Although the 2019 Electronic Entertainment Expo doesn’t officially kick off until June 11, Microsoft has started the party early with a slew of Xbox-related announcements. The gaming giant offered up major details about its ninth generation console, a significant new feature coming to the Xbox One, and a host of intriguing new games.

Project Scarlett Revealed

Microsoft’s most prominent E3 2019 announcement was all the information it revealed about its next-generation home video game console. The corporation’s representatives got downright hyperbolic in describing the capabilities of Project Scarlett. At one point, a designer noted the new console represents the most significant qualitative leap between generations the company has ever produced.

The conglomerate claims the new system will be four times faster than Xbox One X. Plus, thanks to new custom processors from AMD, it will offer real-time hardware-accelerated ray tracing in 8K at 1020fps. As a result, Scarlett games have the potential to feature eerily life-like, hugely expensive game worlds.

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Furthermore, the firm is also using SSD drives to provide Scarlett with virtual RAM that is 40 times faster than current generation consoles. Consequently, the system will allow players to immerse themselves in games without the interruption of protracted loading times.

The firm also announced it would debut its next-generation Xbox in time for the 2020 holiday season. However, the corporation referred to the console exclusively as Project Scarlett, so its real name remains a mystery.

xCloud is Coming in October

Microsoft also revealed that its xCloud game streaming service would finally debut this October. Through it, gamers can stream anything from their Xbox One library to a range of different electronic devices. The service allows Xbox One owners to use their systems as personal servers or they can utilize servers maintained by Microsoft.

Unfortunately, the firm is not forthcoming about the xCloud’s pricing or on which devices it will stream content. Barring delays, Microsoft will launch its game streaming service a full month before the Google Stadia is up and running.

Controller Revamp

In news that will delight eSports athletes and aspiring pro gamers, Microsoft is releasing a new Xbox Elite series controller. The new peripheral features adjustable-tension thumbsticks, modular components, and three game profile presets. The device also offers “limitless” customization options via the Xbox Accessories app and a 40 hour per charge battery.

New Titles

In addition to all its hardware announcements, Microsoft also revealed vital information about some hotly anticipated new titles. First up is “Elden Ring,” a new fantasy game by FromSoftware (“Dark Souls”) and “Game of Thrones” creator George R.R. Martin. Though details were scarce, the game’s launch trailer is gorgeous and hints at a legitimately epic quest narrative. Moreover, the title does not have a release date but will be coming to PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

Additionally, Obsidian Entertainment detailed a new game that looks cool enough to earn the studio forgiveness for “Fallout 76.” “The Outer Worlds” looks like a mashup of the cult TV series “Firefly” and the iconic original Xbox title “BioShock.” However, in an interesting wrinkle, the first person RPG gives the player the “Fable” style option of being a hero, villain, or psychopath. Obsidian will release “Outer Worlds” on October 25.

Lastly, British developer Ninja Theory (“DmC”) is prepping a new console game for release for the first time in two years. “Bleeding Edge” is a multiplayer 4v4 battle title featuring an array of colorful heroes and villains. The new game has no official release date, but its technical alpha launches on June 27 on PC.

Returning Favorites

Microsoft announced two anticipated franchise sequels at E3, one that’s coming to Xbox One later this year and another launching with Project Scarlett in 2020. First, the fifth title in the acclaimed “Gears of War” series, which is titled “Gears 5” is coming to Xbox One and PC on September 10.

The game will follow Kait Diaz, an outsider of Locust heritage who seeks to discover the origins of her species. Additionally, “Gears 5” will feature appearances from franchise stars Delmont Walker, JD, and Marcus Fenix.

Furthermore, 343 Industries is resurrecting Master Chief for “Halo Infinite.” The game will be a Project Scarlett title that will revolve around the legendary action hero being brought back for another round of evolved combat. Notably, “Infinite,” which has a chill-inducing trailer, will be the first open world game in the 18-year-old franchise’s history.

Sequels, Revamps, and Ports

CD Red’s “Cyberpunk 2020” follow up “Cyberpunk 2077” is coming to PC and eighth generation consoles on April 20, 2020. Befitting a new game from the maker of “The Witcher” series, the game looks richly detailed, gripping, and exhilarating. Also, the studio hired Keanu Reeves to portray one of the game’s main characters via motion capture.

On the subject of ancient franchises given a new coat of paint, “Microsoft Flight Simulator” will return in 2020. The new game will allow users to pilot a range of aircraft through a host of majestic, photorealistic environments.

Microsoft also cruelly dropped the new trailer for its long in development “Battletoads” revival. The brief Xbox One promo looks excellent, but it doesn’t feature a release date. Since fans have been waiting for a new “Battletoads” since 1994, the company should’ve offered more than a vague teaser.

In a surprising development, Sega announced that popular Japanese PC game
Phantasy Star Online 2” is coming to Xbox One next year. The MMORPG was first released on PC in Japan in 2012 and has since been ported to the PS4 and Nintendo Switch. However, the hugely popular game has never been available in the United States before.

Lastly, Microsoft’s strangest E3 announcement was that a new “Blair Witch” game is coming later this summer. Judging by its unnerving trailer, the title is a “Silent Hill”-esque surreal survival horror adventure. Developed by Polish studio Bloober Team (“Layers of Fear”), the unexpected but not unwelcome game comes to Xbox One and PC on August 30.

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