Before getting into it: This was Microsoft's BEST conference of all time, and potentially top three overall. My reasons:
Halo Infinite, while a nice announcement, lacked gameplay. But stoked for reveal.
I was hesitant about the 50 games promise, but sure enough, they hit 51.
I love Ori, so the Will of the Wisps trailer was going to be a guarantee for me. However, what stands out is it showed significant gameplay. Still have to wait but WOW.
Ah yes. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. It was here that I started to recognize Xbox was going pedal to the metal for an hour and half. The first of many announcements that isn't for me, I REALLY appreciate they showed gameplay, and a fair bit of it. SOLID showing.
Todd Howard coming onstage to announce Fallout 4 coming to GamePass was clearly a setup to 76, but the trailer and the info drop was jawdropping. FOUR TIMES THE SIZE OF 4!? I'm a little confused why the didn't hold for their own show later tonight but Xbox benefited BIG time for having it.
The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit was one of the very few that I didn't care for, but because this is the Life is Strange team, this is a big announcement. Also the fact it'll be free also is a big point.
Crackdown 3's trailer was nothing but gameplay and entertaining narration from Terry Crews. And that's great and all, but honestly, this game should go dark until the end of the year to start the marketing for release. It's been too long.
Nier: Automata coming to Xbox, while spoiled earlier, is an interesting get. I'm curious just how much a splash it'll make after already having a year plus on the PS4.
I COMPLETELY vibed with Metro: Exodus and I'm happy we got to see environments and weapon customization. This is a recent franchise "discovery" for me, so I'm excited to get it. But it now is the THIRD GAME to announce a Feb 22 release alongside Anthem and Days Gone. My bank account hurts.
Kingdom Hearts III. On the Xbox stage. While the Frozen bit wasn't for me, that trailer was amazing. STILL don't believe the release date.
Sea of Thieves did a good job hyping up coming content and both coming this year.
Battlefield V continues to undershow. I'm fascinated as to why, but I guess we'll never know.
Forza Horizon 4 demoed spectacularly. I'm not into racing games, but that was the best racing game demo I've seen. IF the world wasn't completely populated by others, today's demo sold itself HARD for me.
Phil Spencer announcing FIVE new 1st party studios was an absolutely necessary and awesome segment. In the moment, the BOMB of announcing Ninja Theory was, to that point, THE shock of the show.... Well, until later. But I'll get there. Anyway, that, and the segue into the We Happy Few trailer recaptured my interest into the game. I can't glow enough about this portion.
Probably the second "low point" (the first being Battlefield), a new PUBG map and mode makes sense being the most recent hotness. But still for those who care, this is a big deal.
Tales of Vesperia was WAY out of left field. Was NOT expecting this, or anything like it, at ALL. An announcement that only has jolly vibes from what I can see.
Love the Division 2's premise and the gameplay demo was wonderful to watch, but I played the beta of the first and was underwhelmed. If I have several very specific questions answered, this MIGHT get on my radar. Regardless, this showed well.
The most obvious low spot, and I'll posit the lowest, was the GamePass focused portion. I understand the necessity of highlighting the service, but it just fell flat in relation to the rest of the show.
And there's the montage trailer of 22 games to hit that 50 quota. The montage was expected, but there were a lot of interesting stuff I wish I could learn about as opposed seeing five seconds of it. Still, there's a lot of good looking games in there.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider's in game trailer was necessary, as the CG we've gotten so far, but at least we saw gameplay. Still don't like the "Become the Tomb Raider" tag.
I love how Session was immediately SKATE 4 being screamed until the title reveal. This announcement did nothing for me, but I hope it could do a lot of good in a dead franchise.
The Black Desert Online trailer was perhaps the most perplexing for me because I thought the game was out already. But nay, there will be a beta in the Fall. Still, it looks like another fantasy MMO and I'm sure it'll be a fine game.
Devil May Cry 5 is a massive announcement and Xbox continued to build off the momentum of having all kinds of top tier third party announcements. I also really loved the director coming onstage to share in his joy.
I don't think anyone predicted Cuphead DLC, but that trailer was another wonderful surprise. A little quick, but at this point, understandable, because this show was PACKED. And there was STILL more to come.
Tunic looks adorable, but the gameplay style isn't for me. I hope it does really well when it comes out.
I LOVE how Phil Spencer came out at this point to say hey, everything left, no one has ever seen (sans a steam ad....). And what better way to kick it off in what was the loudest pop of the conference: Jump Force. I mean a cross between One Piece, DragonBall, Naruto, AND Death Note. That game is going to do HUGE when it comes out.
Really loved the Dying Light 2 portion. Especially the insistence on how choices matter. This could be a sleeper GOTY contender. Not winner, but I see making a lot of positive impressions.
Battletoads. What? And I say that with a chuckle and a smile. I mean, more power to ya, but bringing it back is.... weird.
Just Cause 4 looks like more Just Cause, but I appreciate that it doesn't try to be anything that it's not. Good on ya Just Cause.
Now to the Gears portion. Seeing the Gears Pop announcement was a "NO!!!" moment for me, but in retrospect, a smart structure to make it the first of three. Gears Tactics being on PC is a little irksome, as an XCOM style game has only ever appealed to me if they had that style in the Gears universe. Bring it to Xbox, and I'll consider it. But of course they saved the best Gears for last and Gears 5 looks PHENOMENAL. I LOVE the story premise they teased and some gameplay additions look intriguing. Gimmie.
And of course, I absolutely ADORED Cyberpunk's fake out glitching. With the hidden teases of Witcher III codes and other secrets. That trailer coming AFTER Spencer publicly acknowledging the next Xbox is in development?
While it may read more negative than it is, please make no mistake. Microsoft came out swinging and connected in a LOT of areas. Despite several games not appealing to me, they matter to others and there was a LOT of massive names on stage, both anticipated and out of nowhere. Kudos to Microsoft. They crushed it, and I can't believe it. 9.5/10