It’s that time of year again! With E3 2016 breathing down our necks, I figured now is a great time to take a look at some of my predictions for this year’s show. As usual, I’ve broken my picks down into three categories: sure things, 50/50 chances, and the very New England-esque “wicked longshots” which is my stereotypical way of saying this probably won’t happen but I’d love it to.
Without further adieu, here are my picks for Microsoft.
In my opinion, Microsoft had a really great E3 last year. They cut out the extra fluff and focused purely on games, which is why most people watch the show anyway. Sorry, Usher and ESPN.
Considering they’re distant second position behind Sony and the PlayStation 4, I’d imagine Microsoft to once again pull out all the stops, unleash the flood of games and even have a couple surprises to show off as well. E3 is all about bringing the wow factor and by not being a leader, Microsoft is probably willing to take a few more risks for the potential to really hit it off with the crowd.
I won’t lie, putting together this list was a little more difficult than I anticipated. I don’t know if it’s due to the fact that Microsoft doesn’t have as many studios making games as Sony does, or the fact that many of their top flight franchises have recently come out like Halo 5, Quantum Break, and Rise of the Tomb Raider. I feel like the list below may be a little standard and not surprising. But here we are.
Recent rumors point to the existance of an Xbox One Slim console and a brand new upgraded Xbox One, which is aimed at competing with the new upgrade PlayStation 4 console. Not only that, expect to see loads of new gameplay for Crackdown 3, Scalebound, and Gears 4, with a number of surprises mixed in for good measure.
Here’s where I see Microsoft going this year at E3…
Gears of War 4 – This is Microsoft’s biggest game by far for 2016, so it will no doubt be the focus of the show. As such, expect a whole lot of information on the game, a new reveal or two, a new trailer, and a lengthy gameplay demo that shows off more of the campaign. This is as sure a thing as you’re going to get.
Cuphead – The gorgeous looking title is going to be another core addition to the show. I’m not sure how much more of this game they can show, but I’d expect a new trailer at the very least and a firm release date for early fall. Personally, I’m hoping for something earlier, but it’ll likely be the fall.
ID@Xbox Showcase – Speaking of Cuphead, Microsoft will also show off a slew of downloadable titles under the ID@Xbox banner as they typically do. I wouldn’t be surprised to see something new from Moon Studios, Tacoma gameplay, Ion, and a few other games all rolled up into a nice trailer.
Crackdown 3 – Outside of Gears of War 4, this one is arguably the next biggest game for Microsoft. While David Jones showed off an impressive tech demo last year using the power of the cloud servers, it’s time to put up or shut up with a detailed gameplay demo on the main stage this year. I’m also expecting news on the beta which was scheduled for sometime this summer, and an actual release date wouldn’t hurt things either.
Forza Horizon 3 – Only because it’s technically their turn this year.
Sea of Thieves – Ah, forgot about this one, didn’t you? Yes, the game from Rare which is probably a MMO-ish experience centered around pirates will get more attention thrown on it this year. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some gameplay this time around. With another year under its belt, you’d think Rare would have some sort of demo ready to go.
Scalebound – Even though it was delayed into 2017, Scalebound is still a major title for Microsoft, so don’t be surprised to see some more gameplay at the show.
ReCore – I’m still pretty intrigued by this one after the impressive CG trailer last year. Coming from the former Retro Studios guys and Keiji Inafune…I’d love to see how this one plays.
New Hardware – If Sony can do it, so can Microsoft. Rumors are starting to ramp up so this could be a case where the chances are higher than 50%, it wouldn’t surprise me. As the rumors suggest, don’t be surprised to see a Xbox One Slim model launching later this year, and then at least a tease of a brand new Xbox One version coming next year, to counter what Sony is planning for a new and beefier console. If this happens, expect VR to become a real thing for Microsoft, most likely with a Oculus Rift partnership.
Mass Effect Andromeda – Just because EA isn’t holding a traditional presser themselves this year doesn’t mean that they won’t be at the show in some form. Mass Effect has typically been tied to Microsoft consoles, especially since they published the first game and teased fans with this one last year. Then again, maybe EA wants to hoard the glory for their event this year. Either way, it’s time to show off that beautiful bean footage..err…gameplay!
The Division Expansions – Speaking of third parties, I could see Ubisoft showing off the first expansion during the Microsoft presser considering the two have a timed deal in place for Division content. The two companies have partnered in the past to show off a new trailer, which is then followed up with more detail later in the day at Ubisoft’s show. The Division seems like the likeliest candidate though it could be a different game like Watch_Dogs 2 or Ghost Recon Wildlands as well.
HoloLens – Microsoft gave off an impressive Minecraft inspired HoloLens demonstration last year, so I could easily see the device making another gaming inspired impression at this year’s show as well.
Red Dead Redemption 2 DLC Exclusivity – Fine, yes, I’m reusing this idea from my Sony predictions. I have a good feeling that Red Dead 2 is happening, and I’d be downright shocked if it went exclusive. That would be a poor decision on Take Two’s part. With that said, I could totally see Moneybags Microsoft swoop in and set up some sort of timed deal for downloadable content similar to what Sony has with Destiny. Anything to get the fanbase excited and drive hardware sales, right?
Something Fable Related – The wound of Lionhead may still be too fresh for something like this to happen. Man, that’d be a slap in the face of those laid off, wouldn’t it? How crazy would it be if Microsoft announced that the Fable franchise has been moved to some third party studio to handle. I seriously doubt it’ll happen at E3, but Fable is still a major IP for Microsoft, so it’ll turn back up eventually.
Shadow Complex 2 – One of my favorite downlaodable games on the Xbox 360 recently got a remastered version, kinda out of the blue. It’s been a while since this franchise has been on the minds of gamers, so perhaps that was a move to push the franchise back into the spotlight in advance of a long awaited sequel announcement.
Sunset Overdrive 2 – The first one was a big success for Insomniac and Microsoft, so pairing up again to release another game in the series seems like a no brainer. There’s been no talk or rumors of this at all, but I know I’d love to see this happen.