Everything Announced At The E3 2021 Xbox-Bethesda Showcase

Everything Announced At The E3 2021 Xbox-Bethesda Showcase
Image: YouTube (Xbox)

Xbox is usually always one of the biggest shows of E3, so the combined forces of Xbox and Bethesda together rightfully made their show the most momentous in the E3 2021 schedule. Along with Bethesda’s enormous RPGs like Elder Scrolls and Starfield, there was plenty of anticipation on the Xbox side, as people looked for the fruits of the company’s mass acquisitions spree.

The talk of the town, as expected, was Bethesda’s Starfield. And after much speculation, it was confirmed that Starfield would be at the show after the game’s trailer leaked hours before the conference began. The trailer somehow ended up on the Washington Post website, providing a two minute look at a spaceship and internal environments that would look at home in Star Citizen or Elite Dangerous. (There’s a making-of video, too.) We also got a date of November 11, 2022, or the more fittingly typed “11-11-22”.

On the Xbox side, there was keen anticipation around the direction of Halo: Infinite and its multiplayer, especially after last year’s reception to the gameplay. But there was plenty else to look forward to: what was next on the Xbox Game Pass roadmap, what’s happening with games like Psychonauts 2 and Age of Empires 4, console ports for titles like Microsoft Flight Simulator, the State of Decay series, and system-wide upgrades for the Xbox ecosystem, including more compatibility for Dolby Vision in games.

Bethesda’s Todd Howard took the stage to open the show, introducing people to Starfield. “It’s a game we’ve dreamt of playing, and it wasn’t until now that we have the hardware, technology and team … to make that dream a reality,” he said.

Built on the “Creation Engine 2”, the trailer opened to the internals of a spaceship as an astronaut popped a rifle down on a table. The player is a part of “Constellation”, and Starfield was listed as an “Xbox exclusive”, meaning it won’t be available on Sony consoles.

Image: Bethesda
Image: Bethesda

The show then pivoted to S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chernobyl, with a note that the show would have 30 games, 27 of which would be hitting Xbox Game Pass on day one. As you’d expect from the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. team, it was revealed the game would target 4K resolutions with ray-tracing, and that it would be “coming first” to Xbox Series X/S and PC.

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Gameplay showed the player walking around with some kind of futuristic wand that functioned like a Geiger counter, and there was a brief look at the classic gunplay you’d expect from the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series.

There’s some impressive weather effects throughout, especially in a later scene featuring the Duga, which gets lit up with lightning. The conference immediately jumped into Back 4 Blood, which was getting its own conference spot later in the morning Australian time.

The game will have a PvP Swarm Mode, a classic for fans of the original Left 4 Dead series. Back 4 Blood is launching on October 12, and it’ll be a day-one Xbox Game Pass release.

The next game was an Xbox exclusive from Avalanche Studios, makers of Just Cause, and it was Contraband. It doesn’t have a release date, but it’ll be an Xbox Game Pass day-one title. More content for Sea of Thieves followed, specifically the introduction of Captain Jack Sparrow and Pirates of the Caribbean to Rare’s co-op franchise.

All the classic characters make a return, including Davy Jones and his ship. The expansion will officially be called A Pirate’s Life, and it’ll launch as a free update to Sea of Thieves on June 22. Yakuza: Like a Dragon followed up, revealing it’d be hitting Xbox Game Pass today.

The first Battlefield 2042 footage then ran, giving everyone a proper look at the grappling mechanics, UI, weather effects, and what 128-player gameplay might look like. Players and vehicles can get sucked into the massive cyclone sandstorm if it appears on the battlefield, and it looks like at least one of the maps has massive skyscrapers that players can zipline between (giving those without the grappling hook easier access).

Fans of Psychonauts 2 got good news — the game is launching on August 25. Bethesda’s Pete Hines also announced that 10 more games would be coming to Xbox Game Pass, while DOOM Eternal will get a 60 FPS/ray-tracing mode, and a 120 FPS performance mode on Xbox Series X.

On the Game Pass front, The Evil Within 2, Dishonored: Death of the Outsider, Arx Fatalis, RAGE, Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus and the original four Fallout games (Fallout Tactics, Fallout 1, 2 and 3) would all be available later today Australian time. There was no word on whether there would be FPS Boost functionality for any of the older games.

