Forza Horizon 4
Developer: Playground Games
Platforms: Xbox One, PC
What could Microsoft possibly present at this year’s E3?
You’ve heard it once. You’ve heard it several times. You must still be beaten over the head with this fact but E3 2018 is nearly here. Though several other players like EA and Bioware will get their chance to showcase upcoming titles, Microsoft is the first console manufacturer up to bat. Given the disappointments and cancellations over the years, what could 2018 and beyond hold for the big M? Here are our own speculations and theories, complete with a happy helping of snark.
"Similarly, if Fortnite is indeed revealed for the Switch, it wouldn’t be too strange for Microsoft to tout crossplay with the hybrid console, PC and mobiles."
Microsoft is usually one to harp on about something long past the point of it being relevant. Though cross play is still an important issue, it’s nowhere near the controversial subject that Sony wanted to avoid last year. Regardless, look for Microsoft to announce more cross play efforts. Paladins will be heading to the Nintendo Switch via Founder’s Pack on June 12th and supports cross play with the Xbox One. Similarly, if Fortnite is indeed revealed for the Switch, it wouldn’t be too strange for Microsoft to tout crossplay with the hybrid console, PC and mobiles.
Speaking of subjects that are still sort of relevant but not all that important in the grand scheme of things, backwards compatibility has been a godsend for Microsoft. It’s effectively opened up its supple Xbox 360 library for a new generation of Xbox One players. Now, OG Xbox backwards compatibility? Not so much, though we could see Microsoft touting even more titles from both coming to Xbox One.
Game Pass will likely have its own shoutout as well as Microsoft notes the number of subscribers and the overall success of the program. Don’t be surprised if reveals and announcement, particularly for Xbox One/Windows 10 exclusives, are celebrated as being available at launch for Game Pass. With all that out of the way, let’s look at some of the potential reveals.
"It wouldn’t be surprising if The Will of the Wisps was slated to release sometime in August or September."
Frankly, if Microsoft doesn’t provide a release date in the vicinity of “very soon” for Ori and The Will of the Wisps, I’d be stunned. After announcing the game last year, promising a release date of “never” and then staying silent on the same, it seemed like even Microsoft forgot it existed. Given how successful Ori and The Blind Forest had been – and Microsoft’s distinct lack of exclusives – it wouldn’t be surprising if The Will of the Wisps was slated to release sometime in August or September.
On that note, Capybara Games’ Below, started as an interesting little thing for Xbox One…back in 2013. Since then, we’ve heard more about its delays than anything else. 2018 may finally be the year though as it’s likely announced for September (or even December to avoid the rush). Though Capybara Games will also be releasing the game for Steam, it’s very much a Cuphead-style situation – this is one of the few high profile indie games that Microsoft actually has for its console. Hopefully it at least gets a release date announcement trailer instead of being brushed aside for another year.
"If Halo Infinity is indeed Halo 6, 343 Industries will likely show off a teaser and maybe tease a release year."
Rumours have been circulating recently about Halo Infinity. What is Halo Infinity? Search me (and I really think you shouldn’t). The name seems to imply some kind of connection with the UNSC Infinity. Perhaps this is the next mainline Halo? As it stands, we know that 343 Industries has been busy working on something. No more rumours about Halo 3 Anniversary and not a ton regarding upcoming Halo 5: Guardians content. If Halo Infinity is anything, it has to be the next big deal for the studio.
This is an age where even the maestros of smoke and mirrors, Bungie, would outright reveal gameplay for its big expansion rather than tease their fans incessantly but I don’t believe Microsoft will learn the same lessons. If Halo Infinity is indeed Halo 6, 343 Industries will likely show off a teaser and maybe tease a release year. It may even promise more information next year. The correct approach would be to bite the bullet and show gameplay footage. If the developer is that far along into development or not remains the real mystery.
Gears of War 5
"If Microsoft has enough time to make such a strong impression with the next Gears of War, it better be time well spent."
