Highlights from the Xbox E3 2019 Briefing

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Xbox just wrapped up their solid two hour briefing for this year’s E3, and they definitely gave us a lot to process. The largest takeaway and what they emphasized the most was that all of their impressive number of first party titles will be releasing day one on the Xbox Game Pass, keeping their premium service front and center through out the show.

With that, let’s take a look at all of those announcements:

Gears of War 5

Gears 5 E3

The biggest look we got this E3 from Xbox was for the upcoming Gears 5, which now has the full title, Gears of War 5: Bound by Blood released in the small cinematic trailer which you can watch here. With a hard September 10, 2019 release date, we were given a breve of announcements and dates as Xbox intends to roll out information over the coming months.

But for E3, the company shared that a tech test coming on July 17 for their new competitive mode. In addition, a new take on the classic Gears  staple horde mode will be playable at Gamescom in August.

Gears 5 Escape

But one of the most exciting pieces of the Gear 5 announcements pulled out all the stops, including a transforming stage into a light show, opening it to reveal the inside of a Hive in order to announce a new three player coop mode for Gears 5, Escape.

This mode sees players sneaking into an enemy hive, planting a bomb, and then having to fight their way out before they are caught up in the ensuing destruction, similar to the current running Gears of War comic book Gears of War: Hivebusters, and featuring the same characters. While no gameplay was shown, the trailer appeared to imply players will have access to special powers, as one character was seen electrifying her knife to shock a group of enemies. This would be a first for the series.

To further build hype for the upcoming mode Xbox also announced that players will also be able to design their own hives for others to fight their way through with other players. In addition, as a pre-order bonus and for those who play the game in its first week of release will also receive a Terminator: Dark Fate skin to accompany Escape Mode. No details were given, but the concept sounds very cool.

Xbox Elite Series 2 Controller

Xbox also provided gamers with a deep dive look at the next generation of Xbox Elite Controllers. Xbox’s controllers are often sited as on of the consoles biggest advantages over the PlayStation, and Xbox looked to drive that point home here.

There was a lot to show so here’s the rundown:

  • Players will have the ability to adjust the thumb stick tension in the Elite allowing for more precision control
  • The pull necessary to fire with the trigger buttons will be customizable, making it faster attainable rates of fire
  • Players will be able to pre-save up to three different custom profiles allowing them to swap their setting quickly between games, allowing you to have Gears 5 setting, a Cyberpunk 2077 setting, etc
  • An internal recharagable battery sporting up to 40 hours of life
  • Will be compatible with both Xbox and PCs, sporting a new Bluetooth connection

All these features combined for an impressive showing. In addition, some disability activists have noted how the fully customizable controller can be used to improve accessibility of Xbox’s products. No mention of any price was given so it is unknown whether or not the price will be the same as the original Elite.

Project Scarlett

More information was shared on Xbox Studio’s upcoming next gen console codenamed: Project Scarlet. Hardware capabilities were talked about including frame rates up to 120 frames per second, a solid state drive that increases the consoles performance by over 40x that of the Xbox One X, and next gen ray tracing, 8k capability just to name a few of them.

Having announced the new console by acknowledging the criticism that they had long pushed entertainment system over gaming, Xbox’s Phil Spencer reassured the crowd that Project Scarlett is putting gaming first, from both the creator and consumer standpoints. All in all a lot of very impressive numbers, and a holiday 2020 release date, were delivered.

The Outer Worlds

The Outer Worlds

Xbox brought  Obsidian Entertainment’s project Outerworlds on stage as well. While nothing really new gameplay wise was shown off, they did announce it will be coming to Xbox Game Pass day of launch. As this game will be coming to other platforms there was some questions as to whether or not this would be announced. That has been laid to rest.

This was followed up by the official announcement of Ninja Theory’s next game Bleeding Edge. A four vs four melee battle game. The aesthetic had a distinct “Borderlands” vibe, with an oddball humor and unique character design. Not much was shown or said but looked like a very different feel from past Ninja Theory games such as Hellblade:Senua’s Sacrifice and Heavenly Sword.

