E3 2018 Highlights: Microsoft Press Conference

By Mike Sousa on June 11, 2018, 12:09AM EDT
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Following yesterday's Electronic Arts Conference, the next big company to take the stage at E3 2018 was Microsoft. With Xbox One currently behind all the other current gen platforms, Microsoft realized that this conference could be the turning point for their console. With this in mind, Phil Spencer teased even before the show started that we could expect to see the world premiere of 15 titles.

Microsoft kicked off its conference by announcing the next title in the Halo franchise, Halo Infinite for Xbox One and PC. The announcement trailer, which was mostly cinematic scenes, showcases what the new Slipspace Engine has to offer and provides a glimpse into the future of the Halo franchise. Unfortunately, no release date was announced.

The Halo Infinite announcement was followed by a new trailer for Ori and the Will of the Wisps. Players will embark on an adventure with all new combat and customization options while exploring a vast, exotic world encountering larger than life enemies and challenging puzzles. Ori and the Will of the Wisps releases in 2019 on Xbox One and PC.

The third game to receive a new trailer was FromSoftware's Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, which was teased last year at The Game Awards 2017. The game is a third-person, action-adventure game with RPG elements. Set in the re-imagined world of late 1500s Sengoku Japan; a brutal, bloody period of constant life-and-death conflict, players take on the role of a hard-hearted warrior whose mission is to rescue his master, a young lord who is the descendant of an ancient bloodline, and exact revenge on his arch nemesis. Players come face-to-face with larger than life foes; unleash an arsenal of deadly prosthetic tools and powerful ninja abilities to blend stealth, vertical traversal, and visceral head-to-head combat in a bloody confrontation. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice releases in 2019 on Xbox One, PC and PS4.

Bethesda's Todd Howard took the stage the reveal a new trailer and more details on the recently announced Fallout 76. According to Howard, Fallout 76 is a prequel to all the other Fallout games and is set in the hills of West Virginia. Players take on the role of one of the first survivors to emerge following the nuclear apocalypse who will venture into an "untamed and very different wasteland". The game is the biggest title in the series, with Howard claiming that Fallout 76 is four times the size of Fallout 4. In addition, it was also announced that Fallout 4 has launched on Xbox Game Pass today.

Coming up next was The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit, a new standalone adventure set within the Life is Strange universe. You play as Chris, an ordinary 10-year old boy who dreams of being a superhero. Chris has a big imagination that will take him on all sorts of adventures, but on this particular Saturday something truly extraordinary will happen to him. Dontnod Entertainment also teased that this new game will give you a glimpse into what the brand-new story and characters of Life is Strange 2 will be. The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit releases on the 26th of June on Xbox One, PC and PS4 as a free-to-play digital title.

Returning to Microsoft exclusive titles, the company revealed a new action-packed trailer for Crackdown 3. As revealed recently, the game has been delayed and will now launch in February on Xbox One and PC.

Turning its attention to JRPG, Microsoft announced that NieR: Automata, which was previously only available on PS4 and PC, is releasing on Xbox One on the 26th of June as NieR: Automata Become as Gods Edition. The game will be available for $49.99, and will include all previously released DLC.

Metro: Exodus, which was announced at last year's E3, also received a brand a new trailer. It was also revealed that Metro: Exodus will release on the 22nd of February on Xbox One, PC and PS4.

Even though the Kingdom Hearts franchise has never seen a game on Xbox platforms, that didn't stop Microsoft from giving Kingdom Hearts III the spotlight during a few minutes with a new trailer. This new trailer reveals that Frozen will be one of the Disney worlds that will make an appearance in Kingdom Hearts III.

Microsoft then shifted its focus to one of its exclusive titles that released earlier this year, Sea of Thieves. During the conference, Microsoft announced that Sea of Thieves is getting two new expansions, titled "Cursed Sails" and "Forsaken Shores". Releasing in July, "Cursed Sails" will bring a new threat to the seas in the form of terrifying skeleton ships. In September, "Forsaken Shores" will reveal a perilous new part of the world, filled with dangers that will test the skill and nerve of even the most hardened crews. Each update will be accompanied by a time-limited campaign that introduces content in a fun, engaging and memorable way.

