E3 2018: Xbox Is Investing In Its Future–And That’s A Big Deal

Prior to E3, things weren’t looking great for Microsoft. Crackdown was delayed to 2019. Sea of Thieves launch got off to an unstable start. And the console’s list of exclusives looked lacking, to say the least. But the Microsoft press conference cracked open the shell obscuring what the Xbox has planned for the near future. And things are now looking much better. Matt Booty, the recently appointed head of first party studios, explained in an interview at E3 that he’s trying to do more than just put out sequels to existing franchises; he he hopes to do more “branching out sideways.”

“For example, you saw what we’re doing with Gears of War,” Booty explained. “We’re putting the game on three different platforms with three different games in three different genres. We’ve got a core Gears game on console. We’ve got a new exploration off in mobile. We’ve got a whole new kind of game off in PC with Gears Tactics, right? And that’s one way we’ll grow.”

But the other avenue for growth is equally headline-making: Xbox announced partnerships with five new studios, all of which will fall under Booty’s umbrella. “We’re going to bet on people, we’re going to bet on ideas. We’re going to go on, Phil [Spencer] used the word, a ‘quest’ to find creators. You think about the common thread with people like Guillaume [Provost] at Compulsion Games, Nina at Ninja Theory. These are studio leaders who really understand the craft of the game and the creativity.”

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Booty says that he also has some “complete blank slates.” For the hiring of Darrell Gallagher, who heads up the newly formed Santa Monica studio, Booty gave him a “blank piece of paper,” and told him, “You go hire the team you want. You go work on the game you want. We’re going to get you a building you want, and we want to just start a studio from scratch.”

The future of Xbox games sounds promising, but 2018 still feels light on exclusives. In response to that, Booty boasts that the power of the Xbox One makes the console’s strong third party line-up an equally important selling point. “We saw partners of our stage, folks like Bethesda, who have decided to show their content many times first on our stage, and flat out have said, ‘Hey, we think this looks best on Xbox One X.’ So we’ve got some cool stuff coming from first party as we get into holiday, but we’ve got a whole bunch of partners that are bringing content over the next year that really plays best on Xbox.”

But the Microsoft gaming division is about more than just games. Spencer teased that a console streaming service is on the way. There’s the dedicated streaming app Mixer. And on the hardware side, there’s already a team at work on the next iteration of Xbox hardware. How does someone like Booty help elevate his teams while also making sure everything else Microsoft has coming up gets the attention it needs?

“The job of first party, really at the core, is to be kind of a beacon and a lighthouse for a lot of our things,” he explains. “So when we first said, ‘What if we put games into Game Pass at the same time that we put them into retail and digital?’ There were some questions about that. Does that mean that people are only going to play it in the Game Pass? Is that going to impact retail sales?

“Sea of Thieves was our first game to go day and date into Game Pass, followed by State of Decay, and what we have found is that we’ve had great success with both of those games at retail and digital, and we’ve got a bunch of people inside Game Pass engaging with the game either because they were already subscribed to Game Pass, or they might not have engaged with that game before, but because it’s available to them inside Game Pass, they try it out. It’s about exploration, and about discovery. We’ve had over two million people play State of Decay so far just in its short time since launch, and that really is, I believe, because Game Pass has opened up a bigger audience. There is some inherent risk in there, but the job of Microsoft Studios is to go first, and to really be that lighthouse.

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“When you think all the way back to the very first Xbox: Halo as a shooter–it’s almost hard to believe now, but at the time, there was all this debate about whether shooters would work on console. ‘How can you possibly play a shooter on a console? Are you going to be able to have the internet? Multiplayer, how does that work?’ And yet Halo took the risk and was there first, really made it work, and it was obviously a great success.

“So when you think about balancing those priorities, the thing we’ve got to remember and that we’ve got to orient to is that’s our job. Our job is to sort of be there first, and I sit in the same meetings in the same rooms with folks who are the leaders for Game Pass, for Mixer, with our hardware engineers, and we all collaborate very closely. One of the advantages of being part of first party is that we have access with them and we have the ability to influence those decisions.”

The balancing act is not an easy, and the coming year will show how well Booty is going to be able to execute on his plans for coordination and expansion. But whether or not it’s ultimately successful, Microsoft is going to have some exciting announcements in the next few years.

