On July 23, Xbox developer Microsoft presented the Xbox Games Showcase: nearly a full hour of exciting new game announcements, complete with a pre- and post-show! The majority of titles revealed and discussed during the event will be released for Microsoft’s upcoming next-generation console, the Xbox Series X. Not to mention — as confirmed by none other than the Head of Xbox himself, Phil Spencer — every single one of the games revealed during this event will be coming to the Xbox Game Pass subscription service.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the event’s presentation was entirely digital. If you missed the initial screening, you could watch the entire thing here. Plus, don’t forget to check out GameLuster’s in-depth coverage of some of the event’s biggest reveals!
Fans eager for news of the upcoming Halo Infinite did not have long to wait — the next installment in the popular science fiction series was the very first title featured in the showcase. Halo Infinite was confirmed to be an Xbox Series X launch title and will debut alongside the new console later in 2020.
Viewers were treated to a full ten minutes of gameplay demonstration, which saw beloved series protagonist Master Chief (aka John-117) teaming up with a currently unnamed human pilot who is now thought to be a new character. The game takes place in a presently ambiguous time frame following some kind of “defeat,” as Chief and his new companion are on the run and being taunted by the villainous Covenant (under the leadership of a new and gloriously intense commander). We got a peek at the return of standard gameplay elements, including the trusty Warthog jeep, as well as new additions such as a grappling hook, which gives Chief unprecedented mobility around the battlefield.
A representative for developer 343 Industries also confirmed that the title would be set on a brand new Halo ring, a massive landscape, and superweapon hybrid, which form the heart of the franchise’s setting. This ring will be significantly larger than any seen in previous Halo games.
Up next was the world premiere reveal of State of Decay 3, coming to us from Undead Labs. State of Decay 3 is the latest installment in a franchise that blends action-adventure and survival horror gameplay as a wide range of Survivors struggle to live in a zombie-infested landscape. The series is noted for combining combat and simulation elements, with players tasked to collect materials and build a base as well as warding off zombies. State of Decay 3 will feature brand new Survivors as well as the addition of zombified animals, including wolves and deer.
While no official release date was announced, developer Undead Labs did confirm that the game was “in active development.” It has also not been confirmed whether a multiplayer mode, which first featured in State of Decay 2, will be included.
Following this was the first — unfortunately brief — look at the next installment in the Forza racing series from Turn 10 Studios. Simply titled Forza Motorsport, this game will fully utilize the capabilities of the Xbox Series X console to produce the most realistic driving experience yet. The entire world premiere trailer was captured in-engine! We didn’t get to see much, but the cars that did feature looked pretty slick!
Developer Rare presented a new look at Everwild, the open-world RPG title first announced last November. The stunningly designed game will take place in a world where humans called “Eternals” use nature-based magic to care for and form bonds with a variety of fantastical creatures, from tiny deer to enormous leviathans. Unfortunately, the new trailer was entirely cinematic — so we still don’t have much of an idea regarding how the game will play. Additionally, because Rare is currently working on new content for Sea of Thieves, no release date or window for Everwild has been announced. However, executive producer Louse O’Connor did promise a “magical, untamed natural world” to explore!
DONTNOD Entertainment, best known for the Life is Strange series, announced another choice-driven, narrative-heavy game entitled Tell Me Why. Following their mother’s death, twins Tyler and Alyson Ronan return to their Alaskan childhood home to uncover the secrets of their past. Mysterious visions and conflicting memories cause the twins to realize that everything in their childhood may not have been as it seemed.
The developers of Tell Me Why have been working with professionals to ensure that both indigenous Tlingit culture and LGBTQ characters (including trans protagonist Tyler) are portrayed faithfully and respectfully. Many Tlingit artists have been commissioned to create new pieces that will appear in the game.
Like its predecessor, Life is Strange, Tell Me Why will be released in installments. Chapter 1 will debut on August 27, 2020, for Xbox One and PC via Steam. All chapters of the game will also receive an Xbox Series X release following the console’s launch later in 2020.
