The Xbox Game Showcase was an epic hour with impressive announcements and reasons to play on Xbox. It did fail to give enough reasons why you should play on Xbox Series X, you’ll find out why in this in-depth opinion about Microsoft’s latest event.
Halo Infinite is one huge mixed bag. This was supposed to be the showcase game for Series X and what we got was a bad looking game, even for Xbox One. I am absolutely sure that this Halo game is going to be worth your time and that the gameplay will be memorable, so don’t get me wrong. Early build, bad stream quality, a cross-gen game… it has many excuses but come on Microsoft. This has an entirely new engine, has been in development for several years and one of the most hyped reveals in Xbox history and we ended up with Craig the brute memes. It should have been multiple impressive visual Gifs that got people talking about how great games look on Xbox Series X. I could get very technical with you guys as to why Halo looks disappointing but the main reason is Xbox One and the lighting. Lighting mechanics can and will be improved so that’s good news. Halo Infinite is a cross-game not. It is funny too as Microsoft’s marketing is all about choice and keeping the Xbox One alive but only Halo Infinite from Xbox Game Studios is still coming out on Xbox One. Trust me, that’s a good thing! Phil can try to spin it as much as he wants but there is no way to make up for the hard drive versus SDD and the I/O difference between Xbox One and Series X.
State of Decay 3
Honestly thought this was an entirely new IP so I was slightly disappointed when State of Decay 3 popped up. Let me be very frank here, this will not look anything like this and is not even an indication. This was a completely useless announcement with a CGI-trailer for a game that’s coming out in 2023. In my opinion a too early announcement. That said, I am a State of Decay fan and I hope that Undead Labs can finally start with their original vision to make it an MMO. Seeing how greatly Undead Labs improved State of Decay 2 makes me hopeful that with the extra resources it can finally impress critics, as despite the mediocre reviews it has a large community of millions of players. Hence the reason why Microsoft announced this so early.
I knew about Forza Motorsport 8 months before the announcement and that it wasn’t going to be a launch game, a surprise for many. Xbox has always launched with a racer, Project Gotham Racing with the Original Xbox, Project Gotham Racing 3 with Xbox 360 and Forza 5 on Xbox One. Forza 7 and especially Forza Horizon 4 will have some neat Series X improvements but a completely new Forza is only coming at the end of 2021. This has been completely remade with a new tire engine, 60FPS, and Raytracing. Important to know, this will not be called Forza 8, but “Forza Motorsport” and this will be a long-term racing game for Xbox Series X with monthly new content and a subscription-based service. (included with Xbox Game Pass) I’m pretty sure this will be the first real visual showcase game for Xbox Series X, we will just have to wait for a year before it is available. Forza Motorsport has been struggling because of the success of Forza Horizon, it doesn’t happen often that a side-project becomes more popular than the main franchise. Turn 10 really needs to do something extraordinary to make Forza standout again, and I’m hopeful and confident that this new experience will be just that!
Rare is still fine-tuning the gameplay mechanics for Everwild so we have no idea what to expect from it. One thing is for sure the game looks fantastic and has a very rare cel-shaded visual style. It was also made clear that this is only launching on Series X and PC, with the initial reveal it was also coming for Xbox One but not anymore! With the news that Rare is still working out the gameplay, it is also very obvious that the game is still far away from launch. This was a little surprising to me, as I am very curious about this new IP I was hoping to play it sooner. As of now, this is another game that won’t see the light before 2023.
Tell Me Why
Xbox’s full Dontnod exclusive Tell me Why is launching the first episode on August 27, the following two episodes will release on September 3 and 10. This game will be an emotional journey with difficult choices and some very mature themes. With the new trailer, it was immediately clear that this game looks far better than Life is Strange. This is a personal highlight for me as I am a big fan of both the Life is Strange games, this is simply said also a perfect game for Xbox Game Pass. Tell me Why features some very interesting puzzle concepts, things you do as a kid will have consequences as an adult.
Xbox One exclusives are better on Series X
Microsoft is doing some exceptional things to improve current-gen games for Xbox Series X, with no additional costs. It was announced that Ori and the Will of the Wisps will be playable in 120 FPS (if your TV-screen supports that). Even better examples for this are Gears 5, Forza Horizon 4, or Sea of Thieves. This makes Series X really interesting for people who want to play the best version or those who are already invested in the Xbox Store. Microsoft doesn’t get enough credit for all the work here, very consumer-friendly stuff!
