The Xbox Bethesda Games Showcase was breathless. Microsoft Gaming showed over 30 upcoming Xbox Series X games in a 95 minute conference. All set to release in the next 12 months, and most with actual in-game footage (rather than in-engine cinematics, which the company had been previously criticised for relying on). It was an undoubtedly impressive showing, and there's a hell of a lot to cover now as a result.
The Xbox Bethesda E3 2022 Showcase was bookend by extended gameplay demos of two Bethesda games – Redfall and Starfield. But there were plenty of highlights in-between, including a new game from Obsidian, a new Minecraft spin-off, and news that Hideo Kojima is partnering with Xbox Game Studios on a future exclusive. Like I said, breathless. So, let's get into it – here's everything announced at Xbox Bethesda Games Showcase.
"Everyone is a vampire, a cultist trying to be a vampire, or dead," so said Layla Ellison, a telekinesis expert and one of Redfall's central characters, during an extended gameplay trailer for Bethesda and Arkane Austin's upcoming open-world co-op FPS. After first being shown a human-vampire showdown in a claustrophobic attic space, we then see the heroes battling bloodsuckers at a fairground, utilizing powerful weaponry and neat abilities, not least invisibility. It all looked positively wonderful, with some real Left for Dead vibes about it too. Roll on 2023!
Hollow Knight: Silksong
Microsoft delivered what the entire internet wanted: a brand new look at Hollow Knight: Silksong gameplay. This has been a long time coming, with Team Cherry effectively going to ground while it wraps up development on what is undoubtedly one of the most anticipated upcoming RPGs. Hollow Knight: Silksong does, of course, look as fantastic as it does fierce. As great as it is to see the game in action again, Microsoft was not able to give the world what it really, secretly wants: a Hollow Knight: Silksong release date. However, Team Cherry did confirm that Hollow Knight: Silksong will be available through Xbox Game Pass.
High on Life
From Squanch Games, the creator of Rick and Morty, High on Life wears its influences on its sleeve, with smart-talking personified guns, cheeky knives with big mouths and staring-eyes, and a series of whimsical, weird and wonderful characters. We were shown a vibrant FPS with a sense of humor that seemed to mirror a strange but cool-looking mix of Rick and Morty itself, and '90s Nick Toons. With shooting segments, melee combat and some nice traversal mechanics around a gorgeous-looking world, High on Life looks like one to watch – due in October 2022 as a day one Game Pass entry.
Riot Games comes to PC Game Pass
Riot Games announced that a suite of its games – some of the most played games in the world – are on the way to Game Pass on PC, along with a load of additional unlocks. League of Legends heads to Game Pass with All Champions Unlocked, League of Legends: Wild Rift with all Champions Unlocked, Legends of Runeterra is hitting PC with the Foundations Set Unlocked, Teamfight Tactics with Select Little Legends Unlocked, and Valorant with All Agents Unlocked.
A Plague Tale: Requiem
A Plague Tale: Requiem showed off another chunk of gorgeous-looking gameplay. As atmospheric as it was moody, we were shown the protagonist darting around a beautiful rural landscape, hopping through open windows and sleuthing around two-story buildings while evading a pursuer. The hunt spilled into the open, and the hero used a bed of white flowers as cover before getting the drop on a hostile adversary. According to our own Alyssa Mercante, A Plague Tale: Requiem is gruesome and gorgeous, and I really couldn't argue with that from its Xbox and Bethesda showcase showing. Due later this year day one with Game Pass.
Turn 10 finally pulled back the curtain for Forza Motorsport. The long-awaited sequel to Forza Motorsport 7 was announced back in 2020, but Turn 10 has yet to show much of anything. That all changed today, as the studio showed an extended look at Forza Motorsport gameplay – what it calls the most "technically advanced racing game ever made." It looks stunning, with real-time ray-tracing, dynamic time of day, an absurd attention to detail, procedural damage to car chassis, and so much more. Turn 10 says this game will be a "generational leap in immersion" – a big claim that this new gameplay reveal is able to back up. Forza Motorsport is set to launch in Spring 2023 on PC and Xbox consoles.
