by Dave Thier via Forbes

Microsoft is on the back foot as far as E3 is concerned, or as far as console gaming, in general, is concerned. E3 is all about showing off new games, but the company has struggled with its exclusive library for a few years even as Sony has entered a kind of golden age and as Nintendo has come roaring back onto the scene with the Switch. Microsoft hasn’t had much to show off in recent years, and this year at E3 it’s expecting to bring some of its biggest names in an effort to pull attention and re-assert itself. And Microsoft has no bigger exclusive than Halo. Halo 6 is still unconfirmed, but there are rumors that we may be getting our first glimpse of the game at Microsoft’s showcase on Sunday, June 10.

Spoilers for Halo 5

Halo 6 is expected to be a direct sequel to Halo 5, and so we can expect it to pick up where the older game left off. Cortana has reasserted herself as the new villain of the series, leading an AI rebellion in an attempt to reclaim the galaxy from the clutches of unreliable biological life. Halo 6 can be expected to be the final game in a trilogy that began with Halo 4, so hopefully we’ll get something a little more satisfying then the cliffhanger ending from the last game. If we’re being honest, however, Halo hasn’t been doing great on story recently.

The Halo franchise isn’t in a great spot, overall. Neither Halo 4 nor Halo 5 were universally well-received, and the overall perception is that the series has struggled under 343 industries and it hasn’t commanded primacy in the shooter world for years. The current battle royale trend doesn’t really help that: there was a time when Halo was the game that dominated the online multiplayer conversation, but that was a long time ago. Halo 6 has its work cut out for it, but that doesn’t mean it won’t succeed. Microsoft needs a win on this one.

I wouldn’t expect to see Halo 6 this year, but 2019 isn’t out of the question. When it does arrive it will release on both PC and Game Pass, like all other Xbox exclusives going forward. This will mark the first mainline Halo game on PC since Halo 2. I’d also hope to see the return of split-screen multiplayer, the absence of which was heavily criticized with Halo 5.

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