In a newsletter sent out this week, Xbox invited subscribers to tune into The Game Awards this year to, “Celebrate the best games of the year and the big winners live at The Game Awards…with important announcements and other Xbox news that you don’t want to miss!” Xbox were notably absent at last year’s awards show, though the studio has used the ceremony to make substantial announcements in years past. Some of the most significant being the reveal of a new Perfect Dark game, as well as the unveil of their marquee current generation console, the Xbox Series X.
Though they did not elaborate on what we can look forward to a week from now, one has to wonder whether all those acquisitions Microsoft have made—including a monumental deal with Activision-Blizzard that finally went through last month—will finally pay dividends by the way of actual, tangible games that have official release dates. The Game Awards is the perfect stage to showcase what the many studios under Microsoft’s ever-expanding wing are working on. Some proper gameplay trailers of big-name titles we already know of, alongside concrete dates, would go far in injecting some much-needed life into Xbox’s library that still lacks an extensive lineup of stellar exclusives. So, let’s speculate on what we could possibly see from “The Big Green Machine” at next week’s Game Awards, and whether any surprises could potentially be in store.
For as great as Gears 5 was, it ended on an abrupt cliffhanger that felt unfinished. Clearly The Coalition were strapped for time and had to settle on pushing whatever ending they had initially planned to Gears 6. Meaning it’s been four years and we have yet to see a conclusion to this story. The game has yet to even receive a proper trailer, and not much is known about its development beyond the fact that it’s being made in Unreal Engine 5. Which is why this would be the perfect time to show what the engine, and by extension the Series X|S, is capable of. The Gears series has always been used as somewhat of a technical showcase for Xbox, and as far as I’m concerned, we have yet to see what the Series X is truly capable of—sorry Starfield, but your infinite loading screens and Oblivion-era NPCs aren’t doing it for me. Beyond presenting the pretty visuals, a trailer for Gears 6 could finally add some clarity and context as to where the narrative is possibly going to take players after that jarring ending to the fifth game. Pair all of that with a 2025 release date and this could be a great reveal.
Gameplay for Perfect Dark
2020’s Game Awards saw the incredibly directed, thrilling one-shot teaser trailer of a new Perfect Dark. As someone who’s never played the original game, seeing the trailer and the reaction from fans during its reveal was enough to get me hyped. Unfortunately, much like Gears, even less is known about this reboot. Crystal Dynamics are at the helm to bring it to life, and even though they’ve faltered in recent years with their Marvel’s Avengers, their Tomb Raider reboot trilogy was mostly well-received by critics and fans alike. It’ll be interesting to see how the studio manages to transition to making a first-person shooter (if the reboot even is one) given their past experience being primarily in third-person action titles, but other studios have made similar transitions with positive outcomes. Nevertheless, the point is that the game should be under good hands, and should have been in development long enough to warrant at least something of note to show for it. Some snippets of gameplay is long overdue for this title, and my hope is that we finally get to see something next week.
An All-Digital Series X
As the un-redacted documents that leaked during the FTC case revealed, Microsoft supposedly has plans for an “all-digital” mid-cycle Series X refresh. Though studio head Phil Spencer has commented that “so much has changed” since those documents were devised, it’s still well-within reason to believe that the team at Xbox are going to be releasing a refresh of some sort to their current lineup of consoles. Personally, I’d prefer that refresh go to the Series S over the X, seeing as how it’s that console whose hardware is in much need of an update. Either that or Xbox announce a competitor to the PlayStation Portal, making their own handheld that can play Game Pass via the cloud. Microsoft are already leagues ahead of Sony as far as their cloud infrastructure goes, and a handheld was already listed as a part of the roadmap in those leaked documents. A $200 Game Pass handheld that doesn’t require a console to function like the Portal could be a solid addition to further their goals of going “all-digital.” That being said, hardware reveals aren’t normally something we see at The Game Awards, but with the original Series X being the showstopper at 2019’s event, it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility for Microsoft to do it again.
What do you think will be announced by Xbox at The Game Awards? Tell us your most outlandish predictions in the comments below!