It’s that magical time of year. The game industry is getting ready to present their secret projects to the world. The gaming media is doing their yearly predictions of what will be shown at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, aka E3. Many of these predictions hold a recurring theme when it comes to Xbox, a lot of the games being foretold to show up are pretty much surefire bets. We know Halo, Gears of War, Crackdown, Minecraft, State of Decay, Sea of Thieves, and Forza will be shown. They were either at last years E3 or have new content that will be added to each franchise. While I’d like to believe there will be more variety, let’s be real. Those games will be there no matter what and even our own podcast team had the same predictions. While those games are definitely going to be at the show, their are other potential possibilities we have to look into.
It’s what we’ve all been waiting for right? Microsoft first revealed plans of its high-end 4K console at last year’s E3 conference. With it came a ton of skepticism from gamers on other consoles. “No way a console can do native 4K,” said many who believed that a 4K console would never happen. Fast forward to today and Microsoft has already let the tech gurus over at Digital Foundry analyze the console in order to reveal to the world its full potential. All that’s left now is for Microsoft to reveal the console design and price point. If the price point is below 400 dollars it will be announced near the end of the show. If the price is higher then it will be announced at the start in order to let the games justify the value. Whatever the price may be, it sure will be a nail biting day for those invested in our Inner Circle bet.
Microsoft showcases the Fluid Design System at Build 2017.
One prediction that may come true as part of the Scorpio reveal is a major upgrade to the Xbox Dashboard. For those not following the tech world, Windows 10 had been receiving some major cosmetic updates. Microsoft has grouped these visual improvements under the new Fluid Design System. As we saw with the old Windows 8 Modern Design that made its way to Windows Phones, and Xbox, we too will see Fluid design influences make their way to the console.
I'm very confident, from what we are seeing and hearing, Scorpio will be the very best console version of games this year..
— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) May 23, 2017
You can’t launch a 4K gaming console without 4K games. I expect Microsoft to announce a ton of past first party games to have a 4K patch available on launch day. Windows 10 already hosts most – if not all – first party games running at native 4K. It wouldn’t be hard to take those assets and patch them into existing games. Or just flat out run those UWP games that are on the Windows Store. The only issue barring that scenario is whether or not those games have Windows APIs that are not supported on the Xbox. With third parties also jumping in on the Windows Store and delivering 4K games such as Resident Evil and Call of Duty, it’s only natural to assume those games will also be in 4K for the Scorpio. This would also be the perfect opportunity for Xbox boss Phil Spencer to drop a line such as, “every game being displayed today is running at 4K 60FPS on the Scorpio.”
Middle Earth Shadow War
Xbox gamers have been seeking an RPG to call their own and while Middle Earth: Shadow of War may not be exclusive to the Xbox, the team behind the game have claimed they are targeting development to make full use of Scorpio’s power. Along with the words of praise on the forth coming Xbox console, the team has signed an exclusive marketing deal with Microsoft. With that said, Shadow of War will be at Microsoft’s E3 presentation with a better look at the full scoope of the game with that precious Scorpio goodness powering the experience.
The Lost Pisces
What do Scorpio and Pisces have in common besides the fact that they are both astrological signs? Well the fact that they both relate to Xbox of course. The Lost Pisces is a visually stimulating indie game by studio Sirenum. Dan Rutkowski, an artist and designer at Sirenum shares with OnlySP that the game is “… a different type of game, it’s an experiment, but it’s a game nonetheless.” In this carefully crafted world you’ll play as a machine wanting to transform into a human. Using your wit, you’ll have to carefully traverse a deadly world infested with machines. “You have your quiet time figuring out how to defeat the larger enemies that you’ll see. It’s sort of a strategy time mixed with the moments of action. I don’t want to give away too much about it, but way I’d describe it is if you’ve played Shadow of the Colossus.” If you want more information on the game, check out the full interview we did for the game about a year ago. Also check out an older trailer, just keep in mind that the game may have gone under radical improvements and changes.
Ooblets is a cool new game recently announced coming exclusively to PC and Xbox One. According to Rebecca Cordingley, the Lead Artist and Programmer, Ooblets is a farming RPG and creature collection game. When trying to explain the game, Cordingley offers Pokémon and Harvest Moon as examples of what potential gameplay will be like. The game is being published through Double Fine Presents, the indie arm of the famed Psychonauts studio. With the guidance of a seasoned team, Coordingley hopes to release this game in 2018 complete with Xbox Play Anywhere and Crossplay support.
