E3 2019: Xbox conference

Since the announcement of Sony’s absence from E3 in 2019 it’s all fallen on the shoulders of Microsoft to produce the goods we all so crave. Last night Phil Spencer walked up on to the stage to once again announce that they’re being as inclusive as they can be and that gaming will be a priority on console, PC and mobile for Microsoft. That no gamer will be excluded when it comes to their take on the future of gaming and that the next generation console will be created with one thing and one thing only in mind – gamers.

It was good to hear those soothing words coming out of his mouth, especially after his predecessor got the launch of the Xbox One so horribly wrong. Before Phil Spencer said a mere word three trailers showing off upcoming games had already set the stage, so it’s probably good for you to watch all the below reveals trailers and world premiers in the order that it was presented. We hope you have some time set aside, because it’s a wild ride. You’ll also get a glimpse into the next generation.

Let’s jump in, shall we?

The Outer Worlds (25 October 2019)

This is something that we got our first glimpse of back in 2018 and today we finally got to see a bit more about Obsidian’s new title that is a single-player first-person sci-fi RPG.

‘Lost in transit while on a colonist ship bound for the furthest edge of the galaxy, you awake decades later only to find yourself in the midst of a deep conspiracy threatening to destroy the Halcyon colony. As you explore the furthest reaches of space and encounter various factions, all vying for power, the character you decide to become will determine how this player-driven story unfolds. In the corporate equation for the colony, you are the unplanned variable.’

Bleeding Edge (Technical Alpha – 27 June)

The poor folks at Ninja Theory did unfortunately not have the impact they were hoping the announcement of their new title would have as it leaked online earlier this week, along with several other titles that met the same fate unfortunately. Other than the fact that you can join the technical alpha of this game at the above date and that it’s a 4v4 team-based melee combat is still as much as we know about it. Should you be interested then you’re welcome to sign up to their alpha by going here.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps (February 2020)

Sometimes receiving more of the same is really all we really need, though we might not see that fact so clearly. The sequel to Ori and the Blind Forest is a prime example of that. The first game was such a fantastic game that took the metroidvania genre to new heights and had grown men balling right at the very beginning. Will of the Wisps now has a new trailer showing you some of the demanding platforming, puzzles and boss fights that await you. There isn’t a massive change to what you might have played before, but then that’s just perfect. It’s looking gorgeous. You’ll have to wait a little longer for the launch early next year.

Minecraft Dungeons (Autumn 2010)

Originally revealed last year, we now finally have a bit more details about the dungeon crawler. It’ll support both local and online 4-player co-op. It was originally a 2019 title, but Mojang would like more time to polish the game to be as close to perfect as they can get it. If you’re a Minecraft fan then you’re probably foaming at the mouth by now, as it looks really promising. Take your time guys.

Star Wars: Fallen Order (15 November 2019)

Everyone has time for more BD-1 in their lives and after the stunning 13-minute long gameplay trailer that you might have seen in EA’s E3 showcase, we got something a bit more cinematic for Microsoft’s conference. In it you see Jedi Cal confronting AT-AT walkers and ultimately knocking out two pilots to commandeer one. Respawn seems to have given this game a lot of love and attention.

Blair Witch (30 August 2019)

The guys that brought you Layers of Fear and Observer, Blooper Team, are working on a licensed IP next and it’s none other than the frightening Blair Witch. It’s controlled from a first-person point of view that is very reminiscent of something you would have experienced in the Outlast games. In the video we see a guy running through woods, with man’s best friend by his side. As with the original movie there is movie footage that plays a part and it looks really spooky.

Cyberpunk 2077 (16 April 2020)

It’s the big announcement we all have been waiting for and, as you can see in the sub-heading, we now have a release date. The neon-lit streets once again set a mood like no other game as we get to see a bit more about this world of the future. The most amazing thing then happens when it was revealed that Keanu Reeves will be playing someone named ‘Mr. Fusion’ in the game. The internet then lost their minds when Neo/John Wick (depending on the era that works for you) man walked on to the stage to reveal that he’s been working with CD Projekt Red for some time now and to ultimately reveal that launch date. How many sleeps now? We need to replace that calendar chip in our heads.

Battletoads

Last year we got a tease, this year we got some gameplay, finally! Battletoads are back in a 3-player co-op game of over-the-top craziness that involves your three old-school heroes: Zitz, Pimple and Rash. The game is still a 2D side-scroller with a unique take on the art style, that’ll either appeal to you or that you’ll completely hate (because that is how the internet works), though seeing the speedster bikes heading into the background makes way more sense. Don’t expect it to be any easier.

Unfortunately we still don’t have a release date, but it’s coming along.

After all the big announcements it was time to turn our attention to indie titles that we’ll be enjoying for years to come.

