Xbox provided a 2 hour livestream from Mexico City during their X018 Event showcasing their lineup for 2018 / 2019 and revealed world premiere content for first party and third party games. There was also two new studio acquirement announcements for Microsoft Studios and a large number of ways that Xbox plans to get more gamers into their brand by remaining consumer-friendly and increasing their investment on quality content for the future.
After a Party Hard 2 style music countdown we are led to a sizzle reel with Reggae music playing as crowds of people are running around through a city seeing games projected onto buildings like Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Fortnite, Halo, and more. Master Chief is even on the subway. After that Larry Hyrb (Major Nelson) takes the stage with the Inside Xbox international team in Mexico City (the largest metropolitan city on the western hemisphere). Phil Spencer is announced to be in the building and the show begins.
PlayerUnknown Battlegrounds receives a gameplay trailer with hip hop music timed to bullets and explosions. Vehicles are being shown and mayhem ensues when suddenly the Xbox Game Pass is seen as an item on the map. We are now told by Graeme Boyd that Xbox Game Pass will get PUBG on November 12, 2018 just two days from now. This is during the low price sale in which gamers can start off their subscription for just $1 for the first month. Over 100 games are included. The deal is available in many regions including Japan, Mexico, USA, and more.
A mural is being spray-painted life behind Jeff Rubesntein as he gets ready to introduce and it is mentioned that later in the show we will see a new game mode revealed for Crackdown 3.
From the co-creator of BioShock and System Shock 2 comes a new World Premiere game that will launch as a console exclusive for Xbox. Set your own goals, balance risk and reward, and think outside of the box in the comic book style 3D first person shooter / rpg set on a space ship that you must escape, Void Bastards is coming in 2019. Xbox Game Pass gets another commercial showing off some new additions to the subscription including Forza Horizon 4, PUBG, Hitman, and more.
Terry Crews is seen discovering his Crackdown 3 character in the fridge, in his duffel bag, and the two start messing with each other to see who can get the drop on who first. Crackdown 3 releases February 15, 2019 and is available for free day one with the Xbox Game Pass. Joseph Staten (Senior Creative Director of Crackdown 3) took the stage next and announces Wrecking Zone for the game.
This is a hub for multiple game modes in which two teams of five jump into a battle arena and compete against each other with fully destructible environments. Azure Cloud services and Xbox Live are combined to make a dedicated server experience that’s so smooth and destruction the likes of which hasn’t been seen before. Take down multiple level buildings like in Red Faction Guerrilla but online with 9 other people and in the middle of a various number of game modes. Damn that looks good!
Thanks to the cloud helping out with processing, the destruction experience is the same regardless of whether you’re playing on Windows 10, an Xbox One, Xbox One S, or Xbox One X. We are promised that the story mode of this game is very robust, and that the team is working very hard on completing the project. Another big announcement is that the original Crackdown has become available for free today until November 30, 2018 in the Microsoft Store. On Xbox One X there are 4K enhanced visuals as well.
NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 is the sponsor of this show and the upcoming game is shown off in a gameplay trailer reminiscent of NBA Street back in the PlayStation 2 days with the crowd going wild while waiting for Phil Spencer to take stage. Battlefield V is given some trailer time to shine as well.
Phil Spencer stands in the crowd with Julia Hardy and tells us that fans in Mexico are the best. It’s a huge market for Xbox which began in 2002 and during the fourth Xbox Fanfest the tacos are amazing and the fans are excited. The Xbox Boss speaks about his happiness to show off multiplayer for Crackdown 3 and confirms that fans are playing it at X018 in Mexico City as well. A chant begins in the crowd “Xbox, Xbox, Xbox” and Phil shares his joy of seeing full families gaming together at the event. Inclusivity for handicapped gamers is talked about as well with the adaptive controller being an example but also the community improvements.
The crowd keeps chanting multiple times and going wild. Phil Spencer continues to discuss the work that’s been done since he came into the company including backwards compatibility, Xbox One X, and uniting gamers all over with things like cross-play. Windows Gaming, xCloud, and fixing the Microsoft Store on PC are some of the goals Phil Spencer has for the future. He tells us he has had the feedback from gamers and that the PC store will be changed. Not only shoving gamers into one subscription service or business model, Phil Spencer discusses Xbox Game Pass as a way to provide choice for gamers – not the only focus of the company.
