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E3 2019

E3 2019 Will Be an Exciting Time for Xbox

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Every year, developers from around the world gather in June to showcase their most secret and anticipated projects. In the months leading up to E3, gamers witness the spectacle of influencers and industry veterans discussing the rumors of what might be, further fueling their desired announcements come to life. In the spirit of fun and excitement, E3 allows for the passion of gaming to be broadcast on a world stage and recognized for its influence on the entertainment industry.

Now that the industry is approaching the eve of E3, OnlySP is counting down the days remaining in a segment we like to call ‘12 Days of E3’. Please join OnlySP in celebrating an event that can be described as Christmas for Gamers, as we come together in anticipation for E3 2019!


Xbox is in need of a win right now. After being behind Sony’s PlayStation 4 for an entire generation at a sales ratio of 2:1, Xbox needs to nail its E3 2019 briefing. Sony has decided not to attend this year’s show and, with Nintendo not having had a proper press conference in several years, Microsoft is left as the only platform holder to have a stage presence at E3. With Sony gone, Microsoft has a chance to shine and show gamers why the Xbox ecosystem is worth investing in.

The prevailing narrative surrounding the Xbox One has been its lack of critically acclaimed exclusives. Sea of Thieves, State of Decay 2, and Crackdown 3 received mediocre reviews. High-profile games such as Phantom Dust and Scalebound were also cancelled, adding more fuel to the fire around the Xbox’s problem with exclusive content. However, Microsoft has expanded its first-party portfolio in recent years, acquiring studios such as Ninja Theory and Playground Games, as well as also opening up a brand new studio, The Initiative. Rumors are circulating that Ninja Theory’s next game, codenamed Bleeding Edge, will be revealed at E3, too.  

Playground Games is also strongly rumored to be working on a new Fable, and that could certainly see its own reveal. Microsoft will likely continue its shopping spree as there has been speculation that the company is also looking to acquire IO Interactive, the studio behind the Hitman series. A common theme surrounding the studios that Microsoft bought is that they lack finances and being under Microsoft’s wing ensures stability. Ninja Theory provided the same reasoning and so did another studio Microsoft acquired—Obsidian Entertainment.

Given that IO Interactive’s latest release, Hitman 2, underperformed commercially, the studio may consider joining Microsoft. On top of the rumors and speculation, more information about Halo Infinite and Gears 5 will most likely be shown, as the latter has had its cover art and potential release date leaked recently. While Microsoft missed the boat on critically acclaimed new franchises this generation, the company has learned from one of its biggest mistakes. As such, E3 2019 is the perfect time to show that Microsoft is investing in compelling worlds and characters for the Xbox.

Another significant component that Microsoft is investing in is game streaming. With the introduction of Google’s streaming-only game platform, Stadia, cloud computing seems to be an integral part of the gaming industry going forward. In fact, Sony and Microsoft recently announced a strategic partnership to explore streaming technology using Microsoft’s Azure servers. Microsoft is well positioned to unveil more details at E3 2019 about its streaming endeavour, xCloud, given that the beta for the program is reported to start later this year. Additionally, rumors abound that the Switch will receive some sort of integration with Xbox Live and Xbox Game Pass, which may provide a much-needed backbone to Nintendo’s lackluster online infrastructure. Even Xbox boss Phil Spencer commented on Google Stadia in an internal e-mail when it was announced back in March at the Game Developers Conference:

“But I want get back to us, there has been really good work to get us to the position where we are poised to compete for 2 billion gamers across the planet. Google went big today and we have a couple of months until E3 when we will go big.”

In a Twitter post, Google said more details about Stadia will be revealed at E3 this year, but Microsoft has almost two decades worth of experience in the gaming industry. With the two other juggernauts of the game industry seeing the value of Microsoft’s data centers and online infrastructure, it could well be at the forefront of game streaming in the future.

With the next generation of consoles rumored to arrive in 2020, Sony has already shown off some of the perks of the next PlayStation. Not to be left out of the conversation, E3 provides a great stage for Microsoft to provide details about its next-generation hardware, reportedly codenamed Scarlett. At the beginning of this generation, Microsoft lost the battle of both price and power, announcing the Xbox One to be slightly weaker and USD$100 more than the PlayStation 4.

