Xbox has played their latest hand, and it was full of surprises (unless you’ve been aware of leaks or rumours).
With all eyes firmly on the Series X, Xbox revealed some of the new exclusives coming in the next few years.
Let’s take a look at what we can expect to see;
Starting off with Xbox’s flagship IP, Halo Infinite got an extended featurette to kick things off.
With silky-smooth graphics running at 60FPS and optimised for the Series X, it looks like a winner. Set on a Halo ring, Microsoft has stated how the map for Infinite will be “several times larger than the last two [Halo] maps combined.
Though touted as being a Series X launch title, Halo Infinite will also be available on Xbox One and PC.
Halo Infinite launches later this year.
State of Decay 3
Undead Labs is back with State of Decay 3.
This time around, the action looks to be just as horrific as the first, with a surprising new undead enemy to tackle; animals!
Well, what more can we say about Forza Motorsport?
It’s a Forza game. Expect the same level of beautifully rendered vehicles couples with the best racing gameplay available.
I mean, seriously. Take a look at these graphics
Rare’s upcoming…game looks splendid and lush whilst being just the right side of cel-shaded. Basically everything you’ve come to expect from the Sea of Thieves developers.
I still have no idea what to expect from Everwild, but I know I like what I see.
I know I can’t be the only one getting major Ori vibes from it though
Tell Me Why
Tell Me Why [Ain’t Nothing But A Heartache] is filled with the atypical DONTNOD gameplay you know by now.
Angst-ridden twenty-somethings with some magical gifts have to change their worlds. This time around, the character’s pasts will affect their present.
Think of Life is Strange but without the time rewinding bits.
The first episode (because that’s how DONTNOD roll) launches 27th August.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps – Optimised for Series X Edition
Call it a remaster if you will, but Moon Studio’s has optimised Ori and the Will of the Wisps ready for next-gen.
Anybody who has played the Ori games will know how the game performs already. However, for the Series X, Moon Studio is boosting Will of the Wisps performance to allow for 120hz refresh rates at 4K HDR.
[Mike is somewhere drooling at the mere thought of this, I’m sure].
Ori and the Will of the Wisps Optimised Edition will be available via Smart Delivery later this year.
The Outer Worlds’ DLC
"It's not the best choice; it's Spacer's Choice!"
Yes, The Outer Worlds is back with an amazing-looking DLC package: Peril on Gorgon. Carrying on from where the core game left off, the Captain is tasked with undertaking a strange, new case on the asteroid of Gorgon.
Here, you’ll uncover the mystery of the Adreno-Time drug – as well as utilise new armour, weapons, flaws, and perks.
Furthermore, Peril on Gorgon will be on offer to anybody who played the core game – and would like to pick up “future adventures” – for an additional 10% discount.
The Outer World: Peril on Gorgon is available 9th September
Obsidian’s upcoming Honey, I Shrunk the Kids-survival-action game got a new trailer ahead of the game’s release.
Coming to the Xbox One on 28th July, Grounded sees you stranded in a backyard, fighting off against massive* insects. [*the insects are actually normal sized, but because you are ant-sized, they all look bigger].
Plus, the trailer references Cyberpunk 2077 and even Battletoads. So, that’s more than enough reason to get the game.
Grounded will be available from 28th July. Pre-install it now via the Xbox Game Pass.
The last of Obsidian’s entries into the Games Showcase event was perhaps the biggest.
Avowed is the first first-person RPG set in the Pillars of Eternity universe.
Which, yes, does technically mean the series is alive again.
If you love your modern RPGs (Skyrim, Dragon’d Dogma, etc) then you’ll definitely appreciate Avowed. It promises to blend the classic narrative found in Pillars with Bethesda-level world-design.
Wait, maybe that’s not the best of comparisons. With Obsidian-level world-design.
As Dusk Falls
An “interactive drama” from the minds over at Interior/Night; As Dusk Falls looks like a Telltale game with a much more adult theme to it.
Plus, fun little fact, Interior/Night is headed by Caroline Marchal, formerly of Quantic Dream fame. The same Quantic Dream dynamics that are seen in Heavy Rain, Beyond: Two Souls, and Detroit: Become Human should be noticeable here.
We’ll have to wait and see how As Dusk Falls fares, but the trailer is artistic.
