What Should We Expect to See At Microsoft’s E3 Press Conference?: An Analysis

Last years E3 was completely packed. We had showings from Ubisoft, Oculus, Square Enix, Nintendo, Playstation, PC Gamer, and Bethesda. But the one conference that was overshadowed by all of the Fallout 4 news and Final Fantasy VII Remake hullabaloo was Microsoft’s conference, which seemed normal on the surface, but contained some great surprise announcements that continue to impact the Xbox brand positively until today. These include the backwards compatibility announcement, an Oculus partnership, and a new Rare IP. So can Microsoft continue this great and surprising success? let’s see with their upcoming and probable lineup.

We’ve also sorted the list into three categories, Likely, Somewhat Likely, and Unlikely, based off of sources and probable speculation.

  • This list only includes titles that have been confirmed to Xbox systems. Third party non-exclusive games with Microsoft licensing deals will be on a separate list. (Battlefield 1 for example)

Likely:

Gears of War 4:

Chance of Arriving: 100/100

Expected Run-Time: 15 minutes

Reasoning: Although the game hasn’t been confirmed for E3 by Microsoft, it’s their big holiday title, and even such bad news as a delay would have to be announced at the show. Plus we got that teaser TV Spot a couple months back, so it’s really a no-brainer at this point.

Recore:

Chance of Arriving: 100/100

Expected Run-Time: 10 minutes

Reasoning: With all the trouble Mighty No 9’s been receiving, Recore could not only be Keiji Inafune’s saving grace, but a great casual title for the Xbox Holiday lineup. Microsoft hasn’t officially stated the game will be at E3, but the game’s artwork is available in the E3 library, so that should be an already dead giveaway.

Halo Wars 2:

Chance of Arriving: 100/100

Expected Run-Time: 15 minutes

Reasoning: Known as being the Gamescom closer last year, no gameplay footage has been released for Halo Wars 2, but the game’s screenshots and beta release dates weren’t as lucky. It is one of Microsoft’s 3 games confirmed for E3, so it would be nice to have some closure on this subject before it seals it’s stakes in MS’s holiday lineup.

Sea of Thieves:

Chance of Arriving: 100/100

Expected Run-Time: 10 minutes

Reasoning: Microsoft’s 2nd confirmed game at E3, Sea of Thieves has been rumored to be Xbox’s Division or Destiny, but besides for Rare’s coyness, that’s all we’ve gotten after it’s initial reveal last year. We do know Rare has been hard at work and is continuously releasing updates on the game’s status on their Twitter, so if that isn’t a confirmation of it’s presence, than nothing really is.

Crackdown 3:

Chance of Arriving: 100/100

Expected Run-Time: 15 minutes

Reasoning: Nearly two years after it’s announcement, and we still haven’t gotten a proper gameplay reveal for Crackdown 3. The games’s Cloud destruction technology has praised by critics as groundbreaking after exclusive previews, so Microsoft could definitely prove a point against those who argue about the PS4's power with this one. (There also hasn’t been great clarification to whether the game will launch separately without multiplayer, so this would have to be clarified alongside all the awe.)

Forza Horizon 3:

Chance of Arriving: 100/100

Expected Run-Time: 10 minutes

Reasoning: Forza Horizon. Forza Motorsport 5. Forza Horizon 2. Forza Motorsport 6. It’s not exactly science what will come next. And better yet, Xbox Community Managers have basically confirmed it’s existence. Now, we just have to wait until our car loving hearts get our hands on it.

Cuphead:

Chance of Arriving: 95/100

Expected Run-Time: 5 minutes

Reasoning: For most gamers, Cuphead is the most unique title they’ve seen in years, and puts retro in a completely new light, becoming the cherry on the top for those hardcore gamers who are interested in an Xbox One. And if the game’s releasing in 2016, there’s no reason not to give one of their biggest indies the spotlight, as a possible pre-holiday punch.

Tacoma:

Chance of Arriving: 95/100

Expected Run-Time: 5 minutes

Reasoning: Tacoma is halfway to hitting the homestretch of it’s development to a 2017 release, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t be shown. Microsoft has shown plenty of indies still in development (with 66% percent of what was shown last year not being released) and they’d be happy to promote one with an interesting setting and aesthetic, further giving the Xbox One that extra edge.

Xbox Scropio & Xbox Slim (+ Xbox 2TB) :

Chance of Arriving: 95/100

Expected Run-Time: 20 minutes

Reasoning: At this point you’ve seen or heard the rumors, and with Sony dropping out of the incremental console race, Microsoft could have a true chance to reverse the damage they originally caused in 2013. The real problem will be how to announce it all, with 3 likely new editions coming, according to a Gamestop leak.

