With E3 2019 right around the corner, and Microsoft being the only console manufacturer to host a live show, it seems that this year could be their biggest showcase of third party content at E3 so far.
This doesn’t mean that the Xbox team doesn’t have their own huge slate of titles to show off–expect Halo Infinite, Gears 5, Forza, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, Battletoads, Playground Games’ “other” game (likely Fable), and a host of others that we likely don’t know yet–but it does mean that third parties will want to command the largest audience they can, and for many, that will mean partnering up with Microsoft.
We expect Xbox’s show to be longer than usual–up to two hours in length compared to an hour and a half–and chock full of even more games than usual. Last year, they showed off an impressive 50 games (many of which were in a quick buzz reel due to time constraints), and we expect that this year, they’ll boast even more simply because they’ll have third parties coming to them for more attention.
Microsoft has the advantage of going first in the conference rounds, with the exception of EA, who is eschewing a traditional conference in favour of multiple announcements over the days prior. This gives third parties, even larger ones with their own conferences, the opportunity to have big reveals on the Xbox stage.
While Ubisoft has its own showcase, they also split demos of their big games between conferences. Last year it was Assassin’s Creed Odyssey at Sony while The Division 2 made the rounds at Xbox. However, with games like Ghost Recon Breakpoint and a potential for a new Watch Dogs or Splinter Cell, Ubisoft is likely going to want some extra time at Microsoft’s press conference. This may even be the year that they decide to show off Beyond Good and Evil 2 away from their own stage.
Bethesda, in a similar situation as Ubisoft, will likely have fewer titles that need their own space on Microsoft’s stage, and will likely serve double duty at their own press conference as well, but that is not stopping Todd Howard from outing Starfield‘s first gameplay demo on the Xbox stage, is it? This may be especially important to Bethesda more than anyone else as the Xbox briefing had about six times the viewership of the Bethesda conference last year, not including third-party streams (for which we do not have data).
Square Enix is another where, even though a game like Final Fantasy VII is coming first to PlayStation 4, doesn’t mean that they will necessarily shy away from utilizing Microsoft as their carrier for the information, alongside their own press conference. What is more likely is for Square Enix to bring Crystal Dynamics’ Avengers project to Xbox, alongside
While EA tries to distance itself from E3 festivities after their EA Play event wraps up on the weekend prior to the official show, they did show off Anthem on the Xbox stage at E3 2017, so a return this year wouldn’t be completely out of the question. A second look at Jedi: Fallen Order wouldn’t be a crazy shock, but we’re not banking on it, either.
The games, developers, and publishers to whom it will likely make the largest difference are those who don’t already have their own conferences.
Control, the latest game from Remedy Entertainment and 505 Games, which was shown off in a trailer at Sony’s press conference last year, is another shoo-in for the Xbox stage as the companies have previous ties from Quantum Break, and Remedy has now lost their stage partner as Sony has pulled out of the show.
Another huge game that will probably want some airtime is Call of Duty, whether it ends up being Modern Warfare 4 or not. Activision has partnered with Sony for the last few years on Call of Duty announcements, and while they might be a part of an upcoming Sony State of Play presentation, the company will likely want a much larger reveal with Xbox when all eyes are on it at E3. Activision may even want to bring Destiny to the table, though Call of Duty is much more a likely choice.
Warner Bros. and Rocksteady may finally be looking to announce their next rumoured Arkham game, and Microsoft is probably the way they’d choose to do it. Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment is indeed on the list of E3 participants, so we expect them to make at least one big new announcement this year, and with all the superhero buzz, we wouldn’t be shocked to see it be a Batman one.
Sega is another likely choice for bringing games to Xbox’s stage, and we may as well throw a bit of speculation into the mix: Yakuza will indeed make an Xbox debut, despite Sega having said repeatedly that they have no plans to do so.
There are other companies–Capcom, Deep Silver, CD Projekt Red, to name a few–that could all show up on Microsoft’s stage, but they’ve all shown a pretty strong allegiance with Microsoft recently, so we expect that much more than the interesting move of something like, Control, for example, moving to Xbox from its debut at PlayStation.
Who do you think will be on Xbox’s E3 stage this year that would be a nice surprise?
Microsoft will host its E3 Xbox Briefing on Sunday, June 9 at 1:00 p.m. PST.