E3 2017 is right around the corner, so that means that all of the months spent speculating are coming to a crashing halt. In this series of articles, we are going to highlight our predictions and hopes for what will be revealed at this year’s E3.
Let’s start with what we can safely assume is going to be featured in Microsoft’s E3 conference this year or playable on the show-floor. We will ignore third-party games such as Battlefront II, Call Of Duty, and various other multi-platform titles that could show up on either Nintendo’s, Sony’s, or Microsoft’s stages.
The Xbox Scorpio is going to lead off the show, it’s their brand new luxury gaming console that is being touted as the most powerful console ever made. Microsoft will most likely unveil it in it’s entirety, with specs, demos, features, price, and release date. I don’t think VR is a focus for them now, but I do believe that this machine will be VR enabled and will eventually support third party VR headsets like Oculus and Vive. I do not think at this time Microsoft is planning on releasing their own VR headset, but I do believe that one is being worked on.
As big of a deal as this machine is for Microsoft, I don’t expect it to– hopefully I am right– be a large chunk of the show for them. Microsoft needs games, they need to show they have exclusives, and incentivize people who aren’t already Xbox One/Xbox One S owners to jump in.
Microsoft’s game subscription service is the best of what’s out there currently and I would suspect this to be another pillar of the Xbox conference this year at E3.
Sea of Thieves
One of the more exciting games shown off last year at Microsoft’s E3 conference, developed by Rare, this co-op online multiplayer pirate game has been on my radar since it’s reveal. This game has the potential to offer something unique, have a game community built around it, and entice non-Xbox owners with an intriguing exclusive title. I would expect Sea of Thieves to be a feature player in this year’s conference, and hopefully come out in 2017.
State of Decay 2
The first game was a sleeper hit when it came out, and the sequel was teased last year at E3 with a cinematic, no game-play, trailer ending with a “coming 2017” banner. In a year where Xbox needs to showcase exclusive titles only on Xbox, State of Decay 2 needs to hit that 2017 window.
Looking at what could be, and hints from the trailer, I would expect to see a four-player co-op world, focused on survival and working together. There’s the possibility that SoD2 will have servers that have multiple parties of four choosing to either help each other or pillaging their goods and hunting each other down. With games like PUBG having large communities of gamers around them, an open world multiplayer, survival game has room to succeed and would help pad out Xbox’s library of exclusives.
Forza Motorsport 7
This one is an obvious contender for being released this year and for being a focus of Microsoft’s E3 presentation. With how gorgeous the Forza franchise always seems to be, I would expect this to either be a facet of their Scorpio segment, or one of the games they use to show off Scorpio’s 4K graphics.
Fans have been very vocal about wanting this game and after suffering from delays and its absence from last year’s conference, I think we will at the very least see this game materialize this year at E3. If Crackdown 3 actually shows up and makes a 2017 release this will be a mammoth exclusive for Microsoft to be waiving around this holiday season. With multiplayer, an open world, and destructible environments fans can look to wreak havoc in this urban playground and I’m sure will look glorious on Scorpio’s 4K power.
Gears of War
Now, since we are not getting a new Gears game this year, I would expect to see some additional downloadable content coming to Gears of War 4 later this year. The community playing the game is still strong so supporting that in the coming months would be a smart play.
Since Phil Spencer has already said we will not be seeing Halo 6 this year at E3, I don’t think that means we won’t be seeing something Halo. My best guess would be, additional content for Halo Wars 2 for sure, and maybe some additional content coming to Halo 5.
On top of that, I wouldn’t be surprised to see something along the lines of a Halo: ODST where we get a smaller scale, story-driven Halo universe related game released this holiday.
Now to get a little bit further into hypothesizing, I’ll touch more on some hopes and wants.
Microsoft owns Rare, there’s a resurgence of quality open-world platformers with: Yooka-Laylee, Super Mario Odyssey, and Crash Bandicoot: N-Sane Trilogy among others. So it would only make sense for them to revisit the beloved duo. Oh, and Conker too.
I wouldn’t be surprised for Minecraft to get some new content. I am not looking for nor do I expect a sequel, but Minecraft is a huge money maker and would make sense to be on their stage.
Microsoft acquired the rights to this game and it has yet to see a full release outside of it’s beta. With the success of Overwatch, I would expect to see a push for this game at this year’s E3. It has the potential to take off and be a pillar of Xbox’s core online community.
There will, I’m sure, be some third-party, multi-platform games popping up on Xbox’s stage but those aren’t the focus here since they won’t be bolstering something illusive to gamers who are on other platforms.
I would expect Microsoft to have some indie games as a segment of their presentation, they have always had their support for indie developers over the years. We Happy Few is a candidate to be back this year.
How Microsoft Can Win E3
This is a very important E3 for the future of Xbox. Microsoft is losing the console war, the install base of the PS4 is about 2 to 1 against the Xbox One and Microsoft needs to gain some ground this year. The Scorpio is a powerful machine, a necessary component of their offering, and a glimpse into their future but it isn’t going to be what saves them, they know that, I know that, what they need is games. If Microsoft can start churning out some exclusive titles for this year it’ll give people a reason to pick-up an Xbox One. Software sells hardware and Microsoft is capable, but will we see it this year.
Microsoft’s E3 press conference will be Sunday, June 11 at 2:00 PM PT/5:00 PM ET.