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Fallout 76‘s latest expansion then had a new reveal trailer, while the Xbox YouTube channel revealed that Twelve Minutes would be a day-one Xbox Game Pass title. Twelve Minutes will be available from August 19.

After some a trailer for Elder Scrolls Online’s enhanced console edition, the cutesy co-op brawler Party Animals got a new reveal. It’s officially launching on Xbox in 2022, although it’ll launch on PC too.

Hades then followed with an August 13 date for its Xbox release. A new game from Jumpship called Somerville then played, showcasing a small family trying to escape and survive. It’s due out in 2022 and both games will be on Xbox Game Pass. (Thanks tonez for the spot!)

Halo Infinite then finally appeared, with 343 Industries head Bonnie Ross saying Halo Infinite‘s multiplayer will be free-to-play and available on PC and Xbox with “no boundaries”.

We also got some details about the Halo Infinite campaign, including some set pieces in space where it eerily sounds like Cortana has returned. We got a brief look at the grappling hook again, and confirmation that Master Chief was tasked with taking Cortana back to the Infinite for deletion. Master Chief then takes a second AI and inserts it into the back of his head via a sci-fi SD card.

The first Halo: Infinite free-to-play multiplayer season and the paid single-player campaign will “launch this holiday season”. On the multiplayer side, we saw some footage of the grappling hook being used to pick up fallen weapons, grappling to enemy vehicles and airplanes, or throwing explosive barrels.

In a rare occurrence, the conference then followed up with Diablo 2: Resurrected, which will launch on September 23 this year. A Plague Tale: Requiem — made by the same studio behind Microsoft Flight Simulator — was then announced with a 2022 release date. A Plague Tale – Requiem will also be an Xbox Game Pass game.

A trailer for Far Cry 6 played, touching on the game’s stealth mechanics, sniper rifles, explosives, a controllable tank, RPGs, and my personal favourite, a rooster than runs around attacking everyone.

far cry 6

Why does the rooster have studs, Ubisoft? Far Cry 6 launches on October 7 this year. 

Next up was the overly cute Slime Rancher 2, which is launching next year. Fans of snowboarding got a new title, Shredders, while a new Atomic Heart trailer played set to a strong eurobeat soundtrack.

Shredders is launching December 2021, while Atomic Heart has no release date (but will be on Xbox Game Pass).

A super-stylish pixel-art brawler Replaced then played. It’s hitting Game Pass and PC, but not until 2022. Obsidian’s Grounded then revealed Shroom & Doom, which adds bugs as pets, mushrooms, achievements, and the ability to sit. And also the Broodmother is being added, so I’m definitely not playing that.

Among Us gets an update adding 15 player lobbies on June 15, but it’s also being added to Xbox consoles and Xbox Game Pass.

It was then time for some JRPG action, namely Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes. The game was originally backed on Kickstarter, and was targeting an October 2022 release date. It’s since gotten a new publisher — 505 Games — but that has since been pushed back to 2023.

Eiyuden Chronicle Rising was also announced with a 2022 release date. Both games will hit Xbox Game Pass on launch.

Age of Empires 4 then got a flashy new trailer, reconfirming it’d hit Xbox Game Pass day one for PC. It’s launching on October 28 this year.

In what surprisingly became one of the better videos of the whole conference, a sci-fi trailer played with a voiceover that repeatedly took the piss out of video game trailers. It was the sequel for The Outer Worlds, although it honestly felt like it was taking shots at Halo for most of it.

Microsoft Flight Simulator then showed up, showcasing its usual array of vistas, aircraft, airports and various places you can go soaring. Microsoft Flight Simulator will launch on Xbox Series X and S on July 27, but in an added bonus players will also be able to fly military aircraft as part of a Top Gun: Maverick expansion sometime this spring.

It was finally time for some Forza action, but the showcase looked a lot more like a future Forza Horizon than Motorsport. There was shots of high-speed race cars, dirt racing, trucks, and it was coming a lot sooner than expected: Forza Horizon 5 would be launching on November 9.

