One hour of gameplay with no filler. After having to apologise for overhyping the Xbox Series X showcase in May, Microsoft has promised to cut the fat with tomorrow’s Xbox Games Showcase.
We know Halo: Infinite will be a headline feature, but the Chief isn’t going to fill up a whole hour of gameplay. Here’s everything else we’re expecting to see.
With the recent classification listings, it’s likely that we’ll be getting some kind of a release date for BattleToads on Friday. It fits that nice spot of fleshing out the Xbox Game Pass library with more couch co-op games, which have been especially valuable over the last few months of iso. And with a bit of luck, we’ll see some gameplay that looks a bit faster.
Sea of Thieves
Rare has other projects on the go, but their live service pirate adventure is the company’s crown jewel right now. A few years of patches, reworking and fresh content has put the game into an excellent spot. Its release on Steam last month has boosted the game’s player count, not to mention players continually discovering the game through Xbox Game Pass.
It’d be weird if Rare didn’t provide a roadmap update for Sea of Thieves for the rest of the year. There’s a chance there might be an update on how Sea of Thieves will leverage the next-gen consoles as well.
Chief’s helmet is the thumbnail for the livestream, and Microsoft already promised they would wait until July before showing off their first-party games. Expect Halo: Infinite to get the bulk of the coverage, as Microsoft are almost undoubtedly going to be relying on Halo: Infinite as a key pillar for selling the Xbox Series X.
Microsoft Flight Simulator
There’s been plenty of updates on Microsoft Flight Simulator, including its PC release next month. But we still haven’t heard anything about its support for Xbox, or how Asobo Studio plans to get all those 747 controls functional on an Xbox.
Given that the game is due for a release on PC soon anyway, chances are Microsoft might just show off the gameplay and push it as a “get day one on Xbox Game Pass” deal. Which is pretty good for what you get.
Age of Empires 3: Definitive Edition and Age of Empires 4
Age of Empires 3 was rated alongside BattleToads, so we’ll definitely get an update on what’s happening there. But it’d be bizarre to not also offer more of an update on what Relic is doing with Age of Empires 4, which was first shown off at X019 last year.
We haven’t seen any actual live gameplay of Age of Empires 4, and it’ll be good to see what Relic thinks a modern RTS looks like. Dawn of War 3 didn’t go down too well, so hopefully the formula has been reworked a little.
Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II
Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 was the reveal title for the Xbox Series X at The Game Awards last year. But we still don’t know an awful lot about Ninja Theory’s plans for Hellblade 2, bar some very loud, angry ritual chants from Senua. Is that how fast travel works in Senua’s Saga? Are we leading a tribe into the Norse underworld to battle?
Hopefully on Friday, we’ll find out.
Forza Motorsport 8
It wouldn’t be a new console without a new Forza. It’s a bit too early for Forza Horizon 5, and Playground Games (the Forza Horizon devs) are supposedly working on a new Fable anyway.
That means its time for the Redmond-based Turn 10 Studios to show us what they can do with the next-gen console. The first-party studio are one of the most talented when it comes to engineering and optimisation, and while Forza Motorsport has never had the mass appeal of the Forza Horizon series, it’ll be great to see what the console is capable of.
Obsidian’s Honey I Ate The Kids-survival RPG is launching next week, so there will surely be some kind of update or fresh trailer for it. I’m not expecting Grounded to get a huge amount of prominence, especially since Obsidian has other projects in the works.
Double Fine’s acquisition was one of Microsoft’s biggest moves last year. We haven’t seen a whole lot from Psychonauts 2 since the gameplay trailer last year. There was talk about how the Microsoft buyout meant Psychonauts 2 could have boss fights now, and it’d be cool to see what one of those looks like.
Wasteland 3 was meant to launch earlier this year, but COVID pushed everything right back. It’s got an August 28 release date, and like Flight Simulator, there should be a new trailer for the occasion.
Compulsion Games’ next title
Compulsion Games is another one of the studios under the Xbox banner. Last year they spoke openly about working on a new universe outside of We Happy Few, and the Xbox Games Showcase is a perfect time to reveal what that universe is.
State of Decay 2, and Undead Labs’ new “initiative”
The State of Decay developers announced they were making a new studio in Louisiana, designed to “bring in people who might not otherwise consider a career in the game industry”. Nothing’s been announced from Undead Labs since then, apart from almost 20 updates for State of Decay 2. The game recently partnered with the American Red Cross, but no release date was given for that — so there’s a good chance there might be a short teaser revealing when that drops.
The Xbox beta for CrossFireX was just recently, and given how enormous the game is throughout Asia it’s likely Smilegate’s work will get some kind of showing. Fun fact: CrossFire is the most played game throughout the world, going off monthly active player counts. Who’d have thought.
Rare’s new IP was first shown off last year, but we haven’t heard much since then. It makes sense that it’ll get good billing as part of the Xbox Games Showcase.
Way to the Woods
Remember that stunning indie game about deer from a young Australian? It’s popped up a few times in Microsoft showcases, and it makes a ton of sense that Xbox would show it off again as part of their indie reels. The game was supposed to be out sometime this year, although I wouldn’t be surprised if we were hit with a 2021 date tomorrow given what COVID-19 has done to everyone’s schedules.
More info about the Xbox Series X controller
There’s been some chatter about the Xbox Series X controller through Microsoft’s official blogs. And while Microsoft have promised games, games, games, no one would begrudge the company if there was a small 60-second breakdown on the controller as well. There’s a good chance we might also hear some developer chatter during other reveals about how the next-gen controller features into gameplay, particularly around the benefits of Dynamic Latency Input, the new Share button, and more.
It’s officially launching in September, but streaming from your Xbox to your phone is a complicated deal. It’d be good to see a small segment of Microsoft talking about optimisations or integrations with Project xCloud, what games exactly will be playable on xCloud through Xbox Game Pass Ultimate — because it’s not the entire library — and other features users can expect.
Cyberpunk 2077 gave Microsoft the best E3 moment they’ve had this generation. The game’s been mentioned frequently in Microsoft’s official blogs, too, and it’s likely we’ll get another look at Cyberpunk with a couple of new scenes as part of the big Xbox showcase.
So those are the things we’re expecting to see tomorrow. Other third party games, like Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla and DiRT 5, could make an appearance as well. Bethesda have always supported Microsoft’s conferences with fresh footage, and given that they don’t have their own major conference this year, it’s logical that any big updates or releases would appear tomorrow morning. There’s always the white whale that is Elden Ring, although word on the street is we won’t hear much about that until 2021 at the earliest.
What would you like to see from the Microsoft showcase tomorrow?