With a little less than a month left for E3 2019, this is the time when lots of information about what each company is preparing to present at the event. And for the first time in years, all eyes are on Microsoft, as it will be the only one of the “Big 3” (Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo) to present a physical conference at the event (Nintendo will broadcast a special Direct as it comes making in recent years, and Sony surprised to announce that it will not be at the event this year).
Last Sunday (19), the user of the NeoGAF forum, which claims to be someone with many contacts in the industry and uses the alias Braldryr to maintain its real anonymous identity, has released a lot of information about what Microsoft’s next year will be like – basically everything which the company is preparing to show at E3 this year and some backstage information and negotiations that should be finalized by the end of 2020.
There is no way to be sure that this information is 100% correct (the user himself warns that, especially in the case of negotiations for the purchase of new studios, things can change a lot from one week to the next), but he has a history of good enough to at least take this information into account as existing possibilities.
Most of the leak is about E3 in 2019 – after all, the event will happen in less than a month, so it’s pretty sure that pretty much the whole script (or at least a good part of it) of what Microsoft will present is already set. Thus, the leaks on E3 are the only ones that the NeoGAF user spikes with absolute certainty that will happen.
Some are quite easy to get stuck because they are titles that have already been announced and one would expect the company to use E3 to show more about them. Among these titles we will have: Halo Infinite , from which a new trailer will be shown – developers will go on stage to talk about the process and mechanics of the game, and will reveal a launch window by the end of 2020; Gears Tactics , the tactical game of the Gears of War franchise , which will win a new trailer and a release date later this year; and Gears of War 5, which will show gameplay trailer of campaign mode and multiplayer mode, and Microsoft will confirm the release date for September this year, as it had been revealed a few months ago in a leak.
Among the lesser-known titles, Microsoft will also announce the release date for Ori and the Will of the Wisps , new content for Sea of Thieves, and the first gameplay of the new Battletoads.
The company also prepares some small surprises for the event, and the main one will be the revelation of Age of Empires 4 , the return of the strategy game franchise that since 2005 was nothing new. Something that is not a surprise, but which will also be confirmed by the company, is the reboot of the Fable franchise , and the company will confirm that the open world RPG that Eurogamer released in 2018 that Microsoft was developing is even a Fable, but , contrary to what the rumors pointed out, will not be a Fable IV , but a new version of the first game. There will also be the revelation of Bleeding Edge, a new Ninja Theory game whose content is still a true mystery, and it is only known that it will have a sci-fi theme.
Microsoft will also bring hardware news to the event, revealing the first details about the next generation of Xbox consoles. The revelation will be similar to what the company did with Xbox One X at E3 in 2016 (or what Sony did with PlayStation 5 in April this year), where various hardware specifications will be revealed but will not reveal any design as will the console. The company will also reveal more details about Project xCloud (the Xbox game streaming system), and will release the date of the first public tests of the project. Also, Microsoft will also confirm that Halo Infinite and Bleeding Edge will be cross gen titles, that is, they will be released for both the Xbox One and the new console.
Among titles that have not yet been confirmed, but there are rumors that they can make an appearance at the event, there are great chances that Microsoft will also announce a new game in the MechAssault series , in addition to rolling the announcement of a new game in the series Forza Motorsport . There are other possibilities that are talked about in the corridors of the company that may also happen in this E3, but with very small chances, such as the revelation of a new Rare IP that would be quite inspired by Sea of Thieves (but not necessarily a continuation of the game ) and the long-awaited reboot of Perfect Dark .
But in addition to news from Microsoft, the conference will also feature various third party content – independent companies that develop their own games, such as Capcom. Usually, these companies divide up between Microsoft and Sony to present their games but, as Sony will not attend the event this year, all of them will present their news together with Microsoft, which should make this year’s conference a little bigger than to the previous ones.
Among these companies, it is almost certain that Capcom will unveil at least one big new game – rumors point to a remake of Resident Evil 3 or a new game from the Dino Crisis franchise – but there is not yet certain what that title will be. Microsoft is also expected to use the E3 stage to announce some new partnerships with Japanese developers, so Xbox fans can expect some surprises in new RPGs for the console.
But the main news of these independent studios will be Cyberpunk 2077 , which promises to be one of the climax of the show, where representatives from CD Projekt Red will come on stage to talk about progress made in game development, showcase a new gameplay video and reveal the launch of the game.
