Xbox and Bethesda Showcase - All The Major Game Reveals and Info
Post by KostaAndreadis @ 05:44pm 14/06/21 | Comments
All the major game reveals, trailers, and info you need from Microsoft’s big E3 2021 event - the Xbox & Bethesda Showcase.
When it comes to E3, you can always count on Microsoft to bring the spectacle -- and E3 2021 was no different thanks to the combined Xbox & Bethesda Showcase. Traditionally these two publishers do their own thing, but now that they’re both a part of the same happy Xbox Game Studios family we got an action-packed 90 minute presentation covering 30 titles, 27 of which are headed to Xbox Game Pass.
Yeah, it was as breathless as it was impressive.
So, did we get our first look at Bethesda Gamer Studios’ Starfield? Yes we did, though it was more of a teaser. We also got a fresh look at Halo Infinite, this time with a focus on the multiplayer side. Plus, the surprise -- and frankly stunning -- Forza Horizon 5 reveal which sees the series visit Mexico later this year. Throw in the eastern European combo of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 and Atomic Heart, not to mention the very cool-looking new indie Replaced, and Team Xbox managed to bring the goods, more goods, and nothing but the goods.
And all without Perfect Dark, Fable, Avowed, or even Rare’s Everwild. Impressive, and a testament to just how many great first and third-party games are coming day and date (and mostly exclusive) to Xbox and Xbox Game Pass between now and the end of 2022.
The only downside was yet another year without the return of Banjo & Kazooie. Maybe next time. Until then, let's get to it with all of the highlights and major reveals from the 2021 Xbox & Bethesda Showcase.
November 11, 2022 - that’s the release date set for the latest RPG from the studio behind Fallout and The Elder Scrolls. As a brand new thing Starfield promises to be something grander than anything Bethesda has cooked up to date, with a focus on space exploration and discovering new planets. Presumably, outside of seeing Creation Engine 2 in-action we’re still in teaser territory. And yeah, November 2022 is a definite stretch to wait. In Todd we trust.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chernobyl
Having S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 as a console exclusive, and a game that’s coming to Xbox Game Pass on PC and Xbox Series X on day one, is huge. This has just about Half-Life 3 levels of anticipation, in that we first heard about it a decade ago. Not only that this is our first proper look at gameplay, and it's out in April 2022. This return trip to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone is shaping up to be a memorable one.
Contraband comes from Avalanche Studios, of Just Cause and RAGE 2 fame, and based on it being labeled an Xbox Game Studios release -- it’s probably safe to assume that at one point this was a Bethesda game. Either way this “co-op smuggler’s paradise” is being described as Avalanche’s most ambitious game to date and is currently in development for Xbox Series X and S.
Sea of Thieves: A Pirate's Life
The latest set of Tall Tales, which are Sea of Thieves’ narrative-driven quests, are set to arrive on June 22. And this time we’re getting a collaboration between Rare and Disney -- bringing Pirates of the Carribean, Jack Sparrow, and others into the mix. Best of all Sea of Thieves: A Pirate’s Life arrives as a free update for all players.
Games as art is a moot conversation in this day and age, especially for those of us on this side of the fence, but it’s always good to see those super-rare examples of the genre being pursued as such, that you know will be held up to any naysayers as evidence of gaming and game development very much on an eternal residency in the art world. 12 Minutes, a top-down Groundhog Day-like thriller features a stellar cast in James McAvoy, Daisy Ridley, and Willem Dafoe. The game sees you, the player, with a 12-minute loop to work your way through a horrific crime, locked into a single, small space and beholden to timed-events. Only you can change the order and outcome of things, by living through this nightmare again and again. Described as blending “the dream-like tension of The Shining with the claustrophobia of Rear Window and the fragmented structure of Memento”, 12 Minutes has some big plaudits to come good on, but is looking every bit like it will.
Xbox Showcase - Intermission 1
With so many game reveals we also got a bunch of straight up news and updates on existing titles, and stuff we already know a bit about. Back 4 Blood is not only getting a pair of PVP modes but it’s coming to Xbox Game Pass at launch. On the Game Pass train, Yakuza: Like a Dragon is available now with the brilliant Hades arriving in August. Microsoft Flight Simulator is Xbox Series X bound on July 27, with Top Gun-based DLC coming later in the year. Fallout 76’s latest expansion ‘Steel Reign’ got a reveal trailer (check it out here), alongside the kinda cool looking but very JRPG, JRPG Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes (check that one out here). Oh, and DOOM Eternal’s next-gen update arrives next month and will feature real-time ray-tracing.
Double Fine becoming a wholly-owned Microsoft studio was a move by the tech giant to cement the idea that its shopping spree was less about a Fire Sale, and more about ensuring the best content is available on the Xbox family of devices from a creative, premier developer of all things quirky, rad and gold. And in kicking off this new relationship with Psychonauts 2, the road ahead couldn’t look any brighter, or weirder. What we get here is a journey through the mind as imagined by Tim Shafer and co. where nothing is off limits and comedy reigns supreme in the high and lowbrow stakes in equal measure. Based almost exclusively off what we’ve seen so far, this will be the least structured gameplay experience you could expect, with surprises and unique concepts thrown at you from every corner of the imagination, and it’s out in August.
A multiplayer brawler where you take control over stuffed animals. Physics and a meme-like sense of randomness follow in what will likely draw Fall Guys comparisons but really should carve out its own fun audience on its own merits.
