With Sony exiting stage left for this years E3 gaming convention it has left a canyon-like opening for Microsoft to dictate the narrative of gaming to a large crowd for the upcoming generational console switch.
With that being said, Microsoft doesn’t seem to be leaving anything to chance regarding this opportunity and is seemingly filling the news waves with announcements and press releases on studio acqui-hires to bolster its gaming initiatives for 2019 and beyond.
As Microsoft prepares to usher in a new cross-platform and cloud streaming era of gaming, it’s become vital that it has the games that will help highlight its efforts and to that end, PC Gamer is reporting on what the company’s first party studios are cooking up in their development labs.
According to PC Gamer Obsidian Entertainment is working on a first-person shooter RPG titled The Outer Worlds and led by the original Ecreators of Fall Out as well as patches for Pillars of eternity 2. The Outer Worlds is not solely a Microsoft and Obsidian collabo as the was in full production before Microsoft acquired the studio. The Outer Worlds is hotly anticipated game for 2019 and its rumored to be on shelves sometime around August.
Next up is InXile Entertainment with Wasteland 3, presumably a follow up to Wasteland 2. PC Gamer classifies the game as an isometric, squad based RPG with tactical combat elements set against the trend post-apocalyptic landscape of Colorado. Similar to Obsidian and its The Outer Worlds game, InXile Entertainment had already been working on its big release for 2018 long before Microsoft opened its proverbial wallet.
Ninja Theory is another newly acquire studio for Microsoft and is set to release sometime in 2019. In the meantime, gamers can enjoy Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrafice as part of the Xbox Game Pass until the studios mix of projects that include VR game development, comes to light.
As for what has already been in Microsoft’s stable, Forza makers Playground Games are looking to branch out a bit from the racer simulator genre and test their chops at an oepn world rpg and resurrecting the Fable franchise. Neither projects have a release timeframe but Fable fans seem excited about the prospects.
The makers of We Happy Few has little to report at this time as Compulsion Games continues to work on DLC for the game.
Microsoft’s State of Decay 2 has been an arguably underrated hit for the company as user engagement numbers have been steadily increasing since its release.
SoD2 creators Undead Labs have yet to officially announce a new title but many in the industry presume the studio is working on the follow up to their franchise, State of Decay 3.
Other Microsoft mainstay studios, Rare, 343 Industries, The Coalition and Turn 10 Studios are all churning out relatively known properties for the 2019 calendar year.
Rare appears to be in maintenance mode on its popular open world pirate action adventure game Sea of Thieves. Sea of Thieves gamers are awaiting a rather big DLC coming from the studio in the coming months and beyond that, there have been hits that a new Battletoads game to come.
It’s been a widely known entity that Microsoft’s flagship studio 343 Industries is working on its next installment in the Halo franchise, Halo Infinite, but there is a lesser publicized mobile production effort going for a faction within the division.
Aside from expanding the Halo empire across PC, Xbox and mobile, 343 Industries has little to report.
The Coalition is continuing work on the Gears 5 sequel but are also prepping a turn-based strategy game called Gears Tactics, neither have firm release schedule for now.
Lastly, Turn 10 Studios and the original makers of Forza are rumored to be pumping out another Forza Motorsport game, possibly the eighth in the franchise. Are more concrete actions, Turn 10 has been working on giving gamers DLC content for 2019.
Overall, 2019 appears to have a few glimmers of hope for Microsoft ‘exclusive’ fans but this years feels like it might be another holding pattern experience. With new consoles and gaming strategy set to be in full bloom for Microsoft in 2020, perhaps E3 2019 will be banner year for sizzle reels and trailers, but less about real releases for the company’s first party lineup.Further reading: 343 Industries, Forza, Gears of War, Halo, PC, Rare, State of Decay 2, Turn 10 Studios, Video Games, Xbox Game Pass, Xbox One