Microsoft just showed off a ton of stuff at their E3 2018 Xbox press conference, including new Halo and Gears of War games, Fallout 76, The Division 2, Dying Light 2, a shiny Cyberpunk 2077 trailer, and a new samurai action game from the makers of Dark Souls.
Personally speaking, I’m most excited about that last one, but there were a lot of good-looking games in general at Microsoft’s show. It was basically just a long run of trailers, but still a welcome jolt of excitement after yesterday’s sleepy Electronic Arts press conference. Many of the games shown were from third-party developers and will be available on other systems, so it’s a good idea to revisit my post from last year that broke down the various possible definitions of the word “exclusive” in this modern era.
Ready to dive in? Let’s do this.
They kicked off by announcing Halo Infinite.
The teaser was light on information, but showed what looked like the original Halo, some marines driving a warthog, Master Chief holding his helmet and, apparently, Chief loading an AI (Cortana?) into his helmet. No release date on this one.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps still looks beautiful.
We got a good look at the sequel to Ori and the Blind Forest, which debuted last year. Looks like the same mix of gorgeous visuals and surprisingly tough gameplay. Main question is how many times the sequel will get me to cry in the first 15 minutes. It’s coming in 2019.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is a ninja game from the makers of Dark Souls, and I am excited enough for it to write a really long subhed for this entry!!
You know how I described Team Ninja’s excellent Nioh as “basically Samurai Bloodborne”? Well, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is ninja Bloodborne, and it’s actually being made by FromSoftware, the developer of Bloodborne and Dark Souls.
Hell yes. Hell yes! I will play the heck out of this, right after I finish playing all of Bloodborne for the second time. You play as a ninja with a prosthetic arm. He has a grappling hook, which means: traversal mechanics in a From game! (Not that “roll over a ledge and down to a weird platform” doesn’t count as traversal mechanics.) Also lots of sword fighting, huge bosses, monsters, and so on. Jason saw a separate demo of this game earlier today and will have more about it on Kotaku soon. He seems psyched, though. It’s coming in 2019 and will also be on PC and PS4.
Bethesda gave us a first look at Fallout 76.
It’s four times the size of Fallout 4, and set in the hills of West Virginia. As expected, it focuses on the years shortly after the bombs dropped. Not a lot of other details on how the game actually works, though of course my colleague Jason Schreier has already reported that it’ll be an online survival game with base-building, sort of like Rust or Ark. I’m sure we’ll learn more tonight at Bethesda’s press conference.
The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit is a new game in the Life is Strange universe.
It looks like a charming game about a young boy with an active imagination whose stories come to life. It’s out as a free download on June 26th.
We got more Crackdown 3 Terry Crews antics.
This game still looks pretty silly, as much later Saints Row games as early Crackdown. The trailer was trying pretty hard, but hey, the game lets you drive your car up a building, so whatever. As we reported late last week, the game has been delayed one final (hopefully?) time to February 2019.
Metro: Exodus is still looking nice and bleak.
Nothing major or new in the trailer, just a bunch more good Metro stuff, this time in an open (or at least more open) world. Love these games; will definitely play this one, too. It’s coming out on February 22, 2019. Looks like February of next year is gonna be a hell of a month!
Kingdom Hearts 3 will have a Frozen world.
The newest game in Square Enix’s extremely confusing but equally charming action series will feature a Frozen world featuring Elsa and Anna along with Rapunzel from Tangled. Last night Square Enix announced that it’ll be out on January 29, 2019.
Forza Horizon 4 takes the series to Britain, goes full shared-world.
I love Forza Horizon 3 and will definitely play a new one of these games set in Britain. This one is being described as a seamless, shared-world online game, as opposed to previous games, which were more instanced and filled with AI “Drivatars.” There’ll be a 60fps mode on Xbox One X, which is nice; I love playing the third game at a high frame rate on PC. This is one of the few games at this conference that’s an actual exclusive, which means it’ll only ever be on Xbox and PC. It’ll be out on October 2, and will be included in Xbox Game Pass on the same day.
Microsoft opened a new studio and bought a bunch of indies.
They didn’t like, do any of that live onstage or anything, but they announced that they had. Xbox head Phil Spencer introduced the new Microsoft studio The Initiative, and also announced several studio acquisitions. Those acquisitions include State of Decay makers Undead Labs and Forza Horizon studio Playground Games, the second of which will be working on a new project in addition to Forza. Microsoft also bought Hellblade studio Ninja Theory as well as Compulsion Games, makers of We Happy Few. A couple of those studios had already been making games with Microsoft as their publisher. This all seems like Microsoft investing in having more in-house studios working on Xbox exclusives for the future.
The Division 2 is moving to D.C. in the summertime.
