For the last several years, when June rolls around and the Electronic Entertainment Expo hype begins, I have created lists of fifty questions that set up the scope of what game enthusiasts are anticipating. These questions are framed in the sense that they can be definitively answered “YES” or “NO” by the time E3 concludes. This year will be a bit different. Because of the shifting landscape of the press conferences this year, three posts will pose these kinds of questions. In each, I will directly give you my E3 2016 predictions. We begin with…
Conference: Monday, June 13 – 12:30 PM ET
Will a new, more powerful iteration of Xbox One be revealed?
Recent reports suggest that this will be one of the biggest E3 conferences ever for Microsoft, when it comes to hardware. It is believed that Xbox is going to become a wider platform, with an Xbox TV device for streaming, a slimmer Xbox One, and an upgraded Xbox One – currently code named “Scorpio” – which is slated for next year. I think it makes perfect sense to show the Xbox Slim and the Xbox TV seems likely. But Scorpio? To say that “a newer Xbox is coming” is one thing, but that’s not the same as a reveal. I think Microsoft will want to focus on the slimmer Xbox, hint at the future, but not show too much about Scorpio, especially if its release is almost a year away.
I say: NO
Will “Halo 6” be said in any context during Microsoft’s conference?
The big Halo news this year will be Halo Wars 2, especially if a beta or demo is ready to be rolled out to the public soon. It will be a big deal that Halo Wars 2 is also going to be on PC. Does 343 Industries keep the Halo ball rolling by teasing their next main installment? It seems rather unlikely, especially with the mixed reception of the Halo 5: Guardians campaign. The AAA game lineup will be heavy enough with Gears of War 4, so talk of an additional Halo game seems far too early at this point.
I say: NO
Will ReCore or Sea of Thieves have its own dedicated section during Microsoft’s conference?
It sure doesn’t feel like it has been a year since ReCore was revealed. The next game from Keiji Inafune and the creators of Metroid Prime seems to have a good pedigree behind it, but a series of delays and silences means it is due for an update. Sea of Thieves is the same way, with it being a new game for Rare that appears to be a kind of pirate MMO game. With both titles being games for Xbox One and Windows 10, if that message becomes an important focus during the conference, the chances of new trailers or demos are likely. I doubt that these will just be buried in montages, so I expect to see segments for both games, but it only takes one for the sake for the question.
I say: YES
Will Gears of War 4 have an on-stage multiplayer demo during Microsoft’s conference?
Gears of War 4 will be the biggest game of the year for Microsoft, that much is clear. We know that it already has a release date of October 11th, so it isn’t like we’re awaiting that news this year. It’s obvious that we will see a new demo, but it is undetermined if that will be a single-player campaign or multiplayer showing. As intriguing as a multiplayer demo would be, I think we still have yet to see what makes this installment of Gears of War so special. Seeing a big, impressive setpiece could be enough to push those on the fence toward buying the biggest holiday title Microsoft has to offer this year. While two demos are possible, I don’t think multiplayer needs to be the focus on the E3 stage.
I say: NO
Will Crackdown 3 have a demo during Microsoft’s conference?
We saw the newest Crackdown for the first time at E3 2014 and we are somehow uncertain on a lot of the game’s details. Yet, it seems that the game may release in two parts, with the multiplayer currently slated to come first this summer. To show a multiplayer demo, followed by a release date announcement that is soon, or even a “beta available now” kind of surprise seems likely. At the very least, this is a title that needs to be fleshed out more and a demo seems like just the way to do it.
I say: YES
Will a real car be on stage for a Forza game announcement?
The real car rollout seems to be a staple for the Forza series, especially when they make exclusive deals with car manufacturers. From the McLaren P1 in Forza 5 to the Ford GT in Forza 6, these automotive beauties made their presence known on the E3 stage. However, this doesn’t seem to be the trend for the Forza Horizon series, who had the Lamborghini Huracán on the cover of the Forza Horizon 2 box. Now that Forza Horizon 3 is expected to be revealed this year, the featured car is already confirmed to be another Lamborghini – the Centenario. I’d say that the on-stage rollouts are best saved for the numbered installments.
I say: NO
Will Cuphead get at least a release month?
Cuphead is one of the most anticipated Xbox games, which is unusual, consider it is an indie game. How can you not love the 1930s animation style, though? After it got delayed to 2016 for further refinement, this is a game that we need to hear more about. Saying “2016” just doesn’t cut it anymore, especially if it’s somehow delayed again to “Spring 2017.” A specific release date would a strong statement here, but narrowing it down to a month gives some leniency. I’d say September 2016 is a good time for Cuphead to be made public. Honestly, this is one of my most anticipated E3 announcements for Microsoft.
I say: YES
Will Scalebound get a release window that is more specific than just 2017?
“Pre-alpha gameplay” seemed to be an all-too-common and, frankly, misused term last year. This was especially true with Scalebound’s showing at Gamescom, where the foundation of the gameplay and graphics looked to be in place, but the performance was lacking. Since the game already got pushed back to 2017, I don’t expect to see it at all during E3, since another Gamescom showing seems right. It looks like it will be a fun game in time, but there’s a long way to go for this action title.
I say: NO
Will the announcement be made that all future first-party Microsoft games will have Windows 10 versions?
This goes back to the idea of Xbox becoming more of a platform. The supposed name “Project Helix” suggests the attempted fusion of Xbox and Windows 10 under a Universal Windows Platform. It would certainly make sense for Microsoft to leverage their ability to publish games in more places, but it would certainly raise a lot of questions for the purpose of the Xbox One system. I will have my eye on this news in particular, as I eye a possible PC upgrade to an NVIDIA GTX 1080 video card, since it may seem that a high-end PC is more viable in the long run. This combination with PC would also make the rumored enhanced partnership between Microsoft and Oculus even more viable for VR purposes. The progression seems logical for Microsoft’s dreams of platform unity.
I say: YES
Will Microsoft HoloLens be mentioned during Microsoft’s conference?
The Minecraft demo on HoloLens was one of the brightest spots of Microsoft’s E3 conference last year. While it would seem logical that we would see an update on where the device is now, I’m not so sure. Development kits are shipping now, so I think we’re in a time when the device is nowhere near ready for a public release. Microsoft had to sell the concept to developers first. A possible partnership with Oculus may be the more front-facing consumer angle this year, while work on HoloLens games and apps continue for a future release. With all of the other hardware news to likely come from this year’s how, HoloLens seems like too much. I think we’ll see a pass on it this year, but I would be glad to be wrong here. Seeing a glimpse of the future is always exciting, after all.
I say: NO
Will Phil Spencer’s outfit change in some way during the course of Microsoft’s conference?
Phil Spencer has been one of the best things to happen to the Xbox brand, after a series of foolish management decisions. That said, he is also a man who loves the art of the outfit change during an E3 press event. I see no reason to believe why this year will be an exception.
I say: YES
MY BOLD MICROSOFT PREDICTION
In an effort to merge the Xbox and Windows 10 platforms, it will be announced that all Xbox 360 games that are compatible with Xbox One will also be playable on Windows 10.
New, more powerful Xbox One: NO
Halo 6 mention: NO
ReCore or Sea of Thieves at conference: YES
Gears of War 4 multiplayer demo: NO
Crackdown 3 demo: YES
Real car on stage for Forza: NO
Cuphead gets a release month: YES
Scalebound gets more specific than 2017: NO
All future first-party on Windows 10: YES
Hololens mentioned: NO
Phil Spencer changes outfit: YES
What do you think of these E3 2016 predictions? What are yours? Let us know in the comments below?
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