Today Microsoft hit the internet waves with their Xbox Games Showcase. Sony wowed gamers with a straight forward series of gameplay trailers last month, putting the pressure on Xbox. With the Xbox 20/20 reveal getting, not so great reviews, Microsoft had to come correct or risk starting yet another console generation from behind. This time around there was an emphasis on more first-party and exclusive games. So here’s what we saw at the Xbox Games Showcase
Emphasis on Game Pass
Just about every game featured through the stream will be available on Game Pass. Microsoft’s subscription-based game store has long been one of the best values in video games. It allows you to play many of your games on both PC and your Xbox console. However, gamers questioned whether buying an Xbox is even necessary if you have a serviceable gaming PC. Either way, having the option to play many of the aforementioned games on more than one platform is a plus.
The biggest change to the Halo franchise coming in Infinite is the change to an open world. No longer will Master Chief be relegated to a traditional level structure as most of the games “Halo” setting will be free to traverse from the word go. To speed the whole exploration thing up, MC’s got a brand new grappling hook that can pull him around the battlefield.
State of Decay 3
The State of Decay series makes its return on the Series X. The survival-horror-zombie game made its name on its base-building mechanics that allowed you to fortify you and your allies from the undead hordes. In this iteration, it looks like undead animals will add to the things you’ll have to watch for.
“Whimsical” is a word that comes to mind in this platformer coming from Square Enix. Two of the original creators of the Sonic The Hedgehog series designer Naoto Ohshima and programmer Yuji Naka are reuniting for the game. Balan takes influences from Theater and looks to be a good family game.
The conspicuously unnumbered entry of Forza also made an appearance. The lauded racing sim was a shoo-in to see some sort of reveal in the showcase and looks just as gorgeous as ever. Forza is one of the finest racing experiences in video games, so car fans gear up for another great Forza.
Perhaps the most stylish game shown off during the Xbox Games Showcase, Rare revealed Everwild. The game looks to be some sort of online co-op game where you are responsible for caring for nature itself. Well, at least that’s what could be gleaned from this ethereal, mysterious trailer.
Tell Me Why
Tell Me Why is a narrative-driven game coming from the Xbox Game Studios outfit, Dontnod Entertainment. It tells the story of a brother and sister looking to find the answers to a tragic past. Also, some superpowers are involved as well. Lovers of the Life is Strange franchise should see some things they love here.
The Outer Worlds Peril On Gorgon DLC
The Outer World dropped last year to great reviews. Obsidian Entertainment’s space RPG is getting some DLC this year in the form of Peril On Gorgon. This episode takes you to a remote asteroid that is sure to have an eclectic cast of characters. Peril on Gorgon is set to release on September 9th, 2020.
While it may look like Honey, I Shrunk The Kids meets Fortnite, Grounded is a survival game. Players will team up and try to scavenge for food and water while trying to avoid massive, er, true to size insects and other gigantic hazards. Early access for Grounded starts July 28th of this year, with a full release in 2021.
Obsidian got a lot of love from Xbox as another one of their new IPs get a first look, Avowed. While not much was shared about the first-person RPG we are sure to hear more about it in the months leading up to the Series X launch.
As Dusk Falls
A new interactive drama game, As Dusk Falls, tells the story of a family over multiple decades as they cope with a traumatic event. The graphic novel art style immediately catches the eye, but the journey will make or break this ambitious take on the game storytelling.
Comedian/Singer/Actor/Wildman, Jack Black, is lending his vocal talents to the theme of Psychonauts 2. The trippy psychological platformer is making its return after the first game released on the PS2 in 2005. The game garnered cult classic status among fans, and its announcement at E3 2019 was one of the hyper moments of the entire show.
Another series returning after a 10+ year hiatus is S.T.A.L.K.E.R. The original shooter-RPG took place in Chernobyl and offered 7 different endings based on the player’s actions. While S.T.A.L.K.E.R. had a few spin-off games, this is the first true sequel for the series.
Warhammer 40k Darktide
The Warhammer 40,000 IP is one that seems to have something new out at all times. Whether its a book, comic, tabletop, video game, and even a film, Warhammer continues to push forward. As one of the most recognizable brands in all of nerd-dom, a new game is sure to excite even some casual fans. This Co-op shooter is sure to have its cult fans just like the overall series does.
Tetris Effect Connected
Tetris is having a 3rd or 4th coming with the new Tetris Effect Connected. An update to 2018’s wildly popular Tetris Effect, Connected will feature more ways to play online or with friends. And with Tetris 99 on the Switch, there is now a Tetris game available on all major gaming platforms.
The Gunk is an adventure platformer where the player looks to restore nature by…removing Gunk. The title might not be the most imaginative, but it looks gorgeous. Its art style and gameplay are reminiscent of platforming mainstays like Ratchet & Clank.
Next in the Xbox Games Showcase, we have a horror game that’s playing with the notions of duality, The Medium look scary as all hell. And with music coming from Akira Yamaoka of Silent Hill fame, will probably sound scary as all hell too.
New Genesis: Phantasy Star Online 2
Xbox threw a bone to the Otakus in the audience with an update on Phantasy Star Online 2. This iteration called “New Genesis” looks like Evangelion met up with Monster Hunter and had a baby. But for fans of PSO, they couldn’t be happier. And with the revelation that the game would launch simultaneously in Japan and North America, they had, even more, to get hype for.
Easily some of the strangest dialogue in the stream, this high octane shooters pits private military companies against one another. The player is a souped-up, super-soldier looking to end the conflict with plenty of explosions and elaborate knife work. If you are unfamiliar with the series don’t be shocked. It’s based on one of the most popular games of all time in China, Crossfire.
And closing out the event was a return of the Peter Molyneux franchise, Fable. The tongue-in-cheek high fantasy series has been a point of contention for gamers since 2004. Its original game was positioned as one of the most evolutionary games of all time, with innovations in storytelling and player impact. But upon release, it was merely a solid fantasy experience. In another un-named sequel, Molyneux perhaps looks to rebuild the game’s reputation and get the goodwill of gamers back on his side.