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Microsoft’s E3 presentation this year was a huge one with appearances from some of the most anticipated games including Cyberpunk 2077 and Halo: Infinite. Microsoft also revealed what they’ve got in store for the next generation on gaming, as well as a new streaming service that allows you take the Xbox gaming experience wherever you go.
One of the first games to be shown in Xbox’s E3 briefing was a game adaption of the Blair Witch Project (1999). The psychological horror game will be in first person and will be hugely atmospheric. The story will take place in 1996, after a young boy disappears in a forest. As Ellis, a former police officer, you and your trusty dog Bullet join the search and venture deep into the woods but soon find yourself in an endless nightmare as you confront the Blair Witch. Developed by Bloober Team, the team behind other psychological games such as Layers of Fear (2016) and Observer (2017), Blair Witch looks to have an Outlast (2013) type feel to it (video camera included). So far, Blair Witch has been announced for Xbox One and PC and will be released on 30th August.
To huge cheers in the Microsoft Theatre, audience members were given another much-anticipated look at CD Project Red’s Cyberpunk 2077. In a new cinematic trailer there was an insightful look at V’s life night city and an introduction to Keanu Reeves playing a character called Johnny Silverhand. This followed with Keanu himself coming onto the stage to promote the game, revealing 16th April 2020 as the game’s release date.
Xbox showed off a new interesting indie game called 12 Minutes that revolves around a man who is stuck in a time loop. The first look at gameplay shows a man sitting with his wife explaining that he has already received the gift she is about to give him and talking about events that are about to happen involving the mysterious man who is about to knock on the door. 12 Minutes is a psychological thriller that is played from a bird’s eye view perspective and published by Annapurna Interactive. A release date has yet to be announced, but we do know that the game will be coming to the Xbox Store soon.
Way to the Woods
Another indie game that was shown off was Way to the Woods, an adorable Studio Ghibli inspired adventure game. Already receiving acclaim for its art style, Way to the Woods is developed by independent designer Anthony Tan and is a story focused adventure that has players assuming the roles of parent and child deer, which has Life is Strange 2 (2018) vibes written all over it. Currently confirmed for Xbox and PC, the game has a release window of 2020.
Despite having a story mode that is bigger than ever, much of the focus of the Gears 5 briefing was centred around the new Escape mode, an “aggressive” and “high-stakes” three-player co-op mode that has a suicide squad infiltrating a ship, planting a bomb, and making it back out alive. The Coalition’s Rod Fergusson described the mode as being perfect for couch co-op, so it looks like there will be a chance to play either local or online.
It was announced that Gears 5 will release on September 10th, or four days early if you’re a Game Pass Ultimate member. However, there will be a couple of chances to try the game out early. In July, a versus multiplayer test will be carried out that features a competitive game type called Arcade. Then, in the following month players will also get the chance to try out the new Horde Mode.
Dying light 2
Dying Light 2 will feature an infected protagonist called Aiden who is determined to not lose his humanity. Aiden is in the very early stages of infection and is able to use the newly acquired agility that the virus has given him to his advantage. It has also been revealed that Dying Light 2 will feature a soundtrack written by Olivier Deriviere, known for composing the soundtrack for A Plague Tale: Innocence (2019). Dying Light 2 will be released in spring 2010.
State of Decay 2: Heartland
State of Decay 2 will be getting a brand-new expansion pack entitled Heartland, which is available now on Xbox. The new expansion takes players back to Trumbull Valley for around eight hours of gameplay in one of two narrative driven stories. The first story follows a woman who travels to Trumbull Valley in search for her estranged father, and the other has you following a man who is searching for a contact he has never met.
There’s a brand-new trailer for the upcoming Borderlands 3, which releases on 13th September, but the biggest news from this briefing is that a free DLC for Borderlands 2 (2012) entitled Commander Lilith & the Fight for Sanctuary is now available to play while you wait for Borderlands 3.
The game that FromSoftware has been working on in collaboration with Game of Thrones (1996) author George R.R Martin has been revealed as Elden Ring. The reveal trailer unfortunately did not reveal much but what’s known is that players will travel through a huge open world and explore multiple kingdoms who are each ruled by their own powerful entity, and it is in defeating these entities that will gain players power. As expected, there is no release window as of yet, but Elden Ring will be coming to Xbox One, PS4, and PC.
At the end of their conference, Microsoft provided another look at the high anticipated Halo: Infinite. The cinematic trailer shows a stranded UNSC solider who has lost all hope of returning home. After receiving an alert of a nearby vessel, he discovers the Master Chief in survival mode and uses the remaining power in his ship to revive him. Apparently, there will not be anything else about the game until next year’s E3 but it has now been officially confirmed that Halo: Infinite will release with the next-gen Project Scarlett.
Xbox Game Pass Ultimate
During their conference, Xbox announced that the Xbox Games Pass Ultimate will now be available to everyone, having previously been only available to those in the Xbox Insider Programme. The Xbox Games Pass Ultimate will give you access to the standard Games Pass on console as well as the pass for PC, in addition to an Xbox Live Gold membership. While the current Xbox Game Pass service has offered access on both console and PC, the new PC Games Pass will be specifically developed for PC, and will be available as a single pass.
Project Scarlett and Project xCloud
As suspected, Microsoft have finally revealed one of their next-generation Xbox consoles. Codenamed Project Scarlett, the next generation console is expected to release towards the end of next year and is said to be four times more powerful than the current Xbox One X. While the final name, design, or price wasn’t revealed, the console’s presentation went into a lot of detail surrounding its capabilities. Project Scarlett has a custom designed Zen 2 processor with a new SSD that will reportedly dramatically improve load times and is capable of frame rates up to 120 FPS and 8K visuals.
Project xCloud, Xbox’s new streaming service was also discussed during the conference. It was said that xCloud will not be a standalone service and will instead work with existing Xbox services and allow you to play games on mobile devices wherever you are and at any time.
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