"You want games? Here are your games," Microsoft said in their E3 2018 press conference. Phil Spencer promised 18 exclusives and 15 world premieres, and we subsequently got Just Cause 4, Devil May Cry 5, a new From Software game, and Cyberpunk 2077, as well as the expected reveals of Halo and Gears 5.
It was a packed and frankly extremely long show, and it didn't have a lot of surprises, but it did tick all the boxes that were expected. Just be ready for a freaking deluge of games on February 22, 2019. Here are all the important announcements from the show.
Halo Infinite Kicks Off Conference With Big Reveal
The very first trailer from Microsoft was for Halo. We got wind, stags, a mysterious walkie-talkie, a herd of rhinos, and a team of soldiers dropping a flair. And finally, the iconic Master Chief helmet. It will be powered by the Slipspace Engine and, of course, developed by 343i. Looks like the leaks were true!
"With Halo Infinite we will join Master Chief on his greatest adventure yet to save humanity," says Xbox head Phil Spencer. Well that sounds promising, doesn't it? Alas, no more details for now, but hopefully Microsoft will be offering a first look on the show floor.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is Xbox's New From Software Game
Another interesting world premier: Shadows Die Twice from From Software. It's a very cool looking samurai game. We get a trailer in which we see a wandering samurai walking through the flame, using an axe, and a grappling hook. There are hints are of duels and other cool setpieces. And of course, the bosses are massive. You kind of have to feel bad for Nioh, don't you? Anyway, Shadows Die Twice looks really amazing already. It's a nice coup for Microsoft to show it first over Sony. It'll be out in 2019.
Fallout 76 First Reveal
Todd Howard stepped out on the stage to tout Bethesda's relationship with Xbox and remind everyone about tonight's press conference. He also announced that Fallout 4 is coming out on Xbox Game Pass today.
But the main event was the first reveal of Fallout 76. It will be a prequel and four times the size of Fallout 4. Set in the hills of West Virginia, you will step out into an "untamed and very different wasteland." Cut to a trailer where we see a soldier in power armor looking out over a nuclear blast from a military base as bluegrass plays in the background.
We see beautiful landscapes showing West Virginia in all of its glory, buried power armor, and a wanderer walking the roads. It looks very much like a proper Fallout side story rather than a simple spinoff.
But there are hints of the building aspect as you're told to "rebuild America and hearts." The future begins anew in Fallout 76, it seems.
Great and beautiful reveal for Fallout 76. Can't wait to learn more tonight at Bethesda's event.
Crackdown 3 Still Exists
Hey, it's Crackdown! And Terry Crews, too! Hot on the heels of a delay into 2019, we get a trailer with Terry Crews jumping off skyscrapers, using his rocket launcher, and throwing tanks into planes. To tell you the truth, it looks a lot like Tron, down to the tank that he can use. It'll be out the same time as Days Gone and, gulp, Anthem, which may be a problem for it. Look for it in February 2019.
Metro Exodus opens with what sounds like a mad Russian prophet preaching about fire raining from the sky and the hour of glory as we see scenes of a Russian wasteland. The actual gameplay shows lots of different gun variants and attachments; a zipline, and mutated creatures. We thought it looked pretty neat when it debuted last year and... oh god no, it's out February 22, 2019 as well! That is gonna be a very busy day.
Kingdom Hearts 3 Will Have Frozen
Microsoft showed a new trailer showing Sora, Donald, and Goofy in Frozen World, which should make all the kids happy. There will be snowboarding, a cool fiery lion summon, and more. We also get a look at Rapunzel and Wreck-It Ralph. This being Frozen, we of course see Elsa lamenting how all she does is hurt people.
For Kingdom Hearts lore nuts, Sora addresses Organization XIII and says that Roxas exists in his heart. And we get a mysterious gal turning to the camera and saying menacingly, "Mickey, you're too late." Kingdom Hearts 3's release date was revealed last night, and thankfully it won't be out on February 22. Instead it'll be out in January on PS4 and Xbox One.
Forza Horizon 4 Isn't Set in Japan
Forza Horizon is back and it's totally not set in Japan, much to my chagrin. Instead we see sweet cars driving past cathedrals, farmhouses, and massive bridges. It has everything you expect from a Forza Horizon trailer: Beautiful vistas, offroad racing, and races against crazy things like hovercrafts. You can see for miles indeed.
The new game will be set in "Britain," which includes at least the Scottish capital of Edinburgh. It will include a shared open world in which every car is driven by other people, which you can enter seamessly. It will also have a 60fps mode. Dynamic seasons like winter will completely change over the world.
Forza Horizon 3 was one of the best racing games ever made, and Forza Horizon 4 once again looks like an incredible showcase for the Xbox One X's graphical prowess. I can't wait. It will be out October 2 and will be included in Xbox Gamepass.
Microsoft Acquires Ninja Theory, We Happy Few, and More
It's no secret that Xbox doesn't have many exclusive franchises to its name, so Phil Spencer and company are setting out to rectify that problem with an acquisition binge for the ages. Phil Spencer announced the acquisition of four new studios, including celebrated action developer Ninja Theory. Microsoft is also opening a brand new studio in Santa Monica that's headed by Darrell Galagher. Undead Labs, Playground Games, Ninja Theory, and We Happy Few developer Compulsion Games will all do a lot to bolster Microsoft's exclusives portfolio, with Ninja Theory being the most intriguing of all of them. To cap it off, Microsoft showed a new We Happy Few trailer, which you can see above.
The Division 2 Takes the Battle to DC
America is on the brink of collapse... as usual. Agents of the Division are the only ones standing against a group trying to start a new Civil War. You know the drill.
