Every year, developers from around the world gather in June to showcase their most secret and anticipated projects. In the months leading up to E3, gamers witness the spectacle of influencers and industry veterans discussing the rumors of what might be, further fueling their desired announcements come to life. In the spirit of fun and excitement, E3 allows for the passion of gaming to be broadcast on a world stage and recognized for its influence on the entertainment industry.
Now that the industry is approaching the eve of E3, OnlySP is counting down the days remaining in a segment we like to call ‘12 Days of E3’. Please join OnlySP in celebrating an event that can be described as Christmas for Gamers, as we come together in anticipation for E3 2019!
The Microsoft and Nintendo “survive together” commercial dropped a bomb on the industry and its fallout will be felt in full during E3. The partnership is a match made in heaven and why the two titans never joined forces before is a wonder. Nintendo, while striving in the industry, is still missing out a core, graphics-focused audience. Meanwhile, Microsoft is doing well enough, but has yet to prove it has the first-party foundation to maintain a dominant place in the eyes of the public. Furthermore, Xbox console have never sold well in Japan just has Nintendo products rarely fair as well in the west as they do in their native lands. Now that the two have realized they make the perfect team, what will the companies do with their newfound harmony?
One domino already toppled is the cross-play initiative. Mere months ago, cross-play was a dream. Now, Destiny 2 players have confirmation that they will be able to transfer their progress from any console over to Stadia. Of course, Google and plenty of others had a hand in this specific victory, but Switch and Xbox cross-play on games like Minecraft and Rocket League walked so Stadia could run. Players will hear more about the shattered boundaries of cross-play going into and all throughout E3, as these initiatives are worn as a badge of honor for Microsoft specifically. Thankfully, the partnership’s reach extends so much further past what the power team has managed to accomplish with cross-play.
Xbox Game Pass was recently announced to make the move over to PC. Soon, PC players can join in on one of Microsoft’s most consumer friendly, lucrative services for the same price Xbox players have been enjoying for quite some time. This change happened in an instant and, while unlikely, rumors have circulated of Switch users being allowed access to the copious amounts of Xbox titles through the same service. Imagine: Halo 3 on-the-go, an ever-expanding catalog of new games typically only available on PC or Xbox, the same value others have had access to for years. Though hurdles would be inevitable, the potential positives could point to an impending E3 Game Pass announcement. At the least, Xbox Game Pass could certainly have a future home on Nintendo hardware.
For those still doubting the friendships possibly heavy presence at E3 2019, one of the more tangible results of the Microsoft and Nintendo partnership to note is the half-month-old existence of Cuphead on Switch. Maybe the Xbox Game Pass is still a ways off, but who is to say that Microsoft does not have plans for a Rare return to Nintendo? Xbox One’s Rare Replay was a hit and contained plenty of games that debuted on past Nintendo consoles. Banjo Kazooie, Conker’s Bad Fur Day, and Perfect Dark may be a switch flip away from a triumphant return to the hybrid platform. Cuphead on Switch sounded just as unlikely as any other Microsoft published property on Switch, but with that barrier blown out of the water, nothing is stopping Microsoft from porting or even remastering any one Rare game over.
Banjo-Kazooie in particular is one property to note thanks to the swarm of rumors polluting gaming discourse. Not only have many talked up the return of the bird-bear combo in their own proper title, but the Super Smash Bros. community is beside itself with the teases and supposed leaks to come out in the last week alone. Before Microsoft and Nintendo even started to cuddle up to one another, Xbox head Phil Spencer had publicly given his blessing for some Banjo-Kazooie representation in a future Smash title. Smash Bros. series director Masahiro Sakurai noted in a few interviews that he looked to the official Super Smash Brothers. Fighter Ballot when deciding some of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s new fighter inclusions. Considering hopes for Banjo-Kazooie were at an all-time high when the ballot was released; Sakurai more than likely noticed the desire to see the character in Smash at some point. There may not be a better way to spotlight the Nintendo and Microsoft partnership than announcing Banjo as DLC in Ultimate during Microsoft’s E3 2019 press conference.
Until only a few years ago, Nintendo had kept its first-party IP close to its chest. Recent deals with Ubisoft, however, showed that Nintendo is willing to let other publishers borrow IP like Mario and Star Fox on special occasions. This sentiment is certainly delving deep into speculation at this point, but similar partnerships could happen given the right circumstances. Metroid, Star Fox, or F-Zero likely do not have a place on Xbox consoles, though perhaps Microsoft loyal could see the return of Bayonetta after the series made the jump to Wii U a few years back. A long shot, yes, but of all of the exchanges that could take place in the next year, a Bayonetta-related release for Xbox players would make more sense than most.
Truth be told, deciphering what the two have planned behind the scenes is next to impossible. Nintendo tends to take the road less traveled when standing on its own, so adding another behemoth such as Microsoft into the mix should keep spectators on their toes.