What To Expect From E3: X Marks The Spot At Microsoft’s Conference

Speculating about E3 before it’s actually here is kind of like analyzing a football match before it begins – we have a pretty good idea of some of what we’re going to see, but for the most part we can really only guess. So that’s pretty much what we intend to do with this preview; speculate, make an educated guess or two, and make sure we’re up to date on what we’re likely to see during Microsoft’s E3 conference.

It seems appropriate to start this piece by talking about Call of Duty, as that’s the game that has opened Microsoft’s presser for the last several years. Black Ops III was revealed in late April and it’s pretty much a lock to show up at the Xbox briefing in some form or another. David Vonderhaar, one of the leads heading up development of Black Ops III, has been teasing big announcements for E3.

But with Call of Duty slowly but surely starting to tail off in sales, could be the year that Activision decides to do something dramatic to bring back some of the fans they’ve lost? Imagine the uproar if they did something crazy, like making all DLC free or splitting the multiplayer and single player up to make for a cheaper option if you’re only interested in one part. Both are highly unlikely, but would certainly be popular moves.



There are plenty of other certainties as well, with Forza 6 set to feature – it’s a yearly franchise now, after all – even if a racing game might be better discussed at length at Gamescom, given the European love of racing games. Fable Legends is another game that’s bound to be on the cards, with lots of gameplay and beta footage already out and about, where we might see a new trailer and a firm release date.

Last year saw the announcement of a new Crackdown game as well, making this an ideal opportunity to follow up on that promise with gameplay footage and stage time. Let’s not forget about Quantum Break either, where it’s been over 9 months since we saw the bad ass gameplay trailer just below. Surely they’ll have an update for us on whether or not it’ll make it for this year.

But we all know what Microsoft’s marquee titles are, and this would be the best time to talk about the Gears of War Franchise. Gears of War Remastered footage leaked last month, making an announcement very likely here, but I personally think it would be cool if they completely revealed what it is, gave us pure gameplay footage and a release date, and then cap that off with a short teaser for Gears of War 4, of whatever the next game will be, coming from the newly rebranded The Coalition.

It would be quite unimaginable for Rise of the Tomb Raider not to appear, as this game was the center of controversy last year when they announced it would be Xbox exclusive. Some of the fire died out when it was revealed to only be a timed-exclusive game, but gameplay footage has been promised, which will dovetail nicely into the Square Enix conference the next day.

And finally, we have Halo 5: Guardians. Set for release on October 27th, this is an exclusive that is sure to be a huge hit for the Xbox One this year, and whatever it is that Microsoft show of the game, it’s bound to be a major talking point. The latest that we’ve seen of the game came in the form of two trailers that we’ve thrown into a playlist just below, and which really need to be watched together to understand their significance.


Those are a selection of games that we’re pretty sure will be there, or at least most them. What about the unknowns? Was the Silent Hill talk from Phil Spencer a bluff and actually show up in the form of an announcement teaser? Will they continue their push toward indie games and give titles like Below or a few unannounced indies any stage time? Do they have it within them to announce more exclusive titles?

There are also developments that should affect the console itself. Showing HoloLens and their augmented reality prototypes could tie into the VR news and, though perhaps a little too tech heavy for an E3 show, they might talk about the post-Windows 10 dashboard update that they’ve mentioned and what it can do for the console. Though sales have still been strong, they pale in comparison to the PlayStation 4, so might we see another price drop? Or even an Xbox One redesign, that cuts all the free space out of the bulky design for something much sleeker?

Update: Well, we can now rule out a redesign, what with today’s announcement of a 1TB SKU and revised controller being made available next week. The curse of trying to predict stuff!

Again, it’s all speculation but we’d love it for you to join in on this conversation. What do you want to see? What do you think we’ll see? And if you could have them pull off one major unexpected move, what would it be?



  1. Xbox are beginning to catch up thanks to good consumer and fanbase support. It’s a shame about the way in which they started off with the xb1. Had they not done that I’m sure they would have closed the sales gap. More exclusives and more varied exclusives would be better for xb1 players.

  2. Great round up matt. I’m not sure wether the rumours about cod switching platforms is true but that could be a 10 minute chunk of the conference devoted to something else.

    I’d like to see how Halo 5 has come on since the barebones beta 6 months ago, particularly some SP footage.

    Crackdown showed big ideas but I’d like to see gameplay footage.

    Also I hope there are a handful of impressive [email protected] titles. I’m talking No man’s sky/WiLD/etc impressive.

    Unless they’ve got a second party title (or two), I can’t see any surprise big reveals because MS don’t have too many 1st party studios.

    I will be watching the live stream of it aswell as it’s on at a nice time for us Europeans. I wish I could say the same of the PS one…

  3. I think they’ll have to show something related to HoloLens because I reckon Sony will but something exciting and VR shaped out of their arse.

    • *pull – I’m sure butting something out of your arse is far harder. (oo-er!)

  4. Should be a great e3 for xbox with Gears, Forza, Halo, Tomb Raider and others.

    Hopefully another tomb raider-esque announcement just for the laughs at the ensuing meltdown.

    • Really? Imagine if one of your favourite multiplat games which was announced for your console only to be bought up a month later.

      • It’s a bit childish I know but the fuming tweets, comments and articles were very funny.

    • Hopefully we won’t see any more of these kinds of deals after Tomb Raider bombs.

      Sad, but probably true.

      • I doubt TR will bomb. It’s highly anticipated in the xbox community.

      • I don’t know… There are a lot of highly anticipated games coming out in Q4. I can see this being overshadowed by some of the ‘heavy hitters’ and Tomb Raider might not ‘rise’ as high (in the charts) as they hope.

        I suppose it is being released on the 360 too so who knows? Will it sell a disappointing 3.4 million copies in the first 4 weeks I wonder?

      • They’ll have more reasonable expectations given it’s only releasing on one current gen platform rather the 2 + PC.

  5. I’m looking forward to Halo, Forza, and Tomb Raider for me, and possibly Quantum Break and Crackdown (never played Gears of War, so might nab them on the 360). It’s got to the point that if I have the money later in the year (or even sooner), then Xbox One it will be, so I’m very much anticipating the E3 gameplay videos.

    Unless of course Sony can pull something utterly wondrous out of their hat, but frankly I’m not even sure they have a hat at the moment, and even a solid date for GT7 won’t be enough, not one game.

  6. I wouldn’t mind seeing Alan Wake Remastered. It was one of the games I almost bought a 360 for last gen.

    Not really into Forza or Halo but I’m interested in seeing what Gears is all about.

    Also, It’ll be interesting to see what they’ve done to Tomb Raider.

    • Alan Wake is a hugely underrated game, loved it, so I really want to see a release date for Quantum Break.

      Agreed about Tomb Raider, day 1 for me.

      Halo 5 if nothing else, has a lot of rebuilding of faith as far as the multiplayer goes after MCC.

      The biggest problem is that while Sony’s conference seems a bit lacking in concrete ideas, the MS one seems to fall back on more concrete but banal options – a Forza, a Halo, a Gears and a Call of Duty bombastic trailer. I;m not really sure which is worse.

  7. I’m hoping for TV, TV, TV, sports, TV, TV, Skype, Sports, Sports on Skype, Sport on Tv Via Skype, Kinect, TV, TV, Sports and Skype.

    In that order.

    • Ironic as microsofts last few e3’s didn’t have any tv focus at all. Sony however…

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