E3: Microsoft 2016

Posted on 13 Jun 2016 by
Kyle Johnson

It’s that time of the year again, in which the entire gaming press converges on Los Angeles to discover new games, consoles, and more from (arguably) gaming’s largest trade show. Though the necessity of E3 has been debated in recent years, it doesn’t stop companies from releasing a whole glut of news, and Microsoft is no exception. Let’s break down what we’ve discovered.

Xbox One S

Microsoft kicked off the presentation with a bang, with a very sleek video showcasing the new Xbox One S. Advertised as 40% slimmer, it looks all that and more, touting an internal 2TB HDD, an integrated power supply, wide-ranging IR detector, and a new Xbox controller, which comes with integrated Bluetooth and other features. The Xbox One S comes at a price point of 299 USD, or the same price that the older generation Xbox One is now. We can expect a price drop or possibly even a discontinuation of the older generation in the coming months, especially with codename Scorpio on the horizon.

Play Anywhere

Another feature advertised by many games in the presentation is the “Play Anywhere” feature, which effectively works as a cloud system between the Xbox platform and Windows 10. This means that you can transfer achievement and save data between the two platforms without any loss of data. Additionally, some games will allow for cross-platform co-operative play, in both campaign and multiplayer settings. As the Xbox One runs on a heavily modified version of Windows 10, this comes as no real surprise, but it’s nice to see regardless, as PC gamers will now get a chance to play some previously console-exclusive titles, without having to purchase titles twice, if they want to buy an Xbox One later on.

Gears of War 4

The first announced title with Play Anywhere, some very technically impressive footage of Gears of War 4 is shown, with some possibly co-operative footage shown on stage. There’s also a limited edition controller coming with the game, but more important is the release date, being pegged for October 11th, 2016.

Killer Instinct

A brief trailer and announcement from Iron Galaxy, the minds behind the Killer Instinct reboot, showcased General Raam. Raam, the final boss of the first Gears game, comes alongside the Arbiter and one of the Battletoads as another third-party character making an appearance in the excellent Xbox and Windows free-to-play fighter.

Forza Horizon 3

Another title coming to Play Anywhere, there’s a very beautiful trailer showing plenty of great cars cruising across the jungles, beaches, deserts and streets of Australia. There’s dune buggies, sporty racing cars, and more combining to form the largest car roster seen yet, and seamless drop-in/out four player co-op, by which cars are dropped onto the track via a helicopter. It’s as dumb and awesome as it sounds, and it’s looking like a great chance for PC players to get in on the longstanding series. Forza Horizon 3 is coming September 27th of this year.


The latest game from Keiji Inafune, a name you might recognize from the oft-delayed Mighty No. 9 project, but prized for his work on the Mega Man series. Looking like a third-person shooter/action/platformer/puzzle game in which a masked woman fights off hordes of gangly robots, it looks far more action-oriented than when we last saw it a year ago. Release date is tagged for sometime this year, but no specific date has been revealed yet. Yet another title as part of the Play Anywhere system.

Final Fantasy XV

Footage running from an Xbox One for the first time appeared of the latest Final Fantasy as well, though all video of the event appears to have been scrubbed from the internet. Just as well, it wasn’t a particularly good showing of the game, compared to other videos appearing in previous weeks. Regardless, the main characters take on a colossal titan, before shattering his arms, and calling it a day.

The Division

Another brief trailer from the oft-troubled loot-shooter via Ubisoft, this time showing off the first paid DLC, and the first one coming as part of the Season Pass. Advertising “randomly generated missions” and showing off action to be found in the hostile subways might be enough to drum up some interest, which the game sorely needs. The Underground DLC first comes to Xbox on June 28th.


It’s always a surprise when Minecraft shows up at E3, as it still seems strange that Microsoft paid billions for the title. Regardless, they are opening up crossplay between Windows 10, the Xbox One, iOS and Android, bringing over dedicated servers, porting Minecraft to the Gear VR, and also bringing over some texture packs to mobile versions and Windows 10. There are also other addons to be announced as well.

Xbox Design Lab

Another brief trailer here, this time showing off the colors and customization options available for the Xbox One controllers. All told, there’s over 8 million possible color combinations, with a portal and site going up later today opening up the process for everyone. These custom controllers are the new format, with the updated receiving range and integrated Bluetooth, so they should reasonably be able to work on any Windows 10 enabled computer, provided that you have a Bluetooth dongle. These controllers run 79.99 USD plus another 9.99 USD for shipping, so they’re considerably more expensive than just the standard white, but it’s available.


