Don’t hold your breath for those E3 surprises.
Microsoft’s first party has never looked weaker and on shakier footing than it does right now. Microsoft have Gears of War, Halo, and Forza, and really, that’s it. There are two interesting upcoming projects – Sea of Thieves from Rare, and Crackdown 3 – and the best anyone knows, that’s it.
At this point, we are all hoping that Microsoft have some new game announcements they will be making at E3, new projects, new IPs, revivals of old ones, classics and fan favorites- just anything would be an improvement over the current situation. And certainly, Xbox head Phil Spencer’s recent statements seem to imply that Microsoft might be holding their cards close to their chest to go all out come E3.
… don’t hold your breath for that. Apparently, what we see is exactly what we are getting, and apart from the list of games above, there doesn’t seem to be anything else Microsoft has actually commissioned for the Xbox One yet. Insider shinobi, who is well placed in the industry with multiple high ranking contacts, and who has had an impeccable track record so far, has revealed that there really are no other first party projects in the works right now, except for more Halo, more Gears, and more Forza.
“Unless they have entire first party studios secretly hidden away somewhere, I personally can not deduce who might be working on a surprise. 343 is working on Halo, that’s their bread and butter. The Coalition is on Gears, Turn 10 is on Forza, Rare is on Sea of Thieves and other prototypes (that aren’t anywhere near ready to be shown), Lionhead’s gone…
“This first party source noted to me that this time last year they had clear knowledge about what’s coming in pipeline but right now it’s radio silent, which to them says not much is on the horizon, software wise. Phil’s been adamant (now) that throwing money towards third party exclusives “doesn’t grow” their brand, and they likely won’t go that route. [But] big new IPs need significant resources and capital and I can’t see where that’d come from.”
According to his sources, Microsoft are not actually discussing any new projects with first party studios yet- which is leading to a growing feeling that there might not actually be any anymore. “At this point I genuinely do not know. Being transparent here. I heard about Scalebound‘s cancellation last week, and since then I’ve talked to a few people. One’s a first party developer and mentioned they haven’t heard anything internally about ‘new’ first party stuff, when they usually have in the past, and slowly realizing that, perhaps that’s because there barely is any. ”
He also says that Rare is on thin ice- Sea of Thieves has to perform well. “I wish the best for them but it certainly won’t be pretty if it underperforms. The studio is basically being built around service driven games now and from what I’m told the project is costing Microsoft a lot.”
Which… sounds an awful lot like what happened to Lionhead last year. I sincerely hope that these reports are not true- but again, shinobi has been known for an impeccable track record in the past. I don’t know what it is that Microsoft is going for here- do they think they can launch a major new console without any exclusives, an get away with it? I sincerely hope that there is something else, that they really are hiding entire studios busily working on exciting exclusives somewhere.
Again, take this information with a grain of salt but shinobi602 has an excellent track record.
What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments section below.