The date looms larger than any other on this week’s gaming calender. Tuesday, May 21, 2013 — we’ll even hype the time: 1 PM Eastern, 10 AM Pacific. Microsoft is set to unveil its next-generation Xbox, possibly named “Infinity” (or “Fusion” or “Xbox 720”), following the lead of Sony who announced and outlined the PlayStation 4 earlier this February.
The private press event is intended to bring the console out into the forefront ahead of E3 2013 on June 11-13, and Microsoft vaguely foreshadowed what to expect when it confirmed the date in April: “On that day, we’ll share our vision for Xbox,” the company said, “and give you a real taste of the future.”
But while that “taste” comes in many flavors — hardware specs, online functionality, peripherals, pricing — there’s only one staple food everyone in the industry truly craves: games. Activision has already announced that Call of Duty: Ghosts will be unveiled in its next-gen form alongside the next Xbox. Naturally, however, Microsoft is preparing its own fusillade of exclusive title announcements to distinguish its system from Sony’s PS4 and — though to a markedly lesser extent — Nintendo’s Wii U, and many might not be arriving until E3.
Speaking in the latest Major Nelson podcast, Aaron Greenberg, Microsoft’s Chief of Staff for Interactive Entertainment Business, suggested that both May 21st and E3 2013 will see the company reveal “our vision for the future of games, the future of entertainment.” E3 2013 in particular, however, says Greenberg, will be all “about the games.”
“We’re really going to tell one story across two events. So we’re going to start on the 21st and really that’s about revealing the next Xbox platform, really our vision for the future of games, the future of entertainment. We definitely have a lot of surprises planned.”
“People are going to get a great inside look at the making of the new platform and the team that’s brought it to life. To be honest, it’s really about the team, the people here. That’s why we’re inviting people to campus; we’re going to bring them behind the scenes a little bit. We’ve never done this before and so it’s really exciting to be able to do that. It’s a lot of laying the foundation, probably the best way to describe it. And then just a couple of weeks later we go to E3.
“E3 is all about the games. At E3, I mean, if you’re a gamer, it’s going to be tonnes of exclusives, world premieres, and obviously even beyond that we have a lot to share between then and this holiday.”
Greenberg’s comments bring us full (lemniscate?) circle to the titles commonly speculated as next-gen exclusives for the platform.
Halo 5 is chief among them, with 343 Industries having discussed development of the game as early as last December. Ryse has reportedly been lifted out of development stasis and retooled as a highly-budgeted Kinect 2.0 swordfighting title. Forza 5 was rumored to be revving up right alongside Ryse. And just last week, job openings at Lionhead Studios suggested that Fable 4 was in the process of “reimagining” the storied franchise.
Should reports be true that Respawn Entertainment’s game (possibly named Titan) is an Xbox exclusive, the work of former Call of Duty designers Vince Zampella and Jason West might have its day in the sun right beside Ghosts (albeit absent Jason West) as well.
Ranters, what titles would you like to see Microsoft reveal for the next-generation Xbox, both on May 21 and at E3 2013? Does Microsoft have the best strategy, ostensibly outlining the hardware first and devoting E3 to games?
Follow Brian on Twitter @Brian_Sipple.