Forza Horizon 5 will also have support for ray-tracing at launch, and a gameplay explainer started in a Mexican rainforest. The “festival” is still core to the Forza Horizon campaign gameplay, but the video then switched to multiplayer, quickly going from the rainforest to seaside locations, urban areas, beaches and a nearby volcano.

Playground Games added that The Eliminator — the battle royale mode introduced in Forza Horizon 4 — was making a return. The game would also have photorealistic skies courtesy of a 12K HDR camera rig, used by Playground to capture the Mexican skies.

A new feature is Events Lab, basically a level builder for Forza Horizon that lets players customise the ruleset and level configuration. It looks like a much more powerful version of the editor that was added into DiRT 5 last year.

Phil Spencer then took the stage for the first time, highlighting the range of games that would be hitting Xbox Game Pass from now until Christmas. Other titles featured there that weren’t part of the Showcase, like Sable, Scorn, Aragami 2 and The Gunk, although their release dates had been revealed prior.

Typically, shows of these magnitude never end without one more thing. For Xbox and Bethesda this year, the spotlight was given to Arkane Austin to reveal a new title that was confirmed as an Xbox exclusive.

The game showcased a group of four characters, each with their own supernatural abilities and powers. The game is called Redfall, and it’s launching on PC and Xbox in the Australian winter on 2022.

And if that wasn’t enough, the Xbox Mini Fridge is actually a thing. It’ll be available sometime this holiday, although Australian availability is unknown.

Comments

  • MS got that BIG D swagger going.

    They know that game pass is becoming something impossible not to have.

    • All I see on it are Bethesda/Microsoft games (meh, maybe 1 or 2 titles I might play) and old games I’ve already bought/played. If Microsoft’s in-house offerings aren’t attractive to a player, what am I missing that is must have?

      Certainly it’s a good proposition to buy in and out of for one month for the 1 or 2 games they have which are PC/Xbox exclusive. $15 to play those couple of games the one time I’d give them is a decent deal I suppose. If that’s better for devs than me buying their game, then more power to them I suppose, but I kinda doubt that.

      • If you only see Bethesda/ms titles then you are clearly choosing what you do and do not see.

        Yakuza, contraband, back4blood, hades, dark alliance, stalker 2….I mean you should probably read the article.

        • Oh I read it alright. I’ll give you Stalker, then there’s two or three games I have no reason to be hyped for at all (based on past offerings and the near zero shown), and other games that are already released. Got it. You’re right. IMPOSSIBLE to not have!!!

      • I was skeptical about game pass initially, but after getting it, I probably would not go without it anymore. The brilliance of game pass is this:
        -~$180 a year for all the exclusives on release, you can get 2-3 PS exclusives for that price per year
        -Value for money, for anyone with children or even if you play a lot of games, there really isn’t better value for money
        -Finding hidden gems, there is no risk to downloading something and playing it. I have found so many games that I would never have bought, but have really enjoyed them on gamepass
        -Cross-platform play, for games that support it, its amazing to just pick up where you left off on the PC or Xbox.

        I will probably grab a PS5 when the PS6 is announced and buy all their exclusives for $15-25 at Big W, play them and sell it off. I did the same with the PS4, really enjoyed the PS games, but their price point doesn’t make sense anymore with game pass.

        • – The value for money when children are involved is certainly a worthy consideration. My kids are too young to take advantage of it at the moment though, so it doesn’t hold for me just yet.

          – Unfortunately I don’t have time for all the games I actually want to play, let alone time to find hidden gems so that doesn’t help either, I’m afraid.

          – This is definitely a benefit. 100% nice bonus but I guess not really a pass-seller.

          The option to buy consoles and games years later when they are cheap applies to literally any platform (including PC), I don’t know that it is in any way a tick for game pass specifically.

          • Yes, you’ve got plenty of straws and no friggin games. That’s the problem in a nutshell. Sorry pal.

  • A bit of a let down that so much of it was games out next year or even the year after but still worth getting up at 3am for.

    So glad I held out getting like a dragon as I knew it would come to GP at some point.

    I think im going to bite the bullet and buy the 1tb expansion card, GP just keep giving.