E3 2018: Elder Scrolls 6 Boss Knows The Game’s Release Date, But He Won’t Tell You

Todd Howard, who is known to wear very nice leather jackets, has given an update on the state of development on The Elder Scrolls VI and the studio’s new Starfield. Speaking to GameSpot at E3 2018, Howard said The Elder Scrolls VI is only in the “very early” stages of development, while Starfield is further along and will likely launch before the new Elder Scrolls game.

“It’s in the concept and design [phase],” Howard said. Perhaps more intriguingly, Howard said he knows the release date of The Elder Scrolls VI–but he’s not going to tell you. “I do. I would be foolish to say it,” he said.

For The Elder Scrolls VI, Bethesda is taking its time to make it the game that fans want and expect from the studio. After all, Skyrim was a monumentally successful game from a critical and commercial perspective, so it has very big shoes to fill. And Bethesda is known for outdoing itself.

“We’ve obviously taken our time with [The Elder Scrolls 6], as opposed to jumping right into it,” he said. “We know what we want it to be, and that’s gonna take time, technology, other things that we need to build to to really pull it off. And that’s what that franchise deserves.”

Howard suggested that the ideas and ambition Bethesda has for The Elder Scrolls 6 might not be possible on current-generation hardware. He said in a Gameslice interview that Bethesda is “getting closer” to the technology needed to run the game, which suggests that the PS4 and Xbox One are not capable enough to run the game as Bethesda wants.

As for Starfield, this game–which is Bethesda’s first new IP In a very long time–is already playable and is in full production. As such, the game is expected to launch before The Elder Scrolls 6. Indeed, Howard told GameSpot that the current release plan for Bethesda Game Studios’ next big games will be Fallout 76, then Starfield, then Elder Scrolls VI. However, Howard also said Starfield might not launch on current-generation hardware, so it could be a long time before we get to play either title.

No new Xbox or PlayStation consoles have been announced, but just this week Microsoft announced it’s working on new consoles, while Sony is rumoured to be working on a PlayStation 5.

Bethesda announcing Starfield and Elder Scrolls VI so long before launch is a notable change for the company, as it’s become known for announcing and releasing games in short order.

Bethesda’s next big game is Fallout 76, which launches in November for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. Unlike the previous games, it is an online-only, multiplayer-focused game.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: All The Characters Confirmed So Far

It’s official: the latest entry in Nintendo’s highly anticipated crossover fighting game series will be call Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. And it’s certainly shaping up to be one of the most exciting games coming to Switch. In a surprising, yet bold move, Nintendo announced that the game will include every single fighter that has ever appeared in a Super Smash Bros. game. Full stop.

Across the series’ near 20-year history, there have been dozens of fighters. There’s been enough that Ultimate is launching with over sixty different characters. Some new ones are being added too, like Samus’ archenemy Ridley.

Ultimate is just going to get bigger from here, as Nintendo announced the series would begin incorporating a new type of fighter called Extras. These Extras are essentially reskins of previous characters. But it opens up Ultimate to an entire pantheon of additional fighters who can just adopt the moves of older Smash characters. Ultimate is launching with a few Extras, such as Princess Daisy who is a reskin of Princess Peach.

Nintendo announced Super Smash Bros. Ultimate during the company’s prerecorded E3 2018 press conference. The new title will be Super Smash’s debut on Switch.

For every other Nintendo E3 announcement, as well as plenty of other trailers, impressions, and features, stay tuned to our E3 hub.

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E3 2018: Metal Gear’s David Hayter Still Voices Snake In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

During its E3 2018 Direct, Nintendo announced that all the characters to ever appear in a Smash Bros. game will appear in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. That includes, of course, Metal Gear Solid’s Snake, and now we’ve learned David Hayter, who has voiced Snake in most Metal Gear games, will be stepping into the role once again.

In an interview with Gameinformer, Nintendo localization manager Nate Bihldorff said Hayter would be providing Snake’s voice. Hayter himself then confirmed the announcement on Twitter.

David Hayter was the voice of Solid Snake in the original Metal Gear, and has played the role in several of the game’s sequels and prequels too. He also provided the voice of Snake in 2008’s Super Smash Bros. Brawl for the Wii.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will continue the series’ brawler legacy when it releases on December 7, 2018, but many characters will undergo some mechanical changes and balances, some significant, some minor. For example, Link’s bombs will now be remotely detonated. Generally speaking, all Final Smash moves will have more immediate effects–those who previously had long-lasting transformations like Bowser and Little Mac will have harder hitting versions, but they won’t last as long. Check out our full list of all the characters in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

E3 2018: Bethesda’s Starfield Game May Not Release On Current-Gen Consoles

Starfield, the new sci-fi game from Bethesda Game Studios, is among the most hotly anticipated games to be revealed at E3. We don’t yet know when it will be released, but it’s no guarantee that you’ll ever get to play it on your current-gen console.

