What to expect from Xbox at E3 2017

Driving, shooting, exploring: here’s what Microsoft will show us at E3 this year.
Xbox Microsoft E3
Microsoft bringing the big guns to this year’s E3 © Microsoft
By Adam Cook

Let’s not beat around the bush here: Microsoft needs a massive E3 for Xbox. With the tech specs for Xbox Scorpio announced, the gaming giant needs to now deliver a message the fans want to hear. It’s no secret we all want games, and we want to see the Scorpio in action, but what will we actually get to see?

Well, don’t worry, we’re here to give you our predictions. Will we see new IP? What about VR? Any special announcements? Without further ado, then...

Not as much Scorpio as you might expect

Xbox One Scorpio
We’ve seen the insides, now it’s time for the main © Microsoft

For starters, don’t expect Microsoft to go on about the new 4K monster console for the entire conference. Microsoft released the system specs early for a reason, and that’s so they can focus on the games and aesthetics at their E3 conference. You can absolutely expect to see what the Scorpio will look like (but we don’t think it’ll have that frame-rate counter on the front that’s on the dev-kits), as well as a price, proper name and a release date, but beyond that, there will probably be a short video featuring developers talking about how it’s the most powerful console yet. It never translates well to a stream, but in person, media will get to see games like Forza running at 4K 60fps – and we doubt it’ll be too long before it’ll be in your living room.

Forza Motorsport 7 revealed

Forza Motorsport 6
Imagine this, but better looking and in 4K! © Microsoft Studios/Turn 10

It’s the worst kept secret in the industry, but Microsoft’s racer has a bi-yearly release, swapping with the Horizon series. Since we got the incredible Forza Horizon 3 last year, we’ll get a mainline Forza this year. Expect it to look jaw droppingly beautiful, and to be shown around the Scorpio stuff, because there’s nothing like a racing game to show off the highest end visuals your new console can render. Don’t expect much Drivatar talk, or any mention of the cloud; just pure, unadulterated pedal to the metal goodness. It’s going to look incredible.

Crackdown 3 gameplay demo and release date

 

Crackdown 3
The wait must surely be over, finally... © Microsoft Studios

Ready for us to blow your minds? OK, here we go: Crackdown 3 was announced way back at E3 2014. Three long years we’ve been waiting for any tidbits of gameplay, or a sniff of a release date, but the wait is almost over because we’re almost certain to get a Crackdown 3 demo on stage at E3, as well as the release date. It wouldn’t shock us, either, to get some kind of multiplayer beta, which was also supposed to happen a few summers ago. Our money is on the game’s release in 2018, with a beta potentially released during E3. It could also very well be promoted as a game that makes the most of the Scorpio.

Microsoft to reveal its VR plans

Oculus Rift
Time to give out the latest news on VR © Oculus

It wasn’t really a shock that Microsoft stepped back and let Sony lead the charge with console-based VR. But you better believe that behind the scenes, the people behind the Xbox One will have been studying the numbers and seeing if it’s a viable route. Oculus Rift has had Xbox One controllers bundled with it from the start, and there’s a rumoured deal between the two companies that would make quite a lot of sense. These days, with the Xbox One sharing connectivity and a store with Windows PC, it might actually be easier than you’d think to get the Oculus Rift working on Xbox One. That said, Microsoft are also developing their own VR headsets for PCs, and apparently they will be cheaper than the current crop. One way or another, Microsoft will surely address VR on stage this year at E3.

New IP and just loads of games

 

Halo 5
Halo 5 won’t be at E3, but will the Master Chief? © Microsoft Studios/343 Industries

After the cancellation of Scalebound, Microsoft tried to spin their stable of games as being incredible, when it simply wasn’t. Halo Wars 2 was a great game, and State of Decay 2 will surely deliver as well, but that’s not enough: what the Xbox One needs more than anything is more games. With the confirmation that Halo 6 won’t be at this year’s E3, and the fact that it’s far too early for anything Gears of War (aside, perhaps, a reveal trailer that Gears of War 5 is a thing that’s happening), it’s very simple: there will have to be new games from Microsoft’s in-house studios. Expect game after game after game, similar to how Sony did it last year.

More backwards compatibility

Microsoft has been onto a winner with its glut of backwards compatible titles, letting you play many of your favourite Xbox 360 titles on your Xbox One, but many fans are still crying out for even more games. Microsoft needs to announce a few big titles that are sorely needed on its current-gen console, from Ninja Gaiden II to Fable Anniversary Edition, but we reckon original Xbox titles would be right at home too. With a huge library of games – many that have been forgotten – there’s plenty to dip into, and more games to play would surely please everyone.

News on the future of Sea of Thieves

Sea of Thieves
When is Rare’s game coming and what exactly is it? © Microsoft Studios/Rare

Nostalgia is a fine thing, and many people remember Rare fondly for all the games the studio has developed. For the duration of the Xbox 360 though, Rare were sort of relegated to making Kinect games, but with the announcement of Sea of Thieves, many were excited about seeing what the storied developer could manage. Having been playable for many Xbox Insiders for a number of months, the game can’t be far from being complete. Expect Microsoft to dedicate a short part of the conference to a gameplay demo, and news about the game’s future – plundering chests and hanging out on the seven seas with your mates is surely a near reality.

Talk to me

Originally, Microsoft had a vision for the Xbox One to be the centre of your living room, with your TV’s set-top box routing through it and Kinect voice commands that let you change the channel. That vision has dwindled somewhat, with Kinect pretty much left out to dry, but there’s still a little bit of hope. Cortana, Microsoft’s voice controlled assistant can be told what to do from either Kinect or your headset, but surely Microsoft has plans in the works for more than just those two options. With more and more microphone-equipped assistants springing up in your living room, from Amazon’s Alexa to Google’s Echo, Microsoft could bolster its wares with a similar dedicated piece of hardware based on Cortana and give you more things to do with your voice. Whether Microsoft will reveal something like this on stage is unclear, but you can bet that the company will be set on improving Cortana and voice commands as soon as possible.

“And it’s out… right now!”

Cuphead
Another game that’s been “coming soon” for ages © Studio MDHR

Almost every year, there’s a shock as something is made available right at the end of the conference. This year will surely be no different, and we’re predicting it’ll be indie darling Cuphead. At a media showcase earlier this year, all the indie games coming to Xbox One (and Windows PCs) were shown off, but there were two missing games: Capybara’s Below, and Studio MDHR’s Cuphead. Already on many people’s most-wanted lists, Cuphead’s a game that must surely be due out soon, and what better way to give it a massive push than to release it when the world is watching. Here’s hoping, anyway.

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