Therefore, Microsoft aims to find success in hitting both the price sensitive market and the hardcore gamer crowd. The Scarlett is rumored to split into two systems, codenamed Anaconda and Lockhart. Lockhart is slated to be the cheaper version, much like the Xbox One S, while Anaconda is the more powerful and expensive Xbox One X-style console. The Xbox One X is currently the most powerful console on the market, and reports are noting that Microsoft intends to keep it that way, as the next Xbox is rumored to be more powerful than the next PlayStation. As with Sony, Microsoft will most likely reveal only cursory details of the next Xbox, such as specifications this time around, but E3 offers a great opportunity to show off the future of the Xbox ecosystem.

Xbox has quite big shoes to fill given that many of the major platform holders and publishers will not be at E3 this year, but Microsoft should have no problem delivering some big reveals about the future of the platform. At E3 2018, Phil Spencer reiterated Xbox’s commitment to first-party content, game streaming on any platform, and how Microsoft’s engineers are hard at work developing the next family of Xbox consoles. This year, Microsoft will likely give us a taste of what is to come in the future on Xbox.

To see more from our 12 Days of E3, be sure to follow OnlySP on FacebookTwitter, and YouTube. Also, be sure to join the discussion in the community Discord server.

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E3 2019

Biomutant is Vibrant, Unique, and a Hell of a Lot of Fun

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THQ Nordic had a bevy of games available to play on the show floor at this year’s E3. While some attendees eagerly lined up to play Darksiders Genesis (as our own Michael Cripe did), others sought to finally get their hands on Experiment 101’s highly unique Biomutant for a hands-on, 30-minute demo. Thankfully, Biomutant’s E3 demo is more than enough proof that the will end up being something truly special.

After selecting their preferred language, players were given the option to recode their mutant’s DNA, serving as Biomutant’s version of a character customizer. The customization options were satisfying. A circle graph appears on the screen with five key skills the player must find their preferred balance between: strength, agility, intellect, charisma, and vitality. A sixth skill, luck, was also present, but it was not one that the player could influence from the circle graph. This graph not only influences the player’s mutant’s skills but it also directly changes the mutant’s appearance.

Other customization options included determining the mutant’s fur length and primary and secondary colors. Once these options were set, the demo thrusts the player into a mission that begins with riding a hot air balloon  while the narrator speaks of the excitement of an adventure. Enemies begin firing to bring down the hot air balloon and the player is dropped into the action.

Biomutant

The world of Biomutant immediately pops, as the colors were sharp and invoked thoughts of Ratchet &Clank with a slightly more comic-book style. The visuals reflected the conditions of the area, too, with vibrant reds representing intense heat being a memorable example. The first thing that stood out about this sequence was how great the combat felt. Similarly to Insomniac’s Spider-Man and Rocksteady’s Arkham series, sliding through an enemy’s legs while kicking, punching, and shooting felt tight and familiar. In some instances, the game slowed down when a knockout blow was dealt, which was a nice cinematic touch.

Progressing forward saw the player in an area with additional enemies with a larger, more intimidating foe acting as the main objective. This section introduced the Super Wushu attack, which varies depending on the equipped weapon. The most rewarding of these attacks was with the Klonk Fist which was obtained later in the demo. The Klonk Fist offered huge gauntlets that could pummel multiple enemies by mashing the action button.

The key to unlocking the Super Wushu attack involves stringing together combos which felt fairly easy to do. I do not recall ever losing my combo to an enemy attack, as I obtained the special attack fairly often. The combat allowed for those who wished to mash the melee or firing button but also rewards the players who are more tactical in their combos while mixing in shooting with melee attacks.

Biomutant

With the tutorial for the demo out the way, the game continues by having the player go to a different part of the planet. This new area showcased the vibrant greens and life that contrasted the overheated reds from the previous area. After some platforming, the demo descends the player down into the world where Gizmo the Greasemonkey resides.

Biomutant NPC dialogue is spoken by the narrator from the beginning of the demo while the player’s character makes vague sounds during the conversation. This exchange felt a bit underwhelming for the action-RPG as options did not hold any consequences for how the next section plays out and can be skipped without missing out on much of the story or mission objective.

After descending down and exiting an elevator shaft, the player enters a dark, oil-spilt area. The color palette here reflected the same pop to its visuals as the other sections. A mech suit, which was required to clean up the oil, controlled fine, though combat definitely felt better out of the mech suit than in it.

A final enemy awaited which served as the boss fight for the mission. This fight contained three phases with the enemy adding a new attack method from in the second. The third phase, however, took place inside the creature. After taking him down from the inside, the planet’s Tree of Life becomes more alive as indicating a reversal of destitute for the planet.

The demo confirmed the anticipation OnlySP had for Biomutant. The combat felt great and the visuals really popped. THQ Nordic and Experiment 101 may something special on their hands if the rest of the game plays as the demo did.

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