E3 2017 Preview & Predictions: Xbox

It’s the first week of May which means we’re officially on the road to E3 2017. It’s one of the most exciting times as a video game fan because E3 means new games, new consoles, and big announcements. This year should be no different as I believe each publisher is in the position to give us something impactful.

Each week leading up to our coverage here at n3rdabl3.com I will be detailing a preview for what has been confirmed to be at each conference and what I believe will be present. So think of this as a preview for what you know and educated guesses and predictions about what you might see. Using common knowledge and research I will try to detail what we will see at Xbox’s press conference without making off the wall, crazy predictions. Mario isn’t coming to the Scorpio, sorry everyone.

Now, with that said, I will make outlandish predictions to close out each post as something I believe is in the realm of possibility but highly unlikely. If you’re here just for the predictions, go ahead and scroll down to the bottom of the article. I don’t mind. They’re good predictions if you ask me.

Each Thursday leading to E3 make sure to stop in here and check out my Previews for each publisher with a press conference. This week (week one) will be all about Xbox and Microsoft. A schedule for the rest of my post releases and details will be at the end of this article.

Covering Xbox first, this write-up will be less flashy than, say, Nintendo or Sony since Microsoft has been shut tight when it comes to their announcements this year. Mix that with a sparse line-up of announced games, we have a small plate to work with outside of hardware. So with the conference and this post, expect a lot of mentions of the Project Scorpio. Let’s scope out the Xbox news and announcements.

Project Scorpio

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It’s no secret what the biggest and most anticipated reveal at Xbox’s press conference will be. We’re all waiting to see exactly what the Project Scorpio is, what it looks like and how it will make our home console life better. We detailed the news of the Scorpio that Digital Foundry put out earlier this year when Xbox took their big, beefy console to show them exactly what they’re bringing to the table, but specs aside we’re getting more from this console.

I imagine Phil Spencer and all of the Xbox team will spend a good deal of time showing off the console, so much that I believe every game we’ll see at this event will be shown from a Scorpio device. Be ready for a lot of, “and this game is running in real time on a Project Scorpio console.” But before that happens we’ll have a reveal, we’ll finally see the console first hand and pictures will flood the internet.

Hopefully soon after the console is officially shown, we’ll get a real name. Kind of tired calling it the Project Scorpio. Remove “project” and that’ll be fine with me. Rumor is it will be called Xbox One X, not sure I buy that at all (not to mention the sources are weak), but it wouldn’t surprise me outright.

E3 2017 Preview & Predictions: Xbox - n3rdabl3

When we’re properly introduced to Scorpio, Phil Spencer and crew need to be very clear with their messaging of what this console is. We can’t have another PS4 Pro where the console seems like a pointless upgrade that the mass market doesn’t need. For people to buy this and help Xbox get back into the console war, we need to hear why we need this console. Game exclusives, power, features, and more, we need to see the appeal for the mass market.

Probably what will matter most is the price of the console. Being touted as a premium home console there’s a lot of speculation this will be a premium price around the $600 mark. I don’t think that’s likely at all. The Scorpio will be dead on arrival if it launches any higher than $449.99. The hype being created by Xbox around the Scorpio is to get us and the rest of people not playing Xbox back on board, it needs to be wallet friendly for the mass audience. I believe that Microsoft will aim for a $399.99 price point solely to prevent a backlash from a huge price that is unfriendly to the common consumer, even if the console isn’t designed for them. This console will be sold at a loss to get Microsoft back in the game. They’re losing, they know it, they can prevent a self-inflicted wound right here.

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Last important bit will come as the release date. Xbox is holding true that their new console will launch this year. Following trends of previous launches for new consoles, I predict this will come in the first half of November, to be released for the holiday season and beating out the outlandish holiday, Black Friday.

Since we already know so much about what to expect from the Scorpio, I don’t think any of the news will come out and surprise us in a big way. The surprises need to come from the software available on the console so we have an ultimate reason to buy it.

Games

Forza Motorsport 7

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It should be guaranteed that we’ll see the next iteration of Forza at E3. It should be noted that the game hasn’t been officially announced but the Forza franchise is annual and we’ll continue to see games from the series each year until they stop selling. We’ve heard of the Forza engine running beautifully on the Project Scorpio and with one of the most optimized engines and best-looking games on the market, I think Forza 7 will be one of the first game demos we see and we’ll see a ton of it. It’ll be used as the focal game to show off the power of the new console plus new features of the game itself. Again, all running in real time on the Scorpio.

The surprising part to this would be if Forza wasn’t at Xbox’s press conference. At this point, it’s a no-brainer. The game will be coming this year, likely in September

Sea of Thieves

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Another First Party game from Microsoft is Rare’s new IP, Sea of Thieves. We’ve seen this before and Rare has hosted plenty of closed Alpha tests for the games, inviting members of the community to check out exactly what they’re working on. The Pirate MMO game looks to be fun but, to me, doesn’t seem like a strong entry in Microsoft’s line up of games. That’s just my opinion and I think this could be a total flop, hopefully, I’m proven wrong.

