With E3 2018 right around the corner, we want to continue the annual tradition of making predictions; educated ones of course. Speculation is fun when it comes gaming’s biggest show and we always appreciate pleasant surprises, so we corralled the GameSpot team to throw some ideas out there. This time, we’re looking at Microsoft’s press conference and what could be in store for Xbox One owners.
As we get closer to the show, developers and publishers slowly tease or reveal plans for E3, but Microsoft has played its cards closer to its chest than most. We can expect more about Crackdown 3, since it’s one of the biggest 2018 games in Microsoft’s rotation. It’s been hit with several delays, but with the game scheduled to launch this year, more details and a definitive release date would make sense. A new entry in the Halo franchise is a possibility given the last mainline entry was in 2015. Perhaps another Gears of War? Based on series cadence, Forza Horizon 4 seems likely–unless you’re Walmart Canada who’s thinking ahead to Forza Horizon(s) 5. Those wouldn’t really come as surprises, though. We’re here to stretch the imagination, grounded in some sort of reality.
Microsoft is changing things up a bit this year by moving its E3 press conference and show presence to its own Microsoft Theatre at LA Live, which is right across from the LA Convention Center. Microsoft executive Mike Nichols said it’ll be the company’s biggest show yet. As to what that means, we’ll find out on June 11 at 1PM PT. For now, read our predictions, and if you want more sweet speculation, check out what we’re predicting from Sony and Nintendo for E3 2018.
Halo 6 Will Be Announced
It has been nearly three years since the release of Halo 5: Guardians, so if we are to believe that Halo is on a three-year release pattern (Halo 5 came out three years after Halo 4), Halo 6 could launch in fall 2018. In any case, the time is right for Master Chief to return to battle. Halo 5 was a big success with the advancements it made to multiplayer and Forge and a story that, while underwhelming in parts for not entirely paying off, showed us a new and intriguing side of Master Chief.
Halo is one of Microsoft’s oldest and best-known franchises, and it’s time for Microsoft to try something new with Halo 6. I don’t know what that might look like, and it would be a bit sad and uninspired of Microsoft to simply try to cash-in on the battle royale trend. Instead, I want to see something new and unexpected from Halo at E3 this year. We already know the game will have split-screen, which is great because Halo 5 didn’t. But I want to see Microsoft completely blow fans away with story and gameplay advancements. | Eddie Makuch
A New Blue Dragon Is On The Way
Blue Dragon was a little JRPG exclusive on Xbox 360 that released worldwide in 2007, made by Japanese developers Mistwalker and Artoon. With the the help of Microsoft’s publishing arm, Blue Dragon brought something the console was short on: Japanese games. Famed artist Akira Toriyama (Dragon Ball, Chrono Trigger) also put his distinct touch on the game with character designs and artwork. Although it was a fairly by-the-numbers RPG and didn’t do much to push the genre forward, it was still an enjoyable game that diversified the Xbox 360 library.
Support for Japanese game-makers on the Xbox platform hasn’t really improved since then, especially after the cancellation of Scalebound; the PS4 has this aspect locked down with franchises like Yakuza, Persona, and Nier. However, earlier this year, head of Xbox Phil Spencer said in response to a Tweet about whether or not JRPGs would be highlighted at E3 2018, “As of now, yes. Things can change but like last year I wanted to make sure we supported our Japanese publishers on our stage and this year we are working to do the same. It’s important to us.”
Microsoft still holds the Blue Dragon name and it’s one of the few existing franchises of Japanese origin that the Xbox can boast. It’d be exciting to see a revival on the Xbox One and if Mistwalker would be on board to develop it. | Michael Higham
Platinum Games Has Something In The Works For Xbox
The cancellation of Scalebound was extremely disappointing for Xbox One owners since it had been touted for a long time as a top-tier exclusive. Also, the fact that Platinum Games was working on it made many believe it would live up to the hype, given the developer’s track record (Bayonetta, Vanquish). Hideki Kamiya, the director behind Devil May Cry and Okami, was leading the charge, too.
But as believers in Platinum’s work, we’d like to think that there’s something that can be salvaged. It’d be a shame for everything from Scalebound to go to waste. Also, Xbox boss Phil Spencer stated that Microsoft wants to support Japanese games and do so this year at E3. Based on the critical reception of Nier Automata, which released for PS4 and PC, it’d be big for Microsoft to have its own Platinum hit. | Michael Higham
Crackdown 3 Will Have A Battle Royale-like Mode
Alright, we know it’s easy to name any game and say it’s going to have a Battle Royale mode. It’s been the topic of conversation since PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds blew up and Fortnite: Battle Royale became the biggest topic in all of games. We’re even seeing big name franchises like Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto adopt elements of the genre and we’re constantly thinking about who’s next to do so. It could be Crackdown 3.
Microsoft is flexing Crackdown 3 as a super-destructive multiplayer experience where skyscrapers, city streets, and anything in the environment can be obliterated–this could be how it separates itself from competitors. Considering that Crackdown takes place within an open-world structure, it seems that the playground for battle royale is already set. Xbox boss Phil Spencer stated that Microsoft won’t be making its own standalone battle royale game, which makes sense given that PUBG is a console exclusive on the Xbox platform. But that doesn’t rule out having a mode in an existing game, and of all of Microsoft’s IPs, Crackdown appears to have the makings for a last-person-standing deathmatch where the entire environment can be blown to smithereens. | Michael Higham
Xbox Streaming Service Revealed
There have been rumblings and rumors of an Xbox game-streaming service for years now, and I think E3 2018 will be the year it gets officially announced. Given the expansion of reliable internet, the marketplace is better-suited now for a streaming service to work. It wouldn’t be available for everyone, everywhere, but the market has unquestionably grown and become more capable and dependable in recent years.
Microsoft would be following in Sony’s footsteps, as the company already has PlayStation Now. It is exciting to think about what Microsoft–which already owns data centers around the world–could do in the streaming space. It is especially interesting given that game sizes today are trending bigger and bigger, which makes streaming–which requires no installs–an attractive proposition for some. Pricing will be important, and it would be great to see Microsoft create a “Netflix for gaming” type service where you pay a monthly fee and play all the games you want. | Eddie Makuch
Perfect Dark 2 Is Rare’s Next Game
Rare just launched Sea of Thieves not too long ago and it looks like the game will have continual post-launch support and content updates moving forward. However, Rare’s next big thing could be the return of Perfect Dark. The franchise began on the Nintendo 64 in 2000 as the follow-up to the classic Goldeneye 007, and made a comeback in 2005 with Perfect Dark Zero as an Xbox 360 exclusive after Microsoft acquired Rare. Now it’s been 13 years since an entry in the sci-fi FPS series and now would be as good a time as any for another one.
Not only would we want to play as Joanna Dark in a new conspiracy-laden single-player campaign, we’d love to see what Perfect Dark multiplayer can be this generation. Laptop machine guns that turn into turrets and strange alien pistols you can dual-wield still seems like a whole lot of fun. This is more of a pipe dream than something we’re realistically expecting. | Michael Higham