When gamers are on Xbox Game Pass they actually try out more genres that they don’t normally play and end up buying more games in the long run which is a surprising revelation Phil Spencer shares with us. The studio acquirement strategy is discussed and Hellblade is announced to be coming to retail stores as a physical game as well as coming to Xbox Game Pass this December 17, 2018. Ninja Theory is now part of the Microsoft Studios family and there will be more talked about this studio later in the show we are told.
Hellblade Senua’s Sacrifice is shown with a slow motion gameplay trailer including its many accolades throughout the gaming industry.
Kingdom Hearts III gets a new world premiere trailer showing various characters and worlds that will be in the game including Winnie The Pooh, Pirates of the Caribbean, and more. Mini-games are shown as well as full gameplay segments that haven’t been seen before. The game’s focus on story, dialogue, and music is very clear to see and it aims to be a heart-touching game. Shinji Hashimoto from (Executive Producer of Kingdom Hearts III) took the stage to discuss the game and asks the roaring crowd to keep quiet a bit.
The Winnie The Pooh world has been in the series as well until now but in KH3 in the hundred acre woods you will play many mini-games. There are lots of very different mini-games including the classic kingdom mini-game. The team also figured there were not any puzzle games in the world yet so for the hundred acre woods there will also be puzzle mini-games. The vertical gameplay of the game as well as high fidelity graphics and CG cut-scenes were made possible by the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One hardware but there will also be enhancements for PS4 Pro and Xbox One X.
The inception of Kingdom Hearts III is discussed as well with Hashimoto telling us through a translator that 20 years ago Square was in the same office building as Disney when a producer there reached out to Square in the elevator about a new Kingdom Hearts game until a meeting took place which led to the details of the game being planned.
Final Fantasy is the next topic of discussion from Hashimoto who reveals that backwards compatibility for Xbox 360’s Final Fantasy games launches next week. There is also a reminder that World of Final Fantasy Maxima has recently launched on Xbox One. In 2019 there will also be Final Fantasy VII, IX, X, X-2, and XII released for the Xbox One. In closing, Shinji Hashimoto took a selfie video and picture with the entire crowd on his smartphone. Kingdom Hearts III comes January 29, 2019.
Xbox One Game Pass is given yet another announcement as Rukari Austin and Larry Hyrb take the screen to discuss that and backwards compatibility. Civilization Revolution is already compatible, but now there is an Xbox One X 4K enhancement available for it. Xbox Game Pass will get Ori and the Blind Forest, Ori and the Will of the Wisps (the day it launches in 2019), Hellblade Senua’s Sacrifice, Void Bastards, and Thief of Thieves is revealed as available today on the service. Ten more announcements for Xbox Game Pass will come later in the show.
The Xbox One exclusive Sea of Thieves from Rare gets a new trailer which acknowledges the need for more content in the game and is a world premiere reveal for The Arena game mode coming Early 2019. Craig Duncan (Studio Head at Rare Studios) thanks the community for keeping Sea of Thieves alive and breaks down the new ways to play which are coming next year.
Competition on Demand is the concept behind the development of this. Shorter, more intense sessions crafted through community feedback and internal playable betas. The Arena will be a free update to the game. There will also be a November 2018 update called Shrouded Spoils. The crowd began chanting “Sea of Thieves” and then we are introduced to Jump Force as the next segment.
Diego Paramio (Bandai Namco Community Manager of Latin America) discusses some of the best IPs from anime coming together for a brand new world exclusive Jump Force gameplay trailer showing Goku transformations, and more. The unique camera angles, environments, and over-the-top combat aims to do the anime they are inspired from justice. #JumpForceFanFest is a hash tag for competing to have the best social media images from fans who can win prizes. Jump Force releases February 15, 2019.
Today marks the birthday of Xbox One X, one year old means one year as the most powerful home games console on the market. To celebrate they give away an Xbox One X hat and console right in the middle of the show. A celebration trailer is shown showcasing features of the high-end system, games including Red Dead Redemption 2 running on X hardware, and accolades from critics.