Negotiations with studios
In addition to what to expect from Microsoft’s presentation at E3 2019, it also revealed some information about studios that Microsoft is negotiating to buy and bring to the “umbrella” of Microsoft Studios, making them developers exclusive to Microsoft consoles.
Two studios that have been rumored to be trading for months have been confirmed as out of the company’s plans: CD Projekt Red ( The Witcher , Cyberpunk 2077 ) and Creative Assembly ( Total War franchise ). The user says they have asked about these stories for several of their sources within the company, and they all say that there is no negotiation or plan by Microsoft to acquire these studios.
According to these sources, there are three studios that Microsoft is officially in negotiations to acquire: IO Interactive, Relic Entertainment, and Asobo. For I / O (a company known by the Hitman franchise ), negotiations are already in an advanced stage and Microsoft has even sent a proposal with the amount it is willing to pay for the company, but apparently this proposal has not yet been answered and the company has expanded its offices in recent months, so it is not possible to know exactly whether or not they intend to sell the studio to Microsoft.
The Relic affair is also easy to understand: Microsoft has been interested in acquiring a studio to develop real-time strategy games (RTS) for some time now – and even that was the reason for the first rumors about a Creative Assembly purchase. Since Relic already has a great track record in developing these games (with the Warhammer 40000 and Company of Heroes franchises ), and is already working with the company to develop Age of Empires 4, it’s easy to understand why they are seen by Microsoft executives like a good buy. The biggest drawback in the deal would be SEGA, which acquired Relic after the bankruptcy of THQ in 2013 and would not be interested in facilitating negotiations for Microsoft.
Asobo is a medium-sized studio in France, known for developing adaptations for Disney video games (such as the Rattaouille, Wall-E and Toy Story 3 games ), and a few days ago released A Plague Tale: Innocence . The company already has a good track record of working with Microsoft in recent years, developing applications for HoloLens and games like ReCore and Kinectic Rush, and because it is still completely independent, it may be the easiest of Microsoft to close the acquisition.
According to rumors, Microsoft would still be interested in acquiring three more companies, but for now there is nothing official on the part of the giant and everything is still in the internal conversations phase.
One such company would be 4A Games, known for the FPS / Terror Metro games series . The franchise has been a kind of “cult classic” among Microsoft consumers since the Xbox 360 era , and as Phil Spencer (head of Microsoft’s video game division) has warned that he is interested in acquiring studios from around the world to create games that are interesting to many cultures, it would make sense to purchase a Russian developer.
In addition to the rumor about 4A’s interest, it is also known that Microsoft would be behind two specific studios: a Japanese studio – this would even be in advanced negotiations – and a studio that has a history of exclusivity with Sony. And some corridor conversations lead one to believe that these studios could be Platinum and Bluepointe.
Although Microsoft and Platinum have a complicated history because of the whole roll that culminated in the cancellation of Scalebound, the relationship between the companies does not seem to be so damaged. Platinum recently released a version of Nier Automata for the Xbox One and recently the company came out publicly making a mea culpa on the Scalebound case, defending Microsoft’s decision to cancel the game, admitting that much of the guilt of why the game was canceled was on account of decisions of the company itself, also apologizing to the fans who were waiting anxiously for news.
Mainly because of this public apology, there is a rumor that Microsoft is already in the process of acquiring Platinum, but there is still nothing to confirm this information and it may be another totally different developer. The only concrete information is that Microsoft is already in final negotiations to acquire a Japanese game developer, and is expected to announce that acquisition in the coming months.
The acquisition of Bluepointe follows the same Platinum principle: there is vague concrete information, and it beats what we know about the company. The concrete information is that Microsoft is currently talking to a company that has an exclusive relationship history with Sony. From this information, many rumors have pointed out that this studio is Bluepointe, which last year launched the remaster of Shadow of the Colossus and, a few years before, had also worked on the size of the first three games of the series Uncharted for PS4 .
Both games are highly praised for not only being good ports for the console, but also for re-creating some mechanics in order to upgrade them to the new consoles without spoiling the concepts of the original versions. Microsoft currently owns a bunch of old IPs that have a good fan base but have no one to work on, and the acquisition of Bluepoint could solve that “hole” in the company’s plans. But as always, it’s good to make clear that this is an assumption based on information, and it is not certain that this studio that has a history with Sony is even Bluepointe.
As we can see, the next few months should be very busy for Microsoft, and confirmations of this information should begin to happen already in E3 this year. What remains now is to hope that the company can keep the path trodden in the last three years with the Xbox consoles and continue decreasing the advantage that Sony opened with the PS4 in the video game market.