With a scheduled two-hour press conference, Microsoft pulled no punches and delivered news on games and game studio acquisitions. Admittedly, there were more third party reveals than first party exclusives. Microsoft threw down the gauntlet again by touting Xbox One (especially Xbox One X) is the best place to play.
One of the surprising announcements was the acquisition of five new game studios by Microsoft Studios. Here is the list provided by Xbox Wire.
- The Initiative. Based in Santa Monica, Calif., The Initiative is a brand-new Microsoft game development studio headed by industry veteran Darrell Gallagher that is working to create groundbreaking new worlds, characters and game experiences.
- Playground Games. Microsoft has acquired U.K.-based Playground Games, a development partner since 2010 that has helped grow the Forza franchise to new heights. In addition to its work on this year’s Forza Horizon 4, Playground Games will have a team dedicated to bringing their open-world expertise to an entirely new project.
- Ninja Theory. The relationship between Ninja Theory and Microsoft started in 2000 when Kung Fu Chaos was in development for the original Xbox and culminated in the release of Hellblade on Xbox One earlier this year. Microsoft’s intent to acquire Ninja Theory will help ensure the creative team has the resources and freedom to bring more ambitious games like Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice to fans.
- Undead Labs. Seattle-based Undead Labs is the creator of the popular State of Decay franchise, enjoyed by millions of fans worldwide. In the first two weeks since State of Decay 2 launched, more than two million fans joined the fight to survive and took down more than two billion zombies. By entering into a letter of intent to acquire Undead Labs, Microsoft is signaling its commitment to growing the franchise and taking the zombie survival-fantasy genre to new heights.
- Compulsion Games. As We Happy Few nears its full, multiplatform release on Aug. 10, Microsoft has entered into a letter of intent to acquire Montreal-based Compulsion Games. By joining the team at Microsoft Studios, Compulsion will have the resources, platform and freedom to take even bigger creative risks and create even more ambitious worlds with its future projects.
Microsoft is committing to cloud technology with features like FastStart – which leverages Machine Learning to optimize which parts of a game to download in order to get you playing faster. Microsoft’s Gaming Cloud team is working on a game streaming service that will provide console quality gaming on any device. XBOX, PC, or Phone. FastStart will be available to FastStart enabled games in the Xbox Game Pass library and to select users in the June Xbox Update later this month.
Phil Spencer also mentioned that the next Xbox One console is currently in development.
XBOX GAME PASS
As we’ve seen with recent releases, Microsoft reiterated that all new exclusive games will be launching on launch on Xbox Game Pass on day one release.
You can now find The Division, Elder Scrolls Online Tamriel Unlimited, and Fallout 4 on Xbox Game Pass.
What better way to start off their conference with a trailer for a brand new Halo title – Halo Infinite.
The game will be powered by a new game engine called SlipSpace developed by 343 Industries. Not much is known so far about the technical aspects of this but stay tuned for updates on Halo Infinite as they become available.
ORI AND THE WILL OF THE WISPS
Next up was Ori and the Will Of The Wisps. While we saw a teaser for this at last year’s E3, we finally get some gameplay footage and, like the original, it is gorgeous.
SEKIRO SHADOWS DIE TWICE
A FROM SOFTWARE and Activision title, this samurai hack n slash title looked amazing and is one of my top picks of the show.
Todd Howard from Bethesda Game Studios took the stage to talk about Fallout and Bethesda’s history with Xbox. To celebrate this, Fallout 4 and The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited will be available now on Xbox Game Pass.
Fallout 76 is a prequel to all Fallout games and is 4 times the size of the world in Fallout 4. It will be available for pre-order on June 15th in the Xbox One Store.
From Square Enix and Dont Nod Entertainment comes an original story set in the Life is Strange universe – Captain Spirit.
It is a demo for Life is Strange 2 and will be avaialble free on June 26th.
Just when you thought Microsoft wasn’t going to talk about Crackdown 3, they drop another trailer.
The game was delayed till February 2019 last week to give the development teams more time. Hopefully the fans of the series haven’t grown weary of the delays and Sumo Digital is able to deliver what they initially showed a few years ago. Despite the acquisition of the Cloudgine by Epic Games, a report by WindowsCentral.com says the departure doesn’t affect Crackdown 3’s development. We’ll be sure to update you when we hear more about this highly anticipated title.
We learned last month that Neir Automata was coming to Xbox and the Become as Gods Edition will include all DLC and will be released on June 26, 2018.
SEA OF THEIVES – NEW CONTENT
FORZA HORIZON 4
Ralph Fulton of Playground Games was onstage to talk about the features of Forza Horizon 4. It will be a shared open world where all the drivers you meet will be actual real-life drivers online. There will be dynamic season changes and the quick chat feature will enable users to interact easily with each other in-game.
WE HAPPY FEW
One of RealGameMedia.com’s favorite reveals last year, we were disappointed that we couldn’t get our hands on this game sooner. Looks like August 10, 2018 will be the release date for this dark dystopian title.
We’ve had a blast playing PUBG and we are looking forward to new maps later this year!
TALES OF VESPERIA DEFINITIVE EDITION
THE DIVISION 2
SHADOW OF THE TOMB RAIDER
While the live stream chat was looking for Skate 4, we think this is the closest thing to it!
DEVIL MAY CRY 5
CUPHEAD IN THE DELICIOUS LAST COURSE
Finji’s Tunic hits close to home as it’s an Atlantic Canadian-made game which looks like a classic Zelda game!
DYING LIGHT 2
JUST CAUSE 4
Oh and one more thing..