State of Decay 2 takes the screen next and the stats behind it. There are over 4 million active players with over 5 billion zombies killed so far. In November 2018 there will be new weapons, new gear, and new ways to play as State of Decay 2 receives its massive free update called Zedhunter. Richard Foge (Design Director at Undead Labs) discusses the new additions including crossbows, 3 new quiet melee weapons, 3 new ranged weapons, 6 new consumables, night vision, and more.
This is the fifth update to the game and third expansion-size update with Undead Labs listening to the community’s ideas for what to add to the game. They asked for a new challenge, and so a new update is planned for Early 2019 that allows players to experience new challenges, new ways of surviving with their communities, and an increased level of difficulty. Trumbull Valley will see a return in 2019 as well as State of Decay 2 continues to evolve.
Surf on top of cars in the middle of tornadoes in Just Cause 4. Mexico City goes crazy for the new world premiere trailer of the Square Enix action adventure title from Avalanche Studios. Rico can’t walk away from the good fight. Hip Hop and EDM combine with dramatic dialogue to showcase the impressive new game which remains true to its roots but seems to evolve in every way. Francesco Antolini (Game Director of Just Cause 4) takes the stage with Major Nelson to discuss the game.
Perform whatever stunt and destructive behavior you expect the overpowered Rico can think about in the game. Each weapon comes with a secondary fire such as bullets that can be detonated later, homing missiles, and more. The experimental changes of the grappling hook across the series has inspired JC4 which aims to make players the masters of the world. A lot of vehicles (including a new class of them), destructibility, industrial crane (with wrecking ball), and every tool has multiple uses. Avalanche Studios has attempted to make anything you can imagine possible in this game.
When you get close to the tornado in the game physics changes dramatically. This was a challenge from design and technical perspective, but the tornado is not just a story moment. It’s a dynamic weather event which takes place all over the map. Just Cause 4 comes out December 4, 2018 and features 4K Xbox One X enhanced visuals.
#GiveWithXbox is announced as a way to share social media images of family gaming, inclusive gaming, and charitable gaming moments. Microsoft will donate $5 worth of Xbox products for each upload to Child’s Play, Gamers Outreach, Operation Supply Drop, and more including games to children’s hospitals. The charitable campaign goes until December 9, 2018. More Info at Xbox.com and anyone watching on Mixer or attending X018 live will also receive extra prizes for participating.
Next, some giveaway moments take place for the live crowd and fans attending X018 in Mexico City this year. More Xbox One Game Pass titles are announced including Aftercharge (3 on 3 multiplayer game in which the enemy is invisible, January 2019), Kingdom: Two Crowns (Mid-December 2018), and Super Market Shriek (wacky fun factor title, 2019).
Devil May Cry 5 focuses on style, combat, and combos performed while avoiding damage. Hideaki Itsuno (Game Director of DMC5) showcases The Void a place where players can explore Devil Breaker load-outs. The title looks like one of the best graphically animated titles of this generation. Many game details that long-time fans will find fascinating are revealed and the Mega Man moves are shown. DMC5 will be shown at The Game Awards December 6, 2018.
Minecraft developers took the stage next and discussed the new world record 91 million people playing Minecraft leading into the 10 year anniversary and the ways that the team is looking to grow Minecraft. The next new game is Minecraft: Dungeons, announced at MineCon but there’s also a Spring 2019 village Minecraft update coming. PixelHeads took the stage to discuss how they’ve made a career out of selling add-ons to the Minecraft marketplace gamers. The duo of add-on developers work together between Argentina and Sweden and are developing impressive additional content. Cats and Pandas is also announced as an official update to the game.
Even more Xbox Game Pass titles are revealed including Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden (December 2018), Pathalogic 2 (Open World Survival Thriller, TBA), Secret Neighbor(Multiplayer Social Horror, TBA), and more.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider gets a new world premiere trailer showcasing new content called The Forge which can be played solo or co-op. The game will receive a new challenge mode, new time attack mode, new skills, new weapons, and more.
Mouse and keyboard support is coming to the Xbox platform for developers who choose to support it. Bomber Crew, Warface, Children of Morta, Radiant Master, DayZ, Warframe, Strange Brigade, Deep Rock Collecting, Warhammer: Vermantide 2, Moonlighter, War Groove, Vigor, War Thunder, and more are revealed to be supporting this feature. Fortnite will also support KB/M support which will see players who use that input method playing against other KB/M players to ensure fairness.
