E3 is almost upon us and you can practically taste the hype. It tastes... delicious.
Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, EA, Ubisoft, Bethesda, Square Enix and even PC Gamer are stepping up to the plate with major press conferences and livestreamed events, kicking off on June 14th. You can expect fierce rivalries, gamesmanship and some shock reveals as the big players attempt to one-up each other and steal the show.
So it's high time we kicked off our annual season of prediction articles with Microsoft, who promise nothing less than the "greatest games lineup in Xbox history." Here's what we expect to see from their E3 presentation, which you can watch here, as well as what we'd personally love (and hate) to see them announce.
I fully expect the Microsoft showcase to go in heavy and take no prisoners, because there's a good chance that Xbox smells blood in the water. With Uncharted 4 and Zelda delayed, they've got an open goal this Christmas and you'd better believe that they plan on gaining some serious ground.
Naturally we'll see plenty from Halo 5, Rise Of The Tomb Raider, Black Ops 3 and Forza Motorsport 6, and hopefully some more details regarding Crackdown 3 and Scalebound -- though we worry that one of the latter could end up delayed. Fingers crossed that [email protected] will get the time and attention they deserve too.
We'll also see Gears Of War: Ultimate Edition announced in some form, at which point we'll probably all moan about how pointless it is before secretly buying it anyway. Fingers crossed that the whole trilogy will end up remastered, but considering The Master Chief Collection's matchmaking problems, they might actually make the package less attractive by bundling them all together. Still, here's hoping, though.
What about the Xbox One Slim? You can read my thoughts on it here, but in short it could only help Microsoft's chances. By throwing out Kinect and HDMI passthrough in favour of a cheap, lean and uncomplicated games machine, Spencer will be able to complete his transformation of the Xbox brand. Bundle it with Halo 5 and you've got a serious Christmas contender.
Still, as someone who bought an Xbox One at launch, I'm good and ready for more great games. Microsoft has secured a fantastic lineup and it's all to play for.
- Dream announcement: Jet Set Radio Future HD
- Nightmare announcement: Crackdown 3 and Scalebound delayed into 2017
I think Microsoft will make Gears of War Remastered an official thing at E3 and fingers crossed it's the whole trilogy rather than just the first game for £30-£40 quid. If they really want to surprise us though, let's have a brand new Gears title on the Xbox One. I've always been a PlayStation gamer over the Xbox, but Gears is the series that had me picking up a 360 further down the line.
Of course, the Xbox One is set to have a great Christmas and I think we'll see extensive stage demos on some of their hottest exclusives like Halo 5, Forza 6 and Rise of the Tomb Raider. The latter being why I'll be looking for an XO bundle around Black Friday. It'd be great to see some in-game footage of the new Crackdown and Quantum Break. If the QB team has been making an Alan Wake sequel on the side too, I'd probably lose my shit.
Rumours of a slim Xbox One are making the rounds, but it seems incredibly early in the console's life cycle to release a new SKU. Sure, they're lagging behind the PS4, but sales are still stronger than the 360's a similar time after launch. If the slim is a thing though, a bigger hard-drive is a must.
Microsoft seem to have learned their lesson in recent times, so I think the non-gaming elements of the Xbox One won't get much (if any) stage time at all, unless they have some big new partnership to announce. Maybe a partnership with the new Spotify rival, Tidal, is on the cards? I can't see them giving Kinect any stage time either.
Will the Hololens make an appearance? It really depends if Microsoft want to make it a thing with the Xbox One, rather than home entertainment with a bit of Minecraft on the PC. On the one hand, they'll want to distract some attention from Sony's inevitable Morpheus presentation, but on the other, I feel they're a long way from launch, so may not have much to show us yet.
In short, I'm not expecting too many surprises, but I think the footage of their holiday lineup has the potential to steal the show, especially Rise of the Tomb Raider.
- Dream announcement: Gears of War 4. This year. *sploosh*
- Nightmare announcement: Minecraft 2 (I just don't care)
With Microsoft now back in the console war thanks to good old Phil Spencer, this year’s E3 will be crucial in finally turning the tide in their favour. After all, Rise of the Tomb Raider and Halo 5 will no doubt do the business later this year, but with Quantum Break having slipped into 2016 the Xbox One needs a few more heavy hitters to convince gamers like me that the console is worth investing in for the long haul.
You see, despite the fantastic bundle deals as of late, I’ve held off because there weren’t enough exclusives that piqued my interest for the price, but if the Slim version of the Xbone is announced I might be swayed by two potential scenarios. The first is fairly unlikely, but if the price for it is competitive I would possibly get it with a Halo 5 bundle. The other scenario is that an announcement would almost certainly cause listings for the original version to crash, allowing me to bag a bargain (which is what I did with the Xbox 360, funnily enough).
Anyway, enough about my theoretical buying habits, and onto the games. Seeing Halo 5 in action –and with some huge arena fights that were sorely missing from the last game – are a must to win back the faithful, and while the Gears of War HD remaster is all well and good, a look at a brand new entry would be far better for excitement levels. Seeing some actual gameplay for Scalebound would be fantastic as well, especially now Platinum Games are no longer occupied with Bayonetta.
In short, what I want is for Microsoft to get rid of my doubts and indecision, and make me want an Xbox One.
- Dream announcement: The new Slim Xbox One is competitively priced, causing the original version’s price to drop and give cheap swine like myself some ridiculous deals.
- Nightmare announcement: Phil Spencer reveals he has one last surprise, only to pull off the mask he’s been wearing to reveal he has in fact been Don Mattrick this entire time. He then says “Now, the next system update will make Kinect 100% mandatory for you to use your Xbox One AND your television… *smiles* television.”