Flight Simulator – 40th Anniversary
Flight Simulator continues to look absolutely breathtaking, as showcased on this occasion in its 40th anniversary edition. With new helicopters, gliders and aircraft, the Xbox and Bethesda segment showcased various machines tearing through the skies above New York City, what looked like the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, and sprawls of gorgeous pastoral landscapes from 15,000+ feet to glorious effect. And that wasn't all, because at the very end of the trailer, a free space-set Halo Infinite add-on, a flyable Pelican, was revealed - available now for all Microsoft Flight Simulator players.
Blizzard Activision showed up to the Xbox Bethesda Showcase with a brand new look at Overwatch 2. The new gameplay gave a big overview of what the studio is trying to achieve with this new era for Overwatch, and it looks like a fun (if not slight) evolution. The showcase also revealed the introduction of a brand new hero for the roster – Junker Queen. We also learned that Overwatch 2 will be playable later this year, with the free-to-play game set to go into Early Access on October 4, 2022.
ARA: History Untold
ARA: History Untold gave off such strong Civilization vibes that we almost mistook it for the next entry of Firaxis and 2K's turn-based 4X world-builder. Instead, developer Oxide – they of Ashes of the Singularity fame – is creating something that fuses Civ with Crusader Kings in a bid to make a "ground-breaking leap forward" in turn-based strategy terms. Although contained to a cinematic as per its Xbox and Bethesda showcase showing, ARA History Untold promises to let players grow and build their own civilization through the ages within a "dynamic, living world". No release date as yet, but it will hit Game Pass.
Fallout 76 – The Pitt
Fallout 76 is in-line for a new expansion named The Pitt that's due in September and marks the online action-role-player's 13th major update. Moving out of the game's familiar irradiated West Virginian sprawl and dropping players into the dusty, claustrophobic confines of The Pitt. As you might expect, scores of nasty creatures and twisted baddies await before chaos ensues. Good luck!
Forza Horizon 5 – Hot Wheels
The first expansion to Forza Horizon 5 was announced, revealing another collaboration between Playground Games and Hot Wheels. While Horizon 4 received a Hot Wheels Legends Car Pack back in 2021, the sequel is getting a full suite of content. Absurd tracks, wild races, and some truly awe-inspiring visuals. Forza Motorsport Hot Wheels looks like a hell of a lot of fun, and it's coming out July 19.
Ark 2 was first revealed at The Game Awards 2020, and we've been desperately awaiting new gameplay – particularly as Studio Wildcard had set a tentative 2022 release date. Sadly, Ark 2 arrived at the Xbox and Bethesda Showcase with another CGI trailer – albeit an extremely beautiful CGI trailer, rendered in-engine, in Unreal Engine 5 – and news that the game is being delayed to 2023. On the plus side, when Ark 2 does launch, it'll be heading straight into Game Pass.
Scorn is an upcoming first-person survival game from Serbian developer Ebb Software that looks as stylish as it does twisted. Billed as a "biopunk horror" game, the game's Xbox and Bethesda showcase slot showed the player fumbling around in a hellscape filled with twisted monsters with lashing limbs and razor-sharp tongues. It all looked about Nine Circles of Hell in presentation which, we're guessing, is a good sign of things to come. Not too long to wait for this one as it's due on October 21 of this year.
Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn
A44 Games – the developer behind the excellent indie Ashen – debuted gameplay for Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn. This first proper look at the game in action reveals Flintlock to be an ambitious action game, boasting tight third-person movement and challenging Souls-like combat. Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn also got itself a release window, with publisher Kepler confirming that it will launch in early 2023.