Cuphead is the indie game everyone never knew they wanted. Presented in a cool 1930’s art style, Studio MDHR has publicly claimed that the game will finally release this year. After several delays, the development studio has stated that the added time and resources of being partnered with Microsoft made it so MDHR did not have to compromise on their vision of the game. Some additions since the delay are platforming stages. Originally the game was only composed of boss battles, now there is some meat in between the bones but let it be known this is a game mostly devised of boss encounters.
Assassin’s Creed Origins is rumored to be the next sequel in the Assassin’s franchise. Image courtesy of Apparata.
Assassins Creed has had a long history on Xbox E3 stages. The Xbox One console I bought came bundled with two Assassins Creed games. Sure the franchise has gone off the cliff with spin offs and sequals but this time it’s different. Ubisoft put the main installments on the back burner for quality assurance. The next game in the Assassin’s Creed series is more than likely to have significant changes to the franchise. What better way is there to show off the grand return of the Assassin order other than the first E3 presentation?
Another Ubisoft title that has had a long history with the Xbox is the Splinter Cell franchise. Splinter Cell has been with the Xbox since the days of the Duke controller. The Xbox 360 even had Splinter Cell Conviction as an Xbox exclusive and with hints of a new Splinter Cell coming soon, we may see some new stealth action gameplay. Sam Fisher and his Multi-Vision Goggles are a critical part to the history of Xbox and that’s why we may see the game return to the Xbox E3 stage.
If there is one thing Microsoft needs the most at this conference it’s a visual show piece. A game to show off how amazing a game can look on the Scorpio. Something to push the hardware to the bleeding edge. One such developer is Crytek. Unfortunately for both MS and Crytek, conversations on a Ryse 2 seem to have died off and the relationship strained. Facing many financial crises, Crytek has had to sink or sell off several studios. While the relationship may be strain between the two, money talks, and if they both want what’s best they would partner up to showcase their best work. Hunt: Showdown is a Crytek game scheduled to be shown off during E3 week, with any luck we may see first details on the Xbox stage.
Killer Instinct will not be at E3. Word from Killer Instinct’s community manager confirms that a Season 4 will not be announced on stage. That being said, I wouldn’t be shocked to see KI in some shape or form. My bet is on a Mixer showcase. For those unaware, Mixer is the recently renamed live streaming service previously known as Beam. The first time Killer Instinct was shown at E3 2013 for the Xbox One, Twitch was used as a point of interest. It would make a good call back to show off KI with improved native livestreaming features along with 4K improvements.
Ori and the Blind Forest
There have been a lot of leaks of a new Ori and the Blind Forest game being in the works. Just a while back we reported the definitive edition of Ori and the Blind Forest being gifted towards owners of the standard edition. Personally I see it as a sign that the franchise will be coming back. A title name that has been circling around is Ori and Will of the Wisps.
It's Sunday morning, early times,
I fancy writing a few more rhymes,
Their reveal gets a little nearer,
But their purpose not much clearer
— Gregg Mayles (@Ghoulyboy) May 28, 2017
Banjo Kazooie fans recall a certain villain speaking in rhymes. Why must this Rare employee torture us?
For the longest time now there has been a ton of rumors that Rare has been working on something other than Sea of Thieves. The studio has multiple teams working on several projects. We don’t know what these side projects are but before Sea of Thieves, one of the teams worked on Rare Replay, the compilation of classic Rare games. With small nibbles of teases constantly going out, the Rare team sure does like to make its fans suffer. So here it is, the usual Rare title prediction spot. Will we get hearts broken like the last few years? Hopefully not.
Hironobu Sakaguchi the father of Final Fantasy, Blue Dragon, and more has said an upcoming project of his will be revealed at E3. Whether or not it’s an Xbox game remains to be seen but with the large history of Sakaguchi creating projects on the Xbox, his credibility within Microsoft is far larger than any eastern developer. With Phil Spencer traveling overseas to gather support for eastern games, it would be beneficial for the console if Microsoft reassures its fanbase that it will indeed have Japanese game support in the future.
Of course, no Xbox E3 would be complete without the usual Halo, Gears and Forza, the difference this year is we will see the return of Sea of Thieves, Crakcdown 3, and State of Decay 2. A Gears 4 expansion is a more difficult sale, The Coalition already announced a 29GB patch that adds ranked cross play support and more. Halo will be there in some form or fashion according to 343 Industries. Forza is due for its usual yearly reveal. That leaves the new big 3 that will be showcases for what’s to come to Xbox One. Sea of Thieves will have to prove it’s open world gameplay is more than just an empty sandlot. Crackdown will provide the first look at the full power of cloud computing. State of Decay 2 will need to show off a AAA coat after coming from the original game which was full of technical issues. Love them or not, it’s no arguable that the Xbox line up is more diverse than ever before.