With Fable and Doom: The Dark Ages coming in 2025, Xbox lead wants to avoid the elephant in the room: "Many are going to plan around GTA 6"

(Image credit: Rockstar)

Grand Theft Auto 6 will undoubtedly act as a black hole when it releases next year - sucking up player time, space, and attention like a cosmic force - and Microsoft is just as eager to avoid it as the rest of the industry. 

This year's Xbox Game Showcase had a healthy barrage of big trailers that closed with a nebulous 2025 promise and nothing more. The Fable reboot, Doom: The Dark Ages, and South of Midnight are all slated for next year, while games such as Gears of War: E-Day, State of Decay 3, and Perfect Dark showed up with no such promises - just 'hey, we're making these' trailers. 

Speaking to Variety's Strictly Business podcast, Xbox's head of content and studios Matt Booty says the decision to include open-ended release windows was intentional, not only to avoid delays but also to avoid the elephant in the industry. "I think many across the industry are of course going to plan around GTA 6, and we're all looking forward to that game, which should be amazing," Booty explains. "Certainly, everybody in the industry wants to make sure that we don't land in the shadow of someone else's big release, but we just need to keep options open."

For Xbox, Booty argues that another issue comes from internal competition. Buying up frankly too much of the industry has given Microsoft a massive slate - just look at the bonkers list of every studio Xbox owns - so now, the publisher needs to "make sure every game is given space and has got an opportunity to shine." 

"I think the issue is we don't step on ourselves," Booty adds. "We have a pretty big portfolio. We have a pretty big lineup through the fall and through the spring... So, when we leave actual months and days of the month open-ended, that has as much to do with the fact that we're looking ahead and making sure we do the right planning so we're not getting in our own way."

For now, check out the new games of 2024 and beyond.

Freelance contributor

Kaan freelances for various websites including Rock Paper Shotgun, Eurogamer, and this one, Gamesradar. He particularly enjoys writing about spooky indies, throwback RPGs, and anything that's vaguely silly. Also has an English Literature and Film Studies degree that he'll soon forget.