea of Thieves
Their main bet in the first semester, Sea of Thieves had a successful release but was heavily criticized by its lack of content. I think they will release a trailer talking about future DLC for the game, highlighting the expansions that have been announced and their expected release timetable.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider
The sequel to Rise of the Tomb Raider, Shadow won’t be an exclusive as the previous title of the series was, but I believe it will make an appearance on Microsoft’s stage. It will probably be its gameplay debut, highlighting the changes on the gameplay side and the stunning graphics.
They will probably use some time to address their first-party woes, and I think they’ll bring Matt Booty to talk about investments on new studios. Playground’s purchase should be announced and the opening of new ones.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
After Assassin’s Creed Origins’ incredible success last year, a new entry in the series wasn’t expected. However, Ubisoft surprised us with Odyssey, that will take us into ancient Greece, and if rumors are correct, will go even deeper on RPG mechanics. A gameplay demo should be expected and a release date, either Fall 2018 or early 2019.
It should be a celebratory moment, talking about how successful it has been and the overwhelming reception. New games should be announced, especially their first-party games. Forza Motorsport 7, Horizon 3, Cuphead and other should come to the service this year.
My crazy guess is that they will announce that AAA third-party titles will be available on release. If I had to guess I’d say Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Splinter Cell will be the first titles to adhere to that.
Changes to Xbox Live Subscription
The backbone of the Xbox division, Xbox Live Gold has been supporting the console and has been working as a great subscription service. But I believe that they will announce an evolution of the service, that they will create a premium option combining it with Game Pass. You will be able to access both services for a single price, it makes sense as Microsoft looks into converging their products and focus on becoming a service led company.
Their partnership with the Battlefield franchise has been very successful and it should receive a special attention. We should see an extended gameplay demo of the campaign and they should mention the fact that all DLC will come first to Xbox consoles.
ID @ Xbox
Some titles of the program may appear on stage with quick gameplay demos, and I believe we’ll see a trailer that will focus on some of the best titles to come.
Like last year, new Japanese titles should take the stage in order to confirm their focus on the Japanese market. I think the release of Nier Automata and Nioh will be announced.
Announced earlier last year, Crystal Dynamics’ Avengers title has been radio silent in the past year. This would be an interesting time to finally show it to the world, especially because Square Enix will have a conference this year. I would only expect a teaser, a gameplay demo would be little unlikely, but I hope I’m wrong.
Heavily rumored as a Superman game, Rocksteady’s new title has been greatly anticipated since the release of Batman Arkham Knight. I believe it should appear on Microsoft’s stage given Sony’s exclusive Spider-Man game. I don’t think Sony would want for another hero game to steal Spider-Man’s thunder. A gameplay demo and a release date in 2019 should be expected.
This sounds more like wishful thinking, but this has been a rumor for the past few years and it would be a lovely surprise. It’s a franchise that would work really well on current consoles, with a modern gameplay. I don’t think it’s being worked by Coalition but I think they are assisting on the project if it’s real.
It’s been 20 years since the release of the original Banjo-Kazooie and it would be a great time to release a remaster all of the titles. It could also work as a way to hype the release of a new entry in the franchise.
A part of the show that should be boring but that has brought some great news in the past few years. This year I think it won’t be as explosive as backward compatibility but I think mouse and keyboard compatibility, avatars, wishlist and a refund policy will come to the console this year.