In May, Xbox was the first to show off “gameplay” from their next-generation console, all from third party studios with the promise of first party studio gameplay in July. That following month, Sony showed off both first and third party games, along with both editions of their consoles and the accessories likely available at launch with the promise to show off even more games in the months leading up to PS5’s launch.
Two months later, Xbox is having their much-promised first-party showcase, Xbox Games Showcase at 9 AM Pacific on July 23rd. We already know that Halo Infinite is showing up with campaign gameplay, so that won’t be covered here, so what about everyone else?
After Microsoft bought Playground Games and Playground Games opened a second studio, speculation started swirling of what the Forza Horizon team could be working on. The rumors all pointed to the an open-world adventure game, so naturally people put two and two together and figured out that the project Playground’s second studio (named St Alban’s House) was some sort of Fable reboot.
Playground could be making a Fable reboot, but if it’s not, it’ll still be really cool to see what the studio has in store, as even the Horizon games I didn’t like, I enjoyed. I’m ready to see whatever they want to work on, probably more than anything I’ll mention in this article.
Don’t Expect The Initiative
In addition to acquiring studios, Microsoft also took The Initiative (pun very much intended) to start a new team in Santa Monica to create AAA games with AAA budgets.
However, given this is a new studio, I don’t expect to see anything from them until well into the generation. If the motivation is to create new IP, that’s going to take double the time it would to create a sequel to an existing IP, and Microsoft likely has more than enough games to fill the gap until then.
Rumors suggest that what the studio is working is some sort of Perfect Dark reboot, which will cool for original Xbox fans and newcomers to the franchise like me. That said, I really hope it’s something new like that spy game The Coalition was working on before they became the studio that made Gears.
Xbox Game Studios
As for the rest of the studios, we’ll see Halo Infinite campaign gameplay from 343 Industries which will likely take up much of the event, Age of Empires IV from World’s Edge, Psychonauts 2 (hopefully with a release date), Wasteland 3 from InXile as well as a sneak peak at their Unreal 5 game, Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II from Ninja Theory, Forza Motorsport 8 from Turn 10, whatever Rare is working on, and maybe a sneak peek at something we don’t even know about yet.
Third Party Games
I would imagine that Xbox will have a handful of third party games to show here as a way to show off what their marketing partners are working on for launch. As for what they could be, it’s a hat toss at this moment. This could be where Microsoft announces a studio acquisition (like the Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment rumor that’s been popping up recently), something from EA, even several ports and remasters made possible due to their “Smart Delivery” system.
It wouldn’t be an Xbox event without talking about their vast array of services…right? Well, normally you would be right. Xbox will likely solely focus on games for this presentation and leave any details about services in an Xbox Wire post or a separate event entirely. I suspect, however, you won’t have to wait too much longer for details, as it seems Xbox is shaping up to radically alter the service catalog by delisting the yearly Xbox Live Gold option and integrating xCloud into Game Pass Ultimate.
Again, I do believe that Xbox is going to hold off on this one. All of their marketing is behind Series X at this point and to showcase a second console that would potentially perform at lower frame rates or resolution when you’re trying to show off the graphical fidelity of your next-generation console might send a mixed message.
Price & Release Date
Not likely, as I am sure that Xbox wants to share more details about Series S/Lockhart, UI improvements, bundles, and a whole lot of things that are associated with buying a shiny new console.
Enjoy the Showcase and I look forward to everyone telling me I’m wrong on Twitter.