Without a doubt it’s an exciting time to be a gamer right now, we’ve had one next generation console release already with the Wii U, and now we’ll finally get to see the PlayStation 4 as well. Microsoft tipped their hand to the design of their console at their May reveal, and we’ve been told that E3 will be strictly about games, so that bit of news has got to excite a lot of people. Microsoft said in May that they’d have 15 exclusives to release in the first year of the Xbox One’s life cycle, and 8 of those exclusives are going to be brand new IP’s.
It’d be easy to let recent revelations about the Xbox One damper the mood when it comes to the console, but great games can change minds, attract new consumers and smooth over some hard feelings. Without a doubt in my mind, the Xbox One will be home to many great games, Microsoft has gone on record saying they will invest 1 billion dollars in exclusives and games for the Xbox One, they invested 3 billion dollars in their new graphics chips, and they are also implementing dedicated servers to give gamer’s the best experience possible. So here is a list of what I believe we’ll see from Microsoft at their presser this week, please keep in mind that this is strictly my own opinion, and we might or might not see everything, but I’d bet on seeing at least a good portion of it.
Xbox 360 isn’t done yet:
I think it’d be smart for Microsoft to focus a little bit of time on the Xbox 360 and it’s successes, remind gamer’s of the fun times they’ve had with the Xbox 360 over the years, play up the nostalgia angle a bit. Microsoft has already stated that they’ll continue to support the Xbox 360 for years to come, and it makes sense when you consider it’s already 8 years old, why stop supporting it now? I know cynical people might point to the original Xbox and how quickly Microsoft dropped support of that, but when you look at the losses Microsoft had to eat with each console they sold, and in general the lack of consoles sold overall, it’s easy to see why they dropped support. Luckily, the Xbox 360 has 80 million consoles in the wild, and with apps and other features on the way, we’ll probably see a continued support for the console through the Xbox Live Arcade, third party titles, and increased entertainment applications.
1.Price cut for the Xbox 360:
Believe it or not, the Xbox 360 hasn’t seen a price cut in almost 4 long years. If we are to believe a bit of rumor and speculation, we’ll most likely see the first Xbox 360 console priced at $99 after E3. We might even see a newly designed Xbox 360 Super Slim model to retail for that price. That is a very attractive price to people who haven’t yet adopted into the Xbox 360, I could even see an Xbox 360/Kinect bundle for $150, which would be pretty huge.
2.New Xbox 360 dashboard update:
E3 is always an exciting time if you’re an Xbox Live Member, we usually get info on some new features coming in the yearly dashboard update, and word has it that the newest update will make the dashboard look very similar to the forthcoming Xbox One’s dashboard, they might even let people communicate between the two systems.
Lionhead Studios recently announced that the Xbox 360 would be seeing a complete remake of the original Fable game, it will mark the games 10 year anniversary and will feature some brand new animations, new lighting and graphical enhancements thanks to the Unreal Engine 3, and it will also feature all of the download content from Fable The Lost Chapters. This is a game every Fable fan has been requesting for a very long time. Lionhead Studios is indeed going to be attending E3, so it makes sense that they’d show off a bit more of this title.
Mirrors Edge 2:
This one has strictly been a rumor, but it was listed briefly for the Xbox One, I’ll go a bit further and say if it is coming and it is an exclusive, it’ll be am Xbox 360 exclusive. Even though EA isn’t known for giving out exclusivity for their games, something tells me Microsoft has the money to make this one happen, and we do know Microsoft and EA entered into some sort of extensive agreement.
Halo 2 HD:
This is another one that a lot of people ask for, and Microsoft has quietly released a Halo game every year since 2007, and some people haven’t even noticed. The way they’ve been able to do this is actually quite brilliant, and considering that Halo 4 was the fastest selling Halo in the history of the franchise, there is still plenty of room to continue to grow the franchise. Halo 2 is many people’s favorite in the series, and a remake done the way the Halo CE Anniversary remake was done could sell a lot of copies.
Dead Rising 3:
Capcom has teased an announcement, and Phil Spencer of Microsoft has announced some surprises for the Xbox 360, the first Dead Rising was an Xbox 360 exclusive, and Dead Rising 2 had exclusive prologue games for the Xbox 360, I could see Microsoft putting out a little cash to see this game go exclusive once again. I’ll say that this one might be a bit of a stretch, but sometimes I’ve been right when it comes to little surprises like this, so it really wouldn’t shock me if this were the case.
Now, if I had to guess, I’d say that this game is going to become an Xbox One game. It could very well stay on the Xbox 360/Kinect as an Xbox Live Arcade title in the same way that LocoCycle is going to be doing, but we’ve heard very little about the spiritual successor to Panzer Dragoon. Microsoft might want to try once more to get some footing in Japan, and this game could help push a few consoles in Japan at launch.
Ascend: New Gods
This was a free to play game that was revealed at Microsoft’s last E3 briefing as well, rumor has it that the name of the game has changed to Ascend: Hand of Kul, but we haven’t gotten any confirmation yet for certain. Free to play games on the Xbox 360 could play a pivotal role in the future of the Xbox 360. This looked like an interesting hack and slash game from the creators of the Toy Soldier games, which are pretty good in their own right.
I’m of the mind that Microsoft will take around twenty-five minutes to cover the Xbox 360 portion of their E3 event, the rest will be dedicated to the Xbox One, and it’ll most likely be a blitz of games, games and more games. While I’ve learned to guess a bit at what to expect, since there are so many new IP’s coming, I can’t even really wager a guess as to what we’ll see entirely, but I will give a rundown on what I’m fairly certain we’ll end up seeing.