Hololens/ An Important VR Announcement:

Chance of Arriving: 90/100

Expected Run-Time: 15 minutes

Reasoning: One of the most talked about things at the Microsoft conference last year wasn’t the games, but the Hololens Minecraft presentation. The product certainly isn’t ready yet (A $3000 developers kit makes this all the more evident) but another killer presentation could do justice to casual players. Either way they’ll have to do something about it, as Playstation VR only comes out in a short couple of months.

Scalebound:

Chance of Arriving: 90/100

Expected Run-Time: 10 minutes

Reasoning: Scalebound’s gameplay reveal was impressive to say the least, but definitely demeaned by poor framerate issues, which likely lead to a 2017 delay. Now at E3, Microsoft has a chance to reintroduce the game, with this and Crackbound filing the destruction checkbox for gamers.

Dead Rising 4:

(Leaked photo)

Chance of Arriving: 80/100

Expected Run-Time: 10 minutes

Reasoning: Some pretty reliable leaks of posters and one screenshot peeked out last Monday, but in all honesty, it lines up pretty well. Capcom Vancouver hasn’t done anything in a while, and Dead Rising 4 would be the next logical after how well 3 sold during the Xbox One launch. Sorry, Ryse: Son Of Rome. You’ll get them next time.

Ion:

Chance of Arriving: 80/100

Expected Run-Time: 5 minutes

Reasoning: Much like DayZ for console, Dean Hall has been all but peep about this supposed Xbox One space MMO. Sea Of Thieves is aiming to hit this mark too, but since both games have wildly different aesthetics, it shouldn’t be much of an issue.

Inside:

Chance of Arriving: 80/100

Expected Run-Time: 5 minutes

Reasoning: Inside’s been outside of the general gamer’s view for nearly two years, which is crazy considering Limbo launched all the way back in 2010, from the same developer. That game also took six years to make, but Inside’s been confirmed for 2016, and will likely stay that way, with Xbox attempting to reinvigorate their indie lineup.

Killer Instinct Season 4:

Mock-up, not official image

Chance of Arriving: 80/100

Expected Run-Time: 5 minutes

Reasoning: A common staple of the Xbox One platform since it’s original home on the Nintendo 64, Killer Instinct has made a big business of including guest characters off of Xbox franchises, presumably to make up for no Smash clones being developed at the moment. Rumor has it, General RAAM will make his brawler debut, providing further cushioning for Gears of Wars 4 marketing this year.

State of Decay 2:

Mock-up, not official image

Chance of Arriving: 75/100

Expected Run-Time: 5 minutes

Reasoning: Included along with an Age of Empires reboot in a Reddit leak, Kotaku’s Jason Schrier also took a jokey twist on the game in a pre-E3 tweet. While the game could conflict with Dead Rising 4, we don’t necessarily expect both to be released in the same timeframe. Undead Labs has also stuck to smaller projects for the past couple of years, so just like other Xbox titles behind it, this would be the next logical step.

A New Age of Empires:

Chance of Arriving: 70/100

Expected Run-Time: 5 minutes

Reasoning: Much like State of Decay 2 and Dead Rising 4, Microsoft will likely have to differentiate this and Halo Wars 2 both for their cult classic and strategic nature. However, it’s not just that Reddit leak that’s giving us the green flag on this one. The game has been teased for ages, with Microsoft stating that they were working on a flagship strategy series after the Halo Wars 2 trailer. You’re not leaving much hints for this one, MS.

Superhot:

Chance of Arriving: 70/100

Expected Run-Time: 5 minutes

Reasoning: If Microsoft has proved everything with their indies, it’s definitely the quality vs quality nature, especially present in their creativity. Superhot is another one of these, and FPS where time only moves when you do. At the worst, it’ll be in an indie montage, and at it’s best, one of the devs will come out to showcase it in all of it’s uncut glory.

Pit People:

Chance of Arriving: 70/100

Expected Run-Time: 5 minutes

Reasoning: If this shows up, we’ll likely get three strategy games at Microsoft’s press conference, an unprecedented pattern in an action/adventure and FPS dominated age. But, nevertheless, Pit People is a captivating title to put on the showcase, especially considering it’s made by the minds behinds Castle Crashers and Battleblock Theater.

