Contraband is an Xbox console exclusive open-world game from Just Cause developer Avalanche

Contraband, co-op open-world game from Just Cause developer Avalanche Studios will be exclusive to Xbox Series X | S and PC.

Contraband was briefly revealed during today's Xbox and Bethesda Games Showcase. It's important to note that the game is seemingly being co-developed by Xbox Game Studios "in partnership with" Avalanche. A recent rumor suggested that Microsoft would formally acquire Avalanche as a first-party developer, but while Contraband will be an Xbox console exclusive coming to Xbox Game Pass on day one, it doesn't look like the relationship between the two studios is that clearly defined – it's more akin to the situation with Insomniac's Sunset Overdrive if anything. 

We know Contraband will be a co-op open-world game with something of a swampy, New Orleans backwoods aesthetic, but details are thin on the ground. The official trailer description describes it as "a co-op smuggler’s paradise set in the fictional world of 1970s Bayan," so that at least gives us a timeline and setting. 

The diagram flashed during today's reveal implies that there's a heist bend to the gameplay, which fits with the smuggler theme. Key objectives and targets including escape routes, getaway vehicles, distractions, and the target "fire-proof safe" stand out, as does the title "Sun River Job." It looks like we'll be doing some stealing as well as smuggling in whatever Avalanche is cooking up. 

In a blog post on the Xbox Wire, game director Omar Shakir shared a bit more of what we can expect from Contraband. Shakir confirmed that it will use "the next generation of the Apex Engine, the technology behind the Just Cause series," and described Contraband as "our most ambitious and spectacular game to date." Unfortunately, Shakir didn't delve any deeper into the game's vision of 1970s Bayan, so we'll have to hold out for more details there. 

You'd think smuggling would be a relatively quiet business, but with this being an Avalanche game built in the Just Cause engine, we can safely assume that Contraband will lean into the chaos of a heist gone wrong alongside the satisfaction of a clean getaway. This was one of the thinnest and more surprising reveals at today's show, so we're looking forward to seeing more. 

The Xbox and Bethesda Games Showcase also served up a Stalker 2 release date reveal, the ever-so-slightly leaked Starfield release date, and the first official Battlefield 2042 gameplay debut

Austin Wood

Austin freelanced for the likes of PC Gamer, Eurogamer, IGN, Sports Illustrated, and more while finishing his journalism degree, and he's been with GamesRadar+ since 2019. They've yet to realize that his position as a senior writer is just a cover up for his career-spanning Destiny column, and he's kept the ruse going with a focus on news and the occasional feature, all while playing as many roguelikes as possible.