Microsoft kicked off its Xbox press event at E3 by discussing upcoming exclusive titles coming to Xbox One this year. The company's self-proclaimed “biggest E3 ever” started with Xbox head Phil Spencer discussing some of the titles that will help the platform compete against Sony's PS4 over the coming months.
First up on the agenda for Xbox at E3 2019 was “The Outer Worlds, a new sci-fi role-playing game created by Obsidian. The studio, which was recently acquired by Microsoft, say that game is coming to Xbox One, PC, and Xbox Game Pass. Colorful in design, this dystopian adventure was described as “This is Halcyon, the further colony in the galaxy, proudly owned and operated by corporations.”
Ninja Theory is another recently acquired game studio and it too showcased its first effort under the Microsoft Studios umbrella. Called Bleeding Edge, the new multiplayer melee fighting game offering its own unique visual flair. Bright colors and throwdown-style action combine in a game that looks plenty of fun.
E3 2019 also saw Microsoft showcase a world premiere for a game called Blair Witch. Yes, this is set in the same universe as the famous movie. Developed by Blooper Team, the game is a first-person horror experience boasting torchlight navigation and shaky cam (faithful to the movie, then).
Probably the biggest game news at Xbox E3 today was Cyberpunk 2077, a new game debuting next year from CD Projekt Red. Microsoft brought out Keanu Reeves fresh from John Wick 3 to discuss the game. In his typical laid-back style, Reeves said Cyberpunk 2077 is “gonna be breathtaking”. That title will be available from April 16, 2020.
Battletoads is another colorful game making a return to Xbox. Pitched as confirmation that Microsoft is embracing independent developers, Battletoads is an all-action game.
Game Pass and Continued Acquisitions
Microsoft has also announced a new subscription level for its Xbox Game Pass service. Called Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, the package bundles Xbox Live Gold and Game Pass into a single services for Xbox One and PC. This grouped subscription will cost $14.99 per month.
Expanding on Xbox Game Pass, Microsoft revealed Borderlands: The Handsome Collection, Hollow Knight, Metro Exodus and Batman Arkham Knight are now available for the service.
Microsoft has been purchasing game studios at a rapid pace in recent years, including 7 over the last year alone. At E3, the company revealed it has now acquired Double Fine Productions. This is both a big get for the company and something of a surprise.
The Tim Schafer founded studio has a storied past with Microsoft. Redmond dropped the company's Psychonauts in 2005, resulting in the game almost being dropped by Double Fine. At E3, the Microsoft showed a trailer for Psychonauts 2, which retains an indie style but looks like plenty of fun.
Phil Spencer was on hand to talk up the success Microsoft has enjoyed with Xbox. He wheeled out his “two billion gamers worldwide” statistic, highlighting the appeal of the platform. Spencer added Microsoft now wants to bring gamers together wherever they are and whatever form factor they have.
That was an obvious nod to Project xCloud, which will be detailed later at E3.