Microsoft deliver plenty of promise at E3, but can they deliver?
Microsoft have a lot to prove and a lot of making up to do. 2018 is turning out to be a pretty poor year for the console with only two major exclusives - Sea of Thieves and State of Decay 2 - being released and both of those being disappointing. Add to that the recent confirmation that Crackdown 3 has been delayed and the previous high-profile cancellations of Fable Legends and Scalebound and Xbox owners really do have a right to feel a little put out.
2018 was supposed to be a year of resurgence for the platform - Xbox One X debuted for the winter 2017 holiday season and we were hoping that it would be followed with some genre smashing new titles. That didn't happen.
The good news is that the Xbox One slate at E3 showed loads of promise, but promise doesn't mean a lot when you end up with a reputation of cancellations, delays and disappointment. With that in mind, let's take a look at this year's new announcements and updates...
Using the new 'Slipspace' engine, the new adventure featuring Master Chief looks stunning and is sure to push Xbox One and Xbox One X to the limits. No release date was given but we're guessing that this is going to be a late 2019 release at the earliest. Halo is a solid performer for Microsoft so this could be a solid title to look forward to - whether it's a system seller is another question entirely.
Forza Horizon 4
Another solid series for Microsoft - Forza Horizon is the much more fun spin off from the Forza series. Open world brilliance - Forza Horizon 3 is one of the best looking games on the platform to date and the next instalment looks to be even more beautiful. This one arrives on 2nd October this year...
CD Projekt Red delivered one of the generations best games with The Witcher III and Cyberpunk 2077 is one of the studios most anticipated titles. We finally have our first look at it too. This isn't an Xbox exclusive - it's coming to Playstation 4 and PC too, but it's sure to be a game that pushes any platform to the limits. No release date for this one yet.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
Ori and the Blind Forest was a stunning Xbox One exclusive early in the console's life and the sequel looks to be more of the same - gorgeous visuals and atmosphere adding a huge amount of depth to what is also a wonderfully playable platform game. Look out for Ori and the Will of the Wisps in 2019.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
FromSoftware have announced their next game will be the Japan-set brawler, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice - it again looks like the sort of game we'd expect at this point in the console generation with solid visuals and it looks pretty fun to play. Guess what? Yep, this one is out next year too.
FOUR times bigger than Fallout 4 is the promise that Bethesda are giving us with the recently announced Fallout 76. In addition to wastelands we can expect to see more of the wider world in this game. If you've played Fallout 4 you know what to expect - it LOOKS stunning, no doubt about that AND it's out on 14th November THIS YEAR 🎉
From Square Enix and Dontnod, we have Captain Spirit - and there are two pieces of good news for this one - it's out on 26th June this year and also, it's FREE!
It looks pretty good too.
More gameplay footage from the utterly gobsmacking Metro Exodus certainly impressed us and makes up for the game's recent delay. All the footage in this trailer was captures from the game engine itself. Sign us up for this one even if we do have to wait until 2019 for it.
Not out this year - we already knew that it had been pushed back to February 2019 (and it's already well overdue right now having once been expected to be a launch title for the Xbox One X), at least things look like they're coming together well.
The problem is if Crackdown 3 had arrived back with the initial debut of the Xbox One it might have been a system seller, in 2019, up against the likes of God of War and Horizon Zero Dawn, it looks pretty feeble.
Xbox One owners will be able to pick up a game that our Playstation chums have had access to for a while - Nier: Automata is coming in a 'Become as Gods' edition which will bundle in every piece of DLC so far.
Nier: Automata is releases on 26th June 2018.
Kingdom Hearts 3
Travel to the world of Arundel in Kingdom Hearts 3 which debuted the first footage of its 'Frozen' world last night. The game will feature Anna, Elsa and even Olaf alongside the diverse cast of other characters that includes Tangled's Rapunzel, Wreck it Ralph's Ralph and loads of other well known Disney faces.
Kingdom Hearts 3 arrives on 29th January 2019.
Gears of War 5
This was a guaranteed reveal - one of the platform's biggest exclusives was bound to return this year and it looks like more of the same excellent third-person destruction. Not only that but there are two more spin-offs announced too - Gears Pop! which features Funko Pop! versions of the game's characters and is a mobile release and Gears Tactics which is a prequel RTS.
Just Cause 4
Yep, we knew this was coming through the leak last week, but here's the first footage from the game. Really hoping this is as good a sandbox destruction game as Just Cause 2 - the third game in the series really didn't scratch that itch very well at all.
Just Cause 4 is out on 4th December 2018.
Dying Light 2
Looking like a much more atmospheric Mirrors Edge with it's stunning parkour debut, Dying Light 2's Zombie run-them-up looks gorgeous. Expect this to release on Xbox One, PC and Playstation next year.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider
We've got a new trailer for Shadow of the Tomb Raider, unlike Rise of the Tomb Raider it isn't going to be a timed exclusive on the Xbox, but it still looks like it could be another impressive game to add to the series.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider is released on 14th September 2018.
The isometric 3D RPG, Tunic looks like a cross between Zelda and Monument Valley. We have no release date yet, but we're looking forward to giving it a play when it does arrive.
To round off we've got Session - which looks like decent skateboarding sim that scratches the itch that Skate 4's lack of release is failing to ease. Looks great and is coming to PC and Xbox One in 2019.
In all Microsoft have shown an impressive selection of games - owners of the platform will have plenty to play over the next couple of years, but there just aren't enough tentpole exclusives in there for our liking.