Xbox E3 2018 Recap: Best of Microsoft at E3 2018

At its E3 2018 press conference, Microsoft smartly misdirected away from the drought of exclusive Xbox One games in 2018 by showing off tons of exciting titles that await in the console's future. With a whopping 50 games showcased and plenty of world-premiere trailers, Microsoft added a ton to the list of must-see E3 2018 games, and kept the talking points mercifully few and far between. Here's every announcement from the show, in case you missed it and/or don't have the time to watch an hour and a half of trailers. 

Master Chief is back in Halo Infinite  

That's a strong way to start the show! We open on shots of wilderness, Lion King-style stampede of rhinos, a crashed ship, shadows on the beach, explorers dropping a smoke flare and - OH DANG. There's Master Chief's iconic helmet in the foreground. We see more beacons pop up as the camera cuts to the sky to show the iconic Halo strip and a title: Halo Infinite. It's being made by 343 Industries and powered by the new Slipspace Engine. Phil Spencer took the stage to say Halo Infinite will be Master Chief's "greatest adventure yet." 

Ori and the Will of the Wisps gameplay shines 

The adorable Ori is back, and they've made an owl friend. A new gameplay trailer for vibrant 2D platformer Ori and the Will of the Wisps showed rapid-fire clips of an imposing, wolf monster, new combat abilities, and even reverse-gravity minecart rides. Some of Ori's new abilities include a mist form and an ethereal bow and arrow volley. You can play it sometime in 2019. 

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is FromSoftware's next game 

Remember that cryptic FromSoftware teaser that was at The Game Awards 2017? We now know that it's a crucial weapon in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, developed by FromSoftware in a partnership with Activision. Our main character's bony, mechanical arm (that gizmo from the teaser image) can transform into a grappling hook, hat-shaped shield, and even an axe as you fight for your life in a mystical Japan that evokes memories of Nioh. Looks like you'll be dueling against all manner of monsters, ogres, and warriors, unable to stay dead for very long. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice will be coming in 2019.  

Fallout 76 gives you a glimpse of life outside the vault 

Bethesda's father figure Todd Howard took the stage to show off the first gameplay footage of Fallout 76, which Howard calls an "untamed, very different wasteland" that's "four times the size of Fallout 4." After the bombs dropped, the nation isn't the desolate wasteland you might imagine - it actually retained much of its foliage, architecture, and cityscapes, albeit shattered to pieces. A voiceover tells us that you'll need to rebuild "America itself," as a vault-dweller exploring the landscape dons some iconic power armor from the remains of a fallen warrior. 

Captain Spirit is a free gift from Dontnod 

In a generous offering, Dontnod and Square Enix are releasing a new game set in the Life is Strange universe and giving it away for free. Called The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit, it follows a young boy's active imagination as he breathes life into inanimate objects around the house and bonds with his father. You'll be able to pick up Captain Spirit at no charge starting June 26. 

Crackdown 3 gameplay gives us more Terry Crews 

Terry Crews channeled his Old Spice commercial persona for a new Crackdown 3 trailer, showing plenty of in-game footage of collecting Agility Orbs, throwing tanks at choppers, and a shapeshifting vehicle that can go from wall-climbing dune buggy to shrapnel-blasting tank. There's even a rubber duck rocket launcher, because why not? You can play the recently delayed Crackdown 3 in February 2019. 

Nier: Automata is coming to Xbox One 

This was teased before the start of the show, but stellar action RPG Nier: Automata is headed to Xbox One with the Become As Gods edition, which includes all existing DLC. 

Metro Exodus shows off more of its snowy wasteland 

Fresh Metro Exodus gameplay footage gave us a look at plenty of features, including customizable weapons and more zipline traversal, as two faction leaders narrated about heretics and religious fanatics. You won't just be fighting off mutated animals and humans - you'll also have to survive being attacked by winged monsters and giant sharks in this chilly wasteland. 

Kingdom Hearts 3 is getting Frozen 

Kingdom Hearts 3 marks the first time the series will be on Xbox, and a new trailer revealed the inclusion of a Frozen world, with Elsa, Anna, Olaf, and Kristoff all making an appearance. We also got new glimpses at the Tangled world, footage of Gummi Ship shmup gameplay, a summon attack with Simba, and cutscenes footage of Organization 13 members and the unmistakable Mickey. 

