So just before the weekend, our own Liana Ruppert explained why E3 belonged to Bethesda. And to be honest, she's got a point. They had an amazing showcase with titles for both this and next generation, along with a live performance from Andrew W.K. and the best trolling commercial for Skyrim ever. ("FUS RO DAH!")
But let's not throw the other companies out into the cold. While Bethesda delivered on their own right, so did Microsoft. The company was expected to introduce a number of games to make up for Crackdown 3's delay. And boy, did it. Not only that, but it had a few surprises as well.
Let's take a look at just what Microsoft did to make E3 a showcase that no one would ever forget. Not even PlayStation fans, heh.
Microsoft Didn’t Dominate the Show Floor, Nor Did It Need To
Microsoft's setup at E3 this year was interesting to say the least. Instead of setting up an enormous booth space like Sony and Nintendo did, it instead hosted a separate showcase over at the Microsoft Theater, where fans could come in and check out games like Forza Horizon 4 and Battlefield V, among other games. It was an excellent way to get into games, though the wait to play some of them did border around a couple of hours or so. To some, though, it was worth it -- especially for the pins and free games.
And the stuff on the floor was equally impressive, with Forza Horizon 4 set up there as well, along with Mixer, Microsoft's streaming service. It had an impressive showcase with a number of streaming stars and games, and made everyone who stopped by feel comfortable. So it was one of those "best of both worlds" scenarios, whether you were on the show floor or not.
It'll be interesting to see if Microsoft adopts to this formula for years to come, or if it'll just shuffle off the E3 floor entirely in favor of doing its own thing, like EA Play does. Hmmm…prevnext
It Made Some Tremendous Moves, Including One We Didn’t See Coming
Microsoft knows that it hasn't made some of the smartest decisions over the past couple of years, but it's looking to remedy that. Along with its thriving Game Pass, its continuing backward compatibility program and its devotion to fans through its FanFest event, Microsoft also decided to do something to strengthen its internal development circle.
First, it announced that it launched a new gaming studio with The Initiative in Santa Monica, the heart of game development. It didn't announce what it was working on, only that it had big things in mind.
But then came the other studio acquisitions. Playground Games, the developers of Forza Horizon, got picked up; along with Undead Labs (State of Decay 2) and Compulsion Games (We Happy Few), who are now amongst the Xbox elite.
But then came the bombshell, as the company announced that it has acquired Ninja Theory. This is a huge get, especially to anyone that got into Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice on either PS4 or Xbox One. It's going to lead to bigger and better things down the road, and we can't wait to see what. (An Enslaved sequel, yeah?)prevnext
It Brought the First Party Games
Microsoft didn't hold back when it came to announcing its first-party line-up. First, it confirmed Halo Infinite; and while it didn't give any release details, it looks to be a promising new beginning for the franchise. Or perhaps something that ties in with Guardians.
It also has huge plans for Gears of War, including the long-awaited fifth chapter in the series (with a female lead!), along with a new Pop side game and a forthcoming tactics title that should be a blast.
It then confirmed a plethora of other great games. Forza Horizon 4 will be revving our way this fall; the Battletoads are making a wonderful return to side-scrolling beat-em-up action next year (this was my game of show announcement, by the way); Ori and the Will of the Wisps looks amazing; we're getting new Cuphead DLC to round out the adventure; it's bringing Session to the platform in the place of the missing Skate 4 announcement; and there's new content coming for PUBG and Sea of Thieves as well.
It didn't quite hit it out of the park, but it's got a lot of stuff coming and that should keep fans pleased.prevnext
It Brought the Third Party Games
And third party games had their day in the sun as well. Cyberpunk 2077 made its debut and drove the crowd wild; Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice finally arrived and confirmed the dream Ninja Gaiden project that we always wanted From Software to make; Devil May Cry 5 was confirmed and brought us all back to the edge of gun-shooting craziness; Dying Light 2 made a glorious debut; Jump Force stirred up the anime community something fierce; The Division 2 from Ubisoft looks stupendous; Kingdom Hearts III got a great new trailer focusing on Frozen; NieR: Automata was confirmed to arrive near the end of the month; Just Cause 4 looks like the ultimate party (with a tornado!); and Shadow of the Tomb Raider keeps looking better each time we see it.
Microsoft knows its strength with its third party relationships and it continues to have those in spades, and will obviously keep at it with new announcements and other exclusive items for their players as time goes on. The only question is what's ready to come next.prevnext
It Took Care of Its Fans
Finally, while the wait to play some games was a bit on the lengthy side (welcome to E3?), Microsoft definitely took care of its fans both at home and at the show. Its FanFest was a tremendous success and raised money for the good folks at Gamers Outreach; it offered some great new Game Pass features and talked about some initiatives for moving forward with game development; and it made a few announcements that left them floored. Plus its fan space couldn't be beat with free goodies, pins and so much more.
Again, we're not sure what the company has in store moving forward for the next E3, but if it's anything like this year, Microsoft will have no trouble dominating and pushing forward with its plans for Xbox One and Xbox One X. Which leaves us wondering -- shouldn't these guys just throw an event all their own like Sony does with PlayStation Experience? We'd definitely show up...prev