The Silent Awesomeness of 2018’s Microsoft E3 Conference
Despite being mocked as the weakest of the big three, Microsoft’s Xbox One continues to maintain a foothold in the eighth console generation. While the Microsoft E3 Conference isn’t fresh with new IPs, it continues its homegrown franchises with exciting new sequels in the form of Halo Infinite, Gears of War 5, and Crackdown 3. So much so that if you’re an Xbox 360 player and follower, the lineup would feel exclusively special to you. But catering to its loyal fan base is probably one of the best things Microsoft has done recently, because if they can no longer win over new fans to their beloved platform, perhaps their fan base will — and can, with good reason.
Halo Infinite – Microsoft’s Killer App Continues the Reclaimer Saga
Let’s not forget that Halo was the console game that revolutionized how FPS games are meant to be played on consoles. The franchise has gone very far with its 6th iteration but this time, they’re changing up things by having a different art style: how different that art style remains to be seen. Microsoft is also developing an entirely new game engine called Slipspace Engine exclusively for Halo Infinite. Just the prospect of changing the game engine mid-trilogy already proves 343 Industries’ commitment to quality, which means they’re not just rehashing stuff from Halo 5: Guardians. Finally, let’s not forget that while Sony continues to struggle with a flagship title (The Uncharted series could be that), Microsoft will always have the Master Chief finish the fight for them.
Gears of War 5 – That Other Shooter Game with an Attitude
Before CliffyB of Boss Key Productions branched off to create awesome new IPs, he was busy concocting the Xbox 360’s secondary killer app — Gears of War. Gears of War 5 takes us back to the world of Sera, and while there are really no new gimmicks to the game, it continues the epic (EPIC, get it?) storyline of humanity’s struggle with the Locust. As a first in the series, it features a female main protagonist in the form of Kait Diaz who is having nightmares about the Locust and the story focuses on her apparent connection with the hostile race. Gears of War 5 is kind of like Microsoft’s second safety bet and assurance in case something goes wrong with Halo Infinite — but the chances of that happening? Personally, slim at best. As a final note, Gears of War 5 is coming out in 2019 with 2 minor supplementary games called Gears Pop for mobile phones, and Gears Tactics for PCs.
Crackdown 3 – Terry Crews, ‘nuff Said!
In what may seem like a very pleasant surprise, resident badass, and overall cool guy Mr. Terry Crews will be playing as Commander Jaxon in Crackdown 3, Microsoft’s zany sandbox action series and their answer to Saints Row and GTA. Crackdown 3 is where Microsoft takes liberties when it comes to humor and comic action, but the key intrinsic appeal of the latest Crackdown game is its implementation of Microsoft Azure — a cloud computing service that offloads the game’s memory usage when it comes to its destructive environments. And if you’re asking, yes: you get to destroy infrastructures and buildings as a special superagent in charge of bringing down gang leaders and kingpins. After experiencing a staggered release date, E3 2018 confirms that the game is set for a February 2019 release.
Forza Horizon 4 – The 11th Forza Title, and Going Strong
Taking advantage of the large gap caused by the absence of racing sim favorite Gran Turismo, Forza Horizon 4, the more arcade-y brother of the Forza Motorsport series, takes us into a fictional representation of United Kingdom this time. Featuring a whopping lineup of 450+ cars, the game is played in a synchronized world where you meet other racers and engage in impromptu matches with them. Forza Horizon is a special series because time and time again, the franchise round up Microsoft’s offering with a guaranteed racing sim that delivers. The Forza series has been consistently good and an important hallmark of the series is content and replayability. The Microsoft conference announced that Horizon 4 will have a route creator, enabling players to race with their own creations. Forza Horizon 4 boasts one of the earliest releases at October 2018.
Microsoft is Not About to Let Go Yet
While not strong with exclusives, Microsoft’s offerings feature worthy sequels built on solid foundations. It seems Microsoft has finally learned to let go of archaic console traditions such as region locks, season passes, and anything unnecessary that will potentially bog down players. And though they can no longer work on exclusive content such as the ones for Destiny, Microsoft continues to improve on what they have by offering better support for backward compatibility and having an ever-improving lineup of Xbox Gold freebies. While we all have clear winners for the E3 2018 conference, there is one thing we can say for sure: Microsoft is still in this game.
For more, check this out: Play to Win: Sony E3 Conference 2018