Sea of Thieves announces new expansions 

A spooky witch doctor inspecting a mystical orb introduced us to visions of more Sea of Thieves content, rife with skeletal crews and ominous islands. The Cursed Sails expansion will be here in July, while the newly revealed Forsaken Shores is coming this September. 

Battlefield 5 drops a quick story trailer 

Next up was a brief cinematic trailer for the story element of Battlefield 5, featuring the woman we saw against a snowy backdrop in the debut screens. 

Forza Horizon 4 will focus on the changing of the seasons 

Forza Horizon 4 was officially revealed, showing off scenic vistas as someone went offroading in a McLaren, which you would only ever do in a video game. There's a big focus on changing weather here, as rain and snow fall from the sky and cake mud on your tires across the English and Scottish countrysides. There's also motorcycles in the mix, and even a water-ready hovercraft. There'll also be a 60fps mode on Xbox One X, so you can gawk at the graphics even more. You can quick-chat with other players in the world via the D-pad to set up some instant competition. The changing of seasons is synchronized across the entire server, so everyone races around the same color-changing trees during fall and icy roads in winter. There are also Destiny-style world events, as drivers gather together and spontaneously form new crews. Forza Horizon 4 is coming to Xbox One and PC on October 2, 2018 and will be part of Xbox Game Pass program. 

Microsoft spends big, acquiring five new game studios

Phil Spencer talked up Microsoft's commitment to making new exclusives by announcing the acquisition of an impressive five game studios. Those studios are The Initiative, a new studio based in Santa Monica, State of Decay's Undead Labs, Forza's Playground Games (with Spencer saying the studio is bringing its "open-world expertise to an entirely new project"), Hellblade's Ninja Theory, and We Happy Few's Compulsion Games. To highlight the work being done, a new trailer for We Happy Few was shown, featuring all those Joy-addicted denizens slowly losing their minds amidst all manner of horrid imagery. We Happy Few debuts on August 10, 2018. 

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds gets a shoutout 

A quick, fun trailer showcased PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds' three maps and the new War Mode, all of which we already knew about from the PC version of PUBG. 

Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition puts you in touch with your inner weeb 

Enjoy anime cutscenes and flashy attack animations galore in this enhanced port of Tales of Vesperia. The Definitive Edition will include characters that never made their way to the West, and will be coming this winter. 

The Division 2 officially announced 

Washington, D.C. is the next site of the chaotic, urban warfare world of Tom Clancy's The Division 2, Ubisoft's shared-world shooter set after a devastating viral outbreak. An ominous cinematic trailer set up the dire stakes, then gameplay (complete with fake multiplayer banter, as per the usual) was shown. It featured purple loot drops, side missions, and tense firefights with Capitol Hill looming in the distance. And, like the first game, the human enemies you'll be firing at seem to withstand an inordinate amount of bullets before finally falling. The Division 2 is coming March 15, 2019

Xbox Game Pass makes a push for new titles 

With Forza Horizon 4 hyping up Xbox Game Pass earlier in the show, more was shown on Microsoft's monthly subscription program that gives you access to tons of games. It's now getting Fast Start, a tech update that lets you start your games twice as fast. New games promised for the program include Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Ashen, Warhammer: Vermintide 2, Afterparty, Phoenix Point, and hot exclusives like Forza Horizon 4 and Crackdown 3 available on launch day. Today also sees the addition of The Division, Elder Scrolls Online, and Fallout 4 to the Xbox Game Pass. 

ID@Xbox gets another sizzle reel with tons of games 

Ready for an exhaustive list of the ID@Xbox games coming your way? Outer Wilds, Afterparty, Kingdom Two Crowns, The Golf Club 2019, Warhammer: Vermintide 2, Fringe Wars, Below, Conqueror's Blade, Waking, Raji, Super Meat Boy Forever, Planet Alpha, Islands of Nyne, Sable, Harold Halibut, Bomber Crew, Children of Morta, The Wind Road, Wargroove, Generation Zero, Dead Cells, and Ashen. That's a lot of indie goodness. 

Shadow of the Tomb Raider debuts some gameplay footage 

Lara Croft is back in Shadow of the Tomb Raider, and this new gameplay trailer showed plenty of ancient booby traps, disaster-triggering artifacts, aggressive animals, and Trinity goons. Much of this is stuff shown at the initial reveal event, but now the general public gets a look. Shadow of the Tomb Raider launches on September 14, 2018. 

