Plus, a little tease on MechAssault and The Phantom Dust.
Xbox is under a lot of fire recently- following the cancellation of Scalebound, the exclusive game lineup for the platform begins to look a bit dire, and the question of the viability of meaningful long term support for the platform, beyond Microsoft’s usual Gears/Forza/Halo cycle, becomes a very pertinent one.
A fan asked Phil Spencer this very question on Twitter, where, much to everyone’s surprise, Spencer implicitly acknowledged the existence of the Halo/Gears/Forza cycle, also assuring that fan that the lineup for Xbox games this year is going to be different. “XB1 games shipping this year are different for us. not Halo FPS/Gears led, new experiences with different IP, will be fun year,” he said.
That’s an interestingly worded statement on a lot of levels- first, let’s start with the omission of Forza from it. That all but assures that a new Forza game is in fact going to be coming this year. This is not much of a surprise, since Forza Motorsport 7 is expected this year, after all. Still, I imagine that’s one of Microsoft’s game announcements for E3, right there.
There is also the fact that he specifies Halo ‘FPS’, which probably is because of Halo Wars 2‘s impending release- but which also makes it very clear that that is it as far as Halo goes for this year. If you are hoping for or expecting a Halo 3 Anniversary or Halo 6 for this year, it doesn’t look like that will be happening.
Finally, the most interesting part of that statement- ‘new experiences with different IP’, implies that Spencer is looking at delivering different IP this year. With Sea of Thieves and even Crackdown 3, he does have different than usual experiences lined up for this year- but I wonder if more is in the works?
One of the things in the works might be a new MechAssault game. When asked by a fan on Twitter if the possibility of a new MechAssault remains, Spencer only teased, “The Mech world is just too rich to not come back to gaming at some point imo.” Also, when he was asked about the release date of The Phantom Dust remaster, he suggested that the release might be before E3- which is probably good news, actually.
So it sounds like Spencer has something different planned for Xbox this year. Now, whether or not it all pans out is something that remains to be seen, but as it stands right now, he certainly seems to be promising something beyond the usual Halo and Gears of War.