Xbox E3 2018: Top 5 Announcements

Microsoft’s conference didn’t miss a beat this year, with trailer after trailer broken up only occasionally by short game demos or concise developer monologues.

Its no secret that Sony has had the edge when it comes to E3 shows in recent years, and the pressure has been on for Xbox to address its comparative lack of system exclusives and first party games. This year they met that citisism head on, with head of Xbox Phil Spencer confirming as many as eighteen exclusives, and over fifty games.

There were so many exclusive ‘world premiere’ trailers and exciting footage for upcoming titles, that you could be forgiven for not catching everything Xbox put out there. To help you out with that, here are the top five announcements, plus a summary of every last thing Microsoft announced at E3.

  1. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

There has been much speculation about this one since the teaser at last year’s The Game Awards, with fans predicting Bloodborne 2 or a sequel to Tenchu.

The Xbox E3 conference revealed Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is a brand-new property and the latest game coming from Bloodborne and Dark Souls director Hidetaka Miyazaki, brought to you by both FromSoftware and Activision.

The trailer showed off a beautiful, bloody world and intense action, as you follow the journey of a “hard-hearted warrior whose mission is to rescue his master, a young lord, and exact revenge on his arch nemesis.”

  1. Devil May Cry 5

Rumours have been circling lately about the future of Devil May Cry, but Capcom has finally announced the long-awaited sequel.

A whole decade has gone by since Devil May Cry 4, and five years since Ninja Theory rebooted the franchise. Game director Hideaki Itsuno took to the stage to announce the project, which is set to launch in Spring 2019.

  1. Acquisitions

Phil Spencer announced that several of the team’s behind the games shown off at the conference had been newly incorporated into Microsoft Studios. This included State of Decay developer’s Undead Labs, We Happy Few’s Compulsion Games, Forza’s Playground Games and Ninja Theory, the developers of the 2013 Devil May Cry reboot and more recently Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice.

  1. Gears of War 5

The best thing about was a masterclass in trolling, as Microsoft teased the Gears logo only to show off a Pop! Figurine mobile game.

Microsoft went on to announce what they promise will be the “biggest and most beautiful” Gears world to date, with Gears of War 5 coming 2019. Players will be able to play solo, split screen co-op or online multiplayer.

Fans were treated to this along with the new mobile game, plus a new strategy game for PC, Gears Tactics.

  1. Cyberpunk 2077

The conference ended on a high with a brand-new trailer from Witcher 3 developers CD Projekt Red for their next big title.

In a dramatic late announcement, the Xbox conference appeared to glitch out just as Phil Spencer began to bring the show to a close. It wasn’t a deep dive into gameplay, but it did give us a good look at the world in action, with the kind of detailed, fleshed out worldbuilding we’ve come to expect from the studio.

No release date has been announced and it isn’t clear when we’ll see more of this, but hey its better then another Gwent.

 

Here’s the full list of every announcement at Xbox’s E3;

Halo infinite

Ori and the Will of the Wisps

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Fallout 76

The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit

Crackdown 3

Nier: Automata

Metro Exodus

Kingdom Hearts III

Sea of Thieves: Cursed Sails and Forsaken Shore

Battlefield V

Forza Horizon 4

Studio acquisition (Compulsion Games, Ninja Theory, Playground Games, Undead Labs)

We Happy Few

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds War Mode

Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition

The Division 2

FastStart

Xbox Game Pass (The Division, The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited, Fallout 4, Halo: The Mastear Chief Collection, Ashen, Warhammer: Vermintide 2)

ID Xbox (Outer Wilds, Fringe Wars, Below, Conqueror’s Blade, Waking, Super Meat Boy Forever, Planet Alpha, Sable, Children of Morta, The Wind Road, Generation Zero)

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Session (not Sakte 4!)

Black Desert Online

Devil May Cry 5

Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course

Tunic

Jump Force

Dying Light 2

Battletoads

Just Cause 4

Gears 5

Gears Pop!

Gears Tactics

Next Generation Console (well, a shrouded image of the future of Xbox)

Microsoft AI

Microsoft Game Streaming

Cyberpunk 2077

 

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God of War Photo Mode is Coming Soon

Santa Monica Studios have teased upcoming updates for God of War, including Photo Mode and larger text.

The studio released a support update outlining what might feature in future patches. It firstly confirms the photo mode that was previously announced (and heavily memed), which is set to include special usual camera controls, lens adjustments, depth-of-field and the ability to control Kratos’ facial expressions.

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The studio also revealed they will be “introducing a global increase to text size in all menus and subtitles,” addressing issues some players had with the size of text on screen. This aims to make text such as journal entries or item descriptions more legible, and follows the previous update which added the option to increase text size on certain areas of the menu such as maps or goals.

The patch will also offer the option to remap Rage Mode, currently L3 and R3, and aims to fix reported bugs, including a potentially progression halting problem they are currently still investigating.

“We are continuing to investigate an issue where selecting the “New Game” option from the main menu without closing down the application first may result in missing dialogue and possible progression blockers,” the Studio said. “To avoid this in the meantime, please close down the application before starting a new playthrough.”

There is no release date for the patch as of yet.

Red Dead Redemption 2 Delayed to Fall

Rockstar have today announced that Red Dead Redemption 2 will be delayed until the fall.

The highly anticipated release, which was originally set for the first half of 2018, will now launch on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on 26th October 2018.

Earlier last year it was revealed that the upcoming game would be a prequel to its predecessor, with a new cast of characters and new lands to explore.

In a statement, Rockstar cited the need for “a little extra time for polish” and apologised to fans for the disappointment.