Xbox Game Studios revealed a brand new Minecraft spin-off during the Xbox and Bethesda Games Showcase. Minecraft Legends is an action strategy game that's set to launch in 2023. It looks utterly adorable, with Mojang building what looks to be a little self-contained world to explore. You'll roam around the overworld with the camera clinging quite tightly to the player character, uniting the critters and creatures as you do, to go up against a monstrous threat. It looks great, and it'll of course be in Game Pass from day one.
Due in Spring 2023, Lightyear Frontier is the upcoming non-combative, open-world farming adventure from Framebreak that's as much about exploration as it is growing and harvesting crops. Bright and breezy, colorful and cute, this new slice of gameplay footage was a welcome change of pace amid a fast and furious Xbox and Bethesda showcase. In practice, we suspect the farming sim that's en route to Steam's Early Access initiative and Xbox Game Pass will offer the same breath of fresh air against what is an increasingly busy release schedule from here on.
Gunfire Reborn launched on PC and mobile back in 2020, and is coming to Game Pass in October this year. To quote its Steam page, expect a "level-based adventure game featuring FPS, Roguelite and RPG" elements. With that, expect to control heroes armed to the teeth with explosive weaponry and supernatural abilities as you plunder and pilfer its procedurally-generated levels – either on your lonesome or alongside three others in 4-player co-op.
The Last Case of Benedict Fox
Created by Plot Twist, The Last Case of Benedict Fox is due in Spring of 2023 and is a 2D side-scrolling Metroidvania with strong Dark Souls vibes. Set in a world named Limbo, the tone is one of despair as the player is seen battling hordes of demonic foes, each one scarier and more gruesome than the last. Plot Twist promises "engaging and emotional" storytelling on top of its action-heavy combat, and puzzle-platforming elements. Another Day One Game Pass entry.
As Dusk Falls
As Dusk Falls describes itself as an "interactive drama" that follows the stories of two families living in a small town in Arizona. In solo or multiplayer (of up to eight players), As Dusk Falls has a unique art style that gives off interactive film vibes, similar to the likes of Supermassive's Until Dawn, or even the likes of Heavy Rain. As per its Xbox and Bethesda showcase showing, As Dusk Falls looks great and, set across an in-game time scale of 30 years, definitely sounds intriguing. Due on July 19 as a day one Game Pass shot, you can make up your own mind on this one sooner than later.
Naraka: Bladepoint, the action battle royale game from 24 Entertainment and NetEase Games Montreal that's been in Early Access for the last several months, announced a release date during the Xbox and Bethesda showcase – June 23. Anyone who's dipped their toe in its high-action waters will know of its catalog of melee and ranged weapons, customizable heroes and slew of abilities. Those who don't will now be familiar with its 60-player PVP action combat, a neat slant on the ever-popular battle royale genre. If that tickles your fancy, you can check out Naraka: Bladepoint's full release later this month.
Josh Sawyer, the man who led the development of Fallout: New Vegas and the Pillars of Eternity games, is leading a new 2D role-playing game named Pentiment. Developed by Obsidian, it is due in November this year as a multi-branching narrative adventure, portrayed in a neat medieval tapestry art style. Available on Game Pass, Microsoft says: "Set in 16th century Bavaria, Pentiment will take players on a narrative journey through the eyes of Journeyman Artist Andreas Maler during a time of great social unrest."
Obsidian's Grounded – which is effectively 'Honey I Shrunk the Kids: The Game' – is finally coming out of Early Access. The adventure game has been in Xbox Game Preview for almost three years, and now you'll be able to join up with your buddies and explore the horrors of your back garden in September 2022. Obsidian promises that a whole host of new content (and creepy crawlies, naturally) will be there waiting, should you be brave enough to try and survive this pint-sized adventure.
Ereban Shadow Legacy
Ereban Shadow Legacy is a stylish third-person isometric ninja-style action game that looks very cool. Harnessing a stealthy shadow mechanic – which sees the protagonist literally turning into a black mist to traverse heights and slip through vents – the hero is seen fighting hulking robots, throwing themselves from knife-edge cliffs and hoofing it from hordes of baddies who seem pretty hell-bent on offing the central character. Due in 2023 and available on Game Pass from the off, Ereban Shadow Legacy is being published by Raw Fury, the same outfit who published last year's uber-stylish adventure, Sable.
