Microsoft hosted its Xbox Games Showcase on July 23, full of new announcements. The show also delivered updates on its first-party development teams and partnering studios.
The showcase was packed with new footage and brand new reveals, prepping the catalog of games set to debut on Xbox One and more importantly, Xbox Series X later this year. Firing on all cylinders, the pacing of the showcase was quick and used the one-hour timeslot effectively.
From smaller AA titles to premier AAA blockbusters, let’s go over the biggest Xbox Games Showcase announcements.
Halo Infinite (Holiday 2020)
Microsoft opened its Xbox Games Showcase with a new trailer for Halo Infinite before transitioning into a gameplay demo.
The gameplay demo lasted just over eight minutes and showed Master Chief doing what he does best, showing The Covenant who’s boss. It’s here we got official confirmation that Master Chief will have an obligatory grappling hook attachment that can be used against enemies. From the footage, we can also see him use it for traversal and for grabbing environmental objects.
343 Studios gave us a teaser that Halo Infinite will feature more open-world areas via a TACMAP. This is opposed to the more linear maps seen in previous games. Additionally, we caught a glimpse of some of the returning weapons like the Plasma Pistol. Some new weapons include VK78 Commando.
The demo closes with an appearance Escharum, the war chief of renegade Brute faction The Banished. He closes his speech with the haunting words: “Bare your fangs. Fight hard. Die well.”
State of Decay 3 (TBD)
Undead Labs debuted a short CG trailer, announcing State of Decay 3. While no gameplay was shown, we did see a lone survivor out in the wilderness.
The footage transitions to her finding a trail of fresh blood and following the tracks. This leads her to a horrific, zombified deer feasting on a wolf. This is the first time we’ve seen the wildlife affected by the zombie plague in the series.
Forza Motorsport (TBD)
Taking advantage of some of the hardware capabilities, Turn 10 Studios revealed an in-engine look at Forza Motorsport.
Interestingly enough, Turn 10 appears to have dropped the number (in this case 8) from the title. Microsoft has said that Forza Motorsport is still “early in development” and will be a “reimagining of the series”. With the new entry, players will be able to race in 4K 60FPS with raytracing enabled in the ForzaTech engine.
Rare offered another look at its upcoming game Everwild. Initially shown last year, Everwild is set in a magical world ripe with color.
We’re still not entirely sure of the kind of game Everwild will turn out to be. Rare has shown a lot of success with Sea of Thieve’s GaaS platform. Perhaps Everwild will be another title for players to connect, explore, and interact with the fantastical wildlife shown in the trailer.
One of Microsoft’s newly acquired studios, Obsidian Entertainment, sure has been keeping busy. Not only did they announce the Peril of Gorgon DLC for The Outer Worlds, and that their upcoming survival game Grounded would be releasing on July 28, but also released news of their brand new RPG Avowed.
Seeing as though both The Outer Worlds and Grounded are currently being supported, Avowed is undoubtedly in early development for Xbox Series X. This first-person RPG is set in a fantasy world. While The Outer Worlds drew parallels to the Fallout series, I can’t help but feel Avowed is pulling from The Elder Scrolls.
Destiny 2 (Coming to Xbox Game Pass September 2020)
While not a new game or content announcement, Microsoft and Bungie have said that Destiny 2 is coming to Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Series X.
Xbox users will be able to jump into Destiny 2 via Xbox Game Pass and experience all the additional content and expansions. Game Pass subscribers can get their hands on Destiny 2: Shadowkeep and Destiny 2: Forsaken expansions in September. Through Smart Delivery, Destiny 2 will run in 4K 60 FPS on Xbox Series X later this year.
Destiny 2: Beyond Light expansion will also follow upon its release on Nov 10, 2020.
The Medium (December 2020)
The Medium was previously announced during Microsoft’s Inside Xbox event in May. However, this time, Bloober Team detailed a unique gameplay perspective.
The Medium will implement what is known as ‘Dual-Reality Gameplay’. The game is said to be told through the eyes of a medium and can interact with the environment of the game’s real world and the spiritual world.
Using dual-reality gameplay, The Medium can render both worlds at the same time with no visible load times. Players will be able to interact with both worlds simultaneously to solve puzzles and explore the grounds of an abandoned hotel.
Microsoft ended its Xbox Games Showcase with a classic “one last thing”. After what felt like forever, wondering if and when it would happen, a Fable announcement was made.
Fable is being developed by Forza Horizon studio Playground Games. The short CG trailer didn’t offer much in terms of setting or scope of the game. However, it did indeed capture some of the humor fans can expect.
It appears as though Fable is being treated as a soft reboot. From the YouTube trailer description: “Fable returns with a new beginning for the legendary franchise. Explore a land of fantastical creatures and wondrous places.” It’s likely this is another title in early development. Though, confirmation of the game’s existence should please many Xbox fans.
In total, the Xbox Games Showcase announcements included over 10 world premiers and 22 console launch exclusive titles. Each and every game showed, including CrossfireX, Tell Me Why, and Psychonauts 2, will be available on Xbox Series X and Xbox Game Pass at their respective launches.
Of the 15 development houses comprising Xbox Game Studios, nine showed their games and provided updates. Microsoft closed the showcase by saying they will have “more to share later this year”.