Senua’s Saga – Hellblade 2
Senua is back. Though, for anyone who watched the XO19 event, you’ll already know that.
Thankfully, we now also know some key details about the upcoming game. Developer Ninja theory confirmed the game’s setting (Iceland) and that it has been built using Unreal Engine 5.
So, we know it’s going to look breathtaking.
No, that’s not a missprint. Psychonauts is back!
From the trailer we got, Psychonauts 2 boasts a whole world of psychic-exploration to be done. Expect plenty of Double-Fine’s brand of humour and platforming-based action.
Rasputin takes us on a psychedelic trip through Jack Black’s psyche, full of eyeballs. Seriously. Count them. You can’t, there’s that many eyeballs!
Oh, and did I mention Jack Black!?
Destiny 2 and Beyond Light Expansion Coming to Game Pass
Hard-hitting reveal for anyone who bought the game, but Destiny 2 is coming to the Game Pass and xCloud. And it isn’t alone.
The full expansion, Beyond Light, is coming as well.
Bungie’s space-shooter gives you the power over Light and Darkness as you vanquish enemies with space-magic(TM). For a much more apt description of why you should play Destiny 2, check out the ABG Podcast [24-minute mark for Lucas’ Destiny 2 description]. Be sure to drop a comment, like, and subscribe if you fancy it.
Anyways, yeah, Destiny 2 is coming to the Game Pass
The fact that Stalker 2 was even showcased was surprising enough.
For anyone who has been following the game’s inception, developer GSC Game World was infamously closed down during the production of this very game. The staff members went on to do other things, leaving the project behind.
So, a “new” GSC has arisen, and Stalker 2 is back. For now. We’ll see. The new studio has taken to Twitter to clarify any confusion amongst fans, though;
This will mark the game’s next-gen console debut, as it is a console launch exclusive for the Series X. And on PC, of course.
Warhammer 40,000: Darktide
Another entry in the Warhammer 40k franchise, Darktide has been made by the team behind the Vermintide series. So you can expect plenty of multiplayer-action and horrific scenes of violence.
This pleases the Empire.
Set in a suitably dark realm, the Space Marines look set for their biggest fight yet. Coming in 2021.
Tetris Effect: Connected
I mean, you couldn’t have a new games console without the original best-selling game of all time, right?
Tetris Effect: Connected takes the original Tetris Effect and adds a multiplayer option to the mix.
Plus, with an optimised single-player mode, there’s plenty to keep you coming back to this love-letter to puzzles (and Tetris).
Tetris Effect: Connected will be available across Xbox One, Series X, PC, the Game Pass, and via Smart Delivery later this year.
Steamworld‘s creators are back with a new IP; The Gunk.
Looking like the lovechild of Journey to the Savage Planet and Slime Rancher, Gunk looks like it’ll be a damn good time.
Expect plenty of creative gameplay and combat using advanced vacuum cleaner gloves.
Just watch the trailer, you’ll see what I mean.
A manic looking psychological horror game boasting dual reality gameplay, The Medium is already looking damn impressive.
You control one character, Marianne, in two realities, the normal and a dark one. The dark reality version has access to special powers to help her survive. However, you control both simultaneously. Presumably, there’s going to be some significant swapping back and forth to progress.
The Medium has been developed by Bloober Team, the studio behind Blair Witch and Observer.
New Genesis: Phantasy Star Online 2
Can you believe it’s been 20 years since Phantasy Star Online debuted? To celebrate, SEGA is bringing New Genesis to the Xbox Series X.
The latest entry into the PSO franchise boasts an improved and expansive open-world setting. Players will take on new threats with improved pacing and combat systems.
Traversal looks fluid, and, dare I say it, elegant.
If you’re new to the PSO universe, this might be a good time to take the plunge. New Genesis launches in 2021.
Having watched this trailer multiple times, I feel like I’m finally turning into my dad. By which I mean, I actually caught myself saying “the graphics look like real-life”.
CrossfireX, the latest game from Remedy, looks like a fast-paced, high-octane, action-shooter with plenty of bangs for its buck.
Taking on the role of an elite soldier, you’re tasked with defeating your enemies using advanced weapons-grade technology.
Wonders never cease, CrossfireX might actually convert me to FPS games. Also, check out that X Gon’ Give it to Ya cover. Beautiful.
The IP announcement we were all waiting for; Fable is coming back.
