On Monday, we covered every game revealed during the PS5 Reveal conference. Now it’s Xbox’s turn.
Not going to give as much of an intro because I have ALOT of thoughts about Xbox’s strategy as a whole right now, so let’s dive in and I’ll share that all at the end.
Halo Infinite (Holiday 2020)
I am still so skeptical of this game right now. As many of us assumed, Halo Infinite seems to be following the Destiny path with a semi open-world layout. If that’s the case, I really don’t mind some of the changes like grapple hooks, sprinting, etc; that all makes sense to help Master Chief traverse the world. And really I think I’m fine with that plan as long as the story and levels have good pacing and don’t feel too repetitive. Another pro is at the beginning of the gameplay trailer, I definitely felt some Halo 1 vibes from the level design and atmosphere which is what 343 has alluded to as taking Halo “back to its roots”.
BUT, graphically this game looks like a typical Xbox One game and not the next-gen title everyone is expecting. Halo 5 looked better than this trailer and it came out 5 years ago. Yes, what we are seeing is from a work in progress build from months ago and yes they do have like 4 more months to finish polishing the game. But let’s be honest here, this was 343’s time to shine. Why would they be showing us a build from months ago in our first gameplay preview in Xbox’s most important presser of the year? Maybe because it wasn’t…
Yea…I am very, very concerned that this is going to be a flop.
State of Decay 3 (TBD)
I am legitimately shocked they are making a 3rd entry in this series. The original State of Decay received rather mediocre reviews and State of Decay 2 absolutely flopped on launch with way too many bugs and no depth. And that really is the problem with this series: a complete lack of depth after 4-5 hours into the game. Don’t get me wrong, I understand why some people really like this game and I guess it coming to Game Pass might justify the cost of a 3rd entry depending on how big the player base is, but I would think that after two pretty average entries this studio would move onto something new.
But hey, the Crackdown series somehow got funded for 3 entries of absolute garbage by Xbox so what do I know right?
Forza Motorsport (TBD)
Remember what I said yesterday about realistic racing games? Yep, copy pasta that right here. Don’t care and never will but graphically, it looks good.
WHAT IS THIS GAME RARE. TELL ME WHAT IT IS.
We’ve now seen two trailers on Everwild and still have no fucking clue what it is other than a bunch of…shamans I guess (?) playing with animals. What is the premise? What is the gameplay? When is it coming out? I don’t think any of those questions are unreasonable to ask now almost a year since it’s World Premiere. I mean this is literally the Wiki entry right now:
“Humans interact with animals. So far a large animal has been shown to use its tail to knock down a tree for humans. Humans are able to use magic to heal animals.”
Cool. I don’t give a single fuck about this game until the above 3 questions are answered.
Tell Me Why (August 27th)
I’ve learned to just trust the team at Dontnod Entertainment and play whatever they give me. I first thought I wouldn’t relate to the characters of Life is Strange, and then I ended up balling my eyes out at the end. Same for Life is Strange 2. I expect the same from Tell Me Why even though as a straight cis-gendered white male I feel like I might struggle to relate to these characters.
But I guess that’s kinda the beauty of these games. Dontnod does a great job compelling you to see things from their character’s perspectives and make choices in their shoes. Also, I’m a pretty big fan of all three episodes of this series coming out a week apart from each other. I used to wait until all 5 episodes released to play the Life is Strange games so that the pacing wasn’t ruined by waiting months for each new entry. Now I only have to wait a week like a network TV show. Honestly kinda excited to see what’s in store.
The Outer Wilds DLC (September 9th)
Not interested. I enjoyed The Outer Worlds, but ever since I beat that game I haven’t thought about it since. Also I never really have been blown away by DLC in games like this unless I waited to play it in a GOTY edition and played the DLC right after the main game. I just have too much trouble re-engaging with that world. But as far as DLC goes, looks fine and it apparently as long as the biggest planet in the game so good shit for those that will enjoy it. I will not.
Grounded (July 28th)
Note: I am writing this on 7/28, 4 hours before I actually play the game. I am doing this to be fair to all the other games I’ve talked about so that my opinion is solely based on the news I’ve read and seen before playing the actual game.
This is a neat concept but I’m just not digging it (no pun intended). I definetly plan on playing this game but for funny content purposes only. I’m too old for this “Honey I Shrunk the Kids” shit man. I mean the fact that I even know what that is shows how old I am. But I’m going to go into it with a semi-open mind and we’ll see if the developers can hook me in.
This was the best World Premiere of the entire showcase. Clearly, the former Fallout creators are out to prove they can do Fallout and Elder Scrolls better than Bethesda with this entry and I fucking love it. I’ve said it before: the only winners in this situation are the fans. Two studios going head to head trying to one-up each other in the same gaming space can only push the genres to greatness and I cannot wait to see how Obsidian pushes the Elder Scrolls formula. My guess would be we don’t see this game until at least 2021, maybe even Spring 2022. But I’m sold.
As Dusk Falls (TBD)
I’m gonna let you all in on an industry secret: whenever you see a game like this that peaks your interest from a studio with no Wikipedia page, no track record, and very little info on the internet, search for it on LinkedIn. There you’ll find that the CEO of this new indie studio was the creative director for the PlayStation exclusives Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls. Now both of those games received polarising reception from critics, but one thing stood out for me in both: incredible art design and emotionally charged stories. Pair that with a premise that reminds me of the movie The Place Between the Pines and you’ve got me cornered. I have to play it.