Speaking of exclusives titles, Microsoft announced Forza Horizon 4 for Xbox One and PC. This highly anticipated follow-up to 2016's Forza Horizon 3 brings players dynamic seasons in stunning native 4K and HDR in a shared open-world that change every week. With over 450 cars from more than 100 licensed manufacturers, Forza Horizon 4 features the largest and most diverse Horizon car roster yet with all the customization options Forza players love. Players can choose to play alone, cooperatively or join multiplayer for casual fun or ranked teams. Forza Horizon 4 will launch worldwide on Xbox One and PC on the 2nd of October. Those who pre-order the Ultimate Edition will get 4-day early access, two expansion packs, Car Pass, VIP Membership, and more.

As promised yesterday by Electronic Arts, a Battlefield V trailer focused on its single-player campaing was unveiled at the Microsoft Conference.

Shifting its focus from games, and on to game studios, Phil Spencer came on stage to announce the creation of a new first-party studio dubbed The Initiative, which will be led by former Crystal Dynamics head Darrell Gallagher. In addition, Microsoft also revealed that it has acquired several studios, including Undead Labs, Playground Games, Ninja Theory, and Compulsion Games. Spencer also teased that Playground Games with its open world expertise is already working on a entirely new project.

With Compulsion Games in the spotlight at this stage, Microsoft took the opportunity to reveal a story trailer for We Happy Few, one of the upcoming titles from Compulsion Games. We Happy Few releases on Xbox One, PC and PS4 on the 10th of August.

Microsoft then revealed more details, via new trailer, on the future of its exclusive shooter PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, including new maps, game modes, customization options, and more. A new map, dubbed Sanhok, will release on the 22nd of June on PC, and this Summer on Xbox One. Developer PUBG also teased several new additions coming later this year, including a new snow map, a new 'War Mode', a ballistic shield, and more. Players can expect to see some new mechanics built around the snowy terrain.

Returning again to JRPGs, Microsoft announced Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition. The game features two new fully playable party members; Patty Fleur, a young pirate searching for her lost memories, as well as Yuri’s rival and best friend, Flynn Scifo. Along with these two new playable characters,Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition will include additional scenarios, locations, and costumes that will be all-new for Western players. Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition releases this Winter on Xbox One, PC, PS4 and Nintendo Switch.

The next title to take the stage was The Division 2, with Microsoft showcasing a new trailer and some gameplay footage. Along with these new trailers, we also learned that the game will release worldwide on the 15th of March on Xbox One, PC and PS4. Players will have the chance to begin their mission early during the game's upcoming beta, for which you can sign up now on The Division 2 official website.

Xbox head of engineering Ashley Speicher took the stage to make new announcements regarding the Xbox Game Pass. Speicher revealed that a new feature called "Fast Start", which will make Game Pass titles load faster, will become available this Summer. In addition, it was also announced that The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited, Tom Clancy’s The Division, and Fallout 4 are available for Xbox Game Pass today.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider was the next game to be showcased at the Microsoft conference. The new Shadow of the Tomb Raider trailer reveals for the first time some gameplay of the game, and provided more details on the story and the tough challenges that await Lara Croft in her adventure.

While Electronic Arts didn't announce Skate 4 like most were expecting, Microsoft had something in store for skateboard fans. Microsoft announced Session, an upcoming skateboard game, for Xbox One and PC. Session captures the true culture of the sport, where the goals are expressing your creativity and learning progressive tricks through hard work, perseverance and a bit of madness. In Skate Mode, you’re using a fresh dual-stick control scheme to focus on landing difficult individual tricks. Each stick controls a foot to replicate authentic and intuitive skateboarding motion. When you’re not skating, you’re in Filmer Mode, capturing footage, then editing and sharing it. Session releases in 2019.

Shortly after, Microsoft announced that the beta for the Xbox One version of Black Desert will finally begin this fall.

