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Microsoft descended upon London’s Copper Box Arena on Thursday to kick off its X019 event, a consumer-facing showcase of all the latest news from the company’s Xbox game consoles.
The annual celebration of all things Xbox got started with a special episode of Inside Xbox, which introduced a number of new upcoming games and provided more insight on the company’s streaming service Project xCloud, which is due to launch soon.
The stream kicked off with a live-action trailer for the upcoming Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, due out Friday from EA and Respawn Entertainment. Game director Stig Asmussen was on hand, along with a cadre of Stormtroopers. “We’re making an authentic Star Wars game … it’s a massive honor,” Asmussen told the crowd.
Game studio Rare was also in attendance to announce its latest project, a new IP titled Everwild, which features exotic alien fauna and wandering caped adventurers exploring a vibrant, forested world.
Matt Booty, head of Xbox Game Studios, noted that the company has moved from a stage of “growth and acquisition to execution and delivery” after last year’s event centered on a number of studio acquisitions, such as Obsidian Entertainment.
Next up was a world premiere trailer of Obsidian’s latest offering: an adventure in shrunken proportions. In Honey, I Shrunk the Kids style, Grounded follows a young boy traversing a suburban backyard filled with giant ladybugs, ants and grass that looms like trees in the miniaturized survival adventure game. The game will also come to Xbox’s Games Pass service next spring.
West of Dead, a new Western fantasy horror starring Ron Perlman set in Purgatory, Wyoming, in the year 1888 is currently available in an open beta stage. The brutal survival game Rust is also set to come to Xbox in 2020, as is the cutesy racing title KartRider Drift. Two professional KartRider esports athletes then showed off the game in action.
Ninja Theory’s upcoming team-based multiplayer combat game Bleeding Edge also dropped new footage showcasing the frenetic action that aims to be an Overwatch competitor. The new trailer showed off a number of eccentric characters from the new title, including a granny in a mech suit and a talking snake. The game is set to launch March 24.
More new titles were revealed, including the family-friendly Planet Coaster, a theme park simulator due out next summer; the narrative-driven Tell Me Why from DONTNOD Entertainment, also set to bow next summer; and the 1970s-set musical fantasy The Artful Escape from Annapurna Interactive, which is also slated for 2020.
The heads of Xbox’s Project xCloud game streaming service then came onstage to talk about the new platform. Kareem Choudhry, vp gaming cloud at Xbox, announced that more games will be coming to the service, such as Devil May Cry 5 and Gears 5, when it launches in full. They will also come to PC in 2020 and “to every device you want to play,” promised Catherine Gluckstein, general manager of Project xCloud.
The service is currently in preview stages in the U.S., which will expand next year into Canada, Western Europe, Japan and India. In 2020, game streaming will be available for titles that players own and the service will also be paired with the company’s subscription service Games Pass.
Ken Moss, chief technology officer at EA, revealed a partnership with xCloud. “Our goal with partners is to make it as easy as possible to build games for the cloud,” said Choudhry.
EA titles such as Madden NFL 20, which is now currently available on Project xCloud, will be coming to the service in the “coming months,” said Moss.
The game announcements kept coming as the Japanese role-playing series Yakuza was revealed to be coming to Xbox’s Games Pass next year, as will the new title Drake Hollow, a magical adventure title starring a teenaged girl and her plant-like companions. Classic shooter Halo Reach is also set to come to Xbox One and PC on Dec. 3.
Microsoft Flight Simulator, a rather self-explanatory title, showed off a number of aerial shots and high-flying maneuvers for would-be pilots to try their hand at. Keeping with the avian theme, a golden eagle flew over medieval battlefields lined with trebuchets and charging warriors on horseback in the new gameplay trailer of Age of Empires IV. A new studio named World’s Edge from the Age of Empires team was also revealed.
A behind-the-scenes look at Crossfire X, revealed to be an Xbox exclusive adaptation of the free-to-play shooter which is incredibly popular in the Asian market at this year’s E3 convention, premiered ahead of new gameplay footage from the upcoming release, with explosions, firefights and DMX’s “X Gon Give It to Ya” aplenty.
Annapurna Interactive is also offering a new mystery in the vein of Twin Peaks titled Last Stop, which is coming soon to Xbox, while Minecraft Dungeons, a new dungeon crawler game set in the popular blocky universe, is set to bow in April. Live gameplay of Minecraft Dungeons followed, showing off procedurally generated levels and lots of colorful combat which utilized multiplayer content.
Square Enix exec Shinji Hashimoto revealed that classic Final Fantasy titles such as Final Fantasy VII, VII, IX, X and X-2, XII, XIII and XV and more will be coming to Xbox Games Pass on PC and console next year, while the full slate of Kingdom Hearts titles will also be heading to the platform.
Newly announced games joining Games Pass include Rage 2, Lego The Ninjago Movie Game, Remnant From the Ashes, The Talos Principle, Age of Wonder Pitfall and Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition, while coming in the holiday season to the service are The Witcher 3 and Darksiders III.
Near the end of the show, Phil Spencer, head of Xbox, sat down onstage. “It’s great to sit here and see three new Xbox Games Studios games announced … I can’t see a show [in the future] where we won’t be announcing new third-party games. It’s something you should get used to,” he said.
Spencer then turned his attention to his company’s game streaming service. “Project xCloud is always about choice … we’re building this hand-in-hand with you. We want to hear feedback from you,” he said. “The thing that’s great to see is the partnerships we have. We have over 50 games now. … The done state is multiple years from now.”
The show closed out with a look at Wasteland 3, a post-apocalyptic role-playing game from InXile Entertainment. The trailer featured cold, desolate landscapes and robotic enemies set to a spooky, ethereal rendition of Genesis’ 1986 song “Land of Confusion.”
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