Blizzard announced that Diablo 4 is coming to Xbox Series X, and gave us a first look at the action-RPG running on the new-gen hardware. It looks pretty incredible; dark and foreboding – exactly what we wanted from a sequel a decade in the making. That wasn't all though, Blizzard also revealed the fifth (and final) class that will be available at launch. The classic Necromancer class, the commander of the dead, will join the Barbarian, Sorceresses, Rogue, and Druid around the campfire. Additionally, couch co-op was confirmed for Xbox Series X, along with crossplay co-op and PvP between Xbox and PC players. All hell breaks loose in 2023, when Diablo 4 is set to release.
Sea of Thieves – Season Seven
Delivered by a typically toe-tapping sea shanty, Sea of Thieves marked the arrival of its seventh season by letting ocean-plundering players they can now become Pirate Captains. In practice, this means the game's 30 million players can now name their ships, and customize them with a wealth of cool nips and tucks and unlockable features. During its Xbox and Bethesda showcase slot, much of its time was spent singing, which is hardly something to complain about, so we guess you'll discover the meat of this one when Season Seven of Sea of Thieves lands on July 21, 2022.
From the infinitely cool-named studio Cococucumber – the creators of last year's turn-based adventure game Echo Generation – comes Ravenlock, a neat-looking action-adventure game with magic and monsters and cacti and giant cats. Due next year, it looks great with some strong, and quite frankly welcome, Alice in Wonderland vibes about it. Due next year, expect more on this one over the next wee while.
Looking for a new indie that'll test your lateral thinking and puzzle solving? Then you'll probably want to check out the first gameplay for Geometric Interactive's debut game – Cocoon. Set to release in 2023, and straight into Xbox Game Pass, Cocoon is an intriguing-looking puzzle game from one of the principal creators behind Playdead's Inside and Limbo – so you know it'll be weird, wonderful, and probably a little haunting.
Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty
Nioh fans, eat your hearts out. Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty finds Team Ninja back in their action groove once again, pivoting from Nioh to develop Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty in collaboration with Dynasty Warriors developer W Force. This one launches in early 2023, and looks primed to deliver the fast-paced brutal action battles we’ve come to know from the Nioh games over the past few years.
Persona games come to Game Pass
Persona 3 Portable, Persona 4 Golden, and Persona 5 Royal are all coming to Xbox consoles. This new partnership between Microsoft Gaming and Atlus means these beloved RPGs will finally make their way to Xbox for the first time, and straight into Xbox Game Pass. We learned that Persona 5 Royale is launching later this year, while Persona 3 Portable and Persona 4 Golden are coming next year.
Hideo Kojima is collaborating with Xbox Game Studios
Xbox Game Studios & Kojima Productions are partnering to create a video game for Xbox like no one has ever experienced before, leveraging the cloud. Hideo Kojima is one of the most innovative minds in our industry, and we can’t wait to share what our teams will create #Xbox pic.twitter.com/44TtOQxB08June 12, 2022
Well, wasn’t this a surprise. Partway through the showcase, Hideo Kojima appeared via a video message to reveal he’s developing a “never before seen concept” in collaboration with Xbox Game Studios. Not only that, but it’s apparently utilizing cloud-based technology. Could this be the leaked “Overdose” game we’ve heard tell of, with Margaret Qualley in the leading role? Or will it be something else entirely?
Yes, Starfield did show off gameplay for the first time! Not only that, but game director Todd Howard pulled back the curtain on a tonne of in-game features for the new RPG, including the fact that there are over 100 systems and over 1,000 planets total to explore, space-faring combat, and a fully customizable spaceship which you can fly yourself. We also saw an extended look at combat in the first-person perspective, mining in the third-person perspective, and interacting with various factions. There sure was a lot to take in from Starfield here!