Of all the events of Summer Games Fest and E3, none has been more widely anticipated than Xbox and Bethesda’s first joint conference. After acquiring the beloved Fallout developers back in September last year for a cool $7.5 billion, Xbox had a lot of fan expectations to meet with their annual E3 showcase. Now that Bethesda, one of the world’s leading video game developers, was partnered with Xbox, anything and everything could be on the cards. This showcase was always destined to hit hard, but I don’t think many of us expected it to hit like a freight train.
From the moment the showcase started with our infamous main man Todd Howard, to the final reveal of an Xbox Series X-shaped mini-fridge, this 90-minute conference was filled to the brim with exclusive and new reveals ranging from DLC for current Xbox mainstays, to first looks at some very promising new IPs. So, let’s not waste any more time, I’ll just catch you up on what you missed, there’s a lot to get through.
The showcase got off to an impeccable start, with Todd Howard nonchalantly revealing the first true in-engine look at Bethesda’s brand new IP Starfield, an indication as to the breakneck pace that would accompany the entire conference. The brief trailer showed a tantalising glimpse at the universe that this space-centred RPG is set in. A release date of November 11th 2022 was given, along with the confirmation that this highly anticipated game will be Xbox Series X/S and PC exclusive.
Since their acquisition last year, there have been countless theories and rumours regarding the possible exclusivity of Bethesda’s future line-up of games. With the announcement that this is going to launch day one on Game Pass, you can be sure that PlayStation-owning Bethesda fans are coming away from this conference a little disheartened. If this is Phil Spencer and Todd Howard testing the waters, then I’d be surprised if there wasn’t a tsunami-like ripple effect following this reveal.
Next up, the follow-up to the cult classic S.T.A.L.K.E.R. game was revealed in a little more detail. The game looks to hone in on that creepy and tense post-apocalyptic atmosphere that was present in the original game, taking full advantage of next-gen hardware to do so. This first-person survival horror is set to release on the 28th April 2022 for Xbox Series X/S and PC, coming day one to Game Pass.
Back 4 Blood
Turtle Rock Studios’ Back 4 Blood has had quite a lot of play in this year’s various showcases and events. Acting as a spiritual successor to the Left 4 Dead franchise (with much of the same team working on it), Back 4 Blood is sure to scratch that 4-player co-op, zombie horde itch when it releases October 12th for all current and next-gen consoles and PC. Oh, and it’s coming to Game Pass day one…which is a trend that you might see just a few more times throughout this recap.
Talking of co-op games, Just Cause developers Avalanche Studios’ new game was revealed to be an open-world co-op heist game. Not a lot was revealed by the trailer besides some flashy 70s-style visuals, but this is definitely one to keep your eye on over the next year or so. Contraband is set to release on Xbox Series X and PC and will be available day one on Game Pass.
Sea Of Thieves: A Pirate’s Life
If you’re looking to get back into Sea of Thieves then now might be the best time to do so. Sea of Thieves‘ new A Pirate’s Life DLC brings the iconic Pirates of the Caribbean characters to Rare’s frankly underrated co-op sea-faring title. Face Davy Jones and his crew aboard The Flying Dutchman, chat to Gibbs, and try to smile through that ‘interesting’ Jack Sparrow impersonation. A Pirate’s Life releases for free on June 22nd.
Yakuzas Are Coming to Game Pass
This one might not be for everyone, but it really should be. The Yakuza games are a series of beat-em-up action-adventure games that have a delightfully tongue-in-cheek tone not often found in games of the genre. Xbox announced that all of the Yakuza games not previously available on Game Pass have now been added to the service, meaning that you can enjoy this saga from start to end, including the latest release Yakuza: Like A Dragon, which mixes up the gameplay formula to surprising avail.
Battlefield 2042 Gameplay Reveal
After its invigorating reveal last week, Battlefield 2042 showed its first look at gameplay. Some highlights are, of course, the wingsuit, grappling hook, and attachments mechanic that seemingly lets you customise your weapon on the fly. The natural disasters mechanic also received a look, with some impressive physics and visuals on display. Battlefield 2042 releases October 22nd 2021.
