During the Xbox E3 2018 Briefing, Microsoft showed off their “long game” by announcing the formation of a brand-new studio, The Initiative, as well as the acquisition of Playground Games, Ninja Theory, Undead Labs and Compulsion Games. They then introduced FastStart, which allows for the digital versions of applicable titles to be playable even faster than before by prioritizing the download of files needed for immediate play. They also quickly teased plans from the Microsoft Gaming Cloud Team to create a game streaming service that allows for console-quality gaming on any device.
In terms of games, Microsoft highlighted a myriad of titles, consisting of both multi-platform and Xbox-exclusive games. Here, we’ll go over some of the Xbox exclusives that we actually got to demo and record gameplay of right after the briefing! Let’s dive right in!
Starting off with what we know the least about, information on Tunic beyond gameplay videos has been scarce. Our gameplay vid below may not change too much of that. However, that is because the developers want Tunic to be just that mysterious. Structured to be what looks like a puzzle-solving, dungeon-exploring adventure, Tunic throws you right into the game with the bare minimum of info.
You are a fox that woke up in the middle of nowhere, with no back-story or precursor as to how you got there. You encounter an enemy or two and the game simply hints at the button that you press lock onto them. However, what do you hit them with? You can press all kinds of buttons as you try to figure things out, but all you are doing is dodging about. It is there that you probably realize that you need to find a weapon.
Once you find an item, the game hints at how to equip it and again leaves you with just that tidbit of info. You bump into signs and you read them, but even they make no sense. It’s right about here where you realize that the point all along is for you to figure things out for yourself.
With the movement controls and combat stylings of something close to Zelda: Ocarina of Time, you control your little fox character as you explore the world for answers. You can lock on enemies, study their attack patterns and whack them with whatever you are holding. You can roll into and out of danger as well as pick up all sorts of items with all kinds of effects. It is just that mysterious.
Take a look at our post-briefing gameplay, where I “Zelda’d” my way to success until I got to the apparent boss of the area. I couldn’t tell, nor did I mind, if I broke the game during that final battle as the demo I was playing was clearly not a finished build. Even so, feel free to check out the gameplay yourself to see if you figured something out that we didn’t!
Tunic is presented by Finji and is scheduled to come out in 2019 on the Xbox One and as well as on Steam. You can follow Tunic by adding yourself to the mailing list on their website here…
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
Looking to capitalize on the many successes and awards won by Ori and the Blind Forest, developer Moon Studios showcased the upcoming sequel, Ori and the Will of the Wisps. Ori and the Will of the Wisps endeavors to follow in the vein of its predecessor, which delivered acclaimed story-telling, music score and overall art style. In this game, you play again as the white guardian spirit, Ori, as you progress through this 2D platformer using new spirit weapons, spells and skills.
The Ori and the Will of the Wisps demo played just like the respectable platformer that you’d expect it to be, requiring both brains and timing. You must link your skills and powers to not only defeat screen-filling bosses, but to also navigate treacherous corners, pitfall and traps. If you haven’t played Ori and the Blind Forest, then perhaps think of how Guacamelee! plays. Your skills not only give you new attack options, but they are at times the only way to progress past treacherous escape sequences.
Being a new “Ori” game, if it’s anything close to the original, Ori and the Will of the Wisps is bound to dazzle your eyes and ears through with epic fights and sequences. Here, take a look at some of our gameplay after the Xbox E3 2018 Briefing. Remember again, this is just a demo build.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps, developed by Moon Studios and published by Microsoft Studios, will be an Xbox Play Anywhere title, allowing for play on both the Xbox One and Windows 10 PC from a single digital purchase. It is heading our way in 2019. You can track the game yourself on their website here…
†Non watermarked Ori and the Will of the Wisps screenshots taken from the Xbox Press site.