June 10 (UPI) — Microsoft announced the latest installment in its flagship Halo franchise at its annual Xbox E3 briefing on Sunday.
The company opened its 2018 Xbox briefing at the Microsoft Theatre at LA Live in Los Angeles, Calif.,
with a trailer for Halo Infinite, which will follow the series’ main protagonist Master Chief.
No further details were provided about the game, but it was touted as a “new Halo experience.”
Microsoft’s president of gaming, Phil Spencer, then took the stage to announce the conference would feature a total of 50 games, including 18 with Xbox exclusivity and 15 world premiers.
Among the exclusives was another sequel to one of Xbox’s long running series, Gears of War 5. The company also announced two Gears of War spinoff games, including Gears Pop, a mobile game collaboration with toymaker Funko Pop, and a tactical role playing game known as Gears Tactics.
Xbox debuted Forza Horzion 4, the latest in its series of open-world racing video games set to release on Oct. 2. The game will take place in Britain and feature a world populated with other online players as well as dynamic seasons.
The company also showed new gameplay footage from Crackdown 3, starring actor Terry Crews, and announced it is set to release on Feb. 22, 2019.
Ashley Speicher, head of engineering at Xbox’s subscription-based Game Pass service, said both Forza Horizon 4 and Crackdown 3 will be available through the service — which grants users access to a catalogue of games for a monthly fee — on the day of their release. She also announced an improvement to the service known as “Fast Start,” which will allow games to load twice as quickly, set to be included in a June update.
In addition to the new games, Xbox also announced upcoming updates to some of its existing exclusive software.
The online multiplayer pirate game Sea of Thieves will receive two pieces of downloadable content titled “Cursed Sails” and “Forsaken Shores” in July and September respectively and multiplayer shooter Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds will receive new maps and other content in Winter 2018.
Cartoon-themed sidescroller Cuphead is also slated to receive new content and a new playable character set to release in 2019.
In a commitment to increasing its output of exclusive content to the console, Microsoft announced the opening of a new first party studio called The Initiative. The studio will be based out of Santa Monica, Calif., and led by Darrell Gallagher, former head of Tomb Raider developer Crystal Dynamics.
The company also announced the acquisition of four existing studios, including Undead Labs, Playground Games, Ninja Theory and Compulsion Games.
Before closing the show, Spencer teased the company was well at work on creating it’s next home console as well as advances in artificial intelligence and a service that will stream games at a console quality to any device.