Skip to main content

Phil Spencer reckons Xbox is building more narrative games than ever

Hellblade 2
(Image credit: Ninja Theory)

Xbox boss Phil Spencer says the platform is investing more heavily into narrative-driven games, likely more so than at any other point in Xbox history.

In a recent interview with The Guardian, Spencer discussed the company's approach to what are defined here as "traditional forms of narrative games" for Xbox Series X – in other words, games that aren't multiplayer-led, always-on, or perhaps live service experiences. 

"I think we’re probably building more of those now than we’ve been in the history of Xbox," Spencer explains. "Platform holders, whether that platform is subscription or a hardware device or a store, are actively investing in new and probably more risky things, because, if it works, we get value out of bringing players into the ecosystem." 

We already know of several Xbox games in development that fit this description. Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2 immediately comes to mind as a big-budget follow-up to a relatively niche and exceedingly story-heavy idea, and then there's also the fantasy RPG Avowed in the works at Xbox-owned developer Obsidian, which Spencer recently described as being "very different" from The Elder Scrolls.

Done well, games like these can be valuable system sellers – just look at PlayStation tentpoles like The Last of Us and God of War, or on Xbox, the likes of Halo and Gears of War. However, Xbox isn't necessarily looking to sell systems alone anymore, which is likely why Spencer specifies getting players into the Xbox "ecosystem." With Xbox bringing all of its biggest games to Xbox Game Pass and PC nowadays, the capacity for those games to move actual consoles has diminished somewhat, but in turn, they've made the Xbox platform more appealing holistically. 

The same can be said for existing single-player, narrative games becoming more accessible on Xbox. The company wasted no time leveraging its mammoth Bethesda acquisition to bring the majority of the publisher's extensive library to Game Pass, and future Bethesda games such as Starfield and The Elder Scrolls 6 – the latest installment in a series many consider the face of traditional RPGs – will also launch on Game Pass. 

Here are the biggest upcoming Xbox Series X games announced so far.

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 staff 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.