Moon Studios announced its 2020 action-adventure (aka “Metroidvania”) platformer, Ori and the Will of the Wisps would be coming to Xbox Series X. The developer is currently working on a new version of the game, which will take full advantage of the Series X’s more exceptional technological capabilities. It will be available via the Smart Delivery system, meaning that gamers who already own the title for Xbox One will be able to upgrade to the Series X version at no additional cost.
Obsidian’s science-fiction action RPG title, The Outer Wilds, initially released in 2019, will be receiving the first of two promised story-based DLC additions. This first DLC installment, entitled Peril on Gorgon, will be released on September 9, 2020. Players will travel to the Gorgon Asteroid, where they will be tasked with investigating possible illegal activities, including the development of a so-called “miracle drug.” New locations, new weapons, and new characters were all hinted at in the DLC’s brief reveal trailer — but, unfortunately, we will have to wait just a little bit longer for more detailed information.
Peril on Gorgon is currently presumed to feature a story that will not be connected to the main story, so as not to involve character- and faction-related decisions which the player might have made during their journey through The Outer Wilds. It will release for all platforms on which The Outer Wilds is currently available: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
But this was far from the only Obsidian announcement in-store during the Games Showcase. Fans got a new trailer for Grounded, a survival adventure planned to release for the Xbox Series X, Xbox One, and PC. Going solo in single-player mode or working together in multiplayer, players will take on the role of various individuals who have been mysteriously shrunken down to tiny size within a typical suburban backyard. Heralded as “the smallest game of the year,” Grounded will feature elements including base building, making use of various plants and other resources, and combat against some terrifying insect foes.
An early-access version of Grounded will be available for Xbox One and Steam beginning on July 28, 2020.
The third and last piece of Obsidian news was the world premiere of a trailer for their upcoming fantasy RPG title, Avowed. Confirmed to be set on Eora, the world first introduced in 2015’s The Pillars of Eternity, Avowed stars a first-person protagonist who is capable of wielding both swords and magic. The story will center around the breaking and keeping of oaths, as players face monsters in a war-torn world, deciding whether or not to uphold the vows which they have made. No release date was announced for Avowed, but it is planned to debut for both Xbox Series X and PC.
Up and coming London-based studio Interior/Night debuted their first original game, As Dusk Falls, a story of family, tragedy, and sacrifice. Billed as an “interactive drama,” As Dusk Falls follows the history of a family that gets caught up in a mysterious incident while traveling through the American Southwest. It is slated to feature “real, flawed characters” and player choices, which will affect the outcome of the game. As Dusk Falls will release for both Xbox Series X and PC.
Another British studio, Ninja Theory, provided an update on Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II, which was first announced at the Game Awards in 2019. The game will continue the story of the titular Celtic warrior first introduced in the 2017 fantasy action-adventure Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. Saga will see Senua travel to the country of Iceland. Development diaries discussing the culture and history of the location and how it was incorporated into the game are available via Ninja Theory’s YouTube channel.
One announcement few fans were expecting, but many cheered for was a new trailer for Psychonauts 2, the long-anticipated sequel to the classic 2005 platformer. The game, which has been in development since 2015, will feature the return of protagonist Raz as a full-fledged Psychonaut, diving directly into brains to explore the human mind with new powers including freezing time, telekinesis, and even a cool bus he can drive through neural pathways! Jack Black will also appear as a singing mote of light. Psychonauts 2 is currently expected to debut in 2021 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and PC.
Bungie’s free-to-play online multiplayer first-person shooter, Destiny 2, will be coming to Xbox Game Pass alongside all currently released expansions. Also, Bungie is releasing a new edition optimized for the Xbox Series X, which is expected to debut on November 10, 2020, alongside the game’s next major expansion, Beyond Light. This expansion adds an all-new type of elemental damage to the game: Stasis, in which players harness the power of Darkness to freeze and shatter their enemies. Beyond Light’s plot will feature players teaming up with the Exo Stranger, a returning character from the first Destiny, to take down villains who wish to use the newly created Stasis power for evil.