Spiritfarer (2020)

Spiritfarer is a cozy management game about dying. As ferrymaster to the deceased, build a boat to explore the world, care for your spirit friends, and guide them across mystical seas to finally release them into the afterlife. What will you leave behind?’

ID@Xbox sizzle reel

Xbox Game Pass

By now we are sure you’ll be well aware what Xbox Game Pass is? You do, good. If you’re a member then you’ll be pleased to hear that the following four games have been added to the service (as you read it) and you can download it right away:

  • Metro Exodus
  • Batman Arkham Knight
  • Borderlands: The Handsome Collection, and
  • Hollow Knight

The Game Pass news wasn’t going to end there as they also confirmed that Xbox Game Pass is officially available on PC via the Windows Store right this very moment in open Beta. The $10 will offer you over 100 games to play by August. The Master Chief Collection will also finally be making it to PC and it’ll be included in this deal.

The Game Pass news wasn’t going to end there as Microsoft finally revealed that Xbox Game Pass Ultimate will include Xbox and PC Game Pass, along with an Xbox Live Gold membership for R199.00 per month. Today you can get it for R15.90, so be quick!

Microsoft Flight Simulator (2020)

It’s been a very long time since last we saw Microsoft launching one of their popular Flight Simulator games and the next one, simply named ‘Microsoft Flight Simulator’, was a stunner. The footage you see below was capture in real-time 4K and powered by satellite data and Azure AI.

‘Coming 2020, Microsoft Flight Simulator is the next generation of one of the most beloved simulation franchises. From light planes to wide-body jets, fly highly detailed and stunning aircraft in an incredibly realistic world. Create your flight plan and fly anywhere on the planet. Enjoy flying day or night and face realistic, challenging weather conditions.’

Age of Empires 2: Definitive Edition (2019)

Considered one of the best RTS games of our time, it’s finally receiving the treatment it deserved. It will receive a 4K facelift, remastered audio and a brand new campaign – The Last Khans. Return to Reign. If you loved the original then chances are good that you’re looking for that pre-order button by now. We can’t help you with that, but we can help you with a beta registration. Now go chop some trees, we need more wood.

Wasteland 3

Considering that Microsoft bought inXile Entertainment, it should come as little surprise that we were going to see the sequel showing up in the conference. Get ready for the snowy regions of Colorado to be your new home.

New studio Acquisition: Double Fine Studios

Running your own game development studio is no easy task and comes at a great expense for any owner. Microsoft has slowly but surely built up their studio acquisition and next in line is Double Fine Studios. Tim Schafer and his team have brought us some fantastic classics over the years and the upcoming sequel, Psychonauts 2, is next. Here is a gameplay trailer for something that will launch on all announced platforms, including PC, PS4, Mac, Linux and Xbox. Phil told you Microsoft is inclusive. Here is more proof.

LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga (2020)

‘The galaxy is yours with LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga! Play through all nine Star Wars saga films in a brand-new LEGO video game unlike any other. Experience fun-filled adventures, whimsical humour, and the freedom to fully immerse yourself in the LEGO Star Wars universe like never before.’

Dragon Ball Z Kakarot (2020)

Remember the title named ‘Dragon Ball Project Z‘? It’s been renamed to Dragon Ball Z Kakarot. Get your first look at the action-RPG.

12 Minutes

You’ll often find one game that most people forget about by the time the conference ends. 12 Minutes is a top-down game of a man that is stuck in a loop of time and re-experiences events constantly. It’s an interactive thriller that’ll touch on some real dark themes. There is currently no confirmed release date.

Way to the Woods (2020)

Every once in a while you’ll find a game that looks like an interactive piece of art. Way of the Woods has you controlling a pair of deer in what looks like an abandoned world with no humans in it.

Gears 5 (10 September 2019)

Yes, the words ‘Gears of’ is really gone and it’s just Gears 5 now. As the art suggests you’ll be playing as Kait. She is however battling her inner demons and is conflicted between her duty to her squads and the pull towards her enemy, the Swarm. There is a bigger secret waiting just beneath the surface of Sera.

As you can see we finally have that release date confirmed, though you’ll be able to play the game four days earlier if you subscribe to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. There will also be a multiplayer tech test in July that’ll feature a new arcade mode and horde mode will get a test drive in August. The big news was the reveal of a new 3-player co-op mode called Escape.

Those of you who take part in the early testing before the launch on 10 September will also get this little bonus below:

Dying Light 2 (Autumn 2020)

‘Dying Light 2 is the highly anticipated sequel to the award-winning open world survival horror action game. You play as Aiden, a new hero in a world torn apart by the ravages of the infection, where every decision counts and death lurks around each corner.’