    • A let down? The hell you watching? 6 exclusives between now and the end of year. Most look amazing as well. Flight sim, halo, forza, phycho etc. That’s more gaming than any other company will put out this year.
      Plus pretty much everything is on gamepass meaning it’s cheap and next looks even better

          • Just ticking boxes and covering different genres doesn’t mean they look good or that the quality of such is great.

            Other than Halo, there’s not much that’s new and inspiring that makes the Xbox a must have.
            How many exclusives out of the 30 games were there?

          • Once again, you can’t please everyone. The exclusive look amazing to me.

  • Risky to have a release date on a Bethesda game after the fiasco that was Fallout 76 where the release date was more about merchandising and marketing distribution rights… rather than delivering a working game.

    … can’t wait for the trolls to rage when it gets delayed 3 times until Mid 2023

    • Minecraft is even bigger than Death Loop and it didn’t get a mention here either. Shame, the goats mentioned elsewhere look fun.

    • I’m still holding out for some Fable news but there was some good stuff shown.
      A little underwhelming for me personally overall (Stalker 2 looks great though!) but that’s not to say it’s not a good line up.
      Surprisingly not as bothered by the Starfield news as I thought I might be and by association the expectation that the next Elderscrolls will also follow suit.

    • I’m guessing that’s because Deathloop is coming to Playstation. I really hope they don’t send it out to die because it look s amazing.

  • What I really want to know from Ubisoft is how long Yves Guillemot knowingly protected sexual abusers.

    Also, Microsoft came with the big guns this year.

    • I propose WotC and Ubisoft have a joint press conference and discuss how long they knew sexual abusers worked in their company and why protecting them mattered more than the safety of the staff. I’m sure we can get Gearbox in there too, I don’t doubt they’ve also got plenty of skeletons waiting to fall out of a closet.

  • Solid, not spectacular, but solid. Little scary how much isn’t announced coming down the pipeline though.

    For this year though:

    FH5 looks to continue Playgrounds run as the king of the open world arcade racer genre, and its enhanced build an event mode looks pretty huge.

    Psychonauts 2 coming out will be interesting, especially against the latest Ratchet game. Of course, Psychonauts is a bit more nuanced, but will be interesting to see how it compares overall.

    Shredders looks like a cool take on the snowboarding genre, but hard to gauge if it’ll be Skate or Steep.

    Is it me, or does it sound like Halo Infinite is now Episodic with only the first bit of the game releasing this year? Free MP though is awesome, now none of your friends have a reason not to jump in for some Blood Gulch CTF > <.

    Honestly though, I think the most interesting game releasing is Flight Simulator. I know its already on Steam, but being on console, and Gamepass, is going to open up the genre for a wide range of people, and the Microsoft Combat Flight Simulator (lol) expansion back looks legitimately interesting, even if I doubt it can compare against the likes of DCS.

    Again, solid year. But everyone's still looking for the large scale action adventure game to go against Sony's titans (as much as I hate that genre). And as far as I can tell, those aren't due until likely 2023.

  • Oh Fallout 76 news. I look forward to murdering that obnoxious twat Knight Shin.

    An expedition system, hmm someone has decided to rip of Far Cry New Dawn for that. I hope the maps are bigger and it’s not quite as simplistic as that. sneak in a run for the choppa! got a bit boring even if the maps were nice.

    Starfield. I expected 2022. I still laugh that they can’t add working ladders. I hope that with Microsofts QA it will be less buggy than normal

  • Outer Wilds 2 looks as eyerollingly pretentious as most of their other titles, where they think they’re being smart as they attack the people that buy their games. I find it hard to believe that anyone would pay full price for their pseudo psychological waffle.

    • I don’t think they’re attacking their customers at all, but their own pipeline processes for game development and what their own people at marketing do with the trailers. Slow mo running for pre order sales, pretentious narrators, lenses flares, sweeping shots, etc. are all generic tropes used by a variety of marketing teams to hype their trailers while not showing anything of substance because the rest of the game isn’t done. It’s an attack on themselves (and I wonder how Microsoft allowed it, unless marketing is now fine with self depreciating humour).

      If anything, it’s an admission that the game’s been green lit by management and they’ve nothing else to show for a while because they’ve only just started development. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with managing expectations while announcing a game, especially after CP2077.

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