The final segment of the Games Showcase was dedicated entirely to games which would be releasing exclusively for the Series X and other Xbox consoles, including several Series X launch titles. The first one shown off was GSC Gameworld’s S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2, the next installment in the nuclear wasteland-set survival horror / first-person shooter series. This was another big reveal, as the game has been announced, delayed, and even canceled multiple times over the past decade. The cinematic trailer didn’t provide many hints regarding what to expect. Still, there were glimpses of physics-bending Anomalies, locations both new and familiar, and a sinister underground lab filled with mutant experiments. S. T. A. L. K. E. R. 2 is currently planned to launch in 2021.
The expansive Warhammer Games universe grows even further with Darktide, a first-person action title coming to the Xbox Series X in 2021. It is rumored to feature a gameplay style similar to developer Fatshark’s earlier game, Warhammer: Vermintide II, in which up to four players collaborated to defeat waves of AI-controlled enemies. The game will take place in the sci-fi setting of a crowded hive city, and the trailer hints that recurring foe Nurgle, a god of pestilence aligned with Chaos, might be involved in the game’s plot.
Tetris fans, rejoice! The beloved falling blocks are coming to the Series X in the form of Tetris Effect: Connected. This upgraded version of the original Tetris Effect will include brand new cooperative and competitive multiplayer modes in addition to the existing single-player journey. This further expansion, which comes plunging from above Holiday 2020, will retain the cool space theme and neon aesthetic for which Tetris Effect has become known.
Let’s get gooey! The Gunk comes to us from SteamWorld creators’ Image & Form. We don’t know much about this game yet, as we only got a brief look during the showcase. However, we do know that it will feature both platform and puzzle elements, is set on a mysterious planet with a variety of monsters to battle and locations to explore, and pits the player character against an all-consuming black goo. Unfortunately, The Gunk does not yet have an official release date.
During an Inside Xbox event earlier this year, gamers were first introduced to Bloober Team’s The Medium, a game built around the fascinating concept of “dual reality.” A new trailer highlighted the contrast between the physical and spiritual worlds, which will be rendered simultaneously, allowing the protagonist Marianne to explore both at once. We also got hints at the mystery which Marianne will have to solve, involving a girl being shot in the woods by an unidentified attacker, as well as our very first glimpse at “The Maw,” a horrifying foe which will stalk and taunt Marianne throughout her journey. The Medium is scheduled for a Holiday 2020 release on both Xbox Series X and PC.
Sega announced an updated version of their free online role-playing game, Phantasy Star Online 2. Subtitled New Genesis, this updated re-release will debut in 2021 for the Xbox Series X, Xbox One, and PC. The world premiere trailer hinted at new enemies to fight, new maps and locations to explore, and brand new journeys to begin alongside your customizable player character. The goal of New Genesis is to maintain beloved elements of the original Phantasy Star experience while completely overhauling both gameplay and graphics.
Multiplayer first-person shooter Crossfire X revealed its upcoming all-new Campaign story mode, co-written by teams from Smilegate and Remedy Entertainment. Players will take part in Operation Spectre, a large-scale world-altering military mission that will explore the conflict between factions Black List and Global Risk. It will be set in stunningly rendered real-world locations, including South America and Africa. While the multiplayer version of Crossfire X will be free to play, the campaign must be purchased via a Premium Battle Pass. It is expected to debut later in 2020.
The showcase seemed to conclude at this point – but wait, there was more! The beloved role-playing game series Fable is being revived with a brand new title coming to Xbox Series X in 2021. The game, currently titled simply Fable, is being produced by Playground Games, with no word if original series publisher Lionhead Studios or creator Peter Molyneux will have any involvement. Little is known so far, but the setting seems to be more pastoral than Fable 3’s Industrial Revolution-esque aesthetics, and the presence of a fairy in the trailer indicates that magic will be present in this world. We can’t wait to learn more!
GameLuster will continue to cover these and more exciting Xbox Series X titles as more information is revealed.
Which game revealed during the Xbox Games Showcase are you most excited for? Let us know!