E3 2017: Microsoft Press Conference Recap

The second press conference of 2017’s E3 belonged to Microsoft, and (as expected) the show kicked off with what we have up this point know as “Project Scorpio”. The official name for the new console from Microsoft is the “Xbox One X”, and it will release on November 7th, 2017 with a US pricetag of $499.

Here’s what we know so far: first off, the Xbox One X is physically the smallest console to date; it’s even smaller than the Xbox One S. The small size isn’t affecting its performance in a negative way, however. Here are the specs:

  • Eight custom CPU cores clocked at 2.3GHz
  • 326GB/s of memory bandwidth
  • 1172MHz GPU – with 40 customised compute units
  • 12GB GDDR5 memory
  • 1TB HDD
  • 4K UHD Blu-ray disc player
  • 4K gaming support
  • VR support

As far as games go, Phil Spencer announced from the stage that all current games from the Xbox One family will be playable on the Xbox One X and vice versa. No word was said as to what that meant for the future of software for the consoles.

From this point on in the show, it was all about the games. Phil promised forty-two games to be shown, twenty-two of which would be exclusive to the platform. Speaking of exclusives, the first one we saw was “Forza Motorsport 7”, which releases on October 7th. Viewers of the conference were the very first to see the reveal of the actual 2018 Porsche 911 GT2RS, which was hidden behind a large panel on the stage.

Next up was the impressive-looking world premier of “Metro Exodus”, which is releasing sometime in 2018. The game looked very vibrant with gorgeous weapons and a massive, disgusting enemy.

The expected “Assassin’s Creed: Origins” trailer was up next. The game releases October 27th, 2017 and tells the story of the very first brotherhood in ancient Egypt.

In a surprising move, “Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds” is coming exclusively to Xbox One later this year. The game has been a huge hit on PC up to this point, especially on Twitch, and puts up to 100 players against each other on a huge island battle arena to fight to the death until only one player remains.

“Deep Rock Galactic”, a game that was originally a game greenlit for early access on Steam, has been announced as another Xbox One Exclusive. The trailer was very short, but showed off multi-player class-based gameplay in first-person. Players team up as characters called Dwarves to explore, mine, and battle enemies cooperatively.

We also saw a brief look at “State of Decay 2”, which releases spring of 2018. The only thing we saw outside of updated graphics was the addition of settlement building to the series.

The next game shown at the press conference was “The Darwin Project” from Scavengers Studio, which was given the “live announcer” treatment on stage. The game appears to have a “Hunger Games” vibe where players duke it out with melee/ranged weapons and special class-based powers in a live arena for the entertainment of spectators.

Not surprisingly, Microsoft dedicated a portion of their conference to Minecraft, showing off a new free DLC called “Super Duper Graphics Pack”, which will offer 4K support. It releases fall of this year. The popular game will also be available for cross-platform support across consoles, PC, and mobile devices.

One of the bigger surprises shown at this press conference was a new fighting game based on the “Dragon Ball Z” series, called “Dragon Ball FighterZ”, which releases early 2018. Simply put, the game looks gorgeous (arguably better than the actual anime on which it’s based) and offers frenetic gameplay similar to Marvel vs. Capcom and Guilty Gear.

MMO fans should be excited to see “Black Desert” from developer Pearl Abyss. It has a medieval setting with a sandbox-style world. We got a very “Dark Souls” feeling while watching this trailer. See if you agree.

A standout for the GO crew was the reveal of “Last Night” by developer Odd Tales. The game gives a very “Blade Runner” vibe with a gorgeous, layered pixelation as an art style. It looks very moody in all the right way. Expect us to be taking a very close look at this one as it draws closer to its release date.

“The Artful Escape of Francis Vendetti” is a very curious game from developer Johnny Galvatron. The trailer shows psychedelic art with a rock music motiff. The gameplay appears to be a platformer where the player can jump, double jump, and strum his guitar to help navigate the envrionment.

Next we saw a trailer for “CodeVein”, which looks to be Microsoft’s answer to “Bloodborne”. It’s a third-person action RPG that takes place in a post-apocalyptic world and has players assume the role of vampyric creatures called Revenants. The game is published by publisher Namco Bandai and releases in 2018.

We were given more footage from Rare’s “Sea of Thieves”, which promises plenty of on-line cooperative pirating and looting. This isn’t the only pirate game on the docket for this year, so it definitely has its work cut out for it; but the game still shows a lot of promise.

Although very brief, we did get a chance to see a bit of “Tacoma”, which is from the same developer as “Gone Home”.

Another surprise from this year’s Microsoft presser was “Super Lucky’s Tale”, which is a cartoony platformer from devleoper Playful. This was originally to be a virtual reality game, but is now exclusive to Microsoft. It’s a charming 3-D platformer where the player assumes to role of a happy fox named Lucky. It gives off a very “Super Mario 64” vibe while still maintaining its own originality. The best part to us was that it never tried to be anything else than it is: a cute, yet challenging game.

We finally have a release date for “Cuphead”, which will retail for $19.99 on November 7th alongside the Xbox One X.

One of the most hotly-anticipated games from Microsoft is “Crackdown 3”, and we saw quite a bit more at this press conference. The trailer featured Terry Crews and looks to be giving fans of the series exactly what they want. This one also releases on November 7th with the release of the new console.

Developer Aurora 44 unveiled their new trailer for “Ashen”, which is another game akin to “Dark Souls”. This one, however, has a unique polygonal art style instead of a realistic one, and hints at potential cooperative play. Despite first being announced at E3 in 2015, we still don’t have a release date for this title.

We all knew that a sequel to “Life is Strange” was coming, but we learned a bit more at this press conference. “Before the Storm” is a three-part prequel with the first episode releasing on August 31st of this year.

Fans of “Shadow of Mordor” should be pleased to see the lengthy gameplay demo of the upcoming “Shadow of War”, which releases October 10th. The game promises an expanded nemesis system and looks absolutely stunning. Unfortunately, the game was not available on the show floor (at least not behind closed doors).

“Ori and the Blind Forest” was our collective Game of the Year the year it released, so we were very excited when it was leaked that a sequel, called “Ori and the Will of the Wisps”. We were treated to the gorgeous trailer and weren’t disappointed.

In a bold move, Microsoft announced that will be offering original Xbox games to the Xbox One consoles. “Crimson Skies” was one of the titles featured to be available with this feature.

Microsoft closed their press conference with a gameplay trailer for the latest game from Bioware that was initially shown at the EA press conference, “Anthem”. This game has a very Mass Effect feel in its gameplay, and the detail in graphics is something that shouldn’t be missed. It takes place in a post-apocalyptic setting where you and your cooperative teammates go on missions  in your exo suits called “javelins” defending the remaining humans.

That’s a wrap on the Microsoft press conference. If you’d like to watch the entire presentation, check the link below.Also, be sure to listen to our reactions of the Spotlight on our Day 2 Podcast episode. You can also hear our reactions to the other press conferences including EA, Bethesda, Nintendo and Ubisoft/Sony.

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Scott Clark

Scott has been a fan of pushing buttons since he was old enough to climb up to his father’s stereo as a toddler. His first console was the Atari 2600 back in the early 80’s, and his passion for the hobby shines through his excitement and wish to share his experiences with anyone who will listen. Scott began his podcasting career with “The Official Thread Podcast”, which was dedicated to news, impressions, and general topics about the subject of video games. That coupled with over four years of experience with “The Hollywood Outsider Podcast” has given him the reputation of being the “every man”, in that he gets along with almost everyone he interacts and also doesn’t speak down to his audience.