It’s a safe bet that we’ll see new gameplay from Sea of Thieves (running on Scorpio)(Tired of it yet? Get used to hearing this until the console comes out). What isn’t so safe is a 2017 launch for this game. The silver lining is that Rare hasn’t been shut off from showing off the game, with the mentioned playable Alpha build. Microsoft will need to start somewhere with their 2017 releases to push the Scorpio and I expect Sea of Thieves to be a title to get a good deal of exposure. Although, I can see this game slipping into early 2018.

Crackdown 3

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Initially expected to release in 2016, Crackdown 3 will likely be a big, if not the biggest push from Microsoft at their press conference. We don’t know a ton about this title but it follows in the Crackdown formula, features multiplayer and destructible environments. If this game is still slated to come out in 2017 then expect a long showcase of everything we’re going to get from this game.

We’re expecting more news any day now, according to this tweet:

Again, I believe this will be one of Microsoft’s biggest pushes this year and outside of Scorpio, Crackdown could be the lead title for this holiday season.

State Of Decay 2

E3 2017 Preview & Predictions: Xbox - n3rdabl3

State of Decay 2 has been confirmed to reveal the release date of the game at this year’s E3.

Being another first party title from Microsoft, this game will get a lot of attention and I expect it to see a release late this year or early next year. Not much to say here, we know how this reveal is going down.

Halo 6

E3 2017 Preview & Predictions: Xbox - n3rdabl3

While not confirmed to be at Microsoft’s press conference, it seems likely that we’ll see Halo 6 in some capacity here. Whether that is a teaser akin to the Halo 5 announcement or if the game is further along than that some full trailer showing us what to expect. Basically, I think Xbox needs a big, driving game to coincide with their Scorpio news. I don’t think we see Halo 6 releasing this year but we need something to look forward to and something to buy Scorpio for. Unfortunately, I don’t think Crackdown 3 or Sea of Thieves are big enough titles to get the rest of the market excited for a new console to play on.

Phil Spencer has said Scorpio is joining the family of Xbox and that it will play all of your Xbox One games. So if that’s true, why buy a Scorpio if I can get a cheaper Xbox One and play the same games? Here’s where Halo 6 comes in. Halo 6 has to be a Scorpio exclusive (outside of the Windows 10 release via the Play Anywhere promotion), we need a software reason to buy the Scorpio, otherwise, it will have the same fate of the PS4 Pro and sit on shelves.

If that were to be true, I don’t think we’ll get that news this year but there has to be something big to make us excited for this new console. 4K and all that is fine but it’s a niche market, the masses don’t care for those specs, they just want their games. The rush to buy Scorpio needs to start with worthy software and I don’t think the announced titles fill that void.

ID @XBOX and Other Titles

E3 2017 Preview & Predictions: Xbox - n3rdabl3

Can we get some concrete info on Cuphead? Please? At this point, it’s been so long that it’s hard to care for the title but here we are again. Another E3 and no release on Cuphead. It’s the end of the line, we need a release date and some kind of promise here to get this title out.

In that same vain, we’re still waiting for Below. The game from Capybara Games was first shown in 2013 and last year it was delayed, again, out of the 2016 window. How long must we wait?

We Happy Few made a big splash at last year’s E3 and joined the Xbox Preview Program. Since then we’ve been playing the same build waiting on Compulsion Game to finish the narrative and get out the full game. I’m guessing we see an update on this front.

Lastly, Minecraft. We’re going to see more Minecraft somehow. We’ve seen it each year showcasing something new and fun and I don’t think that changes this year.

Third Party Titles

Announced back in March, Middle Earth: Shadow of War is coming in August and it was announced that this game will be a Play Anywhere title and is being promoted as an Xbox One game and a Project Scorpio game. Splitting the wordage up here makes me feel more confident in saying Scorpio will have games only on Scorpio. But the fact that it’s a play anywhere title leads me to believe there’s a deal between Warner and Microsoft. We’ll likely see more of this game at Xbox’s conference based on that information.

A lot of big titles have struck some kind of exclusive deal with Sony so it’s hard to imagine they’ll be shown during Xbox’s conference. Games like Call of Duty: WWIIDestiny 2 and Red Dead Redemption 2, they each have deals in place with Sony. However, if any of them are to be present in a big way at the Xbox press conference I expect it to be Red Dead Redemption 2. I don’t think this game comes out this year but Microsoft would gain the most from having Red Dead 2 displayed in 4K from a Scorpio. The deal Rockstar has with Sony for Red Dead 2 mentions select online content which could very well be character outfits for all we know.