Anyway, Ubisoft brought a nice long Division 2 gameplay reel with them to the Xbox's press conference. We see a soldier running through the trees and into what looks like DC's botanical gardens and a wrecked street. A firefight subsequently erupts in and around Air Force One with all the usual Division 2 sights: drones, grenades, and the rest.
Our final glimpse is of the US Capitol as the soldiers rush across the Mall amid gunfire. Not much more than to say that it looks a lot like, well, The Division. It will join Anthem, Days Gone, Metro Exodus, and many other games in an extremely crowded release window. It will be out March 15, 2019.
Xbox Game Pass Introduces "Fast Start"
An Xbox executive took to the stage to promote Xbox Game Pass, as well as a new machine learning algorithm called "Fast Start" that will let you access you games faster. The new update is coming to Xbox One later this month. Xbox Game Pass is also getting new games, including Tom Clancy's The Division, Elder Scrolls Online: Tariel Unlimited, and Fallout 4. They're all playable today!
Shadow of the Tomb Raider Gets a New Trailer
A new Shadow of the Tomb Raider was shown at Microsoft's press conference. We see things like a jaguar pouncing on Lara, crashing helicopters, and of course, Lara shooting a bow. You pretty much know what to expect, right? Speaking of which, make sure to read our first hands-on impressions from the event back in April. Shadow of the Tomb Raider will be out September 14.
Devil May Cry 5 is Confirmed
After successfully rebooting Resident Evil, Devil May Cry is next on Capcom's list. Interestingly, Dante doesn't appear to be the main character. Instead, it looks like Nero, who debuted in Devil May Cry 4.
"I waited for years for this. DMC is back!" Hideaki Itsuno exclaimed excitedly on the stage.
Lots of hype from Itsuno: He hopes to make it the best action game from Capcom ever. That's a pretty big promise! Hopefully it lives up to Itsuno's lofty exclamations because Devil May Cry has been sorely missed since Ninja Theory last took a stab at the franchise. It will be out in Spring 2019.
More Announcements: Dying Light 2, Battletoads, Just Cause 4
"There is nothing except permanent change." A new post-apocalyptic game! Hooray! That's new! Anyway, there are terrors of the night, horrors of the day, people getting hanged in the streets, etc. Dying Light is officially back.
The original game was a mix of parkour and zombies, and well, yeah. Expect more of the same. Here's a cool thing though: Legendary RPG designer Chris Avellone is writing the story. Avellone is an amazing writer, so this new story might actually be pretty cool.
Naturally, Avellone's story will feature narrative decisions that can change the world, which is demonstrated in a gameplay demo. We're shown a mission from a faction called The Peacekeepers, where you can either choose to carry out their orders, or betray them. If you join them, access to the water supply will change the city, changing the morale of the people on the ground. But if you side with Peace Keepers, you will have to deal with an authoritatian group. On the flipside, opening up the black market will attract the worst elements.
It all feels very RPG-like, which you know is something we like around here. Dying Light 2 will be out in 2019.
Some more announcements: Oh my god, Battletoads is back. I don't even know what to make of this. Just Cause is back, too. This was a little more expected since it was leaked on Steam. It will be out December 4. And Bandai Namco is apparently working on a Tales of Vesperia remaster, bringing us back to the heady days of 2007 when Xbox was trying to win the Japanese market. In all seriousness, though, Tales of Vesperia is very good.
Gears of Funko Pop, Gears Tactics, and Gears of War 5
Well this is certainly different: The Coalition is making a Gears of War game featuring Funko Pop characters. Bob just felt a disturbance in the force. The Coalition also confirmed a tactics game set in the Gears of War universe for PC.
But that all takes a backseat to Gears of War 5, which was officially revealed today. The initial trailer has the Gears arguing after the death of a comrade. "Screw your orders," says Kait Diaz. She apparently has been having some dreams, and she has a Locust necklace to boot. Hmmm..
Apparently Gears of War 5 will return to "where it all began," with Kait as the main character. She goes deep into the underworld and fights monsters with guns and melee weapons, just as you'd expect from a Gears game. Gears of War 4 was ultimately just okay, but the series still has a large fanbase, and its return is welcome. It'll be out in 2019.
Cyberpunk 2077 Reveal Finally Happens
We all knew it was coming but Microsoft still made us wait nearly two hours for it. But was it worth it? It's hard to say, honestly. As expected, it's extremely, well, cyberpunk-y. After an extended intro where we learn the main character is Red, we hear, "In 2077, they announced my city was the worst city in America." We see a subway with very 80s hairstyles, VR, Blade Runner-like holo images, and more. CD Projekt Red is clearly going all out on the visual look of this game. Oh, and the car looks pretty rad, too. No release date, though, interestingly enough. I wouldn't expect it until late next year at the earliest.
Microsoft Indies: Ori 2, New Game From Life is Strange Developer, and More
As usual, Microsoft had lots of indies to show. The first was a trailer for Ori and the Will of the Wisps, which looks absolutely gorgeous as expected. Microsoft is excellent at finding lush, beautiful indies for its online service.
Dontnod showed a new game set in the Life is Strange universe. It shows a young kid in a treehouse, being sad about being bullied, and dealing with an alcoholic father. He also seems to have a very rich imagination, with a trailer that feels very much like a Pixar game. But we also get hints that Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit will be out June 26.
Cuphead isn't done yet. It's getting a new DLC pack called "The Delicious Last Course" featuring new characters, enemies, and a whole new isle. It will be out in 2019.
A sizzle reel also showed Sable, Harold Halibut, Bomber Crew, Super Meat Boy Forever, Ashen, The Wind Road, and more. You can see them all below.
And that's it for the Xbox press conference. Microsoft revealed a new From Software game, confirmed Halo, Gears of War, and Forza Horizon, and just generally showcased a lot of games. There were no real surprises, but it seems like expectations were met. What do you think?