Microsoft pushes exclusives, premieres at pre-E3 press conference

Those four purchased studios will be joined by The Initiative, a new Santa Monica-based effort to bring in new talent and create new “world-class game experiences” exclusively to Microsoft platforms.

“We know that exclusive games from our Microsoft Studios are what originally turned so many of us into Xbox fans,” Microsoft Head of Xbox Phil Spencer said from the LA Live stage.

“This is why we’re increasing our investment in our existing franchises you already love and this is why we are amplifying our investment in new worlds that will deepen your love for gaming on Xbox.”

Bring out your exclusives

As expected, Microsoft will be dipping into its stable of first-person shooters to help round out its exclusive catalog. was teased in a brief trailer showing “in-engine footage” from the new Slipspace engine, but conspicuously lacked any gameplay or release date details.

A story-focused trailer for , meanwhile, centered on the mysterious physical and psychological changes starting to manifest in protagonist Kate via a strange family heirloom necklace. Microsoft also announced , a turn-based strategy take on the familiar universe, and a still-mysterious mobile gaming collaboration with Funko called

, coming October 2, will take the familiar racing franchise to Britain, with a dynamic season-changing system. Snow and ice in winter can change the way you drive, and also let you access new areas via frozen over waters. , meanwhile, looks like an able follow-up to the painterly 2D platforming adventure , which launched alongside the Xbox One.

Some of the Xbox-exclusive announcements were a little less expected. The first new game in years, due in 2019, got a short tease featuring a cartoon drawing of the familiar, frustrating speeder bike sequence but not much else. And Finji’s — an adorable, isometric, low-polygon take on the formula by way of a Fox protagonist—will hit Xbox One first.

, meanwhile, is a “console launch exclusive” for Xbox that immediately brings to mind EA’s dormant series in a short, rap-infused teaser. , on the other hand, looks like an extremely generic fantasy MMO that will also be coming to Xbox before other consoles.

Other game premieres

Microsoft also used its attention-grabbing showcase to premiere footage of some other titles that won’t be exclusive to the Xbox One.

Bethesda’s Todd Howard was on hand to show off the previously announced Fallout 76, a prequel “four times the size of Fallout 4.” Taking place in the hills of West Virginia, it follows some of the first survivors emerging from the vaults and into the wasteland.

A voiceover hinted at the base-focused gameplay that will require you to “rebuild, not just walls, not just buildings, but hearts, monuments, and ultimately, America itself.” More details will probably have to wait until Bethesda’s own press presentation this evening, though.

, coming from and maker From Software in 2019, looks like a slightly faster-paced take on the studio’s previous hard-as-nails melee combat games. A short trailer showed a lot of jumping across rooftops and two-handed weapon combat against climbable giants, multi-segmented centipedes, and a mounted spear-wielding foe.

Techland’s refocuses the first-person, zombie-fighting parkour action of choices that affect how the game’s “functional ecosystem” looks and plays. Developer Chris Avellone highlighted an example where you could take our a rival faction to secure a reliable water supply for the struggling people on the street, or partner with them and corner the black market for the valuable, lie-giving resource.

Ubisoft staff came out to show off a carefully pre-scripted section of , with four players working together to take out opposing factions in a plague-ravaged Washington DC. And CD Projekt Red showed a short, non-playable look at the beautiful, dystopic, body-modification-and-augmented-reality-filled world of .

Some other notable announcements and highlights from the conference:

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Kyle Orland Kyle is the Senior Gaming Editor at Ars Technica, specializing in video game hardware and software. He has journalism and computer science degrees from University of Maryland. He is based in the Washington, DC area.
Email[email protected]//Twitter@KyleOrl
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