While not much of a surprise following the several leaks over the last few days, Microsoft revealed the latest installment of the Devil May Cry series, Devil May Cry 5. In Devil May Cry 5, many years have passed since the legions of hell have set foot in this world, but now a new demonic invasion has begun, and humanity’s last hope will rest in the hands of three lone demon hunters, each offering a radically different play style. United by fate and a thirst for vengeance, these demon hunters will have to face their demons in the hope to survive. Devil May Cry 5 releases in Spring 2019 on Xbox One, PC and PS4.

Cuphead fans will surely be happy to know that there's a new Cuphead adventure coming in 2019, as Microsoft announced Cuphead's "The Delicious Last Course" DLC. In this DLC, Cuphead and Mugman are joined by Ms. Chalice for an adventure on a brand new island. With new weapons, new charms, and Ms. Chalice’s brand new abilities, players will take on a new cast of multi-faceted, screen-filling bosses to assist Chef Saltbaker in Cuphead’s final challenging quest.

Following up next, Microsoft announced that Tunic is coming to Xbox One. The game an isometric action adventure about a tiny fox in a big world. You will embark on an adventuresome questabout set in that place just beyond the farthest you’ve ever been. You will explore ancient ruins, fight monsters and uncover mysterious secrets.

A few years ago, fans of anime and manga got to see characters from different manga clash with and against each other in J-Stars Victory Vs. Fans will get one more similar experience, as Microsoft revealed Jump Force, an upcoming fighting action game being developed to commemorate Weekly Jump’s 50th anniversary. Featuring the world’s most popular and classic manga and anime franchises including Dragon Ball Z, One Piece, Naruto, and many others, players will be able to compete in hyper-stylish arena brawls set against familiar backdrops of famous landmarks around our world, including New York City’s Times Square and the Matterhorn. Jump Force releases in 2019 on Xbox One, PC and PS4.

With the conference slowly coming to its end, Microsoft still had quite a few surprises, and Dying Light 2 was surely one of the games that took the spotlight towards the end. The bold sequel to the open-world phenomenon, Dying Light 2 brings to life a unique post-apocalyptic vision of the Modern Dark Ages, where your parkour abilities and brutal combat skills are the only things that let you dive into darkness and emerge alive. A release date was not announced.

Another big reveal was that Battletoads will returning in 2019 for Xbox One and PC.

While not much of a surprise due to leaks, Just Cause 4 was announced for Xbox One, PC and PS4. Set in the fictional South American world of Solis, Just Cause 4 takes the series incredible destruction and unique physics to a whole new level with the introduction of tornadoes and other Extreme Weather events. Just Cause 4 has four distinct biomes: Rainforest, Grasslands, Alpine & Desert. With each biome offering its own individual, fully simulated weather event, players will have a truly unique experience as they traverse this deep, diverse world. Just Cause 4 will launch on the 4th of December.

Switching from consoles to mobile devices, Microsoft announced Gears Pop!, a game that brings together iconic Gears characters in a cute Funko Pop! Gears Pop! releases in 2019 for iOS and Android devices.

Following Gears Pop!, Microsoft announced yet another game based on the Gears of War franchise, Gears Tactics. In development for PC, Gears Tactics evolves turn-based tactics games combining signature fast-paced brutal action and character-driven storytelling with customizable squads, upgradable weapons, and, of course, massive boss battles. Unfortunately, no release date was announced.

With these new games based on around the Gears of War franchise, it came as no surprise when Microsoft officially announced Gears 5 for Xbox One and PC. In Gears 5, Humanity’s reliance on technology has become their downfall and enemies are uniting to wipe out all survivors. Playing as Kait, gamers will journey across the biggest, most beautiful Gears world ever created. Players will be able to experience the game solo or with a friend in local split-screen co-op, or online co-op. Gears 5 will launch in 2019.

Microsoft brought its conference to a close with the debut trailer for the highly-anticipated Cyberpunk 2077. Cyberpunk 2077 is a narrative-driven, open world RPG set in the most vibrant and dangerous metropolis of the future — Night City. You play as V, a hired gun on the rise, who just got their first serious contract. The game is in development for Xbox One, PC and PS4.

What were your favorite moments at Microsoft's E3 conference? Did they go beyond your expectations? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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