This one has Inside and Limbo vibes through and through, which makes it a great fit for an Xbox Showcase. In it you take control of a family waking up to a world in crisis. A sci-fi adventure dripping in atmosphere, and it’s out sometime in 2022.
Halo Infinite - Multiplayer Reveal
Halo Infinite’s multiplayer component will be free-to-play, across PC and Xbox -- which is a major move to make. Especially when you factor in that it’s coming to Steam too. It’s also set to release alongside a cinematic campaign this holiday season, which yeah, means we didn’t get an exact release date for the next Halo. With Battlefield 2042, the next Call of Duty, Far Cry 6, and more out this year -- it’s going to be a banner one for shooters. Interestingly we didn’t get a major slice of Halo single-player, which we were kind of expecting after last year’s debut. It didn’t go down so well. But, between now and “Holiday 2021” we’ll be getting a lot more Halo info -- so stay tuned.
A Plague Tale: Requiem
The first A Plague Tale caught us completely off guard and presented as a stunning, yet dark and grim look at a period in time where evil was thought to be responsible for one of the worst and ugliest chapters in human history. In the game’s sequel, revealed during the Xbox showcase, we get what’s shaping up to be an even prettier look at this ugliness, with the epic and rats dialled up to 11 (billion) while we’re at it. What’s left to hope for is a revamped focus on combat, crafting and exploration to not just fix the pitfalls of the first game, but to sit nicely alongside the stunning art on show here. Cautiously excited for this one.
Slime Rancher 2
We played Slime Rancher to death. The Pokemon-like gameplay hook of “gotta catch ‘em all” was rife throughout, as was the basic (and eternal) desire to read mail on the reg. A simple game with few dangers, lots of secrets and an irresistible charm, the sequel looks to be this and more, thanks to the power of the new machines and learnings taken from the first outing. If the trailer for Slime Rancher 2 showed us anything though, it’s that we’re in for new slime recipes, new spaces, and new challenges.
Xbox Showcase - Intermission 2
Okay, that’s quite the show so far. Let’s take a breath and go through a rapid fire list of announcements and reveals. First up Among Us is getting a 15 Player Lobby update this week (on all platforms). Grounded’s ‘Shroom & Doom update is bringing pets, castles, and unlockable achievements to the Early Access survival game. Microsoft reminded us that Far Cry 6 is still coming, Age of Empires 4 got a release date of October 28 (alongside a very cool new gameplay trailer). And as per above, so did Diablo II: Resurrected -- September 23.
You just have to love the unexpected during any E3 broadcast, and Shredders from Foam Punch was very much that. You could be forgiven for thinking this was just a snowboarding-focused trailer for Rider’s Republic, but once the greater emphasis on freeform lines, tricks and the park around you became clear, it was obvious this was a new snowboarding joint, and with it the action sports genre’s steady climb out of mediocrity continues on its infectious course. Labelled as a bit of a love-letter to the Amped snowboarding series and as a game made by snowboarders for snowboarders (that looks stunning), Shredders just looks and sounds damn cool.
To say anticipation for Atomic Heart is high would be an understatement. It might not be Cyberpunk 2077 levels of high or notoriety, but for the gamers out there aware of its existence the need to know more is palpable. And in the most recent showing of the game we’re finally getting perhaps the best glimpse of the game as a narrative yet (something rumoured to have been the reason for its lengthy time in development). So, what do we know? Well, it’s an alternate history where Russia has emerged as a leading power in technology, though something at Facility №3826 has gone awry and you, a KGB operative, is sent in to investigate. Stunning, weird, dark and conceptually challenging, Atomic Heart is easily one of our most anticipated games. Watch the trailer over and over to pick apart its insane world. You won’t regret it.
With a blend of 3D environments, impressive lighting, volumetric effects, and highly detailed pixel sprites, Replaced has seemingly come out of nowhere and become one of our most anticipated games on the horizon. This 2.5D stylish sci-fi platformer is set in an alternate and dark version of the 1980s -- and looks awesome.
The Outer Worlds 2
How do you let the world know that you’re developing a sequel to the acclaimed and well-received sci-fi RPG The Outer Worlds? By creating a lavish high-quality pre-rendered cinematic and then using that to make fun of game teasers and trailers. So yeah, the perfect way to let us know that Obsidian has begun work on a new Outer Worlds.
Forza Horizon 5
“Showstopper” feels almost redundant when you use it against the unveiling of Forza Horizon 5. This mid-show cool-as-you-like totally nonchalant revelation just blew us, and the gaming world at large, away. Not the least of which came through its stunning visuals, but also just in the diversity of landscapes and gameplay options present in a mere seven-minutes of air time. The Forza Motorsport series might have once been the Xbox’s racing trump card, but even without the hardcore simulation it’s just hard to move past the Horizon series now as the flagship wheels-based wares driving the power of Microsoft’s consoles. Featuring the largest and most diverse playspace ever in the series as well as an entirely new content-creation toolset for players to craft and share their own fun, Forza Horizon 5 went from being largely unknown to absolutely must have in less than 2.1 seconds (that’s the 0-60mph record for the fastest production car in the world, the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon).
We’re thankful for a couple of this, first we’re getting to see and hear about Arkane Austin’s next game -- which is pretty high up there for us considering Prey was and still is incredible. Secondly, that the studio picked for the villains -- sci-fi vampires. And not, you know, zombies. That said this slick and lengthy cinematic showcases the vibrant look and feel of Redfall, which is an open-world co-op action game set on an island overrun by blood-suckers. And seeing as this is an Arkane joint we can expect a heady dose of player customisation, exploration, and cool weapons.