Annapurna’s previously revealed, uniquely stylistic 12 Minutes was up to bat next. 12 Minutes has gained quite a bit of fan momentum since its first reveal in 2015 and is sure to attract even more eyes with its newly announced star-studded cast featuring the likes of Willem Dafoe, James McAvoy and Daisy Ridley. 12 Minutes releases August 19th on PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S, arriving day one on Game Pass.
The sequel to the incredibly unique and charming cult classic, Psychonauts 2 finally received a release date: August 25th 2021. The trailer features some very stylish visuals and offers a glimpse into some truly varied forms of gameplay. Psychonauts 2 looks as though it is shaping up to meet its lofty expectations, and then some. While Psychonauts 2 releases on all last-gen and next-gen consoles (as well as PC), it is coming to Game Pass on launch day.
More Bethesda Titles Coming To Game Pass
Keeping this Game Pass train rolling, a few classic Bethesda games are coming to the service. The original Fallout games have dropped onto PC Game Pass, including the original Fallout, Fallout 2, and Fallout Tactics. A plethora of modern Bethesda titles have also been added to the service including Doom, Wolfenstein II, The Evil Within 2, and Fallout 3 among others.
Fallout 76: Steel Reign
Infamous MMO Fallout 76 is getting a Brotherhood of Steel-centred expansion titled Steel Reign, arriving July 7th. The trailer also teases a future Expeditions DLC taking players back to the “Pitt”, an area originally explored in one of Fallout 3‘s DLCs. While these announcements probably won’t draw in many newcomers to 76, it may be enough to keep the current dwindling player-base invested for another year.
A physics-based party game that seems to take a great deal of inspiration from the likes of Gang Beasts and Human Fall Flat, Party Animals comes to Xbox Game Pass in 2022.
The game of the year contender that proves indie games are capable of producing AAA-quality experiences, Hades comes to Xbox Game Pass on August 13th (and also PlayStation 4 and 5, but shh).
Boasting gorgeous art design, Somerville, by the same co-creators behind indie classics Limbo and Inside, is set to release some time in 2022, arriving day one on both PC and Xbox Game Pass.
It’s been a while since we’ve seen any gameplay from Halo Infinite. Almost a year, actually, when 343 Industries revealed their first gameplay trailer to almost-universal disdain. At least we got Craig the brute out of it. The surprisingly quite deep look at Infinite started with the announcement that its multiplayer is going to be free to play, which is a pretty interesting route to take. Halo has always been known for its engaging campaigns and narratives but to offer the multiplayer aspect free-of-charge may turn out to be Infinite‘s downfall. After all, Halo campaigns aren’t what they used to be, and Infinite just doesn’t have that same level of hype surrounding it anymore, no matter how much beautifully nostalgic Marty O’Donnell music they play in the trailer.
Diablo 2: Resurrected
What many still consider to the best in the isometric looter series, Diablo 2 is getting a remaster in the form of Diablo 2: Resurrected, which releases September 23rd on all last-gen and next-gen consoles (including Switch), as well as PC.
A Plague Tale: Requiem
2019’s A Plague Tale: Innocence gave survival horror fans a unique stealth-based experience set in 1300s France. A Plague Tale: Requiem looks to follow on directly from the events of the first game. Expect more rats than ever, this time in stunning next-gen graphics. Requiem is slated to release on PC and Xbox sometime in 2022.
Far Cry 6
Another game that has been shared around the E3 and Summer Games Fest playground is Far Cry 6. After Ubisoft’s conference the other day, not a lot more was expected to be revealed. This trailer shows off some fairly varied gameplay that looks to stray a little further into the realm of absurd fun than the previous entries into the franchise. Despite some oddly rough facial animations, Far Cry 6 looks to be a solid continuation of the franchise; whether or not it can truly break the mould will have to be seen when it releases on October 7th.
Slime Rancher 2
I’m not sure if this is something anyone was hoping to see at Xbox and Bethesda’s first showcase, but damn those little slime things are pretty cute though. Slime Rancher 2 is set to release in 2022 on PC and Xbox and will arrive on Game Pass day one.
This isn’t the SSX Tricky remaster you wanted, but it might satiate your desire for one for a bit. Shredders comes to Xbox Game Pass in December 2021.
