The next Xbox. You have heard that before. After years of waiting, we finally get a glimpse at MicroSoft’s new Eden. Let us all be false Shepards and lead the mystery away (Booker DeWitt style!), shall we?
God knows a new Halo game is going to be announced with the console. We bet $5,000,000 dollars we are going to get a sneak peek – maybe a trailer, or a ViDoc – and have it explained at E3. We are unsure if it will be another full Halo game or a ODST style spin-off, but you can expect that MicroSoft will be wanting a new Halo game for their system. It’s how they operate. They’ll want to close with a bang though to have us slathering at the mouth for E3 – maybe, just maybe, we’ll see a full next-gen expose.
Call Of Duty: Ghosts
Call of Duty: Ghosts will also be explained during the reveal. That’s a given. Recently announced; – and just as Sony expanded on Destiny – the game will be explained with new gameplay trailers and information. The extent of this new info is unknown, it may just be minor new glimpses to show what Call of Duty looks like on the tech, but we can safely assume we will have some actual in-game footage. A select group of people have already seen the trailer and they say expect something BIG. If we were to go out on a limb, we’d say expect CoD: Ghosts to release on all current-gen hardware with the Next Xbox having next-gen exclusivity for 6 months.
EA and 3rd Parties
Do we think Diablo III will be on the new Xbox? It is possible. MicroSoft’s big innovations and decisions have slowly been moving closer to these PC experiences on your console with massive MMO projects and slowly, slowly creeping towards Free to Play. Given it is on Play Station 4, and no exclusivity deal has been implied, it is foolish to discount the possibility.
Failing even that, a new FIFA 14 has already been confirmed. “The next gen will change the way you play games!” says generic PR man, “look at dem graphics L##T” says the world. It is possible that heavily expanded online features will be shown, as well as an overhaul of in-game systems. We may see short gameplay, but we wouldn’t expect anything overly extensive until E3. It’s clear that MicroSoft and EA have a close relationship and Respawn’s debut game, Titan, has been rumoured to be a platform exclusive. Expect lip service to it at the reveal ahead of a full E3 blow-out.
It is certainly in the realm of possibility that MicroSoft have prepared a console exclusive to rival even that of Halo. We seriously doubt another Gears of War game will be revealed – if at all – outside of petty teaser trailer, but MicroSoft know they are lagging behind in the terms of console exclusives. Sony has Uncharted, Ratchet and Clank, Resistance, Killzone, God of War, InFamous and, while the quality of those vary there are more names than MS can call on. MicroSoft need to pick this up, and we suspect they will attempt it – recently made 1st party super-studio Black Tusk are rumoured to have 4 new IP in the works, surely we’ll see something.
Don’t Expect Game After Game!
There will be gaming announcements of course, it isn’t going to be an hour of hardware talk after all! Just don’t be expecting a deluge – E3 will be just 2 weeks away and Microsoft will be wanting to hold back some big guns for that. We image Tuesday will be just a tease of what is to come, with plenty of talk of strategy and hardware. Game wise, we’ll see a title that will show off Kinect 2.0. Lionhead have been hard at work on Fable IV for years but don’t expect it to be Kinect-only after Fable: The Journey flopped HARD. Be on the look out for this, a racing game (Forza 5 looks likely) and, of course, some kind of FPS.
Always On? Nope!
Microsoft would be absolute maniacs to announce their new console is online only. We can’t see this happening. However, there WILL be features that won’t function without an internet connection, just like the 360 and PS3, but we assume you won’t need one for playing games. Will the publishers themselves do this for certain games? We already know Destiny IS always-on so don’t rule it out, and we expect more MMO style games to arrive with the increased capabilities of the hardware. We KNOW the industry is moving closer to these always online experiences, but will be this generation? Not at the very start.
A new User Interface is highly probable, but don’t expect a complete overhaul. With Windows 8 just out the door, and MicroSoft switching closer to its design elements and features, we don’t think the new dashboard will be too dissimilar to current version. As MicroSoft drone on about how Kinect 2.0 is the future of games, expect a dashboard demo. We promise.
Let’s be honest: MicroSoft have been pretty dire at engaging Japanese consumers to Xbox. To be frank, they are going to have to pull something big to steal the swelling interest of Japanese gamers away from PS4. What could seal the deal? Two words: Monster Hunter. Many describe Monster Hunter as the Call of Duty of the East, and getting that on your system says we are playing for keeps. It would be like Stalin getting an atomic bomb in World War Two and dropping it on Berlin. It would slow down your enemy, and speed your victory up. If Monster Hunter – in some form or another is on the machine – don’t be surprised and remember we called it. Alternatively, MicroSoft could just not bother. The show is airing in the early hours of the morning in Japan, and while we expect a pre-Xmas release in the US and Europe, a Japanese release probably won’t be until 2014 – if at all!
Bits and Bobs and What We’d Like To See
So what does all this mean? It shows that MicroSoft are going to take it to Sony like mofos. Sony has fired the first shot, and it is time for MicroSoft to fire back – and not with a hunting rifle, with a cruise missile. If MicroSoft play this right, they are going to get ahead quickly – and they are going to make sure that you have a Xbox under your telly.
Dave – New IP, a true (not Kinect) Fable 4, Alan Wake 2 and something core from Rare. Looking forward to IllumniRoom too; could be a game changer. @davidpgreen83
Rory – Fallout 4, Deus Ex Sequel, Total War: Console Edition, Mass Effect 4 – NEW IP! @thenomadprophet
Matt – Alan Wake 2, Fallout 4, Red Dead Redemption 2 (! – Ed), Dishonored 2 – NEW IP! @thelostmoment
Final predicitions: we reckon the console, named ‘Xbox’, will be released pre-Christmas in Europe and the US (possibly October), will come packaged with Kinect 2.0, which will be an integral part of the set-up, and Microsoft will aggresively be pushing exclusive 3rd party deals to cover over an initially weaker 1st party line up. We’ll see in a few short hours!
– Rory Mullan, Dave Green and Matt Reynolds.