Yesterday afternoon, Microsoft conducted their year-end global celebration of Xbox with a special X018 edition of Inside Xbox live from Mexico City, Mexico. While Xbox X018 did reveal a few cool announcements like a confirmed February 15th, 2019 release date for Crackdown 3 and early details on the upcoming first expansion for Forza Horizon 4, the overall show was disappointing and a missed opportunity for Microsoft to announce some bigger news.
While some can argue that Microsoft already set expectations low by telling us what they were going to talk about ahead of time, I still don’t believe that many including myself were prepared for just how lackluster this event actually was. With all that said, there are some lingering questions still on my mind and I wanted to take some time to address my thoughts on these matters below.
Why Announce Winter of Arcade If Nothing Was Going To Be Shown?
During Xbox X018, ID@Xbox Head Chris Charla took the stage to announce that Summer or Arcade was making a return in the form of Winter of Arcade with more news coming at The Game Awards on December 6th. While I can certainly respect Microsoft’s decision to release this news exclusively at Geoff Keighley’s show, I personally feel that whatever games are announced will get overshadowed by even bigger first and third-party titles that will receive world premiere debuts at this same show.
Considering that both Below and Ashen were playable at GDC and E3 2018 earlier this year, it seems like an absolute no-brainer that these games will be included in the lineup. It would have been great to highlight these titles further at X018 to remind fans that they are coming and shine more light on the indie teams involved as they certainly will not be given as much time to shine at The Game Awards next month.
Are Obsidian Entertainment & inXile Entertainment Helping Out On PlayGround Games New IP?
One of the biggest news stories coming out of X018 was that Microsoft has acquired both Obsidian Entertainment and inXile Entertainment making the total number of studios they own now at 13. Kotaku’s Jason Schreier reported on the Obsidian buyout last month and therefore that news wasn’t surprising to hear. The inXile Entertainment news was interesting but several reactions that I heard afterward indicated that quite a lot of people aren’t familiar with any of their games.
While many are continuing to be focused on what each studio will create exclusively for Xbox moving forward, no one seems to be talking about how these studios could also collaborate on a few of these upcoming projects. It has been rumored for quite a while now that Playground Games is working on a new RPG title that may or may not be Fable 4. Given that Obsidian and inXile specialize in creating RPGs, it isn’t exactly out of the realm of possibility that they could ultimately help Playground finish this game. We have seen PlayStation embrace this concept of working together before as Death Stranding is being created with the same Decima engine used in Horizon Zero Dawn. Thinking Microsoft may take the same approach on some of their titles isn’t far-fetched as it means we definitely will see contributions from some of these studios sooner rather than later.
Will Kingdom Hearts 1 & 2 Ever Come To Xbox One?
Kingdom Hearts III fans got a nice surprise at X018 when a new Winnie the Pooh trailer was released during the show. Along with this news came some additional details on Xbox One X enhanced versions of Final Fantasy XIII, Final Fantasy XIII-2, and Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII coming to backward compatibility on November 13th.
While all of this information definitely excited Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy fans, the one question that remains unanswered right now is if Kingdom Hearts 1, 2 and all previously released DLC content for these games will ever come to Xbox One? A Kingdom Hearts Collection has already been released on PlayStation 4 and is certainly ideal for those who want to experience the full story before diving into Kingdom Hearts III this upcoming January. Perhaps Square Enix and Microsoft will have something to announce at The Game Awards, but for now, at least in my opinion not having this collection available for Xbox owners definitely will persuade more customers to get the game on PS4 instead.
What Are The Long-Term Plans Fox Xbox Game Pass?
During X018, Microsoft announced 16 more games that are currently scheduled to arrive on Xbox Game Pass in the future. While Hellblade, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, PUBG, Aftercharge, and Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden are all fantastic additions, I’m still a little perplexed by what Microsoft’s long-term plan is for this service.
As it currently stands now, Microsoft likes to remind consumers that the Xbox One X is the best place to play all of the latest games including third-party titles. On the flipside of that, they are bringing all of their upcoming Microsoft Studios exclusive titles to Game Pass with the caveat that we will be waiting several months at a time before we can play them. I can certainly understand that it takes Microsoft time to create new games but part of me is also wondering how long before Microsoft tries to get an upcoming third-party game like Cyberpunk 2077 as a timed Game Pass deal addition. While this move would be controversial, it definitely would bolster the service even more and play to the strength of Microsoft’s marketing that Xbox One X is the best console to play on. Regardless of what they ultimately do with this service, I’m definitely intrigued by what the future holds and wouldn’t be surprised if a change is on the horizon.
This concludes my article on why Xbox X018 left me with more questions than answers. As a fan of gaming, I think it’s absolutely crucial to express your likes and dislikes anytime you see one of the big three companies put on a show. I have been critical of Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft in the past and this will continue as I care about them putting out quality products and keeping their fans happy. X018 definitely was a disappointing experience but here’s hoping that Xbox will have more to show in 2019 and beyond.
What were your thoughts on X018? Do you agree or disagree with any points that I’ve made? Please feel free to let me know in the comments section below.