This feature goes live November 14, 2018. Razer has partnered with Microsoft to make equipment from the ground up for Xbox, support dynamic lighting feature for game devs to control the lighting of your devices to provide alerts, etc. but any keyboard / mouse will work on Xbox. A Razer trailer shows off some of this equipment and its special features. Wireless Xbox mechanical keyboard and mouse will be revealed in more detail at Consumer Electronics Show 2019.
Metro Exodus is given a special reveal trailer for its spartan collector’s edition, now available for pre-order. The game launches February 22, 2019.
Xbox Game Pass gets another trailer of cinematic nature and comedic flair. NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 gets another sponsorship trailer comparing it to real life with some hilarious visual effects blending reality with gameplay.
ID@Xbox is the next important segment of the show. Chris Charla (Senior Director of ID@Xbox) took the stage to announce 4 billion hours of gameplay for indie games on the platform as well as over 1,000 indie games released through the program.
Upcoming games including Afterparty which features a couple who have just died and must beat the devil at a drinking game to escape hell. Sable is a hand-drawn exploration title with unique aspects. Ooblets is a title from a two man team in New Hampshire, USA which sees players raising their ooblet to compete in dance competitions against other ooblets. Another title is shown which is made by just one solo developer who has worked very hard to triumph over all areas of development to make a very special looking Action RPG.
Winter of Arcade will come to Xbox during 2018 as a new promotion based on the classic Summer of Arcade indie promos during the Xbox 360 period. The games included will be announced starting at The Game Awards on December 6, 2018.
Julia Hardy takes over again with Forza Horizon 4 and shows off a special thank you from Playground Games who promises new improvements, updates, and an expansion to the game. Fortune Island is a new track of extreme terrain (largest expansion ever made by Playground Games) full of unexpected driving experiences including off-road and drifting. Thunder and lightning storms will soon occur and even the northern lights can be seen all around you in dynamic moments during this breathtaking visual masterpiece.
A special series of trailers reveal brand new cars for the racing game including a variety of vehicle types and a new Amazon Prime Video project is revealed. Microsoft Studios head Matt Booty is also set to take the stage later to talk about new studio investments for Xbox.
Agents of Mayhem, MXGP 3, and Thomas Was Alone are also announced for Xbox Game Pass. 16 total games have been revealed across X018 to be added to the service which features over 100 games and a new app will be available for the Google Android Play Store and Apple iOS Appstore allowing the Xbox to download games while you’re not home or add titles to your library on the go.
Major Nelson stars in a funny commercial seeing him take on the persona of Crazy Larry reminiscent of Better Call Saul or even the days of Steve Ballmer with one of those crazy yelling deal guy ads. This is a hilarious way to recap all of the Black Friday Deals and ongoing promotions of Xbox this year. NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 gets yet another augmented reality trailer and is available to play now.
Head of Microsoft Studios Matt Booty took the stage next with Major Nelson to discuss the lineup of exclusive Xbox games but also the expansion of the Microsoft Studios family. As a reminder; Playground Games, Ninja Theory, The Initiative (New Studio), Compulsion Games, and Undead Labs. Another studio that is now part of Microsoft Studios inXile Entertainment has also been acquired by Microsoft. Brian Fargo leads the company and has a great portfolio of titles under his belt.
Brian Fargo came on camera to discuss how being part of Microsoft Studios will enable the company to focus on making their games bigger and better with the security and resources made possible by this deal. None of the company’s staff or style will change, and Brian Fargo will continue to lead the RPG giant on its journey.
A brand new announcement of the rumor come true, is Obsidian Entertainment, the team behind Fallout: New Vegas, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Pillars of Eternity, and South Park: The Stick of Truth. The developers inside the company are featured in a video showing how much they love video games and enabling player choice that truly impacts what’s happening in the game.
In total there are now 13 new studios part of Microsoft which will be kept independent and unique and allowed to do their own thing while making exclusive games for Xbox and staying true to their fans over the years to come.
Some teams will have games that come out soon, but for the most part the future is going to be full of great Xbox games thanks to these investments in first party studios made by Matt Booty under the management of Phil Spencer who has been turning the Xbox brand around very nicely since inheriting the issues that Don Mattrick left behind. It’s looking like Xbox has a bright future ahead, and we are excited to see the love of gaming shared by fans being part of the executive culture at Microsoft again.