From Low to High: Xbox ECG on E3 2019
It’s time to take a closer look at the announces made on E3 2019 specifically for Xbox platform. While PS4 enjoys its being the mainstream, Xbox is rather an alternative platform, but still a powerful rival, with numerous aces up its sleeves. The premieres of E3 highlight that, being various and – that’s the point – quite uneven.
The names include long-awaited Cyberpunk 2077, Halo Infinite, Gears 5 (who’s asking “what Gears?”), and so on. There was even a surprise star appearance (well, it’s no more a surprise after all these days, news and posts, but nevertheless). But if we position all of the premieres and measure our expectation, the graph we get will resemble an ECG line. Well, it displays that the patient is alive and kicking, but life implies highs and lows. So, let’s follow the line, from general events to certain titles.
Game Pass Ultimate: HIGH
It seems that “big console” world is really worried about insolent rivals from mobile world. Google Stadia is already set up for a leap, and Apple Arcade is still a dark horse, but both are threatening the establishment, and here is the reaction.
Microsoft announced Xbox Game Pass, a subscription model about to be introduced, as a proactive reply to the new kids. Game Pass subscribers will have access to selected top games available for Xbox with no extra payments required. The regular Xbox Game Pass will be just $7.99/mo, and Game Pass Ultimate will be $14.99/mo, offering more top titles, both for PC and for Xbox, Xbox Live Gold included, and maybe better quality.
It’s an extremely generous offer, and the final argument is that you don’t need to own an Xbox to use it. Many titles are available on PC as well, and though so far only compatible console games are here, soon there’ll be more.
No New Generation Xbox So Far: LOW
The current generation consoles seem already too old, while PCs, TVs, and mobiles have been evolving. Yet Microsoft is still preparing the successor to Xbox One, and it will take at least a year more. Codenamed Project Scarlett, it dwells in dark dungeons under the eye of Microsoft’s alchemists, not to be exposed yet. On the other hand, neither Sony nor Nintendo gets ahead in this race, so Microsoft doesn’t have to hurry that much. And still, we want to see what’s next.
Keanu Reeves In Flesh to Present Cyberpunk 2077: HIGH
We don’t mean that the actor was high; it’s rather an evidence that big actors, with big checks, are in the industry too, and they take it seriously enough. Microsoft should grab this situation and never let go, as Cyberpunk 2077 is one of a kind, and it takes a big studio (or several ones) to make it a trend. But the game by CD Projekt Red shows the way the leaders go.
Halo Infinite Isn’t Here Yet: LOW
And again we’re disappointed by a postpone rather than a failure. Maybe it’s better to have it later but good, but still, we expected E3 to be a good scene to see Halo Infinite gameplay. But not this time: it’s being produced, indeed, but it will be made for Project Scarlett, and Scarlett “will think about it tomorrow”. The trailer was shown, and it makes us even more curious.
Cyberpunk 2077 Release Scheduled: HIGH
There’s much to be heard and seen about this ambitious project by Polish developers CD Projekt Red, and finally we know when to expect it on our consoles (and – hooray! – PC). The date is April 16, 2020. This means it will hit the console market in its current state, with no need to buy a new device while it’s hot and pricey.
Xbox Still Short of Exclusives: LOW
Exclusives aren’t everything; Microsoft must have learnt it after spending millions to interest developers in making apps for Windows Phone, offering exclusive native Office and OneDrive, yet still not helping it rise. But they are important, and Microsoft is learning it right now, with Sony PS4 having new exclusives monthly. Yes, there are some series, like Gears, Halo Infinite, or the Forza Horizon, but it’s nothing next to what Xbox lacks.
Blair Witch: HIGH
As the trailer shows, the developers of the game succeeded at recreating the creepy atmosphere of the original movie. It’s never easy to channel the two industries and transfer the kicks the origin delivers, but this time (it seems) it’s done. We hope the game does cut all the spoilers we have because of the movie’s cultural impact, so there is something in the dark to more than just jumpscare.
Bleeding Edge: LOW
Well, not that it’s a complete disappointment, but with a bit of it. Bleeding Edge is not a bad game as itself; it just has nothing special about it. It’s just a messy tactical game with too much depending on ability, but with melee factors still important. Summoned to bridge the gap between Overwatch and MOBA games, it succeeds at this, but fails at providing really immersive gameplay. If Bleeding Edge is featured in Game Pass, it’s Bleeding Edge that benefits from it.
Elden Ring: HIGH
When here comes George R.R. Martin, the success follows. Elden Ring is the result of From Software’s collaboration with the author of Song of Ice and Fire, and it promises a hardcore fantasy action game. But, please, don’t let Martin out until he finishes the script; “Never again” is what we swore after Game of Thrones S08.
The Verdict: ALIVE
The biggest of all these is, of course, Game Pass. If it hits the PC and unites the best of both worlds, Microsoft can recompense its lack of exclusives by integrating PC exclusives or porting them via cloud streaming system. But before it starts, we’d still like more titles to play instead of envying PS4 owners.