Microsoft’s Xbox event at E3 2017 was chock-full of video announcements, which is befitting the launch of a new gaming console. From release date to pricing, and new titles to backward compatibility, a lot was talked about and shown on the big screen. Here’s what matters.
Phil Spencer, head of the Xbox division, kicked off the event by clearing the air on what the company’s new console would be called. It’s called the Xbox One X, and it’ll be available November 7 worldwide for $499 (about Rs. 32,000). Not many will be happy with that price.
Kareem Choudhry, director of Xbox's software engineering, stressed a lot on how they had worked tirelessly to make the Xbox One X as sleek and powerful as possible. It’s the smallest Xbox they have ever made, and the first console to feature a liquid-cooler vapour chamber.
Given Sony beat Microsoft to the 4K console punch with the PS4 Pro, the latter had to convince developers and gamers that theirs was better. To do that, it’s been touting “True 4K” – a combination of Ultra HD 4K display, 8+ million pixels, HDR video, spatial audio, 4K DVR, and UHD Blu-ray support. The last bit is missing from the PS4 Pro.
Microsoft introduced 42 upcoming titles on stage at E3 2017, with 22 games that would be exclusive to Xbox One, or exclusive to Xbox One and Windows 10. In the case of the latter, all of them are Xbox Play Anywhere titles.
The highlight games include Crackdown 3, Forza Motorsport 7, Assassin’s Creed: Origins, Metro Exodus, Anthem, Cuphead, Sea of Thieves, Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds, Middle Earth: Shadow of War, Life is Strange: Before the Storm, and many more.
One of the announcements that received a huge round of applause from the E3 crowd was the extension of Xbox’s backward compatibility programme to include the original Xbox. It’ll be available before the end of this year, with titles such as Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge. Spencer said that they would talk about in detail in the coming months.
Alongside, Spencer mentioned that all of Microsoft’s first-party titles – Gears of War 4, and Forza Horizon 3 among others – and games such as Rocket League and Ghost Recon Wildlands would receive free upgrades to carry the ‘Xbox One X enhanced’ label. It’s clearly a strategy designed to promote the new console.
After hearing about it for years, we finally got a look at the anticipated open-world Crackdown 3, with a trailer featuring Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Terry Crews. As always, the game will make you a superpowered agent, as you go about your business of taking the city back.
Better yet, Crackdown 3 will be available November 7, the same day as the launch of the Xbox One X.
Dan Greenawalt, creative director at Turn 10, introduced the next Forza on stage by revealing a new Porsche on the E3 stage. The car in question is the Porsche 911 GT2 RS, thanks to Microsoft’s partnership with the brand that first led to their presence in Forza Horizon 3. As for Forza Motorsport 7, the game will have a total of 700 cars beyond the aforementioned. It’s coming October 3 for both Xbox One and Windows 10.
The next game from creators of Mass Effect trilogy is called Anthem, which you’d know if you followed publisher EA’s event on Saturday. What we didn’t have then was a gameplay trailer, and the first look seems to be all sorts of promising – there’s jetpacks, a narrative that lets your friends pop in at any time, and help solve quests that will reward everyone in turn.
It seems to borrow from Mass Effect and Destiny, but we’ll only know how good it is sometime next year.
Microsoft had a lot to say beyond those big announcements. We got a detailed look at the next Assassin’s Creed: Origins, which takes you to ancient Egypt. It looks great, and will be available October 27.
Then there was Metro Exodus, a FPS survival horror game part of the Metro franchise, which will release in 2018. Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds, currently available on Steam Early Access, is also coming to Xbox One as a console launch exclusive before the end of this year.
Minecraft, meanwhile, is getting a free 4K update so you can enjoy it on the Xbox One X. It’ll also enable cross-platform play for Xbox One, Windows 10, and Nintendo Switch.
We got a proper look at Sea of Thieves too, a shared world experience which seems to be a cartoony take on the Pirates of the Carribean, with a rousing soundtrack to match. The gameplay video had a fourth-wall breaking voiceover, which was pretty funny, so hopefully that will make it to the game too.
Cuphead, the long-awaited indie title, finally got a release date at the event too. It’s coming September 29. Spencer also talked about the indie developer-focused ID@Xbox programme, featuring new upcoming titles Ashen, and Life is Strange: Before the Storm. There’s no release date on the former, with the Life is Strange sequel available late August. A sequel to Ori, called Ori and the Will of the Wisps, is also on its way.
Middle Earth: Shadow of War was another featured title during the Xbox E3 2017 presentation, which got a long gameplay trailer presentation with a developer representation on the stage. It’ll be available October 10.
What were your favourite Xbox E3 2017 announcements? Let us know in the comments.
We discussed everything we expect from E3 2017 on our weekly gaming podcast Transition. You can subscribe to it via Apple Podcasts or RSS or just listen to this episode by hitting the play button below.