There might be no E3 in 2022, but that’s not going to stop developers and publishers from showing off their future titles. Unless PlayStation or Nintendo decide to have a surprise show in the next few weeks, Xbox will be first to the table on the 12th of June. The Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase.
Here I’ll be taking a look at what to expect and what we probably won’t see and then I’ll even suggest a couple of highly unlikely things that might cause a bit of hysteria.
As I’ve noted in earlier articles this year, Xbox has been pretty quiet since announcing its intentions to acquire Activision. There are a couple of games that should be with us by the end of 2022, but there are huge numbers of games and studios that we remain in the dark about.
With 23 studios (before Activision becomes part of the gang) and the world at least kind of returning to normal, there is potential for this showcase to be a blockbuster. Xbox has been making great moves in the gaming space to prove they have moved on from the dark times of the Xbox One release and now it needs to put up or shut up.
With as many studios as they have, gone should be the days of having no games to release for large between first-party releases and they should be closer to the once mentioned big release every 3 to 4 months. That will be another huge shot in the arm for Gamepass, which sees all titles released on day one and further cement it as fantastic value.
We’re Finally Going To See; Starfield
The fact that the promotional images used for the upcoming showcase all feature starry skies should come as no surprise, as Starfield is no dought the biggest release of the year for Xbox in 2022, and should be the showcase piece from the Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase.
Scheduled for release on 11/11/22 (A date both Americans and Europeans can agree on!) everyone is hoping that this will be a welcome return to form from Bethesda after the much-criticised Fallout 76. In fairness, Bethesda has managed to take what was a shocking release and at least get the game half-decent standard, but Starfield needs to be a win from the off.
This title needs to have as little Bethesda jank as possible (due to the size and scope of the game, it’s unlikely to have none). The Marketing so far has been great but as we get closer to its planned release date, now we need to see it in action.
Expect to get a big look at the game and hopefully, it can live up to the standards we all want.
We Don’t Talk About Hellblade 2
Although we might see a little more of this game, I don’t think it’ll be as much as gamers want. Looking at recent listings online and on Twitter, Ninja Theory still seems to be hiring for the game. As such, I don’t think there will be an announcement on a release date for this game yet… I can’t imagine this being too bothered about with everything else going on for the Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase.
When the game was shown off in late 2021 at The Game Awards, it look properly stunning, if a little on rails in terms of gameplay. It’s a game with a lot of expectations on its shoulders as the original was so well received by most.
It’s also the type of 3rd person story-based game that has been missing from Xbox’s portfolio for some time.
For Hellblade 2, I see the game’s storied history with the Game Awards continuing (it was also first announced there in 2019) and the release date will be confirmed at the 2022 awards show. Don’t expect much more than a short look at any progress on the game’s development.
Surprise, Surprise, Surprise! Activision and Quake?
A large number of the games you should expect to see have already been confirmed or announced to be in production in some shape or form. However, showcases wouldn’t be what they are without a few surprises along the way… and the Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase could sprinkle some all over the alleged 90mins + of Showcase.
Although it’s way too early for anything to be announced from the Activision acquisition, there’s a chance we might get confirmation of some of their games coming to Gamepass soon. Xbox was able to do something similar even before they closed the deal for ZeniMax, so it’s not beyond the realms of possibility.
Although here I’m going to hazard a guess at a forgotten title getting brought back to life in Quake. ID Software worked their magic recently with both the Doom reboot and also its sequel Doom Eternal and they seem to have been pretty quiet since then.
Their ID tech engine is one of the most optimized around and we shouldn’t be surprised if they decide to put it to work on another classic FPS franchise. It’ll have a more story-based campaign similar to Doom but we should also expect a return to the classic multiplayer suits that were so popular in the early 90s.
Don’t You… Forget About Me!
The Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase should also finally let us see Forza Motorsport (8) in action. Yes, the Xbox Premier Graphics Showcase! Although I adored 2022s Forza Horizon 5, I’m keen to see what improvements will be seen on a Next-Gen (Current-Gen? why is this still a thing?…) racing game.
Racing games are nearly always impressive showcases of a console’s abilities and there has been very little news or update from Turn 10 on its progress. Ray tracing during in-game races? 120fps gameplay? who knows what we might see.
Although there was a rumour the game might end up on Xbox One consoles as well, this appears to only be a development build for the sake of testing. Like Microsoft Flight Sim, we should expect Cloud streaming to be the only way for gamers with the older Xbox console to experience this racer.
What’s not expected at the Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase
New hardware. At least in the form of a console. We should very much expect to hear more about Xbox’s plans to expand into the TV streaming space. This is where they’ll announce their dongle/app that should let gamers play on their TV without the need for a console.
In my experience, Xcloud is a great option for gamers who want to try games but it’s not going to be for the hardcore console gamers out there. Latency and resolution are still not quite where they need to be for cloud streaming to become a proper option as your main way to play console-style games.
However, the success of the Series S should show that this isn’t the be-all and end-all for a large number of gamers. Xbox seems to understand this and by offering a lower-cost entry point, more layers will enter its ecosystem and they’ve confirmed it’s all about player numbers for them in the last few years.
Phil Spencer confirmed Xbox were unlikely to look at a mid gen refresh in June 2021 and it’s also a little early for this, but If they wanted to do something unexpected, how about a diskless Series X… Falling right in between their current lineup in terms of power and price, it could be yet another way to get more players to try and side with team green.
My picks on what might happen
In the gaming space, I know nothing compared to more experienced and connected journalists and media outlets. Yet that doesn’t mean I’m not able to see trends or make educated guesses…
First up is another title from Bethesda Studios, Redfall. Very little has been seen of the game since its reveal last year outside of a cinematic trailer and a couple of blurry leaked screenshots. Coming from Arkane Studios, makers of titles like Dishonored, Prey and the award-winning Deathloop, fans are eager to see and hear more.
It has been pencilled in to release this summer, but that seems unlikely given what we know so far. That’s why I’m going outside the box and suggesting the game could be a shadow drop during the games showcase.
Next on my list is Fable, although I’d love to know when we’ll get our hands on the game and its British humour, I’ll guess that gameplay will be shown… with no release date. With the game being a massive departure for Playground games and their history of racing games, this one might take a while longer to actually reach our grubby fingers.
Reading about all the possible games that could be shown really emphasizes just how many studios Xbox now owns and this could really be a long showcase. But let me round off with a couple more guesses, I’ll take Perfect Dark to be a no show, and Avowed to get some gameplay along with teasers for Gears 6 and MachineGames’ Indiana Jones Game.
I’ll be watching eagerly to see what comes next and the rumoured 90-minute run time just doesn’t sound long enough to fit everything I’d like to see. I hope everyone gets a glimpse of everything they want!