Playground Games, the team behind Forza Horizon, has taken over from Lionhead. It’s sad to see Lionhead not involved in the new Fable, but I really love the Horizon games, so I’m stoked.
The new game is touted as being a “a new beginning” for the Fable series.
As long as we can still see that familiar Fable humour come through, with improved elements, I can’t see this being a bad thing.
Xbox Games Showcase Pre-show with Geoff Keighley
Before all of that action got underway, we were treated to the Games Showcase Pre-show event with Geoff Keighley.
Herein, Keighley announced a few other games that didn’t make it onto the Showcase event. However, that isn’t to say that these titles are any less important;
Dragon Quest XI Echoes of an Elusive Age S: Definitive Edition
Making its Xbox debut, the Dragon Quest series launches on the Series X later this year.
34 years after the original game in the series, Dragon Quest XI will see players live out their best JRPG lives.
You can expect plenty of classic features found throughout the genre, including; expansive open-world, interactive cities and locations, varied in-world exploration, turn-based combat, and more.
Surely, as the trailer notes, it is the perfect time to get into Dragon Quest if you haven’t already done so.
From the looks of this trailer, EXOMECHA is a crossbreed of Halo, the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, and features a guest cameo by Marvel’s Silver Surfer.
Developer TwistedRed says the following on the game;
“EXOMECHA is a brand new free-to-play online competitive first-person shooter that takes place in OMECHA, a new and untouched planet with exotic environments. The game offers you breathtaking gaming experience with its flexible playing style, mechs, unique gadgets and abilities, and boss battles.
EXOMECHA is an immersive experience with team-based large scale battles, a unique battle royale game mode, and an objective-based game mode”.
With more high-octane action than you can shake a mech suit at, EXOMECHA looks like it’ll be right at home on your Series X library with Halo Infinite.
EXOMECHA will be available from next year.
Watch Dogs: Legion
Ubisoft’s upcoming Watch Dogs: Legion also got a showcasing in the pre-show.
Boasting a true-to-life rendition of London (albeit with a Watch Dogs flair), Legion puts you in control of a member of the Resistance.
Using your awesome hacking skills and recruitment of anybody you fancy – even little old ladies, apparently – take back the city.
Watch Dogs: Legion launches on Xbox One 29th October and then on Series X via Smart Delivery.
Looking like the Stranger Things game we all never knew we needed, Echo Generation launches next year.
Featuring voxal-like graphics and turn-based combat, this sci-fi RPG is as quaint looking as it is ominous.
Definite Day One purchase for me. Well, I say that, but it’ll be a Day One Game Pass download.
Hello Neighbor 2
Hello Neighbor‘s sequel looks as traumatising as the original.
This time around, you play as an investigative journalist looking into reports of disappearing people. One of those missing persons turns out to be The Neighbor himself!
Your search leads you to the house of a man dressed as a…bird(?) in a sweater. I don’t know. But I do know it’s nerve-wracking. As you’d expect from Hello Neighbor 2
The first-person-stealth-horror series also has an alpha available at helloneighbor2.com
One of the stranger games showcased at the event was Balan Wonderworld.
A weird mix of 3D platforming, puzzle-solving, and adventure, the new game takes players on a fantastical journey through the Balan Wonderworld.
Puzzles can be solved by using any one of over 80 different costumes, each with their own unique abilities.
Oh, and if you’re getting a NiGHTS into Dreams-vibe from this, then good. Sonic and NiGHTS co-creators, Yuji Naka and Naoto Ohshima, have been working on the project at Square Enix.
Also showcased during the pre-show event was the upcoming ID@Xbox indie games. Check out the following 15 console launch exclusives from various, independent studios;
- Shredder, FoamPunch
- Last Stop, Variable State
- The Artful Escape, Beethoven & Dinosaur
- Tunic, Andrew Shouldice
- Lake, Gamious
- Sable, Shedworks
- Song of Iron, Joe Winter
- EXO ONE, Exbleative
- The Falconeer, Tomas Sala
- 12 Minutes, Luis Antonio
- The Ascent, Neon Giant
- The Big Con, Yell Studios
- Unexplored 2: The Wayfarer’s Legacy, Ludomotion
- MadStreets, Craftshop
In case you wanted to relive the magic, here is the full Games Showcase event. Enjoy;
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