Let’s be real – Gears of War 4 was a good game and a good Gears of War game. It didn’t really advance the franchise forward though. In fact, if anything, it showcased a developer playing things a little close to the chest while purportedly expanding the universe. Gears of War 5 is likely in development – Xbox boss Phil Spencer has noted the efforts of The Coalition in recent updates – but the question is where things go from here. I wouldn’t think that a cinematic trailer reveal happens. However, it wouldn’t be all that strange to see a gameplay reveal akin to Gears of War 4 with some kind of tease.
Unlike the rumoured Halo Infinity, Microsoft could have a stronger plan for Gears of War 5. Announcements for a closed beta multiplayer test, followed by open beta down the line, wouldn’t be weird. Over time, the game can stay in the mind of the hardcore while building up enough steam for an eventual launch (which would likely be in 2019, if not early 2020). However, will that be enough? Will we see Horde being changed for the better and ditching the pay-to-win-esque crates? Will multiplayer actually be involving instead of stuck in the same closed quarters shotgun fests that the series has become infamous for?
If Microsoft has enough time to make such a strong impression with the next Gears of War, it better be time well spent. Regardless, it will show something so keep those fingers crossed.
All The Rest
"The relatively good news is that Crackdown 3 will be at the conference. I’m hoping Microsoft uses this opportunity to stick to its new release date while also dating the open multiplayer beta that never happened."
Forza Horizon 4’s announcement seems like a foregone conclusion. Sure, the real surprising thing would be to upstage The Crew 2 and announce an enormous game with several countries to explore, and a large Horizon Festival meta-game. I don’t think that will happen but it’s cool to think about.
What will likely happen is a teaser for Fable 4. Rumours have been rumbling about the fantasy RPG series making a comeback and Playground Games has been making some uncharacteristically big moves in terms of expansion. Again, time will tell but if Microsoft really wanted to fill the void left by Scalebound (which still hurts, by the way), wouldn’t it make sense to fall back on an RPG series it can fully control?
The relatively good news is that Crackdown 3 will be at the conference. I’m hoping Microsoft uses this opportunity to stick to its new release date while also dating the open multiplayer beta that never happened. One could certainly hope, right?
Third Party Developers
"EA Play can be stuffed with all kinds of neat gameplay information on Bioware’s Anthem but it may not likely be enough. So why not feature some footage at Microsoft’s conference as well?"
Third party announcements are a decidedly tougher nut to crack. My money is on the gameplay trailer for Metro Exodus – or whatever 4A Games is planning/rumoured to be showing – debuting during Microsoft’s presser. Heck, slap an “Xbox One X Enhanced” tag on it if necessary. Given how Life is Strange: Before the Storm was announced at last year’s Microsoft presser, it wouldn’t be all that weird to see Life is Strange 2 announced this year. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds will probably have some stat padding but if PUBG Corp skips Microsoft’s presser, that’s all the confirmation we need that it’s going to PS4 in the near future.
Electronic Arts is also in a good position. EA Play can be stuffed with all kinds of neat gameplay information on Bioware’s Anthem but it may not likely be enough. So why not feature some footage at Microsoft’s conference as well? After all, that was the pattern last year – and in fact, Microsoft got the better end of the deal since it actually showcased gameplay. We’ll see how this year pans out for them.
Also, if CD Projekt RED’s participation in Microsoft’s E3 2013 presser is any indication – which is a shoddy reason at best but let’s roll with it – then the first official trailer for Cyberpunk 2077 will likely be at this year’s presser. If Sony’s conference is stuffed to the brim and Microsoft needs games to fill its show time, why not get one of the most anticipated third party RPGs on the format? Finally, it seems that Bohemia Interactive is working on an Xbox One exclusive developed with Unreal Engine. Suffice to say we should be seeing it this Sunday.
Microsoft’s E3 2018 presser takes place on June 10th at 1 PM PST. What do you hope to see? Let us know in the comments below.
Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to GamingBolt as an organization.