Forza Horizon 4 – LEGO Speed Champions (13 June 2019)

Out of all the reveals,, this is one that came out of nowhere and had most of the team at SA Gamer instantly fall in love with the joy it’ll bring to fans. LEGO meets Forza Horizon 4 where EVERYTHING IS AWESOME. The real world of Forza Horizon 4 has LEGO cars driving about and the brick world of LEGO has photo-realistic cars drifting around its streets. It’s a party!

Gears POP! (2019)

Coming to mobile devices later this year is the Gears POP! game that was revealed at E3 2018. It’s coming to iOS and Android and you can get your first look at the gameplay.

State of Decay 2: Heartland (Out Now)

It’s not set the world of zombie games alight, but you have to give the developers credits for continuing support and improving what is there. There is a brand new expansion available right this minute that adds a new story mode with two distinct paths.

Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2

The Elite controller is one of those products where you don’t know how you would live without it once you own it, but have no reason to invest in it unless you’ve seen the light. Well, those of you who own the original Elite controller will be well aware of the enhancements it brings and now the follow-up comes with ever more. Expect 40 hours out of one charge (no more rechargeable batteries to be concerned about), adjustable-tension thumbsticks, three game presets. new interchangeable components and more. The best controller just got better.

Phantasy Star Online 2 (2020)

The series that started on SEGA’s Master System and ultimately died on the Dreamcast (later GameCube) is being resurrected for a new generation of
MMORPG fans. Unfortunately, there is no word on us getting it as SEGA confirmed on Twitter that there is nothing to say about EMEA territories that we fall under. We guess you can just change your locale on the Xbox One – problem solved. What we do know is that it’ll follow a free-to-play model.

Crossfire X (2020)

Phil Spencer personally announced this new game. He seemed pretty excited about this shooter. Never heard of it before? It’s an enormously popular shooter in Asian territories and simply named ‘Crossfire’. It’s the first time this game will be coming to consoles and it’ll be exclusive on the Xbox. Expect the free-to-play game to arrives on Xbox One next year.

Tales of Arise (2020)

It’s always exciting when a new Tales game arrives. It looks excepti9onally beautiful in terms of its art direction and style. Along with the battles and monsters this is one JRPG that’ll be one to add to the wishlist for next year.

‘Challenge the fate that binds you! Experience the next evolution in the “Tales of” series with a rich story featuring a new cast of characters, updated combat, and classic “Tales of” gameplay’

Borderlands 3 (13 September)

What can we say about the return of the original shooter looter that has not already been said? Well, we know of four new hunters that’ll be joining the fray. Moze ‘The Gunner’, Fl4k ‘The Beastmaster’, Zane Flynt ‘The Operative’ and Amara ‘The Siren’. Yes, it’s looking real tasty. Oh, the Borderlands 2 DLC that ties in with Borderlands 3, named Commander Lilith & the Fight for Sanctuary, is available to download for free. Yes, right now. Claim it by 9 July or you’ll have to pay for it.

Elden Ring

Yes, those rumours were indeed true. From Software and George R. R. Martin have joined forces to work on a brand new Souls game. Other than the stunning cinematics there is nothing else known about the game. For now, it’s real and that’s all that really matters. Best we all git gud before it gets a release date.

Project Scarlett

As Microsoft did with the initial reveal of ‘Project Scorpion’, now known as Xbox One X, they told us about what the future means for Xbox. It’ll have a custom designed CPU based on AMD’s Zen 2, Radeon RDNA architecture and will be four times more powerful than the Xbox One X. They confirmed that it’ll use GDDR6 RAM and that it’ll ‘usher in resolution and framerates we’ve never seen before.’ It’ll launch holiday 2020.

The console will support 8K gaming, up to a frame rate of 120 fps, ray-tracing, variable refresh rate support and SSD will be at the heart of the console to just about drop all load times. Expect the official reveal to take place at E3 next year. For you get to listen to what they’re working on:

Halo Infinite

Halo was left for last and it was confirmed that Halo Infinite will be a launch title for Project Scarlett. Master Chief returns in what is being seen as a ‘spiritual reboot’ for the series. It’s after all the game that made the original Xbox what it was back in 2002.

Chris Lee, studio head of Halo Infinite, had this to say:

‘This story will mark the beginning of a new chapter and challenge for the Chief, but it will also respect and continue threads that led to this point. If you’ve never played a Halo game before, this will be a great place to jump into the story.’

That brought an end to events. I think we can all agree that there were some spectacular moments in this conference. Whether it’s enough to bring them to the forefront of the console race again is something we’ll only find out next year when Project Scarlett comes to market. One thing is for sure, there is more than enough variety for all.

Married to a gamer and she kicks my ass at most shooters. If the game is enjoyable I'll play it, no matter the format.

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