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Microsoft @ E3 2017: 20 Educated Guesses on What to Expect

Microsoft @ E3 2017: 20 Educated Guesses on What to Expect

Here’s what we think we will and won’t see during Microsoft’s E3 2017 press Conference.

A few days ago, we had a go at making some educated guesses at what Sony might unveil at their E3 2017 press conference. As soon as we hit that “Publish” button, we turned our attention to their nearest competitors – Microsoft. This turned out to be a much more difficult task because a). Microsoft have fewer publicly announced projects in the making and b). Microsoft are being far more secretive these days. This is probably because in 2016, almost the entirety of their E3 line-up had leaked online days before the event was supposed to take place. This secrecy has lead many to believe that Microsoft simply don’t have much to announce at E3 – but I don’t think that’s the case. Microsoft wouldn’t be crazy enough to try and launch a new console iteration – Project Scorpio – without a raft of titles to show off its capabilities. With that in mind, here it is, the second of our E3 predictions pieces – “Microsoft @ E3 2017: 20 Educated Guesses on What to Expect”

1). A Project Scorpio Infobomb

The official name. A Price. A release date. An unveiling of what the console looks like. We’re likely to get all this and more from E3 2017. We already know, thanks to the collaboration with Digital Foundry, that the Scorpio is going to be “the most powerful home console ever built” but you can expect many reminders during Microsoft’s E3 press conference about how powerful this console is going to be – Native 4K and All the frames per second. You can expect Project Scorpio to come in at a premium but competitive price and hopefully in time for Christmas.

Probability – Dead Cert

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2). A VR Partner

One of the major selling points of Project Scorpio is “high fidelity VR” and Microsoft are slowly but surely slipping into the VR Space. The recently announced their own Touch style controller for use with VR and Mixed reality as well as a bundle with an Acer VR headset powered by Windows 10. I can’t imagine Microsoft going it alone in the VR space for consoles- it’s a gamble given the Xbox install base and cost of manufacture – so I can see them teaming up to bundle an existing headset with Project Scorpio. Who exactly this partner will be is anyone’s guess – Acer or Oculus are my favourites.

Probability – Mid to High

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3). A New Forza Title

The Forza cycle has gone from Horizon to Motorsport to Horizon to Motorsport since 2011, switching between Turn 10 Studios and Playground games on development duties. This would lead to the assumption that the next game would be Forza Motorsport 7. Personally, I think Microsoft and Turn 10 will try something a little different for the next Forza to show off the capabilities of Project Scorpio. Either way, you can almost guarantee that we’ll be seeing Forza on the big screen at E3 and it will likely support VR functionality.

Probability – Dead Cert

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4). Halo 6 & Halo 3 Anniversary

It has been almost 2 years since the release of Halo 5 and many Master Chief fans are itching to get their hands on his next adventure (with the Chief starring in a bigger role this time around). Unfortunately, 343 Industries have confirmed that they won’t be announcing Halo 6 or Halo 3 Anniversary at either E3 or Gamescom 2017. Some Xbox fans have treated this like a fake out (taking a cue from David Jaffe and his definately-not-at-E3-OH-LOOK-I’M-ACTUALLY-HERE move) but personally, I feel like this is probably too early for 343 to announce a new Halo. The next point on the other hand…

Probability – Slim to None

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5). Halo VR

With the release of Project Scorpio, it brings a whole host of possibilities in the VR space – especially revisiting old classics. Halo is Microsoft’s flagship series and I can more than imagine 343 Industries (who have confirmed they will be at E3 with “something”) announcing a VR add on/upgrade for either Halo 5 or The Master Chief Collection.

Probability – 80/20

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6). A Phantom Dust Sequel

Microsoft recently game away the re-release of the original Phantom Dust for absolutely nothing. Gratis. Free. No charge. I think there’s a reason why Microsoft gave this away – they’re building hype for a sequel. There’s been a tonne of rumours about Phantom Dust – whether that be a “HD remake” or something else entirely – and I think we’re likely to see something new for the franchise at E3 2017.

Probability – Mid to High

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7). Ubisoft & EA Marketing Rights

I think it’s fair to say that Sony have the marketing rights for most of the big Q3/4 games all wrapped up. Red Dead Redemption 2, Star Wars Battlefront 2 and Call of Duty WWII are all going to be marketing carrying the PlayStation logo and stinger. Microsoft are obviously going to want to counter this with their own money hatted games and I expect these to come via Ubisoft or EA. We now know (thanks to a pretty open and honest earnings call) that we will be seeing the release of FarCry 5, The Crew 2 and a new Assassin’s Creed game before April 2018. If I was a betting man, I’d expect Microsoft to be carrying the marketing for 1, 2 or all 3 of these games. Similarly, I expect Microsoft to continue their work with EA and the FIFA franchise and maybe, a few more EA IP’s we’re likely to see in this financial year.

Probability – High

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8). ID@Xbox Sizzle Reel

Microsoft are proud of the ID@Xbox program and rightfully so. They’ve made great strides with their indie developer engagement and, by many accounts, have made it easier than ever to release a game on the Xbox platform. To that end, I expect to see an ID@Xbox sizzle reel with plenty of new games on show as well as the long awaited release dates of Cup Head and Below.

Probability – Almost certainly

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9). Crackdown 3

Since the announcement of Crackdown 3, there has been a change in direction at Microsoft. While the game originally had the message that it would be able to pull of amazing technical feats thanks to “the power of the cloud” and blast processing, it seems that Crackdown 3 will now be a showcase for the power of Project Scorpio. You can definitely expect gameplay at E3 2017.

