E3 2019 Recap: Microsoft (ft Keanu Reeves)

So the first part of E3 2019 is finally done, with all the CGI trailers and new storefront exclusives (we’ll talk about this later) out of the way. That means it’s time for us to post what we think were the most important announcements from each conference, yay!

Considering that this E3 was somewhat different from previous ones when it comes to the PC space, I thought it fitting to start with Microsoft, as the Redmond giant has been making some giant steps towards regaining our trust in their capability to enter the PC market without screwing up at every step.

Keanu Reeves revealed the release date for Cyberpunk 2077: April 16, 2020

Cyberpunk 2077 was the biggest game of the show for me, and I’m willing to bet big money that I’m not the only one who thinks like that. Of course, that means CD Projekt Red needed a big name to reveal the release date, and whose’s name is bigger than John Wick’s? None, that’s the answer. Joking aside, everyone loves Keanu, as proved by the crowd going wild every time he tried to say something. Oh, and we got the release date, of course (along with nice preorder pages on Steam and GOG).

Cyberpunk 2077 is an open-world, action-adventure story set in Night City, a megalopolis obsessed with power, glamour and body modification. You play as V, a mercenary outlaw going after a one-of-a-kind implant that is the key to immortality.

Xbox Game Pass has a proper PC counterpart

We talked about this two weeks ago, but Microsoft finally made it a thing we can use right now. Xbox Game Pass has a PC version (currently in beta) which lets users access more than 100 games for a monthly fee of US$4.99 (while the beta lasts, it’ll be raised to US$9.99 afterwards). Interestingly, Metro Exodus is now playable through this service (the game became an Epic Games Store exclusive back in February), and other EGS exclusives, including Phoenix Point and The Outer Worlds will join it in the future. According to Microsoft, PC gamers will be able to access the company’s first party output through Game Pass day one, just like our console cousins.

I have to say, their choice of song seems to be a dig at certain corporation that has been snatching games from other PC stores with the excuse of “competition”, doesn’t it?

Double Fine Productions is the newest member of Xbox Game Studios

This one is very simple: Tim Schafer’s Double Fine Productions joins Xbox Game Studios, becoming a first party developer for Microsoft. Psychonauts 2 is still coming to PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4, future titles will presumably be exclusive to PC and Microsoft platforms.

From what I’ve heard, this isn’t as bad as most people fear. Microsoft seems to let their studios do their thing, and since all* of their first party output is now coming to PC as well as their consoles, we shouldn’t lose anything in the process. Yay?
*Battletoads doesn’t have a confirmed PC release, but it seems to be the exception to the rule.

Gears of War 5 has been renamed to Gears 5, it’s coming to PC on September 10, 2019

Gears of War 5 has a release date, two new game modes and a name change.

The first of the two new modes that have been revealed is Escape, a 3-player co-op experience that lets us blow up a Hive from within. There are character classes (with their own specific abilities), skill trees and a lot of gameplay customization options.

If you are more interested in PvP, the second mode is called Arcade but that’s all we’ve got regarding details. A test for this mode will be held in July.

Players who pre-order the game’s Ultimate Edition (or subscribe to Game Pass Ultimate) will be able to play four days earlier than the rest of us mortals (the game will be out for everyone on September 10, 2019).

Microsoft Flight Simulator is back, out in 2020

Yup, you read that right. Microsoft Flight Simulator is back, baby! We didn’t get many details sadly, other than it’ll be out sometime during 2020, and that it’s coming to Xbox Game Pass.

Microsoft Flight Simulator is the next generation of one of the most beloved simulation franchises. From light planes to wide-body jets, fly highly detailed and stunning aircraft in an incredibly realistic world. Create your flight plan and fly anywhere on the planet. Enjoy flying day or night and face realistic, challenging weather conditions.

Ninja Theory’s new game is Bleeding Edge, a 4v4 multiplayer experience

Ninja Theory (one of Microsoft’s latest acquisitions) is working on a new 4v4 multiplayer brawler titled Bleeding Edge. Alpha signups are open at https://www.bleedingedge.com/en.

Experience one of a kind multiplayer that fuses combo mechanics with dynamic 3rd person action. Freeze foes in time, control minds, ride missiles and unleash electrifying guitar solos in a fast-paced yet strategic combat system that rewards technique, timing, and teamwork.

Diablo+voxels= Minecraft Dungeons, coming to PC in 2020

Looks like someone has been doing the math at Microsoft’s headquarters, and they’ve discovered that people love loot games and Minecraft, so the obvious answer is making a Diablo-inspired loot game with the Minecraft license. Enter Minecraft Dungeons, out for PC and Xbox One in Spring 2020. I might sound a bit cynical, but I’m completely sold on this one.

