E3 2015 Predictions: Microsoft
Continuing off from my previous predictions for Nintendo, this time Microsoft is at the plate. Microsoft has a lot to focus on, what with them launching a new operating system for PC, Windows 10. This actually means a lot for games, as they are trying to unify the gaming experience even further between Xbox and PC. They will most likely set aside some time to talk about this, but many gamers are going to be there for the Xbox One announcements. So without further ado, here are some of the predictions we have for Microsoft.
1. Resident Evil 7 Timed Exclusivity
Microsoft pulled an interesting move when they had announced Dead Rising 3 to be exclusive to the Xbox One back when the system launched. Not only was this a good move for them, but it also established a stronger relationship between Microsoft and Capcom. Fans have been speculating an announcement of Resident Evil 7 for quite some time, and there have even been some hints here and there about the inevitable reveal. With Microsoft falling behind Sony in the sales, Microsoft will need to continue reaching out to third parties to give their Xbox One more exclusive titles, even if it is a timed exclusive like Rise of the Tomb Raider. Looking back, Microsoft has had some interesting deals with Resident Evil, including a special edition red Resident Evil 5 Xbox 360, early multiplayer DLC for Resident Evil 6, and exclusive DLC content for Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City. Resident Evil may be just what Microsoft needs to try to appeal to Japanese gamers, as well as gain a high profile title for their system when Sony continues to release exclusives from their own first party developers. Of course, there would be no way that Capcom would completely ignore their PlayStation fans with a franchise like this, so it would be likely that the game will release on PlayStation 4 at a later date, but Microsoft will most likely be saving this one for their press conference.
2. Reviving MechAssault
People can count Microsoft’s top franchises for the Xbox on one hand, but back in the day, they were known for publishing many other series. MechWarrior had been popular for years on PC, and the original Xbox had two very well received games with the MechAssault series. Xbox 360 hasn’t seen any of this kind of action, so maybe it’s time for Microsoft to bring MechAssault to the Xbox One. The last game, MechAssault: Phantom War, was released for the original DS back in 2006, so there may be a bit of licensing needed from the BattleTech owners at Topps, but knowing Microsoft, that probably won’t be an issue. MechAssault would be a nice way to bring another exclusive title to the Xbox One that would also be a nice bit of nostalgia for fans of the games on the original Xbox.
3. New Halo Mini-series
Microsoft tends to enjoy releasing high-quality material to promote their franchises. Halo is definitely no stranger to some awesome marketing, and even has a couple of mini-series with their share of fans. Halo: Nightfall introduced Spartan Agent Locke into the universe, a key player in Halo 5: Guardians. It’s likely that Microsoft will want to take this route for future story content, perhaps introducing new elements to the world, or just wanting to tease more fans of a full feature film released in theaters. Scott Free Productions did a fairly good job on the previous one, and knowing Microsoft, the next Halo series will probably have even higher production values. They may also go the Halo: Legends route and do another animated feature.
4. New Alan Wake Title
Remedy Entertainment may still be hard at work on Quantum Break, their Xbox One exclusive action game, but they’ve made it no secret that they want to return to Alan Wake. Alan Wake: American Nightmare released for the Xbox 360 back in 2012, and though Quantum Break won’t be out until 2016, it wouldn’t be unusual for them to tease an Alan Wake project now to get the fuse lit. It might be a project way down the pipeline, but considering how long the original Alan Wake took to come out, it wouldn’t exactly be something out of the ordinary for Remedy.
5. Battletoads for Xbox Live Arcade
Shovel Knight has been a favorite retro-inspired indie game that released on all the current platforms recently, and when released on Xbox One, there was a nice little piece of nostalgia included with a Battletoads level, guest starring the toads themselves as bosses. Microsoft Studio’ Ken Lobb has said that they intend to put Rare on their dormant franchise again at some point. It might be too ambitious to put them in a fully developed action game, but a digitally released beat ’em up might be a good start to build interest in this classic franchise. It certainly gave fans a nice smile when the characters appeared in Shovel Knight, so perhaps another retro inspired title for the series would be a safe route to take.
6. Shadow Complex Sequel
Back in 2009, Chair Entertainment created Shadow Complex, a Metroid-vania styled action game that released to critical acclaim. Since then, the team moved on to create the Infinity Blade series for mobile platforms, which while good games, it would be nice to see them bring Jason Fleming back for another adventure. The game had a novelized sequel called Empire, which began an all new civil war after the President of the United States ends up being killed. It may be possible to make a game based on the story, or perhaps make a story that takes place after Empire, and bring back comic book writer and novelist Peter David. Add Nolan North back into the picture and you have a high profile marketplace title just begging to happen.
7. Killer Instinct Season 3
Killer Instinct may have had a bumpy journey on the Xbox One, what with the developers Double Helix Games being purchased by Amazon, the challenge of supporting a fighter like this long term, and just finding ways to market a free-to-play fighting game for a new console. Season 2 is about to wind down with the release of ARIA, a character that influences the story quite a bit. With that, it seems like Season 3 is likely going to be the next course, adding a boast of new and classic characters, as well as probably incorporate new story elements to change up the arcade mode. It might even be an option to make a full retail package that collects both seasons so far, allowing players the ability to own the game physically. This would be one of the more obvious announcements to be expected at E3, but we will know for sure in a couple weeks.
Microsoft doesn’t always steal the show at E3, but they have a lot of solid partnerships that tend to give them great announcements. EA often takes the stage to show off new sports titles and Ubisoft likes to use time at Microsoft’s conference to show off more of their Tom Clancy games, despite both companies having their own press conference. These are only a few possible announcements, but Microsoft has to put in their A-game if they want to impress the crowds this year. It would probably be best not to spend half the presentation showing Call of Duty: Black Ops III or Madden NFL 16, as these are games we know are coming, and they hold very little surprises for us at this point. Stay tuned for the Sony installment of our predictions in the next few days, and E3 will be right around the corner. We’ll soon see if any of these predictions come to fruition. If you have any Microsoft related predictions, feel free to post them in the comments below.