GameSpot spoke to Bethesda Game Studios’ creative director Todd Howard during the show and asked him about the possibility of Starfield skipping the PS4 and Xbox One. He indicated that Bethesda won’t compromise on its vision just to get the game to work on those consoles, and leaving them behind in favour of newer hardware is “not out of the question.”

However, he added that a definitive decision on platforms hasn’t been made yet. “I’m gonna be honest, I don’t know the answer to that yet,” he said. “I can’t absolutely say yes to [leaving current generation console behind]. We’re not going to limit the game that way yet. I’m willing to [leave current generation consoles behind] but it’s not a priority right now. I’d put it that way.

“When you’re making a game, you want to get the best stuff on the screen, and then you optimize and you do things and if it lands here, we can cast a wider net, great. But if we can’t … we’ve done that before.”

Bethesda Game Studios, the developer of Fallout and Elder Scrolls, shared numerous details about Fallout 76 during its E3 press conference, but arguably more intriguing were the announcements regarding several of its long-term projects. Alongside The Elder Scrolls VI, Bethesda confirmed it’s at work on Starfield. This marks the first new IP from the company in 25 years, and one that Howard has said has been in development for several years now. It’s something that had been rumored for quite a while, as Bethesda parent company registered a trademark for the name Starfield way back in 2013.

During the conference, a cinematic trailer for the game was shown. We see a shot of space with a distant star’s light outlining a planet. From there, the camera moves to show a space station that then looks as if it gets sucked into a black hole. Bethesda’s announcement made no mention of a release date or specific platforms, but it seems clear that it may still be some time before we get your hands on it.

E3 2018: Insomniac’s Spider-Man PS4 Game Gets The Feel Of Spidey Just Right

Locomotion is one of the most critical areas to nail in a Spider-Man game. Swinging between the skyscrapers of New York, feeling that rush of inertia as the webslinger hurtles through the air at dizzying speeds, is one of the core tenets of the Spidey experience. And from the brief hands-on we had at E3 2018 with the new Spider-Man game that’s coming exclusively on the PlayStation 4, it seems like developer Insomniac Games has nailed that swinging feeling.

During our demo, we were able to freely roam around the open environment of New York city, traversing the world and getting into the occasional scuffle to get a feel for how Spidey moves in this new game. And I was immediately struck by how easy it was to keep moving as the ol’ webhead. Swinging between buildings was as easy as holding down the R2 button, while tapping X would give Spidey a speed boost for even quicker traversal. And while this game does require buildings or other objects for Spidey’s webs to attach to (so no off-screen magical walls that Spidey’s webs will always somehow find), finding yourself in an area with no buildings (such as a park) doesn’t mean you’ll have to run on foot. The R2 button in this case acts as the “Go” button, with Spidey automatically webbing to a distant object and propelling forward, which makes sure he never really slows down if you don’t want him to. But if you did want to stop and get your bearings, tapping both shoulder buttons will make Spider-Man find the closest street light, flagpole, or other perch to temporarily park and view his surroundings.

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Combat, too, seems similarly intuitive. Primarily, Spidey has an attack button, one for web attacks, and a dodge, which when used in conjunction with the hero’s spider sense going off (signified by the white halo appearing around Spidey’s head), allows for all of the balletic moves Sony has been showing off in earlier trailers for the game. Taking on a few bad guys was no sweat–while swinging through New York I stumbled across some jewel thieves breaking into a store, and it was easy to make quick work of them.

Things got a little tougher when I took on some of the Kingpin’s goons at the top of a building site. These guys packed more serious hardware, including sniper rifles and rocket launchers, and I was forced to continually move and dodge in order to stay alive. Combat is spiced up with the inclusion of environmental objects that Spidey can use as makeshift weapons–by pressing L1 and R1, Spidey would web an object (such as doors or manhole covers) and swing them around to clear enemies.