Obsidian is one of the few bought studios that have immediate results in exclusive experiences for Xbox. The Xbox Games Showcase event had three projects from Obsidian, DLC for The Outer Worlds: Peril on Gorgon, coming for Xbox Game Pass. The awesome looking Grounded, that recently got a very positive playable beta and releases on July 28 for Xbox Preview and Xbox Game Pass and an entirely new project Avowed. Avowed takes place in Pillars of Eternity’s world Eora. A first-person RPG that can be compared to Skyrim. Avowed will feature large explorable cities and is built especially for Xbox Series X, as so many Xbox Game Studios games… coming 2023. This is by far the most ambitious game that Obsidian has ever done.
As Dusk Falls
Microsoft always manages to find that extra special looking indie-game, and for Series X it promises to continue with the announcement of the fantastic looking As Dusk Falls. This interactive story is developed by Caroline Marchal, former Quantic Dream director that made Heavy Rain for example. They use a very special visual way to tell the story and that’s what makes me so intrigued. Published by Xbox Game Publishing and a full exclusive for Xbox Series X.
With the purchase of Double Fine Microsoft got Psychonauts, a beloved platformer by many gamers. While this game is still coming out on other platforms, the superior nextgen version will only be available on Xbox Series X. I honestly expected something new to be announced, as Double Fine has a track record of bringing out many games in a short period of time. I really liked what I saw with the new trailer for Psychonauts 2, I’m really hoping that Double Fine picks up Conker or Banjo but we’ll have to wait and see.
For me the biggest surprise of the show was STALKER 2, coming exclusively for a year on Xbox Series X in 2021. I have terrible hate for timed exclusive games and sadly Microsoft is still investing money in it… Sony has an even bigger habit of doing timed exclusives, especially with some PS5 titles. For example: Deathloop, Ghostwire or Godfall. I get blamed for being a fanboy a lot because I have this LifeisXbox site but trust me I am a gamer, I love every single small and big game and my hope are that money-hat games go away, completely. This isn’t good for the industry or isn’t good for gamers. Not much has been said besides a seamless open-world game, my motivation to start yet another big open-world game is pretty low if I’m honest…
This game is one of the very few reasons to buy an Xbox Series X immediately, as this is only on the new console and for good reason. The Medium uses a patented gameplay mechanic, two fully rendered separate worlds, you’ll need to solve puzzles and survive by watching both screens at the same time. It looks massively impressive what Bloober team is doing here and honestly… Series X needs more games like this. Reasons to buy this expensive machine!
I was excited about this news but after a few minutes I started to wonder “what new stuff do we know?” The answer? It will still have the goofy British humor but just like State of Decay 3 it was a completely useless CGI announcement. When is it coming? Likely at the end of 2022 or 2023, just like so many of Xbox Game Studios games, we will have to wait a very long time before we can actually play it. I am confident that Playground games will do an exceptional job with it but I was hoping to know a little but more about this beloved franchise. By the way, I saw some rumors about this being an MMO and that’s simply not true.
DRAGON QUEST XI coming to game pass in December, exclusive announcements for EXOMECHA and Echo Generation. Multiplatforms announcements for Hello Neighbour 2 and Balan Underworld. 15 new timed exclusive and optimized for the Xbox Series X independent games. The pre-show was a good opener and the first indication that this was going to be a big Xbox Game Pass show with the Dragon Quest announcement.
Conclusions after Xbox Games Showcase
Microsoft showed the gaming world that Xbox Game Studios is a force to be reckoned with. Every single game you saw is coming to Xbox Game Pass, making it a service that’s simply a must-have for all gamers. As for reasons to immediately buy an Xbox Series X … having the best version of all the games is reason enough but real showcase reasons like The Medium is still very far away. The Forza community will have to wait for 2022, RPG fans will have to wait for 2022 and beyond, State of Decay fans will have to wait for 2023. That might be my biggest concern and surprise, even the established studios are still very early in development, resulting in a drought that I wasn’t expecting to see. Why should Xbox gamers buy Series X before 2023? Microsoft failed to give a clear answer to that, they gave us more than enough reasons to stay subscribed to Xbox Game Pass. I am 100% sure that Microsoft still have some aces left and we will see them soon but I really hope that these aces are reasons to buy an Xbox Series X.
Xbox has no games or Xbox has no new IPs is something you read a lot from Xbox haters. These people must now admit that Microsoft clearly invested in having more content. We don’t even know half of what Xbox Game Studios is doing and they already have an impressive line-up with Halo Infinite, Forza, Gears Tactics, Flight Simulator, Grounded, Avowed, Fable, State of Decay 3, Everwild, Tell me Why, As Dusk Falls, Hellblade 2 and more.
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