There's no denying that Xbox has had a rough go this generation, as it went from being the king of the console world to playing catch up. Phil Spencer and his team have done a solid job of repairing the brand's reputation after a disastrous launch, but there's still plenty to do at E3 2018 if they want to gain some much needed momentum. Fans will be looking to see the return of some iconic Rare franchises like Banjo-Kazooie, Microsoft working with publishers like Capcom on securing timed-exclusives (like they've done with the Dead Rising series), and some fresh ideas from the Xbox side that has been lacking innovation as of late.
Microsoft has the most up in the air of any of the three major conferences, as they haven't confirmed much for the show. The only currently announced games they're publishing are Crackdown 3, which might even see a surprise launch during E3, and the gorgeous platformer Ori and the Will of the Wisps. Neither of those are big enough to build an entire show around, so expect some big unveils in addition to more gameplay from known titles.
Many of Microsoft's biggest possible announcements have been circulating the rumor mill, and it looks like they'll have quite the showing. Recently, it was speculated that Microsoft has not one but three different Gears of War games in development, ranging from the next numbered entry to a Battle Royale title. Forza Horizon developer Playground Games has also been hiring for an action role-playing game in the past year, and it's rumored that they'll be bringing back the Fable series in a major way. Rounding out the trio of major franchises is Halo 6, as fans know 343 Industries is busy working on the next iteration. It's also been three years since Halo 5: Guardians released, so a Halo 6 reveal is long overdue.
Xbox's limited output this console generation has shown a gap between themselves and Sony PlayStation when it comes to the amount of first-party studios they have access to. As such, it wouldn't be surprising if Microsoft winds up partnering with third-party publishers more for the show while their first-party studios continue developing their slate of new titles. Last year, Anthem wound up being one of the show stealers for Microsoft, despite it not being a platform exclusive, and this year's showing may have even more announcements in that vein, such as a bigger reveal for Shadow of the Tomb Raider.
If there's ever been a year where Microsoft needs to show some life and fight in them, it's this year. Sony is looking towards having less shocking reveals, which means Xbox has a chance to really steal the show and gain some much needed positive momentum. Hopefully, Phil Spencer and his team can take advantage of the opportunity at hand.