Probability – Dead Cert

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10). Sea of Thieves Release Date

RARE’s pirate-’em-up recently launched into a technical alpha test on Windows 10 and the word on the grapevine is that the game is good. Really good. It will have been 2 years since the game was announced by the time E3 2017 rolls into town and we can expect new game play and a release date.

Probability – High

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11). State of Decay 2 Release Date

Undead Labs have already confirmed that the release date of their zombie survival game will be announced at E3 2017. No educated guesses needed here.

Probability – Guaranteed

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12). HoloLense and applications

Microsoft’s mixed reality glasses are already available to buy for Business and Development purposes and there are rumours (unconfirmed at the time of writing) that Microsoft are closing in on a retail release. A possible retail release must mean that there is now a raft of software content compatible with the HoloLense and we might get to see more of that at E3 (beyond Minecraft, which is a system seller in it’s own right).

Probability – Fair to middling

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13). Minecraft VR

Speaking of Minecraft, there have been unverified rumours of an Xbox console VR version in the making. Minecraft is already available to play in VR on various formats but a console exclusive VR mode will definately be a selling point of Project Scorpio.

Probability – 50/50

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14). More Gears of War

Surely it’s too early for us to be hearing about a new Gears of War game? It has been less than a year since Gears of War 4 launched but this hasn’t stopped some corners of the internet getting whipped up into a frenzy about the possibility of something being announced at E3. Dedicated developers The Coalition are working away on something but it feels too early to be confirming anything on stage at E3.

Probability – Slim to None

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15). New Fable Game by A Freshly Formed Studio

I followed the thread for this rumour as far as it went but the lead went dead when I reached 4Chan. The probability is that this is little more than hopeful speculation – that the Fable series will be given to a new studio formed by parts of Lionhead and other Microsoft 1st party studios that have been consolidated. I highly doubt that Microsoft would shut Lionhead – a studio that proved its calibur with 3 previous Fable games – if they intended to green light a sequel any time soon.

Probability – No. Not going to happen.

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16). Scalebound – Rebooted by a First-Part Team

Well… This is rubbish. Today a rumour surfaced that Microsoft were rebooting the Scalebound IP in-house, without the work of Platinum Games. This was all sparked by the news that Microsoft had extended the IP ownership of “Scalebound”. Let’s just put this one to bed. Someone made this up. Microsoft cancelled the project and canned years of work done by Platinum Games for a reason – they wouldn’t then go on to spend years of their own work and money on rebooting a franchise that never released in the first place.

Probability – None. Zilch. Nadda.

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17). Splinter Cell Exclusivity

There have been rumours floating around for the past 6 months that Microsoft have secured a “Big Exclusive” from a third party. It seems that Microsoft may have reached out to other publishers offering the same type of deal they offered Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics for Rise of the Tomb Raider. Now, again, this might be wishful thinking on behalf of fans but I’ve seen the name “Splinter Cell” thrown into these conversations too many times to ignore it. There is history here too as Black List was released as an Xbox 360 console exclusive.

Probability – Outside Chance

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18). Shadow of the Tomb Raider

As Square Enix have once again forgone the possibility of holding their own E3 press conference in 2017, it’s likely we’ll see their new games showing up on stage with one of their partners. The “all-but-confirmed” Tomb Raider sequel, The Shadow of the Tomb Raider might be one of them. Apparently in development at Eidos Montreal and Crystal Dynamics, we might get our first look at this sequel at E3 and, given the recent relationship between the series and Microsoft, on the Xbox Stage.

Probability – 50/50

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19). A few new IP’s

The cancellation of Scalebound and Fable Legends left gaping holes in the Microsoft 1st-party release slate – but Phil Spencer has been quick to reassure Xbox fans that they’re investing in 1st party games. With many of the IP’s owned by Microsoft in pre-production or early development (Gears, Halo) it seems like there might not be anything major on the horizon apart from what has been mentioned above. If Spencer is to be believed, that suggests there may be investment in new IP’s. With the launch of Project Scorpio, this might be the perfect time to launch fresh names into the line-up.

Probability – Mid to High

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20). Revisiting old IP’s

The alternative to new IP’s is reviving some old IP’s. This is less risky because Microsoft do own some well known IP’s that, given some heavy investment and with the right team, could turn into system sellers. Microsoft have also set a precedent with Phantom Dust. Could we be see a new Battletoads at E3 2017? A Sequel to Lost Odyssey or Blue Dragon? Maybe a reboot of Kameo? There’s a handful of well loved IP’s in Microsoft’s back catalogue that are being left to languish and E3 2017 might be the perfect time to announce their return.

Probability – Mid to High

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Ungrateful little yuppie larvae. 30-something father to 4. Once ate 32 slices of pizza at an all-you-can-eat buffet.

2 comments

  • sdavies

    I hope you are correct on many of your predictions… I am waiting to get into Xbox again with the Scorpio … I have an Xbox360 elite now and am trying to finish the 120 games I have for it, including half a dozen Xbox games that are backwards compatible… I am right in the Middle of Skyrim Legendary Edition and that is my favorite game for the 360… I will purchase a Scorpio and enter the 8th generation if it is not over 5Bills… I would like a new Fable but I see that is not going to happen this year. I think Ace Combat 7 would be a great showcase of the Scorpio but am not sure it that game is going to be at the E3

  • sdavies

    and will also be dead within 5 months on pc like every other multiplayer game is.games like cod,bf1,battlefront,titanfall,titanfall 2,the division have ZERO longevity oon pc.

    the pc is for esports,mmo’s and skin buying.

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