Session is the next best thing to Skate 4 

Session is a new skateboarding game set to steal EA's lunch given the currently nonexistent Skate 4. The trailer looked great, complete with Hieroglyphics rapping in the background. 

Black Desert beta coming this fall 

Korean MMO Black Desert is doing well for itself on PC, and an Xbox One beta is set to kick off this fall. A quick trailer introduced us to a villain who's led multiple lives, and showed off cryptic, fantastical imagery of deserts and forests crawling with monsters. 

Nero is back in Devil May Cry 5  

Nero from Devil May Cry 5.

Capcom is returning to an old favorite with Devil May Cry 5, featuring a short-haired Nero, now with a electricity-powered robo-arm and a glasses-wearing, quip-sputing engineer sidekick. We also got a glimpse at Dante in an end-of-trailer stinger. Devil May Cry 5 is coming Spring 2019, and is being made by series veteran Hideaki Itsuno, who served as director on multiple Devil May Cry games.  

Cuphead gets DLC with The Delicious Last Course 

We'll never say no to more Cuphead! This fun bit of DLC feature Ms. Chalice as a new playable character, as well as additional bosses, weapons, and charms, and an entire new isle. It's coming sometime in 2019 

Tunic looks delightful 

We got some new footage of Tunic, a wonderful, isometric Zelda-like starring an adorable fox. It'll be one to watch, as we've professed our love for Tunic before

Jump Force is a new anime crossover fighter 

Bandai Namco is bringing us a new 3D fighting game called Jump Force, featuring the world-famous characters from Shonen Jump and such recognizable worlds as Naruto, One Piece, Dragon Ball Z, and Death Note. The trailer itself showed off plenty of familiar faces for anime fans, including Naruto, Luffy, Goku, Frieza, Ryuk, and Light Yagami. 

Dying Light 2 confirmed with parkour aplenty 

Rather than focusing on zombies, the Dying Light 2 debut trailer highlighted the fall of human society and the desperate struggle to survive in this beleaguered world, with folks hanging in town square for stealing food. In this post apocalypse, your choices affect the state of the world, with a follow-up gameplay trailer showing off tons of first-person parkour across ruined rooftops, as well as dialogue choices and melee combat. Factions like the Peacekeepers will ask you to complete quests, which can raise morale across the city but result in more martial law by their enforcers. Branching choices are a huge part of Dying Light 2, as your actions shape the world - and things only get more complicated at night, when the zombies come out to hunt.  

Battletoads makes a comeback 

Check out those speech bubbles... could this somehow be a new Comix Zone? No - this is the return of Battletoads! We didn't actually get to see any of it, but this all-new game will have 3-player couch co-op and 4K hand-drawn 2.5 graphics, coming in 2019. 

Just Cause 4 confirmed (and very chaotic) 

Just Cause 4 unfortunately got leaked a few days before its time, but this Just Cause 4 trailer is exciting nonetheless. Rico Rodriguez is back with squirrel suit and grappling hook in tow, ready to wreak all kinds of open-world havoc when Just Cause 4 launches on December 4, 2018. 

Gears of War is back in force with Gears 5 (and two spin-offs) 

If a new mainline game wasn't actually shown, there'd be hell to pay with Microsoft fans, as two spin-off Gears of War games were teased right off the bat. There's Gears Pop!, a mobile game starring those abhorrent Funko Pop! Figures, and Gears Tactics, an RTS on PC set 12 years before Gears of War 1. Fortunately, the debut of Gears of War 5 looked promising, which features Gears of War 4's Kait in a leading role as she breaks off from her unit to seek out the answers to potentially Locust-related visions she's been having. Marcus Fenix approves, even if he can't come along, while JD is up in arms - and look! Two-handed cudgels being used as a melee weapon, a hulking Locust dual-wielding axes, and even zombie robots! 

Cyberpunk 2077 is finally shown off in all its cybernetic glory 

In a great 'one more thing' moment, Phil Spencer's closing comments were 'hacked' to show off the first in-game engine footage of CD Projekt Red's highly anticipated Cyberpunk 2077. It looks like the cyberpunk game of your wildest dreams, with a neon-soaked metropolis full of cyborgs and dirty dealings. It's best that I stop talking about it ASAP so you can watch the Cyberpunk 2077 trailer for yourself - and there's no telling how much longer we'll have to wait, as no release window was given. Oh CD Projekt, you devilish tease! 

For more exciting games, keep an eye on the E3 2018 schedule.