Hellblade 2: Senua’s Saga (TBD)
This is not a trailer from the Xbox Games Showcase but I put it here because I need to address its place in the show. First, HUGE mistake not including even a short new teaser in Xbox’s most anticipated conference so far. I’m sure we have at least one more of these coming before he Series X hits store shelves, but this is a huge game for the console and just talking about it abstractly was a fucking miss.
Second, watch that trailer again. Then go back and watch the Halo Infinite cinematic trailer. Can you see why I am so disappointed in 343 Industries now? Maybe you can’t and I need to write another blog or do a different video to explain it better, but clearly, Hellblade has more detailed and realistic graphics than Halo even in just the cinematic trailer. Fanboys are pointing at the hardware being the thing holding Halo back but the fact that Hellblade 2 can look this good on Series X shows it has nothing to do with the hardware and everything to do with the studio.
Psychonauts 2 (2021)
Loved the first game, very excited for the 2nd game, and Jack Black singing over this entire trailer is the icing on the cake. This game is one of the safest bets to live up to it’s expectations. And if you’re not excited to play Psychonauts 2, you should be. Because it’s gonna be fucking awesome.
Destiny 2: Beyond Light (November 10th)
I had the same reaction to this reveal as I did to GTA V being announced for the PS5: I don’t care. Why are we supposed to get excited about games like this getting added to Game Pass? I’m going to talk more about Game Pass as a whole next week because I think it’s HIGHLY overrated right now, but this falls into the category of “if you like it, you probably already own it and if you don’t, this announcement literally is worthless.” And I’m in the latter group.
Stalker 2 (2021)
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from Metro Exodus, it’s to not get my hopes up for a gritty game like this. I’m interested, but not sold. I need to see more before I get excited for this game. Happy for all the fans of the 2007 game though that will be getting the sequel to thier favorite cult classic.
Warhammer 40K: Darktide (2021)
So I’m pretty sure this entire series has flown under most people’s radar. Here’s what you need to know: for the last 5 years, Warhammer has become sort of a Left 4 Dead spiritual successor. Vermintide 1 & 2 were both set in Victorian times and you fought off waves of ratmen as you worked your way through the level. I enjoyed the first one for a bit but got bored at the repetitive nature and the melee weapons were literally just button smashing. This one looks kinds cool tho, like a true Left 4 Dead game with zombies and guns.
Idk let’s see what gameplay looks like.
Tetris Effect Connected (Holiday 2020)
I lost it when this was revealed. I legitimently fell out of my chair from laughing so hard.
This is the first title during the entire showcase that was noted as a “Console Launch Exclusive” and I cannot believe that they thought TETRIS was the game to lead that category. Fucking Tetris. Don’t get me wrong, I like Tetris and this actually looks kinda cool. Already have some ideas of how I can use it for content. But Xbox, you’re fucking trolling lol.
The Gunk (TBD)
This game is 100% getting slept on. It looks so fucking cool.
Yea, The Gunk isn’t the best name for a video game but visually this reminded me a lot of Ori and the Will of the Wisps, arguably the most beautiful game made this year. It looks like it might be a 3D metroidvania title with a unique mechanic and a beautiful planet to explore. So yea, I’m in. Give me all of The Gunk.
The Medium (Holiday 2020)
Concept wise? I like The Medium. Visually? Not so much.
This is yet another game this showcase where I’m like “this is next gen, this is supposed to be a step up in graphics, and this game looks like every other mid-generation horror game”. Look at the trailer for The Evil Within 2. That came out in 2018 and was in development for like 3-4 years. So was this made around the same time and just delayed until now? Idk. I’m still interested in playing it but I’m just not 100% sold on it.
Phantasy Star Online 2: New Genesis (2021)
Crossfire X (Holiday 2020)
Of everything shown this entire showcase, this is the title that looked the best. This is what next-gen looks like. This is what I was looking for out of Halo. Look at that lighting. Look at those graphics. Oh, and this is all being done by a team that just finished Control; they didn’t need a billion-dollar budget and 10 years to make something that looks this good.
From everything shown to date, this game seems like the only reason to actually buy an Xbox Series X and I’m not gonna lie, it’s pretty compelling.
I already knew this was coming because an insider (Alanah Pearce) said that a new Fable was being made and we would “see it soon”. Doesn’t really take a genius to put two and two together and expect at least a teaser during this conference. And that’s really all this is: a teaser. Just some fancy animation and a bitmap image like Elder Scrolls VI. I don’t have any opinions on it because I wasn’t a huge Fable fan growing up (thought it was too kiddy) and we have literally no idea what this one is going to be like. But I will say this: if Halo flops, this is the franchise that has to turn Xbox around because they’re running out of options.
My initial reaction to this whole showcase last week was disappointment. I was unimpressed and I expected so much more.
After rewatching the showcase for this blog and digging deeper, I think I understand a bit more as to why so many people DID enjoy it. I still find it pretty underwhelming compared to the PS5 showcase, but I think it all comes down to Halo. That game seems like it is the cornerstone of the Series X launch, almost like Xbox is putting all their eggs in one basket and expecting their flagship franchise to carry the weight of the next generation. The reaction to Halo Infinite compared to the reaction to Spider-Man: Miles Morales is night and day. And Spider-Man isn’t even a flagship franchise yet.
We better see some DRASTIC changes made to that game before it’s released or Xbox is fucking doomed.