Somewhat Likely:

Battletoads:

Mock-up, not official image

Chance of Arriving: 65/100

Expected Run-Time: 5 minutes

Reasoning: Everyone’s been pointing at this making a return ever since Phil Spencer wore a Battletoads shirt, but all the other hints don’t necessarily mean a guarantee. The same thing has been going on with Crash Bandicoot, and we haven’t heard anything substantial in quite a while. This also means that Rare would have to change their management in order to cooperate between this and Sea of Thieves, which is a possibility, if not for recent layoffs.

We Happy Few:

Chance of Arriving: 65/100

Expected Run-Time: 5 minutes

Reasoning: At this point, Microsoft has a grab bag of indies they could show, and the dystopian British game We Happy Few is just one of them. The only downside to this is that the game prides itself on longer playthroughs, so that’s why we think it’s less likely it will have a huge appearance.

Next Main Halo Game:

Taken from Halo 5, not official image

Chance of Arriving: 60/100

Expected Run-Time: 5 minutes

Reasoning: Halo 5 didn’t exactly do gangbusters (although Microsoft reworded sales numbers to make this be the case) but major directors of the series have stated that Halo 6 is more than a possibility, with other rumors outlining the franchises finale all the way to 2020.

Quantum Break DLC:

Chance of Arriving: 50/100

Expected Run-Time: 5 minutes

Reasoning: Remedy hasn’t exactly been adamant on continuing Quantum Break in the form of DLC (likely due to it’s cost) and their recent announcement on not continuing their relationship with Microsoft is yet another sign of this. Perhaps we might see a QB version of American Nightmare, but it really depends on the sale curve to see if that’ll happen.

Unlikely:

Phantom Dust:

Chance of Arriving: 40/100

Expected Run-Time: 10 minutes

Reasoning: You can read the full story about this games cursed cancellation over at Kotaku, but one things for sure, it certainly doesn’t make a good impression for Microsoft to re-continue their endeavors with the franchise. While they are looking for a new developer, there haven’t been any recent status updates, which doesn’t signal good news.

Sources:

  1. Klepek, Patrick. “Halo Wars 2 Getting An Open Beta Next Week.” Kotaku. Gawker Media, 10 June 2016. Web. 11 June 2016.

2. Sinha, Ravi. “Rare Working on New Battletoads, Sea of Thieves Similar to Destiny, Halo Wars 2 Beta Coming — Rumour.” GamingBoltcom Video Game News Reviews Previews and Blog Rare Working on New Battletoads Sea of Thieves Similar to Destiny Halo Wars 2 Beta Coming Rumour Comments. CraveOnline, 3 June 2016. Web. 11 June 2016.

3. Skrebels, Joe. “Crackdown 3 Is out This Summer… but Just the Multiplayer Mode.” Gamesradar. Future Limited, 4 Jan. 2016. Web. 12 June 2016

4. Tach, Dave. “Crackdown 3 (finally) Proves Why Microsoft Put Xbox One’s Head in the Cloud.” Polygon. Vox Media, 11 Aug. 2015. Web. 12 June 2016.

5. https://twitter.com/pnf4lyfe/status/669704226013110272

6. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GCkIKlEfE_g

7. Jordan, Greg. “Microsoft May Release a 2TB Xbox One Model This Year — MSPoweruser.” MSPoweruser. MSPoweruser, 11 June 2016. Web. 12 June 2016.

8. Hillier, Brenna. “Limbo Team’s Inside Release Date Pushed Back.” VG247 Limbo Teams Inside Release Date Pushed Back Comments. VG247, 5 June 2015. Web. 12 June 2016.

9. Win-Poole, Wesley. “General RAAM from Gears of War Coming to Killer Instinct.” Eurogamer.net. Dx.net, 11 Mar. 2016. Web. 12 June 2016.

10. Hillier, Brenna. “Age of Empires? Microsoft Working on “beloved Strategy Game”.” VG247 Age of Empires Microsoft Working on Beloved Strategy Game Comments. VG247, 9 Jan. 2015. Web. 12 June 2016.

11. Yin-Poole, Wesley. “Layoffs Hit Rare following Kinect Sports Rivals Flop.”Eurogamer.net. Dx.net, 19 May 2014. Web. 12 June 2016.

12. Brustein, Joshau. “Is Halo 5 Really a Blockbuster? It’s Hard to Tell.”Bloomberg.com. Bloomberg, 23 Nov. 2015. Web. 12 June 2016.

13. Makuch, Eddie. “Halo 6 Is Undergoing “Serious, Real Planning,” Microsoft Says.” GameSpot. CBS Interactive, 25 Sept. 2015. Web. 12 June 2016.

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