E3 2016: What To Expect From Microsoft

Microsoft will kick things off at E3 on Monday, June 13, with updates and announcements for everything coming to their platforms in the next couple of years. There are rumors that they’ll have new hardware to show and maybe even a partnership with a certain VR company. There’s also a ton of games to look forward to at Microsoft’s conference, so let’s see what all they’ll have.

They’ll have to start the show off with games, since they’ve had a hard time convincing the public that their main focus is games and the developers that make them. They’ve tried to remedy this with their partnerships through ID@Xbox, their indie developer program, and with people like Keiji Inafune and Platinum Games joining them for ReCore and Scalebound, respectively. Updates on those two are likely to show up on stage, as well as some of their ID games like ION and Cuphead, which were both shown last year.

As for first party games, the most likely to show up are Halo Wars 2, Gears of War 4, Crackdown 3, and Rare’s Sea of Thieves. A new Forza game has also been rumored and it might just be Forza Horizon 3, so that is exciting.

Halo Wars 2 was announced at Microsoft’s Gamescom conference last year, with just a short cinematic trailer to accompany. The strategy game is sure to get an update at E3 this year, this time with gameplay, hopefully. The last time we saw Gears of War 4 was also at Gamescom, where it was actually playable. It will be playable again at E3, but maybe this time there will be more to do. Gamescom 2015 let attendees jump into multiplayer, but hopefully we’ll get a look inside the single player this time, which we still know little of.

What we’ve seen of Crackdown 3 has so far been a technical showcase. Watching buildings get demolished bullet by bullet is cool and all, but more information, including a release date, would be nice. And speaking of release dates, Sea of Thieves could use one. Rare’s first new game since Kinect Sports Rivals has a lot to tell about itself, since we haven’t seen it since E3 last year, where they announced their online pirate adventure game with a short trailer. More details and gameplay would be welcome at this year’s briefing.

Platinum Games has partnered with Microsoft Studios to bring to life Scalebound, an action RPG coming exclusively to the Xbox One. Scalebound was announced two years ago at E3 and is scheduled for a 2017 release window. After a cinematic trailer, a couple gameplay features and a delay, people are wondering what to think of it, and E3 could be where Platinum proves to us that Scalebound is something special. We’ll just have to see.

We might also get Forza. It is probably one of the biggest reasons to fly the Xbox flag and an announcement this year, especially a Horizon 3 announcement, would be really exciting. Horizon games are something special and with this being Microsoft’s only rumored Xbox exclusive announcement, they must be putting a lot of their faith in this one. Maybe they’ve got something else up their sleeves (see update), but for now, Forza, whether it be Forza Horizon 3 or Forza Motorsport 7, the racing portion of the Microsoft conference is certainly something to be excited for.

There will be a lot of games at Microsoft’s show this year, but some of the biggest announcements might come from the hardware side. Ever since PlayStation Neo rumors started circulating earlier this year, people were wondering if Xbox would combat it with their own upgraded hardware. A month or two later, BAM. Project Scorpio, the codename for the new Xbox One leaked into existence. Supposedly it has six times the power of the Xbox One and 1.5 times the power of the PlayStation Neo. No price point has been rumored, but maybe they’ve kept that one close to the chest to announce at E3. PlayStation has been crushing Xbox sales-wise this generation, but with this new trend starting where console iterations happen every couple years, maybe Xbox can pull ahead this time around.

We’ll also get to see where this whole integration of Windows 10 and Xbox One is going. While it means that PC and Xbox One players will be able to chat and play with one another, does it also mean that we’ll be able to use Word and Excel on Xbox? Probably not, but we don’t know what else this integration could mean. Cortana, the Windows 10 version of Siri, is coming to the Xbox One, and Xbox exclusive games will also start coming to PC, so maybe we’ll get more information on these items as well.

Oculus Touch
The last and least likely (but still likely) rumor is a partnership between Xbox and Oculus. With PlayStation VR on the horizon and nothing in the VR pipeline from Xbox themselves, it would probably be a good competitive move for them to partner with the Facebook owned headset. If the collaboration does happen, it will likely be part of the integration of Xbox and Windows 10, since Oculus is already running on the PC software. It all seems to work out nicely, so expect to see Oculus and maybe some word on Oculus Touch, which had been delayed to sometime in the second half of 2016.

Microsoft is sure to have a big year at E3 in 2016, especially if all the rumors are true. Their conference is scheduled for Monday, June 13 at 9:30am PST, so stay tuned for all the best E3 coverage here at Hardcore Gamer.

[UPDATE] Since this article was written, there have been a bunch of new leaks. On the Microsoft front, there have been rumors that Dead Rising 4 will be revealed at E3 this year and might be an Xbox exclusive, so look for that at their conference on Monday.