“Dear All,

We are excited to announce that Red Dead Redemption 2 will be released on October 26th 2018. We apologise to everyone disappointed by this delay. While we had hoped to have the game out sooner, we require a little extra time for polish.

We sincerely thank you for your patience and hope that when you get to play the game, you will agree the wait will have been worth it. In the meantime, please check out these screenshots from the game. We look forward to sharing a lot more information with you in the coming weeks.

With thanks, Rockstar Games”

Nintendo Announce Nintendo Labo

Nintendo have announced the launch of their new Switch peripheral, Nintendo Labo.

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The new build-and-play experiences are aimed at a younger bracket of gamer, and are designed to work perfectly with the Switch’s Joy-Cons. Starting as flat card templates, the Labo kits come as perforated card that can be assembled into various toys. The video demonstrates examples such as a piano, a fishing rod or a robot suit – all making creative and clever use of both the Switch screen itself and the Joy-Cons.

These cardboard creations, which Nintendo call ‘Toy-Cons’, come in a variety of complexity and can be customized with all kinds of colours, stickers and stencils from Nintendo’s Customisation Kit, which will be sold separately for £8.99.

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The idea is that players can build these Toy-Cons themselves, and then bring them to life with the technology of the Switch. The piano for example, which takes roughly two hours to assemble, uses the IR Motion camera built into the right Joy-Con to read which keys are being pressed and communicate that to the Switch console, which then plays through the devices speakers.

Even the most basic of designs, the remote control car, makes clever use of the Joy-Con’s HD rumble to move whilst the player controls their vehicle through the Switch screen.

Two kits will launch in the UK on 27th April. The basic kit will be available for £59.99 and includes the RC car, Motorbike, Piano, Fishing Rod and House. The second will be available for £69.99 and contains just one design, the advanced giant robot.

Kit Toy-Con 01 – Variety Kit Toy-Con 02 – Robot Kit
Price £59.99 £69.99
Designs RC Cars (two cars included), the Fishing Rod, House, Motorbike and Piano. Robot suit
Software Software Included Software Included
What’s in the box? cardboard sheet x28 (includes extra sheet for customisation) cardboard sheet x19
reflective sticker sheet x3 cardstock sheets x4
sponge sheet x3 reflective sticker sheet
orange string orange string x2
blue string blue string x2
grey eyelet set large grey canvas strap
blue eyelet set medium grey canvas strap
large rubber band x2 + spares small grey canvas straps x2
small rubber band x6 + spares grey eyelet set x10
orange eyelet set x2

Nintendo adds Video Capture to Switch

Nintendo Switch just got a big update (4.0) and some highly anticipated new features, including in-game video capture and save transfers.

The video recording functionality will allow you to capture and share your gameplay and will, for now at least, only work with the most recent versions select games; The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (version 1.3), Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (version 1.3), Splatoon 2 (version 1.2) and Arms (version 3.1).

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The second big point is probably the most frequently requested function, the ability to transfer your game data from one console to another.

The update will also include tweaks to the news app to make it both easier to read and unsubscribe from, and more changes to the eShop that adds pre-ordering for select titles.

Most importantly, the update brings you brand new profile icons, including a T-Rex in a hat..

 

EA shuts down Visceral Games

Electronic Arts are shutting down their Visceral Games studio, EA vice president Patrick Söderlund has announced.

The studio, which was founded in 1998 as Redwood Shores and later became Visceral Games in 2009, is best known for Battlefield Hardline, Dante’s Inferno and the Dead Space series.

“Our Visceral studio will be ramping down and closing, and we’re in the midst of shifting as many of the team as possible to other projects and teams at EA,” Söderlund said.

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Whilst the future of the team has been thrown into uncertainty, the statement shed light on the future of their current project. Visceral Games have been working on a Star Wars universe game since 2013, and the announcement will be significantly changing the direction of the project from a Naughty Dog style story-based, linear adventure to “a broader experience that allows for more variety and player agency.”

It also means that the game, set for a 2019 release, will be delayed indefinitely whilst the project is handed over to another team.

“A development team from across EA Worldwide Studios will take over development of this game, led by a team from EA Vancouver that has already been working on the project,” Söderlund said, though there are no specifics. The EA vice president didn’t mention the game’s writing in the statement, which was previously worked on by former Naughty Dog creative director Amy Hennig and Todd Stashwick.

Cyberpunk 2077 update from CD Projekt Red

CD Projekt Red have released a statement responding to news of recent departures from the studio.

The joint statement from co-founder Marcin Iwinski and studio head Adam Badowski allays fears that the project might be delayed or hindered by the news. They have also addressed their relative silence on the game and shed some light on its development ethos.

“We believe reinventing that wheel every friggin’ time is what makes it a better game,” the studio said, in a statement released on Twitter. “It’s what creates innovation and makes it possible for us to say we’ve worked really hard on something, and we think its worth your hard-earned cash.”

Considering their ambitious track record with games, its easy to see why the studio would want to take their time with a project like this. Witcher 3: Wild Hunt received critical acclaim for its epic scope and engaging narrative, and in that respect Cyberpunk 2077 has big shoes to fill as their next big open-world RPG.

The upcoming game will run on RedEngine 4, an upgraded version of the engine that powered Wild Hunt. Development has been underway for five years, but presumably has intensified since resources from the Witcher 3 were moved over to the new project.

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Little else is know about the upcoming release, other than a glimpse of its setting in the futuristic Night City and some interesting gameplay teasers. The most memorable of these is the idea of language in the game, with some characters speaking entirely different languages forcing the player purchase translator implants for their own character. With exciting and innovative ideas like this, it’s easy to see why CD Projekt Red might want to take their time.