The XBOX 2019 conference just wrapped in London, and we’re one step closer to the holiday season of 2019, the end of the decade, and the upcoming final year for this console generation. XBOX looks to go out with a bang, and their Games Pass Ultimate program continues to impress with titles like the YAKUZA series finally making its leap onto Microsoft’s platform.
Here are five big takeaways from the event that you should know.
HALO: THE MASTER CHIEF COLLECTION RELEASES THE FIRST PART OF THE SAGA ON 3.12.2019
THE MASTER CHIEF COLLECTION remains one of the crown jewels of the XBOX platform. Collecting the first four games in the beloved Master Chief saga, the MCC is finally coming to the PC after a long development period. Starting with REACH, the prequel that sets up the vast mythology for the franchise, the series follows the decades long battle between humanity and The Covenant, a race of aliens hellbent on wiping out heretics from the galaxy using an ancient weapon of mass destruction known only as HALO. The player controls Master Chief, a breed of super soldiers called Spartans, as he and his A.I. companion Cortana work to stop The Covenant once and for all.
The series is best played in co-op with friends, and it’s good to see that Microsoft has thrown their weight behind the PC version on this front as well with full compatibility for co-op and multiplayer on all games. This will also be the first time that REACH is available on the XBOX ONE, as it originally was missing from the initial release of the MCC.
FINAL FANTASY REMASTERS ARE COMING TO XBOX AND PC
The FINAL FANTASY series remains one of my very favorite gaming franchises of all time. They were the first story driven narrative games that I played in my youth, and huge influences on a lot of the books and art that I went to experience later in life. Microsoft is now partnering with SQUARE ENIX to bring some of the most popular games in the series not just to XBOX, but on PC as well through their Gaming Pass program. No release date just yet apart from “next year,” but with the release of FINAL FANTASY 7 REMAKE coming up in February of 2020, it would be a good bet to say we should start seeing these pretty soon.
AGE OF EMPIRES IV IS COMING TO XBOX AND PC
AGE OF EMPIRES remains one of the most beloved tactical RTS games in history, and for many years it seemed like the franchise had been all but abandoned. Not anymore, as the latest instalment premiered with brand new gameplay footage out of their latest Alpha build. No release date of any kind was given, but it’s nice to see that the development has progressed this far. Set in the medieval era, AGE OF EMPIRES IV promises to feature much of the staples seen in the series to date, along with new cultures to play with.
RARE IS DEVELOPING A NEW ADVENTURE GAME CALLED EVERWILD
RARE, the studio behind classics like the DONKEY KONG COUNTRY series, announced that they’re working on a new IP for Microsoft. Their previous game, SEA OF THIEVES, was met with an overwhelming “meh” when it was released just over a year ago, and that particular game never seemed to find its sea legs. While little of the new IP was actually announced, the early footage looks like a mix between Hayao Miyazaki and DRAGONLANCE, and I’m already giddy at the potential it holds. This is going to be more than likely a title for the new XBOX console coming out Holiday 2020, so expect to see more about it at E3 next summer.
CROSSFIRE X IS COMING OUT NEXT YEAR – REMEDY DEVELOPING THE SINGLE PLAYER CAMPAIGN
The CROSSFIRE series is a massive phenomenon in its native country of Korea, and is now being imported to the west by Microsoft for both the XBOX and PC. Billed as a tactical first-person shooter in the style of COUNTER-STRIKE, the series is expected to be the next big thing in the free to play market. What’s more interesting though is that Finnish developer REMEDY, best known for their story driven games like MAX PAYNE, ALAN WAKE, and this year’s CONTROL, are working on the single player campaign for the game. No word yet on how that campaign is going to work in a free to play release, but it’s exciting news as Remedy remains one of the finest studios out there when it comes to marrying high concept storytelling with immensely fun gameplay.