Star Wars Battlefront 2 could also be a key game showed off at the event. Although the previous Battlefront game had an exclusive deal with Sony and if that continues this year it becomes less likely.

Games that could make the showcase but could ultimately be left off for various reasons include FIFA 18 (based on previous deals with Microsoft) and Madden 18 (same deal). If Square Enix decided to strike up another deal with Xbox over Tomb Raider, which I see as unlikely based on sales numbers, we could see the rumored Shadow of the Tomb Raider revealed here. If we do, I expect some kind of exclusive partnership but not in the same way with the previous title. Again, I don’t think that’s a very likely choice for Square Enix to make again.

Activision seems to have their games wrapped up in deals with Sony but Ubisoft and Bethesda are still out there. We’re getting a new Assassin’s Creed game which I can see at the Xbox conference but I think we’re more likely to see Bethesda titles at the show. Possibly the new Wolfenstein game shows up here or even the Evil Within 2. Those will likely be held until later in the night for Bethesda’s own conference but it could happen. The most likely scenario, I believe, is Fallout 4 VR. Todd Howard mentioned bringing Fallout 4 to VR in the Project Scorpio trailer from last year’s E3. It would just make sense that he walks out on stage to show us Fallout 4 VR running on a Scorpio.

Outside of the mentioned games, it’s hard to see who else fits in here. Again, Microsoft has been tight on details with third party relations and bringing over other properties to the Xbox. We’re bound to see more than I’ve mentioned here at the show but at that point, I’d be pulling predictions out of the air.

Virtual Reality

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Outside of the console and games, we’re going to see VR in some capacity. It’s not a sure thing but it’s heavily implied. Last year Microsoft mentioned that Scorpio will have VR capabilities and according to a press release earlier this year, we’ll be getting VR sooner than later.

“Our plan is to bring mixed reality content to the Xbox One family of devices, including Project Scorpio, in 2018,”

Since it’s listed as 2018 it’s possible we don’t see VR shown off fully but it has to be there based on what has been said previously. I would think if they’re going to show us the buying power that Scorpio can possess, then we’ll see what they have up their sleeves. Plus the fact that Microsoft is lacking in announcements, we may need the VR to fill some time.

Predictions

One of my favorite parts of E3 is making predictions on what we could see at the show. This is a time of excitement and hype so you’ll see smaller sites all over the place with “grabby” headlines and anonymous sources saying this is what will happen at E3. Let it be known that the following passages are MY predictions. Some could be based on research (will explain in the passage) or they could be gut feelings with no legs to stand on. E3 is fun for fans, so let’s have fun with it.

Prediction: Xbox will introduce an Elite Controller 2.0. Xbox is looking to deliver the most powerful gaming console on the market and they are known for the amount of work they put into their controllers. So it would only make sense they have a new controller to show off to go with their console. Also, the past two E3 press conferences from Xbox have had an announcement regarding the Xbox One controllers (2015 – Elite Controller, 2016 – Design Labs customizations).

Prediction: The Elite Controller 2.0 WILL be included in a Scorpio Bundle. If you’re going to have the best hardware in terms of a console and controller, it only makes sense to pair them together in one package. This will be the expensive bundle you’re afraid of.

Prediction: Halo 3 is getting a remaster and it’s only on Project Scorpio (and Windows 10). I know you’re totally not tired of playing remasters, so here’s another. It’s the 10th anniversary of Halo 3 and it just seems like a no-brainer to launch a new Xbox console with a Halo title. But making it a console exclusive gives a small something for people to run out and buy a console for. The downside is, Halo 3 is already available on Xbox One so it doesn’t seem likely because Project Scorpio is confirmed to play Xbox One games but hey, it’s a prediction with no evidence. What can you expect?

It’s more likely we’ll see the Halo 3 Remaster but without it being exclusive to Scorpio, but chances for the whole thing are slim.

Prediction: Halo VR. Here’s something you can’t get on your Xbox One right now. A Halo VR game or even mission available on Scorpio would be huge. We saw 343 Industries play around with the idea of AR and VR in the past with Hololens. I’m not saying it will happen but there’s a chance. And if it does happen, it will be a Halo experience exclusive to Scorpio so people will have to own the console to play it. Buying power, people.

That’s my take on Xbox at this year’s E3. Fewer predictions for the show than I would have liked but I’m sure most of the time will be spent with the Scorpio reveal and what that means for console gaming going forward.

Reminder, I’ll be doing a write up for each publisher with a press conference for this year’s E3 every week leading up to the event. Let me know what you think Xbox has in store for us this year in the comments below and make some wild predictions.

Next week we tackle Sony. Be back here Thursday!

Release schedule:

  • E3 Preview: Sony – May 11
  • E3 Preview: Nintendo – May 18
  • E3 Preview: Bethesda – May 25
  • E3 Preview: Ubisoft – June 1
  • E3 Preview: EA – June 8

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