Microsoft... Macro Performance... - E3 2018
Microsoft had one mission this year, and it was to please everybody, and after watching their Press Conference on June 10th, it is clear that Phil Spencer has one mission, and he accomplished that. While the Microsoft Press Conference was full of third=party games, if you were to choose between a PS4 Pro and an Xbox One X, the Xbox One X is a bit more powerful and the games run and look better. That being said, a lot of people forget that Microsoft is also catering to their Windows PC fan-base and trying to make them happy as well.
When running through their catalog, there's a lot of easy ones to run through. The first game announced was Forza Horizon 4, and announced with a release date of October 2nd, 2018 for Xbox One X and Windows PC. Forza has always tried to be the definitive racing game for car enthusiasts, with every year offering either a Motorsport title or a Horizon title. The Motorsports bring racers on the track, and the Horizons bring racers on the streets. With Forza Horizon 4, players will be through into the green lands of England, as they drift around the London streets. Every car that is driven in Forza has history to it, and it is great that Microsoft continues to make every title continue to push the power of their hardware to bring that history to life.
Gears fans got a special treat of three games this year. Gears of War 4 was officially announced, but also a Gears of War Tactics game, and a Mobile Gears of War POP! game. While the Gears franchise has definitely had a long history, no one was expecting this many announcements, and it is great to see Microsoft have a hug passion for the franchise.
Halo Infinite was also announced, and while a release date has not been announced, it will take place after the first Halo game on the Original Xbox, and will be rebuilt from the ground up with a new mindset. There has been a lot of talk about breathing new life into Halo, and the way Microsoft is doing it is to go back to what made Halo great in the first place. It seems Halo 6 has been put on hold to bring fans a title they truly deserve, and it will be interesting to see how well it is received.
Cuphead DLC was announced, and has been titled "Delicious Last Course". It will feature a brand new playable character, Ms. Chalice, and will have a brand new isle, with roughly 5 to 6 brand new bosses. The DLC will come out sometime in 2019, but the developers have stated before that Cuphead will receive a Physical Release. Perhaps the wait for a Physical Release has been because the developers are waiting till The Delicious Last Course is finished. Cuphead was Microsoft's suprise hit on both Xbox One and Windows PC, selling over 2 Million Units World Wide.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps was shown off at the Microsoft Press Conference, and a few surprises were shown. The game has been given a release date of 2019, but Microsoft is clearly letting the developers take their time. Ori and the Blind Forest was also a surprise hit from Microsoft, and seeing how much they are showcasing Ori and the Will of the Wisps, this will definitely be a highly anticipated title. New Gameplay showcases mechanics including combat potential with Archery, an electric zip-hook that will make traversing the planes more natural and smooth, and mine-cart puzzles akin to Donkey Kong Country. Ori fans have something to be excited for when Ori and the Will of the Wisps comes out Next Year.
Tunic was announced at the Microsoft Press Conference, a Top-Down Isometric Adventure Game where you play as a fox in a tunic. He wields a sword, cuts through grass and enemies, and discovers dungeons with treasure buried inside. The game definitely takes a lot of influences from the Legend of Zelda, and while it was not the most technically impressive game, it was very light-hearted, fun, and interesting to say the least. The game will come out on Xbox One and Steam sometimes in 2019. There is currently not a lot of information on the game, but enough was shown to keep interest high.
Sea of Thieves is getting more love with not one, but two new Expansion Packs coming out this year. The updates will be free for anyone who purchased the full game, There has been a lot of criticisms towards Sea of Thieves, but Microsoft and Rare have stated that they will continue to support the game, and will continue to make it as full of content as possible. The Second Expansion Pack is called Cursed Sales, will come out this July, and will populated the seas with NPC Ghost Skeletons piloting Ghost Ships. The Third Expansion Pack is called Forbidden Shores, will come out this September, and will have Volcanic Islands of Darkness and Fire. Rare has been vague with what the details are, but the expansion mostly feels like set pieces that will add to the world of Sea of Thieves. It is clear Microsoft wants to support Sea of thieves for years to come, so while now may not be what people are looking for, Sea of Thieves is very much interested in listening to fan feedback, and adding content to make it the definitive Pirate Experience.
The saddest truth is that, while the Xbox One X is a very powerful console, it was powerful the year it came out. Personal Computers continue to climb the ladder every year, and while users of Windows PC are enjoying their high-end PCs and their Microsoft Games, the Xbox One X console has had a problem hitting it with consumers. A lot of that has to do with the reasoning of what is the value of owning an Xbox One X over a high-end PC. Microsoft announced last year that the Xbox One X will be backwards compatible with a select few of Original Xbox Games, and if you have and Xbox One X, Original Xbox Games will run at 4K 60 FPS. Microsoft is slowly building up their library of backwards compatible games, but currently 31 Titles, including Black, SSX 3, Panzer Dragoon Orta, and Star Wars Battlefront 2 are on the list. as well, Microsoft's New Game Pass is a deal too good to be true. For $8 per month, Gamers will have access to a select amount of game on Xbox One, including Mega Man Legacy Collection, Fallout 4, and The Division. Phil Spencer has also stated that in the future, Microsoft titles will release on Game Pass the same day as their release date.