Ori and the Will of the Wisp

Ori and the Will of the Wisp

A brand new look was given at the upcoming Ori and the Will of the Wisp. Sporting graphics that looked even more dazzling than the already impressive visuals of its predecessor, the trailer shown emphasis did a lot of over the top large enemies pursuing Ori in this game. Seeming to diversify the style of encounters the first game brought through the owl chase sequences. Ori and the Will of the Wisp was given a February 11th 2020 release date.

Cyberpunk 2077

Cyberpunk 2077

Another look at Cyberpunk 2077 was had. A solid mix of both pre-rendered cut scenes and gameplay was shown culminating in the reveal that Keanu Reeves will be making an appearance in the game. While no indication was given  of how big a part he will have, it was exciting to see. He then made an onstage appearance to the delight of the crowd and talked about the game with his classic Keanu Reeves style.

Minecraft: Dungeons

Minecraft: Dungeons

Minecraft: Dungeons was shown off as well with a world premiere trailer. Opposite to the traditional game, Mineraft: Dungeons sported a “Diablo-like” feel of fixed camera action RPG goodness in the Minecraft visual style. An equipment screen showing various slots for weapons and other items were shown, further giving that action RPG feel. It was also announced to have online, and local, four player coop so your friends can raid dungeons with you. Minecraft: Dungeons was given a Spring 2020 release date.

Blair Witch

Blair Witch E3

We got a first look at a new Blair Witch game. The trailer shown depicts the player searching for a missing person from a first person perspective in a style close to Alan Wake. All the horror elements you would expect from a Blair Witch title we’re present, a man in the corner, the stick signs, the camcorder, the atmosphere of fear. Coming from the people who brought us Layers of Fear and Observer, Bloober Team is setting the tone for horror now.

Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot

The Xbox E3 briefing also gave us the first look at the rumored action RPG set in the Dragon Ball Z universe, Showing us what it used to be called Dragon Ball Project Z, the screen revealed the games true name after a devastating trailer which showed Frieza killing one of the most iconic Shōnen rival, Vegeta. Now we know that this action RPG is Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot and many are hyped.

Other Announcements

There was also a deluge of indie titles and quick announcements that only involved trailers that you can peruse here:

  • Formerly exclusive Xbox titles will become available on PC with the new Xbox Game Pass PC which is currently available in beta for $1
  • Xbox Game Pass Unlimited will include Xbox Game Pass, Xbox Live Gold, and Xbox Game Pass PC
  • The leaked collaboration between From Software and George R. R. Martin now has a cinemativ trailer that raised more questions than answers, and a name: Elden Ring.
  • Spiritfarer: a beautiful looking game with hand drawn style visuals.
  • RPG Time Legend of Wright: An interesting visual style was shown here, with game elements appearing as both sketch’s with a sketch book and various hand cut out pieces. A number of different gameplay styles were teased within the trailer including dungeons crawling and an FPS sequence.
  • Psychonauts 2 was shown, along with the announcement of Xbox Studios acquisition of Double Fine Productions. More of the classic Psychonauts  style was on display in the short trailer shown.
  • A new Flight Simulator was shown. Sporting 4K graphics this installment of the classic series looked truly breathtaking.
  • Wasteland 3 showed off a new trailer full of quirky humor and tactics style combat.
  • Battletoads game trailer was debuted with a beautiful aesthetic style that captures the spirit of the original game and reinvigorates it for the modern age, this game looks like the love letter long time fans were desperately hoping for.
  • Forza Horizon 4 is getting a LEGO Speed Champion dlc later this week. Turning the world of Forza into LEGO looks like a blast.
  • Phantasy Star Online 2 was announced to be coming next Spring to Xbox One. Free to play and cross play were confirmed for the upcoming title.
  • The conference closed with an impressive looking CGI trailer for Halo Infinite.

There was a multitude of brief trailers shown, including a massive indie game’s sizzle reel. Needles to say Xbox is making sure gamers are going to have plenty to play on their Xbox console in the coming year.