E3 2018: Microsoft’s Press Conference

Now, that’s what I’m talking about!

E3 2018 could only go up from EA’s lackluster conference but call me impressed, Microsoft raised the bar really damn high. For the most part, their press conference was a sizzle reel of trailers bound to hype a ton of people. There a few of the usual marketing speeches here and there and there was a particularly intriguing announcement that Microsoft has acquired a couple of devs to increase its first party support. However, the emphasis was on the games which is a nice change from last year’s talk of terraflops. Frankly, so much cool stuff was shown that I can only afford to discuss my personal highlights for the sake of time (especially with Bethesda’s conference later tonight).

The only big issue I have with Microsoft’s showing though is that once you sit back and think it over, it’s hard to say if much of the success owes to Microsoft themselves. As impressive as the trailers were, almost all of the games are multiplatform in some way, be it Xbox One’s own competition or PC. Microsoft did show their own first party offerings but they are all part of their initiative to have their titles on both Xbox and PC. In the end, I don’t think Microsoft made a compelling reason for consumers to buy an Xbox One. Why consider getting one if it’s not getting exclusives attached to it and you can enjoy the games on other platforms, especially the PC. At the very least, a reason to buy one is purely out of impulse because Microsoft associated these trailers with their brand. This press conference was great but to say it was a great one for Xbox is a bit of a stretch.

Still, this was a dazzling sequence of hyped game trailers and considering how lackluster Microsoft’s previous conference was, I consider that a big improvement.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • Halo Infinite – Everyone figured there’d be a Halo announcement and sure enough, a new title was revealed and it was a solid way to start the conference. I’m curious if this is actually Halo 6 or just some spin-off starring Master Chief but I am intrigued with the prospect of exploring a fully-realized Halo installation. And really, Microsoft and 343 Industries can’t afford to screw this up after Halo 5 turned off a lot of fans (myself included).
  • Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice – A samurai-based Souls title just sounds appealing. I am shocked that Activision is the publisher but anything to get From Software’s artistry flowing should make fans happy.
  • Crackdown 3 – A shame this game got delayed (again) but at least Microsoft gave it some love here. Terry Crew fits in this game way too well.
  • Kingdom Hearts III – I associate Kingdom Hearts with Sony consoles and Nintendo handhelds so I find it weird that the long-waited III was shown at Microsoft’s press conference. Maybe Microsoft snagged it as a jab at Sony? Regardless, I got hyped to finally see the Frozen world (we all knew it was coming) and if you’re like me and you are invested in the story, there was one hell of a surprise at the end of this trailer.
  • Forza Horizon 4 – Looks like a more realized and fun version of The Crew. The fact that you can drive around with every other person playing the game is impressive.
  • Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition – I’m not a diehard fan of Tales but I was really interested in Vesperia and a remaster with the additional content from the Japanese-only PS3 version is very convenient. This game is apparently going to be PS4 and Switch though so I’d probably won’t play it on Xbone….
  • Devil May Cry 5 – Before the title drop, I thought this was a sequel to DmC. Look, Nero’s haircut looked a lot like new Dante’s. Regardless, a new mainline Devil May Cry is exciting news.
  • Jump Force – Naturally as a weeb, a 3D fighting game on Shounen Jump manga would grab my attention. The gameplay reminds me a bit of the Dragon Ball Budokai games.
  • Battletoads – Only a logo? Lame. Better have the pause music though.
  • A Bunch of Gears of War Titles – I don’t really get continuing Gears‘ story after Gears of War 3 but I’m not surprised a fifth game got announced. I am surprised to see a strategy spin-off and a game based on the Gears Funko Pop figures. Seriously, that Pop game really is a thing?
  • Cyberpunk 2077 – Even if I wasn’t interested in the game, ending the conference with the Cyberpunk trailer as though it’s someone hacking the presentation was a brilliant move on Microsof’ts part. And on its own merits, Cyberpunk really impresses. The world presented in the trailer looks so realized and and detailed.

Thanks for reading!

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