Despite having several reveals over the last few years, Atomic Heart is still a relatively mysterious game. Set in the Soviet Union in the 1950s, the game will have you do something. Probably. That is genuinely all we know about the game at this point. There’s some robots in this trailer, the tone seems to be fairly tongue-in-cheek, that’s about it. Oh, and that it’s coming to Xbox and PC Game Pass on launch day because of course it is.
A sci-fi platformer with a drop-dead gorgeous pixel art style, Replaced drops onto Xbox Game Pass in 2022.
Grounded: Shroom and Doom Update
Another trailer that adopted a tongue-in-cheek tone (I wish I could say this was the last one), survival game Grounded is receiving a Shroom and Doom update that adds a huge spider, achievements, pets, and most importantly, the ability to sit. The update lands on June 30th.
A game that absolutely nobody is sick of yet, Among Us finally comes to Xbox on June 15th, bringing 15-player lobbies with it .
The upcoming cyberpunk RPG The Ascent received a new trailer and release date. With the option to enjoy the game in solo or co-op mode, The Ascent‘s release on July 29th for PC, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S might be one to look out for if you’re not too burnt out on cyberpunk-related products, especially as it’s on Game Pass day one.
Age of Empires IV
Age of Empires IV looks as though it is shaping up to be a very promising RTS that takes the classic AoE formula and brings it closer to what we expect of a contemporary video game. Naval battles, cavalry charges, and some stellar-looking base-building is all on show in this trailer. Age of Empires IV releases on PC October 28th and will be available day one on Game Pass.
The Outer Worlds 2
While Grounded and Atomic Heart had somewhat tongue-in-cheek trailers, The Outer Worlds 2‘s reveal took this to the next level, providing some biting satire that hit the mark a good 70% of the time. As the dialogue in the trailer would suggest, The Outer Worlds 2 is far from being finished. The only details we have are that it’s taking place in a new solar system, with a new host of characters eager to join your crew.
Flight Simulator Coming To Next-Gen
If you’ve been holding off on playing one of the most stunning games ever created, Microsoft Flight Simulator is coming to Xbox Series X July 27th and will be available on Game Pass. The trailer continued to reveal that a free Top Gun: Maverick-themed expansion will be released in November.
Forza Horizon 5
While we’re on the topic of stunning games, Forza Horizon 5 might be the most beautiful thing you’ll see today. Coming to Game Pass and launching on November 9th, Forza Horizon 5 ditches the fields and cities of Britain for the arid deserts and bustling towns of Mexico. This in-depth gameplay trailer gives a decent look into almost every aspect of the game, putting particular focus on the incredible graphics, field of view, and wonderfully realistic environmental design. Some different game types have also been detailed, with the creator-content “Event Lab” taking the spotlight.
To round off this stacked showcase, a new 4-player co-op shooter by Dishonored devs Arkane was revealed via a cinematic trailer. Redfall will apparently feature an open-world that is teeming with vampires just begging for you to shoot and stab them. Watch the stylish trailer below and get your stakes ready for Redfall‘s summer 2022 release for Xbox Series X/S and PC, also landing on Game Pass on release day.
Here it is. The reveal you’ve all been waiting for. Boasting a staggering 10-can capacity, this Xbox-shaped mini fridge brings the meme to life, for better or for worse. This mini fridge is slated to drop “Holiday 2021”. I don’t think this will be on Game Pass though.
While they may not all have been heavy hitting first-party reveals, Xbox and Bethesda may have just given us the most concise, in-depth, and frankly enjoyable E3 showcase we’ve ever seen. There truly is something for everyone in this showcase, and I, for one, am more excited about the future of this industry than I ever have been.
Actually, I take that back, I just remembered Konami’s 2010 E3 conference.
Words by Cameron Swan
Support The Indiependent
We’re trying to raise £200 a month to help cover our operational costs. This includes our ‘Writer of the Month’ awards, where we recognise the amazing work produced by our contributor team. If you’ve enjoyed reading our site, we’d really appreciate it if you could donate to The Indiependent. Whether you can give £1 or £10, you’d be making a huge difference to our small team.