Oh Microsoft, what will become of you? Having decided to do brief research it has occurred to me that a handful of games and information have since been leaked. As such, it is important at the outset to understand the direction this list is under.
I will instead utilize this space to focus on what we know about Microsoft's press conference and what I predict (e.g. games, ideas, attitude, etc). While this is a predictions list in some sense, I am expecting to strike out on some—although I am hoping for the best. Further, each prediction will be annexed with a exposition that is roughly, for the sake of brevity, one paragraph in length.
And without further adieu, here are GP's predictions for Microsoft's press conference.
Halo 5: Guardians
It's no surprise to Halo fans that the latest title has been delayed—after all, regardless of who is working on them there tends to be a three year gap between each subsequent release. Despite its new 2015 release window, Microsoft needs Halo to be at the fore of every gamer's thought. As a result, its appearance is inevitable, but I believe we can expect to see—or at least hear about—an emphasis on the game's multiplayer.
Gears of War: Lazarus
By way of the leak back in May, Lazarus is one of the many titles rumored to be revealed at Microsoft's E3. Rumor or not, it certainly makes sense for both Microsoft and the Xbox One. The original Gears is the fifth best-selling Xbox 360 title. Its successor, Gears of War 2, was the seventh best selling video game of 2009. Gears of War 3 sold over three million copies within its first week—higher than the previous two games—and helped the franchise, according to Microsoft, earn over one billion dollars worldwide. Money, money, and more money. As the possibly controversial name implies, the game is rumored to reboot the series as a means of effectively restoring the Gears series on the Xbox One.
Admittedly, I forgot this game existed until I sat down and did some research for this article. It's an open world third-person shooter developed by the team at Insomniac Games. Per usual new IP tradition the game will feature agile combat that promotes wallrunning, zip-lines, and other parkour influenced shenanigans in a world that heeds verticality. If last year's E3 trailer is anything to go by, the game's aesthetic mirrors that of, dare I say, Serious Sam in both its presentation and violence.
Forza Horizon 2
No one asked for it, or even expected it, but Horizon 2 is very much a thing. Two different teams will be developing and releasing the title on both the Xbox 360 and Xbox One respectively. The game will take place in Europe and is once again music-centric. Further, Horizon 2 will finally introduce the long awaited weather system into the Forza franchise . I look forward to rally racing in the rain, provided of course this is not also an option in Forza 6... because I would rather be doing it there...
Considering how fun, but disappointing the last two entries have been, I am weary of growing excited over yet another Fable game and yet here I am swooning. Details on the game are relatively scarce, but it is a co-operative focused action-RPG. To be fair, what else does one need to know? Gamers can take control using the Kinect, but Lionhead is focusing on controller-based gameplay. With the Kinect one will be able to utilize voice commands when he or she takes control of a villain with the aim of conquering one of the game's hero through the use of ordering minions around. A beta is set to launch this year and I would not be surprised if a date is given at E3.
Identification: The Three (3) C's of Marketing
I often compare the state of Microsoft and the Xbox One to my High School years—lost, identity searching, and fumbling about between different clicks and personalities. As a result, I feel somewhat sympathetic toward them. Last year's E3 was a disaster for Microsoft and over the course of past year, like good little boys and girls, they have done their best—by means of reversing and re-reversing statements made during E3 2013—to clean up after themselves. As a result it would appear as if Microsoft has no idea what the Xbox One is.
Subsequently, I have no idea what the Xbox One is. Does anyone? Is it an inclusive media machine or is it a gaming hub—is it both, can it be? If their regular, almost laughable, flipfloppery proves anything, it is that Microsoft knows that this year they must be clear, concise, and consistent. If not for the sake of appealing to gamers—their market—then I expect them to abide by these rules so that the worries of their stockholders are subdued.
The original Crackdown was released in 2007 and by the end of the year sold one and a half (1.5) million copies worldwide—I mean how else was anyone going to get into the Halo 3 beta? Brilliant marketing aside, the game was incredibly enjoyable and received favorable reviews. Its sequel was released in 2010 and while sales are harder to disclose, it too was welcomed and enjoyed. It would seem appropriate for Microsoft to bring the game to the Xbox One for a variety of reasons.
Open world games are becoming as prolific as the FPS—OK, so this is maybe an overstatement. At any rate, Crackdown was/is the ultimate open world game because it promoted the use of superpowers and co-operative play. While this prediction is perhaps more along the lines of wishful thinking, I believe now—and not later, for various reasons perhaps to be divulged at a later date—is the perfect time to announce a new Crackdown title.
Indie Games (& Project Spark)
It is no secret that Microsoft and Xbox in general have had issues in the past with indie game developers. However, all that has supposedly been pushed aside with the Xbox One. I expect to see more information about Project Spark—a program that essentially lets players become developers and create their own indie titles. I also would not be surprised if Microsoft showed off Below, Gunscape, and Wulverblade as part of an upcoming indie game montage to further cement the new ideologies of the company.
Microsoft has within their possession one of the most adamantly adored development teams. If recollection serves, this relationship is somewhat obscure and involves some odd, poorly explained, use of the Kinect. I am not sure whose idea this union was, but I suspect that to—like all things Microsoft E3 2013—be undone. It is such that I predict we see a new IP from Rare, or in the least some sort of HD remake of a classic.
Who knows, maybe it will have some Kinect-based voice commands and optional motion controls. It would most certainly be amusing to, while playing a potentially new Conker game, shout profanity and perform obscenities in the direction of my television. At any rate, Microsoft has a unique team on their hands; a team that in the long run will convince non-Xbox gamers to buy the One. It only makes sense for them to put them forward and into the fray.
What predictions do you have for Microsoft's conference? Let us know in the comments below!