Before finishing my brief time with the game, I stumbled across a bank where Spidey baddie Shocker was robbing the vault. This boss battle took place indoors, and I needed to web sling huge chunks of debris to throw at Shocker (because of their weight, Spidey needed to throw several webs at the throwable object, which meant timing was key to make sure Shocker didn’t throw a concussive wave at Spidey while he was still webbing). Unfortunately, while I didn’t manage to get past Shocker in this demo, it did give me a great sense of how boss fights would feel in this game. That, plus the impressive feeling of inertia and the fluid nature of combat, has me in high hopes that Insomniac’s take on Spider-Man may be one the best game experiences we’ve had with the webslinger. We’ll know for sure soon enough, with Spider-Man set for release on September 7 this year.

Kingdom Hearts 3 PS4 Pro Special Edition Announced During Sony’s E3 2018 Conference

Sony is releasing a special-edition PlayStation 4 Pro themed around Kingdom Hearts III. The company announced the console during its E3 2018 briefing, and it looks pretty slick.

The console sports a Kingdom Hearts-themed look, while Sony is also releasing a matching DualShock 4 controller. Check out the design in the image below. Specifics regarding a price and release were not shared, but presumably it will release early in 2019 alongside the game itself. We’ll report back as details are confirmed.

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Kingdom Hearts III launches on January 29 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. We saw a ton of new content for the game, including a look at the game’s Frozen and Pirates of the Caribbean-themed areas and characters, the latter of which was a brand-new reveal during Sony’s briefing. Microsoft’s conference was also home to a trailer for the game, which was then shown in even greater detail during Square Enix’s briefing.

For lots more, check out all of GameSpot’s previous coverage. And you can keep up with all the Sony E3 2018 announcements here.

E3 2018: All The PS4 Games From Sony’s Press Conference

When it comes to E3 press conferences, Sony always has the struggle of topping itself. The company has often made it a point to focus primarily on games, never spending too long talking in between game reveals. While some years have varied due to the quality of the announcements, Sony has generally performed well with a bevy of unexpected reveals.

But this year’s presentation offered a substantial change-of-pace. Instead of announcing a laundry list worth of games, Sony instead focused on four of its biggest upcoming games: The Last of Us: Part II, Death Stranding, Spider-Man, and Ghost of Tsushima.

As to be expected, famed developer Hideo Kojima intrigued audiences with the latest trailer for Death Stranding. We finally got debut gameplay footage of Ghost of Tsushima, the open-work samurai action game developed by Sucker Punch Productions–the studio behind Infamous and Sly Cooper. In addition, the new trailer for Spider-Man made us all the more excited for the game’s release this September. Lastly, we finally got a closer look at the The Last of Us: Part II’s story and tense gameplay.

But there were plenty of other surprises too. Sony announced a sequel to Team Ninja’s samurai-action game, Nioh. It even debuted the first trailer for the highly-anticipated Resident Evil 2 Remake, as well as footage for Control–the latest game by Remedy Entertainment.

Sony’s E3 presentation was packed with exciting new details for its biggest games, as well as a variety of new ones. Be sure to click ahead to see everything that was shown. And if you’d like to catch up on everything that came from the briefing, check out our news roundup. In the meantime, which PS4 games are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments below.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4

Activision’s juggernaut shooter series is mixing things up this year, as Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 will not have a traditional campaign. While campaign is out, battle royale is in through fight-to-the-death mode called Blackout.

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC | Release Date: October 12

Control

Control is the latest game by Remedy Entertainment, the studio behind Alan Wake and Quantum Break. The debut trailer showcased a strangely shifting world, with a protagonist who can fly and control objects using telekinesis.

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC | Release Date: TBA

Days Gone

Days Gone takes players to a post-apocalyptic open world, set in the Pacific Northwest. The action-adventure/survival-horror game puts you in the shoes of Deacon St. John, once an outlaw and now trying to survive in a devastated world. While on the road, Deacon must battle Freakers, zombie-like humans and animals that have become mindless and violent and travel in fast-moving hordes, much like the zombies in World War Z.

Platforms: PS4 | Release Date: February 22, 2019

Destiny 2: Forsaken

Destiny 2’s next DLC expansion, Forsaken, appears to be this game’s attempt at a Taken King-style revamp. It introduces new areas set on the Reef, new Supers, and a mode called Gambit that blends PvP and PvE. You’ll also get the expected additions like more Exotic gear to collect, while a free update will introduce some other improvements (such as a new in-game achievement system) for all players.

Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One | Release Date: September 4

Death Stranding

Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima no longer works for Konami, but his new studio’s game looks significantly weirder than that often-bizarre series. We don’t know much about Death Stranding’s gameplay other than it’s an open-world action game. But it’ll feature The Walking Dead’s Norman Reedus and what appears to be a very important baby.

Platforms: PS4 | Release Date: TBA

Ghost Giant

Ghost Giant is a new VR game by Zoink, the creator of Fe. You control an ethereal being known as the Ghost Giant, who befriends and watches over a lonely cat child named Louis.

Platforms: PS4, VR | Release Date: TBA 2019

Ghost of Tsushima

Ghost of Tsushima is the latest game by developer Sucker Punch Productions, the studio responsible for Infamous and Sly Cooper. The game is set on the island of Tsushima during the Mongol invasions of Japan in 1294. You play as a lone samurai turned vengeful assassin–likely fighting to drive out the Mongol army from Japan.

Platforms: PS4 | Release Date: TBA

Kingdom Hearts III

We’ve gotten sneak peeks at some of the worlds and characters that Kingdom Hearts III will contain, including Hercules, Monsters Inc., and Toy Story. We’re not sure exactly where the story will specifically take Sora and friends, but we do know it is the direct sequel to Kingdom Hearts 2 and an end to the saga.

Platforms: Xbox One, PS4 | Release Date: January 29, 2019

The Last of Us: Part II

There is a huge amount of hype for Naughty Dog’s next big game, The Last of Us: Part II. The major change this time around is that you play as Ellie, not Joel.

Platforms: PS4 | Release Date: TBA

Nioh 2

In a rather surprising announcement, Sony announced the sequel to the critically-acclaimed samurai-action game, Nioh. Not much is known about the game’s story or if you’ll be playing as the original’s protagonist, WIlliam Adams.

Platforms: PS4 | Release Date: TBA

Resident Evil 2 Remake

Resident Evil 2 Remake takes the 1998 survival-horror game of the same name and remakes it from the ground up. From the debut footage, it appears to be taking liberties with the appearance and gameplay of the original.

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC (Expected) | Release Date: January 29, 2019

Spider-Man

While you play as Peter Parker in Spider-Man, the game won’t rehash the hero’s origin story. Instead, you’ll play as an experienced Spider-Man tasked with defending New York City against a new super-villain threat. The action-adventure game, developed by Insomniac Games, is set in a modern-day open world. Spider-Man will use parkour-like movements, in addition to web swinging and crawling.

Platforms: PS4 | Release Date: September 7

Tetris Effect

Tetris Effect is a new take on the classic puzzle game. The core mechanics remains the same; players arrange blocks to form lines to gain points, but the action has been increased thanks to an a focus on immersive sound and music.

Platforms: PS4 | Release Date: Q4 2018

Trover Saves the Universe

Trover Saves the Universe is the newest game from Rick and Morty creator, Justin Roiland. Like his most recent games, it’ll be a VR experience.

Platforms: PSVR | Release Date: TBA

Twin Mirror

Dontnod Entertainment is partnering with Bandai Namco to bring Twin Mirror, a new psychological thriller, to PC, PS4, and Xbox One in 2019. Based on the E3 2018 trailer, the story focuses on a character named Sam who wakes up one day to discover a shocking amount of blood on his clothing with no memory of the cause. As Sam attempts to piece together the events from the night before, he will explore both the real world and surreal manifestations of his own psyche. Twin Mirror looks intriguing so far, but being one big mystery, we’ll have to wait until we see more of the game to get a grasp of how we ultimately fit into Sam’s harrowing investigation.

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC | Release Date: TBA 2019

E3 2018: Resident Evil 2’s Remake Release Date Confirmed

Capcom has announced that the Resident Evil 2 remake will be released on January 25, 2019. The reveal was made during Sony’s PlayStation press conference at E3, where a brand-new trailer for the game was shown. The video showed Leon Kennedy in his classic blue Raccoon City Police Department uniform, before ending with the release date and confirmation that pre-orders are now open.

As previously revealed, the Resident Evil 2 remake project is being led by Yoshiaki Hirabayashi, who served as the producer of the Resident Evil HD Remaster that was released in January 2015, and is part of Capcom R&D Division 1.

The project was initially announced in 2015, when Capcom said the development effort was in the very early stages of development. Just over three years later and it’s reaching completion.

Capcom’s last Resident Evil HD Remaster launched in January 20 on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. It broke sales records for the company, quickly becoming the fastest selling digital title in its history across Europe and North America.