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In the Limelight

Dozens of new games and powerful new hardware highlighted the numerous announcements at Microsoft’s 2019 E3 press conference, held on June 9, 2019. The company managed to bring out both first and third-party announcements that are bound to make the gaming community pay attention.

The show kicked off with a new trailer for The Outer Worlds, first announced at last year’s event; the game is being developed by Obsidian, which is now a part of Xbox Game Studios, and has a distinct Fallout-inspired flavor about it. It’s due out on October 25, 2019. That was followed by a new game announcement from Ninja Theory, also a part of Xbox Game Studios, for Bleeding Edge. This four-on-four action combat multiplayer game enters a Technical Alpha phase later in June.

On the horror front, Blair Witch was unveiled, based on the cinematic lore of the film franchise. Taking place in the 1990s, players will control a police officer who enters the Black Hills Forest in order to try and track down a missing boy, only to uncover a greater horror. The game arrives on August 30.

For old school PC fans, Microsoft Flight Simulator is making a comeback for both Xbox One and PC. The title is powered by satellite data and Azure AI to recreate stunning sights from around the globe. Old school arcade fans will also get a treat in the form of the Battletoads reboot, which will feature three-player couch cooperative play and will sport a new, Saturday Morning Cartoon-style graphical look. Neither game was given a release date.

Several different role-playing adventures were announced as well. Perhaps the biggest of the group was the confirmation that Phantasy Star Online 2 will finally be making its way West after having been available for several years already in Japan. This free-to-play MMORPG will be available in Spring 2020. On the more traditional single-player front, Tales of Arise, the latest in the long-running Tales franchise, was announced, but with no release date. Elden Ring, the collaboration between Dark Souls’ Hidetaka Miyazaki and George R.R. Martin of Game of thrones fame, also saw a proper announcement. And for anime fans, Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot, an action RPG set in the Dragon Ball Z universe, saw an announcement trailer and will be arriving in 2020.

The biggest third-party announcement was regarding CD Projekt Red’s Cyberpunk 2077, which will be arriving on April 16, 2020. The E3 presentation of the new game footage included Keanu Reeves, who will feature in the game as a significant character and came out on stage to show off new footage and help announce the release date.

First-party wise, the two biggest announcements were for two long-running shooter franchises for Microsoft: Gears of War and Halo. Gears 5 got a new trailer, as well as a release date: September 10, 2019. Halo Infinite also got a lengthy new trailer, and some more important news – it’ll launch alongside the new Microsoft hardware, currently called Project Scarlett, in the 2020 holiday season.

Project Scarlett will be Microsoft’s next-generation console, and will include a solid-state hard drive, a powerful AMD processor four times as powerful as the Xbox One X, and will be able to do 8K resolution at 120 frames per second.

The entire press conference, which also includes details about new controllers, the expansion of the Xbox Game Pass service, and tons of other games, can be seen below.