Possibly the most exciting part of E3 is always the indie title lineup not necessarily showcased on-stage. There’s a whole glut of titles in here, from the beautiful Cuphead and Slime Rancher to Deliver Us to the Moon and Outlast II, from Flint Hook to Far, Shadow Tactics to Figment and a whole lot more, it’s definitely worth checking out to see just who is working on porting their titles to Windows 10 by watching the video above.


Confirming another pre-E3 rumor, Gwent, the card game played by NPCs and you in several of The Witcher games, is getting a standalone release. Nothing says a fantasy card collecting game quite like a live-action trailer, and that’s just what CD Projekt Red did. Having never played Gwent myself, it’s hard to say just how dissimilar it is from Blizzard’s Hearthstone, but I’ve got faith that CD Projekt Red did enough work to have it play and feel different. There’s no release date set currently, but the game is coming to the Xbox One and “PC,” hinting that it might not just be Windows 10 exclusively. Beta sign-ups are running over at the official website now.

Dead Rising 4

Rumored in the weeks leading up to E3, and culminating with a preview build of the game accidentally being put on the Windows 10 App Store, the fourth entry in the wacky zombie-killing series sees Frank West return to Willamette, though weirdly sporting a little more hair this time around. We can safely assume that crazy weaponry, costumes and vehicles will make a return in the latest installment, which is slated to arrive sometime in “Holiday 2016,” on Windows 10 and Xbox One, with no Steam release being confirmed for now.


The latest game coming to us from PlatinumGames, Scalebound was at Microsoft’s presentation yet again, this time showing off the multiplayer co-op experience. Looking like a lovely combination of Monster Hunter and Lost Planet, the human players are infinitely dwarfed by the large beasts that work their way across the screen, before they’re able to throw a variety of magics and arrows at it, sending it crashing to the ground. Again coming as part of the Play Anywhere experience, Scalebound is aiming for a 2017 release.

Sea of Thieves

Boasting a colorful, cartoony art style, Rare’s Sea of Thieves is the latest title to make its way over to the Play Anywhere library. Their first new game in two years here shows teams of players engaging in combat and trying to figure out how to fight one another. There’s little known about what you actually do in the game, but as there’s no release date currently tied to the game, we’ll be waiting for more information as the year progresses.

State of Decay 2

Moving away from the single player simulatory fashion that the first State of Decay featured, State of Decay 2 has been promised to have four player co-op features from the start, something the original was heavily criticized for. There’s little in terms of actual gameplay here, but other news has been pushed out, describing how players can craft their own character, and how to work such characters in the story, especially since there’s no singular “hero” character. Also coming as part of the Play Anywhere program, State of Decay 2 is aiming for a 2017 release.

Halo Wars 2

First revealed last year during Microsoft’s press conference, it seemed incredible that Microsoft had signed off on bringing Halo Wars to PC, especially after the first one didn’t sell particularly well. With the Play Anywhere system now in full swing, and with Creative Assembly now helming development, it looks as though 343’s ascent to Halo caretaker is complete. Not only that, but Halo Wars 2 has taken a decidedly grittier art style found in the earlier games, as opposed to a much more clean and futuristic one found in later games. The other surprise alongside this trailer is that the Open Beta for Halo Wars 2 multiplayer starts today, and runs for a week, much like what happened last year with Hardline. Halo Wars 2 is set to come out on February 21st, 2017.

Project Scorpio

Though Halo Wars 2 was the last major game announcement, Microsoft did tease Project Scorpio, a long-rumored console. We got some nice long shots of what appears to be the motherboard, and a number of game developers talking about how they can’t wait to use it. This comes as Phil Spencer mentioned VR near the end of the presentation. Project Scorpio, as it stands now, is aiming for 6 Tflops of GPU power, with 350 GB/s transfer speed for the hard drive, and a console that consistently outputs in 4K resolution at 60Hz. Since no GPU on the market today can boast such specs, it will be interesting to see where Microsoft ends up with this console, maybe as offering a budget alternative to a VR-ready PC. Time will tell.

Microsoft brought a lot of games to their conference, though ultimately there were few surprises. It’s certainly nice to be able to play these games without having to worry about picking up an Xbox One, and with the smaller price point of the One S, it seems as though Microsoft is trying to get themselves back into the gaming market, as opposed to pitching the One as a universal media system, as their initial E3 presentation aimed for. Hopefully Microsoft is able to bring more games over to the Windows 10 platform, and with their new community features, it shows that they’re actively listening. Not a bad showing, overall.

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