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My E3 2015 Top 9: Microsoft

If I were to buy an Xbox One tomorrow, these are the 9 games from E3 that would convince me to do that.

Another year, another E3 gone by and this one is probably the best we’ve had in a while, so why not do a list about the games I’m most excited about? I’ve made a list for PS4, Xbox One and all the other multi-platforms (sorry, Nintendo, you weren’t too sharp this year).

One simple rule: games can only be from the pool of stuff that showed in this year’s E3, nothing from last year. Montages count.


Publisher: Microsoft Studios • Developer: Capybara Games

Permanent death and brutal difficulty are staples of the roguelike genre, however tilt-shift photography angles and super zoomed out gameplay are not and this is what’s got me stocked about Capy’s new baby. Check out the gameplay demo they brought to E3 and look at how gorgeous that game looks.


My E3 2015 Top 9: Microsoft

Publisher: Epic Games • Developer: Epic Games

This “action building” game from Epic has been in development since before Cliff Bleszinski left the studio in 2012, and I’m kinda bummed out they haven’t shown lots of it in media. A recurring theme of Microsoft’s E3 games is that you have to hunt down gameplay demos from other outlets to see if they’re still alive and thankfully this one still is and it’s looking pretty fun, even if the formula of class-based horde mode on steroids isn’t as novel as when it was originally announced.


Publisher: Microsoft Studios • Developer: Comcept/Armature Studio

During the Microsoft presser we got a first look at this CG trailer for Keiji Inafune’s new project named ReCore. I tend to favor gameplay over CG any time and the way this game was announced seems old school because I’m used to live demos in my press conferences, but I’ll still give it a shot based on the premise of the game alone.


Publisher: Microsoft Studios • Developer: Aurora44

Ashen is a jam by newcomers Aurora44, a New Zealand studio that’s making a game about learning to trust people to survive and then going out into the world and finding huge flying whales. While the trailer showed pretty dark outdoor environments (you live in a bleak world with no sun), I dig the art style and the game’s premise.

The Flame in the Flood

My E3 2015 Top 9: Microsoft

Publisher: The Molasses Flood • Developer: The Molasses Flood

The Flame in the Flood is a roguelike with a very nice visual style and some interesting gameplay mechanics that remind me of The Oregon Trail and more recently The Long Dark. It’s developer’s describe it as a “traveling survival game” and I hope it carries a hefty story to tie up all the good stuff I’m seeing.

Beyond Eyes

Publisher: Team17 Software • Developer: tiger & squid

What? A game where you don’t shoot at things or have to alchemize objects or even talk to people? I can’t remember the last time I played one of those, much less one that looked this beautiful.

Game 4

Publisher: The Behemoth • Developer: The Behemoth

I’m always on the lookout for new stuff from The Behemoth and this turn-based action strategy game is looking as crazy as I’d expect from them, which is a good thing. Dan Paladin was at E3 showing off the game, but for some reason I can’t find anything new about the game, so above is the full PAX East demo from earlier this year.

Rise of the Tomb Raider

My E3 2015 Top 9: Microsoft

Publisher: Square-Enix/Microsoft Studios • Developer: Crystal Dynamics

I tried playing the Tomb Raider reboot and couldn’t get past the feeling that the story was pushing for Lara as a scared woman surrounded by danger and the gameplay was actually Lara being a danger to every living thing around her. Rise of the Tomb Raider had a fairly strong demo on the show floor, looking great and having some really nice set piece moments. Still I’m hoping for more cool reveals from this game on the way to launch day.


Publisher: Microsoft Studios • Developer: Studio MDHR

Cuphead has been in development for a while too, but it recently struck a deal with Microsoft and it got a lot of exposure at their presser this year. The game looks wicked awesome, with cel-shaded animations harking back to the 1930’s with Steamboat Willie and Felix The Cat. It’s a run and gun game a la Contra except it throws boss after boss after boss at every turn it gets. Pretty badass if you ask me.

My E3 2015 Top 9: Microsoft

The Takeaway

Most if not all of the games above are coming something between today and the end of 2015 and even though there are few AAA hitters, the indie offering on Microsoft’s side looks pretty strong compared to the competition (except Steam, you will never beat Steam). Even if these are just timed exclusives, the fact that they’re coming out first on Xbox One is still a strong win on Microsoft’s side, but I worry that I can’t care for their bigger and true exclusives like Halo and Gears. Am I the only one getting jaded by shooting franchises?