Since its announcement in 2013, the Xbox One has been in 2nd place and with Nintendo releasing the Switch, some might even argue that at certain times in this current console cycle, the One has fallen into 3rd. With that said though, since Phil Spencer took over as Executive Vice-President of Gaming at Microsoft, Xbox has been making one great move after another. And after years of move making, Xbox now finds itself marching towards arguably its most important E3 ever, yes even more important than when they unveiled the original Xbox. With 2019’s E3 the horses are now in the barn… the chickens have come home to roost… its do or die for Microsoft, so what do they have in store?
Recently, Phil Spencer revealed on Twitter that there would be 14 first-party games shown at their upcoming E3 Conference, and while 14 is obviously a big number (it’s at least bigger than 13) the question still needs to be asked, is it safe to be excited for these 14 titles. After all, it wasn’t that long ago when Xbox exclusives were either stuck in development hell (Crackdown 3), a let down to the fans (Halo 5 and The Master Chief Collection), or just flat out cancelled. Rest in Peace Scalebound. Well, as I stated at the beginning, this is do or die for Xbox and I would personally be shocked if all of the good will that Xbox and Phil Spencer has garnered over the years just gets squandered away. So yes, it is safe to be excited for these 14 games, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a little trickery being had by Microsoft when announcing these 14 “first party” games.
Mojang with Minecraft, Obsidian with The Outer Worlds, and Compulsion Games with We Happy Few, are 3 of the studios owned by Microsofts that will more than likely be making an appearance on the Xbox stage at E3. So when we read “14 games,” while that number is impressive, it doesn’t mean 14 exclusives, and with Sea of Thieves, and State of Decay 2 it also doesn’t mean 14 new games. With that said though, I’m not going to waste your time guessing at games that I don’t even currently know exist, but I can take a swing at some of the big titles we do know about.
First off, Microsoft knows that Halo 5 left fans disappointed and there is absolutely no doubt that at this year’s E3 we’re going to see just what Halo Infinite truly is, and with rumors abound that studio 343 may be taking the game in a completely different direction (we’re looking at you Destiny), the future of Halo is one that is completely up in the air. After Halo Infinite, there is The Coalition’s next game which is Gears 5. That’s right, now that they’ve gotten rid of the “of War” part of the game’s title, this series can go anywhere and be about anything: clocks, cars, wind-up toys… dudes with big heads killing aliens, ANYTHING! And last but certainly not least, at least not for me, is the all but confirmed Fable by Playground Games. Fable is a series that is close to my heart, it was the reason I bought an original Xbox, and Fable 2 is easily one of my favorite games of all-time. Its unfortunate that they never did anything with the series after Fable 2 though… which makes a possible Fable remake/reboot all the more exciting, especially when you consider that since the last Fable was released, the world has experienced such things as The Witcher 3 and Skyrim. Even to this day, the concepts that made Fable unique are what keep fans like myself hopeful that someday someone will deliver the dream that was Fable and if Microsoft and Playground Games can achieve this fanboy’s dream, I will be buying whatever this new rumored console is on day one.
New console? That’s right! Not only can we expect to see great looking games, but at least for one more generation, Microsoft plans on selling us a box, an Xbox to be more specific. So what exactly can we expect from Code Name Scarlett? Honestly, I have no idea. There’s quite a few leaks out there but I’m not going to pretend like I understand what any of it means. If wanted to understand how to tell a driver apart from another driver, I’d own a PC.. or watch more Nascar. The truth of the matter is, this console is going to be powerful. Not only will it do what consoles should do in 2019 (or 2020 when it’s probably released) which is play everything that came before it, but it will also be able to handle some kind of streaming functionality. With everyone and their mothers talking about streaming games being the future of the industry, it only makes sense for Microsoft to put out a box that can do that. Also, there’s that whole Google streaming thing that’s happening and I’m sure Xbox wants to make sure that one of their competitors isn’t getting a leg up on them.
So, with a butt load of games being shown off, don’t forget that Cyber Punk 2077 will more than likely be at this conference too, a brand new console being at least mentioned, and a few more tricks up their sleeve (don’t be shocked if Nintendo gets mentioned at this thing) Microsoft finds themselves in a position where victory is at hand. Maybe not victory of the next console generation, but at least victory in making the first strong impression for the next generation and letting players know that for years to come, the best games are on Xbox.