The very first thing we saw in Ubisoft’s Division 2 demo was a sweaty, verdant jungle, which is about as far as you can get from the first game’s wintry Manhattan streets without going to like, Mercury. After the intro teaser came a lengthy staged multiplayer demo that looked pretty much like more Division, but set in a much more colorful and vibrant environment. At one point, one player subtly shamed another player for being underleveled, which is probably the most realistic interaction I’ve ever seen in one of these canned E3 multiplayer demos. Anyway, I’m on board with this game. It’s coming out March 15, 2019.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider heads to some nifty looking new places.
Not a ton of new information about the game in the trailer they showed, but hey, it looks like another game in the style of Crystal Dynamics’ first two. At one point Lara got to cover herself in mud camouflage and do a Rambo-style takedown on a patrolling goon. I’ll play it. It’s out on September 14.
There’s a new skating game in the works called Session.
This sure looks like a skating game. I like skating games!
Devil May Cry 5 is real, and looks like a good time.
At one point in the trailer, a massive demonic boss stuffed a car into the mouth in his stomach, then belched fire. The game was described on stage as a “true sequel” to Devil May Cry 4, without no mention of Ninja Theory’s surprisingly great 2013 take on the series. DmC 5 is coming in Spring of 2019. Cool.
Cuphead is getting an expansion.
It’s called The Delicious Last Course, and will be out in 2019. I never got past the delicious first course of this delightful, hard-as-nails game, but I have a feeling those who did will welcome new characters and bosses.
Bandai Namco announced Jump Force, a massive anime crossover fighting game.
It’s got Naruto! It’s got Goku! It’s got lots of super intense fighting action! Kyaaaaaah!
Dying Light 2 is more Dying Light, with a much more reactive open world.
Cool dude and occasional Kotaku Splitscreen guest Chris Avellone is narrative designer on Techland’s sequel to Dying Light, which looks like it’s set in Paris after another zombie outbreak. It’ll keep all of the parkour and basic systems of the first game while adding a lot more narrative consequence to the choices you make in the world. They showed some branching dialogue options, shifting faction loyalties, and that kind of thing. The first Dying Light was great (don’t sleep on that game if you haven’t played it!) but its story was easily its weakest aspect. It’s promising to hear that Techland is focusing on refining the narrative without changing what already works.
There’s a new Battletoads coming out!
Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha it’s coming in 2019. They didn’t share may actual details. It’ll have couch co-op for three players. It will probably also be very difficult.
Just Cause 4 is real, has tornadoes.
This one already got leaked via accidental Steam ad, but now it’s confirmed. I was frustrated by Just Cause 3 despite the many things I liked about it, so I’m hopeful Avalanche has built on that good stuff and reworked the things (combat, basically) that I didn’t like. Also, this game will have a big tornado. Nice! I like inclement weather in video games. It’s coming on December 4, 2018.
Gears of War 5 is coming, along with two spin-offs.
First, they showed a Funko Pop mobile game, which looks cute. Gears Tactics is also in the works, and it looks like an XCOM-style turn-based strategy game. Last, they showed a cinematic trailer for Gears of War 5, starring Gearsverse character Kait Diaz. We saw a lot of snowy areas, some typically gory and gooey Gears gameplay, and some enemies that look like reanimated robots with some sort of red bio-element coursing through them.
Microsoft is indeed working on the next Xbox.
Not a huge shocker or anything, but at the end of the show, Phil Spencer mentioned that Microsoft’s hardware team is hard at work on a new Xbox. Hopefully they call it “Xbox Too.”
They closed with a lovely new trailer for Cyberpunk 2077.
There’s a lot of little details to unpack in that trailer, but I’ll leave that to the trailer-unpackers who will doubtless have already begun their work. It sure had a lot of graphics in it, and some high quality mohawks. I mean... it’s being made by the people who made The Witcher 3. I’m in, I’ll stay in, I’ve been in. Just lemme play it already.
A few Other Things: Nier Automata was confirmed coming to Xbox in June; Sea of Thieves got a trailer for two expansions—Cursed Sails in July and Forsaken Shores in September; there was a Battlefield V story trailer; a new look at We Happy Few; a glimpse of a new PUBG mode; Tales of Vesperia is getting a definitive edition; Halo: The Master Chief Collection is coming to Xbox Game Pass later this year and The Division, The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited and Fallout 4 are hitting the Game Pass today; and we got another look at the promising Zelda-like indie game Tunic.
And that’s that! If you ask me, they should’ve made that Sekiro trailer the last thing of the show, and probably also replayed it a couple times in between other trailers. But that’s just me. We’ll be back later this afternoon to cover Bethesda’s press conference, and all of the coming week with news, game announcements, hands-on impressions, and developer interviews.