In my mind, Microsoft had the most potential for something amazing. It has been a couple of years since Phil Spencer has moved into the leadership of Xbox, and this felt like the year that his moves might start to mean something. The deals they made 2 years ago are the announcements to get hype about today. Announcements that weren’t leaked for this holiday season, but to let us look a bit further forward.
The conference was full of games, including some that we saw last year. Ori and the Will of the Wisps had a showing again, and haven’t replayed the first game I continue to be very excited for it. Some new powers and more of those stunning visuals… Yeah I am still excited for that game. It wasn’t new though. Most of the cross promotion stuff wasn’t new or surprising either. A few more moments of Battlefield V that gave us almost about the story we didn’t get yesterday. The Division 2 from Ubisoft was already announced and looks like more of the first game. Fallout 76 had no new details or even a commitment about what the game is, though admittedly Bethesda will probably have a lot more to say about that at their own conference.
They did catch a bit of hype from me though. The game Fromsoftware teased at the Game Awards was here. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice looked badass. While the samurai aesthetic was drawn from for last year’s Nioh, this game looks a departure from the Souls series with mobility and traversal. A bit less running up and down stairs and more grappling hooks onto ledges, or onto the giant vomit spewing man trying to kill you.
Dying Light 2 also made an appearance with some rather ambitious sounding changes. The first game in the series was very solid in combining the parkour movement of Mirror’s Edge with the zombie filled open world. My biggest fear is that these choices they showcased, ones that will change the world and events happening in it, will not be the prevalent nature of the game they implied. I fear it will be more like the Mass Effect series. Sure you make some choices and there are changes, but some of those are just a guy saying hello to you at a bar 10 hours later.
I would be remiss not to mention Cyberpunk 2077. I LOVE the look, feel, and worlds of cyberpunk in general. Hell, I’m currently running a campaign of The Sprawl in some of the little free time I can find. With the news a few days ago that the Android: Netrunner card game, which I own all of the retail products released from, is ending later this year I needed some of that genre this week. Much as I adore watching that trailer, and I have a few times now, there isn’t anything about the game there. Should I be expecting the scope of a Witcher game out of this? Is it a more linear experience? I got questions damn it!
The real big surprise was not a game though. It was the announcement of some studio acquisitions. If anything got me excited it was seeing Ninja Theory becoming first-party. Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice was a real powerful experience out of a relatively small game. The thought of what we might see out of that developer with the resources of Microsoft behind them? Now that is some exciting shit.