This one leaked a bit early due to a Game Informer cover that was mistakenly released early, but TitanFall is the new game from the former Infinity Ward (COD2, COD4, MW2) developers. Supposedly from the leak, the Xbox One and Xbox 360 will both get versions, but the Xbox 360 version will be developed by a different developer. It looks like the added horsepower that the cloud offers, this game will be exclusive to the Microsoft platforms. If the leak is to be believed, the physics, lighting and A.I. will be run off cloud servers. The game is an always online shooter, and looks to release close to when Destiny does.
We learned that Quantum Break is coming to the Xbox One, but we haven’t heard much else about the game. One thing is certain, Remedy does great narratives in their games, and this one had my interest right from the beginning. The most important thing about this game from a gamer perspective is that it’s something that looks fresh and new, it’s a new IP, and helps bring an exclusive that balances the array of games that Microsoft will have to offer.
It was teased that Rare would be bringing back one of their iconic franchises at this years E3, and even though Microsoft did go out and get Killer Instinct renewed, I believe the only iconic franchise that would appeal to the masses would be a new Banjo Kazooie game, a traditional platform game in the style of the first two that came out for Nintendo’s console. Once again, one of the important aspects to this game would be variety in the games that they are offering, and if the Xbox 360 lacked in any areas, it was the lack of platform games.
Forza Motorsport 5:
This is another game that was shown off at the May 21st Xbox One reveal, and we do have a bit of information where this game is concerned, it’ll be a launch title, and its native 1080p 60fps, which is very impressive. Turn 10 Studios have become the masters of the sim racing genre this generation, and I bet a lot of people are interested to see what they can do with the powerful hardware that the Xbox One sports. Once again this game screams of the variety that Microsoft seems to be focusing on in the first year of the Xbox One.
This is a game that we also know is coming, and is most likely a launch title. Crytek has already been working on it for the past few years, originally intended to be a Kinect title, we now know that the game will be playable with a controller, and will probably only feature some Kinect options. We do know that Crytek is known for pushing limits on hardware, so this should end up being a great looking launch title for the Xbox One, and it’s been shrouded in so much secrecy, it’ll be nice to finally get some concrete news on the game.
This is one of those games that I have a strong suspicion of because of the Xbox One reveal, and the panel that showed previously played games, there was clearly a Crackdown orb and we haven’t seen a Crackdown game since 2010, so the timing is right. Crackdown 2 was a bit of a letdown for some people, but having an open world game on the Xbox One could be a fantastic idea, especially if they did it right, and if the multiplayer aspects were done properly, it could be a killer app. Once again, the key to the first year of exclusives seems to be variety, there seems to be a game for just about everyone.
This was shown off last year at Microsoft’s E3 briefing, and it was recently announced that in addition to the game coming out on the Xbox 360 via the Xbox Live Arcade, an enhanced version will come out digitally on the Xbox One. That being said, those that might get bummed out thinking that this game is one of the 15 exclusives, take heart, Microsoft has said those 15 games are full retail releases, this is an arcade game and is obviously filling out the launch of the Xbox One. Those familiar with Twisted Pixel knows that they do some incredible arcade games, Splosion Man, Ms Splosion Man, The Maw, Comic Jumper and The Gunstringer were all very fun games, and LocoCycle looks to continue that trend.
Black Tusk Studios Game:
Black Tusk Studios is a name people might not know about…..yet. They are the Vancouver based core game studio for Microsoft and have some talented people working there, including quite a few former Rockstar developers. Microsoft is already on record as saying this is the most talented developer they’ve ever had, and considering the talent they’ve had with Bungie, 343i, Turn 10, Rare and Lionhead, that is saying something special. Rumor has it that Black Tusk is working on a game the size and scope of Halo or Gears of War. So far in each generation Microsoft has come to the table with a brilliant new franchise, first was Halo, then Gears, so a lot of people are going to be interested to see what this studio has to offer.
Fable 4/Fable MMORPG:
Lionhead Studios is going to be at E3, and I’m sure they’ll show off Fable Anniversary, but Microsoft isn’t going to have one of their top developers sitting on the sideline for the launch of their new console, and what better way to get people excited for a franchise returning to its roots than by showing off Fable Anniversary, and then Fable 4? Hopefully Fable 4 will be more like the first two Fable games, which is what the fans really want. We have to keep in mind that Lionhead Studios has multiple teams to work on multiple projects, so a Fable 4 or Fable MMORPG are entirely possible.
Even though Microsoft will focus on games almost exclusively, I believe they will show some ways that SmartGlass works with those games. Tablets are all the rage, everyone has a Smartphone, we already know Fable Anniversary will have SmartGlass support, so it makes sense to show off what it can do with the next generation of games.
I do think we’ll see much more than what I’ve listed, but I listed things that have a good chance of being shown off at least a bit, Microsoft will want E3 to be all about games because that is all positive news, the games should be able to speak for themselves. We all might not like everything involved with the Xbox One, but games do go a long way in deciding if it’s something they want to buy or not. Never count out Microsoft, they have the resources and money to put up a great fight next generation. Let us know what you’d like to see as far as games are concerned from Microsoft at E3 this year, try to keep it positive though, as we’ve had enough negative’s to last a lifetime.