As you should expect at any E3, Microsoft has announced many new games this week, and it is of course describing its 2016 lineup as its best-ever. But here’s a quick peek at the games that matter most .. to me.
One of the biggest differences this year, of course, is that Microsoft is now supporting Xbox Play Anywhere, which makes platform cross-play a formal Xbox Live feature and lets gamers shared progress, game saves and achievements across compatible games on Windows 10 and Xbox One. And as noted, every new Microsoft Studios title shown at E3 2016—including Gears of War 4—will support Xbox Play Anywhere, and Microsoft promises more titles are on the way.
But looking at the long list of games Microsoft and its partners announced this week—mostly for Xbox One, but with a few Windows 10 titles thrown in for good measure, too—several stand out. And while some like to simply cut and paste from Microsoft blogs and present it as original content, I’ll actually do the hard work of culling the wheat from the chaff.
My top five picks, in order, are:
Battlefield 1. Controversially set in World War I, I think this coming Battlefield title looks amazing and will at the very least deliver a unique experience. It will support a single player campaign, of course, plus 64-player multiplayer, plus dynamic weather, vehicles, interactive environments that promise to make each game truly unique. Plus, in a nice twist on the Call of Duty fiasco, where DLC happens on PlayStation first now, Xbox One gamers with EA Access will get first crack at this one, on October 13, while everyone else (including Windows 10 gamers) can jump in on October 21. Nice!
Gears of War 4. Aside from the Xbox Play Anywhere stuff—which means you buy it digitally once and it works on both Xbox One and Windows 10, with shared progress and achievements—this game is interesting because it supports co-op cross-play and HDR graphics. Plus I’ve always had a soft spot for the Gears single player campaigns, and this one looks great. Gears 4 arrives October 11, 2016.
Dead Rising 4. While it’s fair to say that I tired of the funny zombie shooter genre a few Dead Risings ago, this one looks fun, with a nice blend of crazy weapon choices, vehicles, and over-the-top humor. Dead Rising 4 will be available for Xbox One and Windows 10, but there’s no final date yet.
Inside. A follow-up to the amazing Limbo, this Xbox One adventure puzzler reminds me (graphically) of Out of This World from my Amiga days. You can pre-order it now, as it ships June 29, 2016.
Forza Horizon 3.
Another Xbox Play Anywhere title with cross-play support, this one ships on September 27, 2016 on both Xbox One and Windows 10. It takes place in Australia, and is twice the size of its predecessor and features stunning DirectX 12 graphics and over 350 cars at launch.
Naturally, the game I’m really looking forward to is Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, but that was highlighted at the Sony event.