Fight your way through an all-new action-adventure game, inspired by classic dungeon crawlers and set in the Minecraft universe! Up to four friends can play together, or you can brave the dungeons alone. Battle new-and-nasty mobs across action-packed, treasure-stuffed, wildly varied levels, all in an epic quest to defeat the evil Arch-Illager!

Phantasy Star Online 2 finally coming to NA in 2020

Phantasy Star Online 2 has been out in Japan since 2012, but Western gamers have been stopped at the gates by a lack of English translation and region locking (there are ways of getting around this, but they aren’t exactly easy for most people). According to Microsoft, if you live in North America this will change in Spring 2020, as the game is now scheduled to go live for that region next year, on both PC and Xbox One devices. Crossplay will be enabled (yay!) and the game will be free to play.

Halo Infinite gets a Holiday 2020 release window, new trailer

Halo: The Master Chief Collection is still scheduled for PC later this year, but of course this wouldn’t be a Microsoft conference without some Halo console talk, and that talk was that Halo Infinite will be a Project Scarlett launch title in 2020. Of course, the game is also coming to PC on the same date, so I’ll be waiting with baited breath (would be nice if we got the full version of Halo 5 to go with it, considering that the MCC stops at 4).

The Master Chief returns in Halo Infinite – the next chapter of the legendary franchise launching holiday 2020 with Project Scarlett.

Developed by 343 Industries for Xbox One, Windows 10, and Project Scarlett, Halo Infinite continues the Halo 5: Guardians storyline and takes the franchise in ambitious, unexpected directions.

Powered by the all-new Slipspace Engine.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps will be out on February 11, 2020

The sequel to the beloved Ori and the Blind Forest will be out in February 2020 for PC and Xbox One, with Game Pass releases on both, plus a Steam launch for us PC gamers.

From the creators of Ori and the Blind Forest – the acclaimed action platformer game with more than 50 awards and nominations – comes the highly-anticipated sequel, Ori and the Will of the Wisps. Embark on an all-new adventure in a vast and exotic world where you’ll encounter towering enemies and challenging puzzles on your quest to unravel Ori’s true destiny.

Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition gets 2019 release window

Age of Empires II is a fan favorite and it seems Microsoft are acknowledging that fact, as the Definitive Edition for this beloved real time strategy title will not only fully remaster the audiovisual aspect of the game, but also add four new civilizations and three new campaigns with The Last Khans expansion. Oh, and the game is also coming to Steam (as well as PC Game Pass). What’s not to like?

Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition celebrates the 20th anniversary of one of the most popular strategy games ever with stunning 4K Ultra HD graphics, a new and fully remastered soundtrack, and brand-new content, “The Last Khans” with 3 new campaigns and 4 new civilizations.

Explore all the original campaigns like never before as well as the best-selling expansions, spanning over 200 hours of gameplay and 1,000 years of human history. Head online to challenge other players with 35 different civilizations in your quest for world domination throughout the ages.

Choose your path to greatness with this definitive remaster to one of the most beloved strategy games of all time.

A new Blair Witch game from the creators of Observer and Layers of Fear is coming to PC in August 2019

Bloober Team, the minds behind Observer and Layers of Fear, are working on a new Blair Witch game, due for release on August 30, 2019. As expected from a team with such a résumé, Blair Witch will be a first person psychological horror adventure based on the horror films.

Inspired by the cinematic lore of Blair Witch, experience a new story-driven psychological horror game that studies your reactions to fear and stress.

ID@Xbox is back with an all new catalogue of exciting indie games coming to Game Pass

Microsoft’s indie self-publishing initiative is still going strong, and to prove that, the company released a new trailer showcasing some of the independent gems that will be coming to Xbox Game Pass under that label over the next year or so.

ID@Xbox is proud to present amazing games from awesome Independent developers. Our E3 2019 montage features Afterparty, Creature in the Well, Riverbond, Dead Static Drive and many more – all of which will be available in Xbox Game Pass at launch.

Was that all? Not exactly (we left some stuff out, since this is an already super long post, and this is OUR idea of the most interesting announcements from Microsoft this E3). I have to say that I’m actually a lot more optimistic for Microsoft’s re-entry into the PC space now than I was before E3 began, however. I know they’d talked a lot and the MCC is coming to Steam, etc. but one thing is hearing things and a very different scenario is seeing them being confirmed right in front of your eyes. Keep it up, Redmond!

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