What Can We Expect From Microsoft's X018?
This coming Saturday, Xbox will hold their X018 show in Mexico City. The celebration of all things Xbox will take place on November 10th, and run from 4:00pm - 6:00pm EST. X018 will be live streamed on the Xbox Mixer channel for viewers around the world.
The two-hour event is set to dive into the new updates and features of some of the great first-party titles, and third-party studio games from this year. Microsoft has also teased that some big surprises will be announced.
Microsoft has not done a X0 event for quite some time. Recently, the folks over at Xbox have been running monthly live streamed content drops via Inside Xbox. Similar to Nintendo Direct shows, Inside Xbox gives an intimate and focused look at new updates and games hitting the console.
Phil Spencer and other members of the larger Xbox community have taken to social media to promise that X018 will be treated as a large-scale Inside Xbox production.
Due to the scale and timing of X018, it is clear Xbox has something they want to share. Most fans will be quick to think they’ll be coming out with a new Halo Infinite trailer, or the long-awaited announcement of the rumoured Fable 4.
There are a lot of potential announcements players can look forward to. I firmly believe X018 will not be E3 part two, but rather a high-production show, focusing on Xbox’s roadmap from now until the late spring. Xbox promises a few big surprises, and I believe they will deliver. Expectations must be handled accordingly, however.
The first potential announcement that comes to mind is the release date for Aurora44’s Ashen.
The third-person action game was first announced during Xbox’s E3 conference back in 2015. Viewers were quite intrigued by the minimalist designs and beautiful aesthetics Aurora44 has set out to create.
The last we heard, Ashen had a 2018 release window but had not been given a firm release date during the recent conference. Instead, Aurora44 had delivered a pretty hefty gameplay demo.
Judging by the vertical slice we had been given, Ashen looked like it was in good shape. As 2019 is around the corner, X018 may be a great time to announce the release and quite possibly shadow-drop the title during the show.
Releasing Ashen during the show could create a lot of buzz for the game. With an expected large viewer base, Ashen could gain a lot of forwarding momentum and become the talk of the weekend for players.
Below is another game still awaiting its release date. The third-party Xbox exclusive from indie-developers Capybara Games had a tentative release window of 2018. As we get closer and closer to the end of the year, perhaps the roguelike game will finally receive a release date.
Keyboard and Mouse Support
As previously mentioned on Xbox Wire back in September, keyboard and mouse support is making its way to the Xbox family of consoles. In a partnership with Razer, Xbox has ensured players will be receiving keyboard and mouse support on a title-by-title basis. Meaning that while not every game will support the initiative, it is safe to say that the games in which keyboard and mouse make sense will be included.
Since the announcement, Xbox Insiders have been able to test out this new feature. Warframe was the first game playable with keyboard and mouse.
X018 is a fantastic time to showcase this new feature to the broader audience. It would also be an excellent time for Xbox to talk about their plans for a full release, and potentially give some insight on other titles that will support keyboard and mouse.
Back in October, rumours of Xbox acquiring the RPG-centric studio, Obsidian Entertainment began floating around. During that time, neither Xbox or Obsidian confirmed nor denied said rumours.
Things kind of went radio silent after the initial surge of speculation ran through the internet. Whether or not the rumour is true, it supports the idea that Microsoft and Xbox are still looking to acquire more studios.
During E3 2018, Phil Spencer took to the main stage and announced that Microsoft has acquired not one, but four studios; Playground Games, Ninja Theory, Compulsion Games, and Undead Labs. On top of that, the brand new studio, The Initiative was announced. The entire announcement was met with positive reception.
I imagine a world where Phil and co. will announce a sixth studio acquisition during X018. Microsoft is clearly focused on bringing talented developers into the mix to help build their portfolio of games moving forward. While the studio may not be Obsidian, I am more convinced that it could be a smaller, indie-studio. I’m looking at you Studio MDHR.
We are but a few months away from Microsoft’s next first-party release, Crackdown 3. After some rocky developments lead to the game’s delay, fans were optimistic with what was shown during E3 2018.
This is Microsoft’s chance to get eyeballs on the game and show the world what is to come. With more available development time, Crackdown 3 must surely be on the up and up. It is time to show the full potential of the game.
As of now, a tentative “February 2019” window has been given. X018 is the perfect stage to demonstrate the confidence Microsoft has in its game and release a definitive date.
If you have been following Xbox and Xbox’s Gamepass Twitter accounts you may have seen their messages regarding X018. As mentioned before, they have established that a point of focus is going towards game updates.
The titles will include State of Decay 2, Shadow of The Tomb Raider, PUBG, and more. While they have not specified, I imagine Sea of Thieves will likely be thrown in as well.
Taking a look at the Xbox Game Pass' Twitter, you will notice a “X018 Super Secret Announcement Progress” meter. Earlier in October, the account did something similar in that every couple days a “Pumpkin Patch” bar would continue to fill in before a number of Halloween-centric titles were dropped on Game Pass.
While Microsoft has already announced some games for November ie: Olli Olli 2 and Sniper Elite 4, the graphic does show a space for an X018 announcement.
What the title or titles may be is anyone’s guess. Now that the dust has settled from the acquisitions, perhaps it’s time for Microsoft to bring the omitted games to the service. Players have already been able to get their hands on Forza Horizon 4 and State of Decay 2 via Gamepass. What about Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice and We Happy Few? Only time will tell.
Closing The Show With A Bang
Finally, what better way to close out X018 than with a new announcement. Microsoft came out swinging during E3 with not only announcing three Gears of Wars titles but also starting their show with the Halo Infinite trailer.
With most of their AAA titles out there already, what can Microsoft do to close out their show? Well, nostalgia is at an all-time high. The video game community tend to support and bring positive energy when the term “revival” is used.
And in this pie-in-the-sky prediction, I think 2018, and X018 specifically is the best time to tug at the feelings of nostalgia by bringing back a beloved franchise.
Many people will instantly jump to Banjo-Kazooie (myself included). While others may remember the rumours spilling out about a Perfect Dark revival coming from The Coalition. While rumours are rumours at the end of the day, Microsoft has two very excellent pieces of IP that has been lying dormant for far too long.
Microsoft announced their revival of Battletoads during this past E3. This may be the time that we see a short sneak peek into the game. While I don’t think Battletoads is the game to close a show out with, it would be nice to see Microsoft’s vision for the game.
There are countless other predictions and theories one could have for the upcoming X018 show. I believe the aforementioned have legs to stand on and make sense for a more intimate showcase.
For now, we will have to wait until Saturday to see what Phil Spencer and the rest of the Xbox team has in store.