We’re rapidly approaching the summer gaming news blitzkrieg, where the biggest publishers and gaming companies in the world line up to parade their upcoming wares. With E3 being canceled again this year, and Geoff Keighley only vaguely threatening everyone with an entire summer of his face at the moment, it seems that Xbox have become the first to get their foot in the door. They’ve announced an Xbox Games Showcase on Sunday, June 11th, which will be followed by a Starfield Direct presentation immediately afterwards.
With Xbox keen to win back favor after the all-round drubbing Redfall has received upon launch, along with the tepid overall response to Halo Infinite, the big green brand has found themselves with their backs in the corner at yet another summer showcase. If they want people to stay invested in what they have to offer, Xbox will need to go big, so with that in mind, we’re making some predictions as to what first-party games we’ll see next month at the Xbox Games Showcase.
1. Forza Motorsport
Aside from Starfield, Forza Motorsport seems to be the only game on Xbox’s docket that has a confirmed 2023 release date, and even then, it’s just a vague window. Considering Bethesda’s upcoming sci-fi RPG is receiving its own dedicated presentation, it seems likely that Xbox will spend some time during the showcase devoted to Turn 10’s long-standing franchise, paving the way for a fall/winter 2023 release for the racing game giant.
Xbox already spent some time earlier this year focused on the development and gameplay of Forza Motorsport, so we probably won’t see another 10-15 minute segment on Forza this summer. Or, at least, we shouldn’t, as there’s plenty of other games we could see instead. Still, expect to see some kind of trailer or footage for Forza Motorsport, perhaps along with a release date announcement and the usual “pre-orders are available now,” as if we won’t just download it with Game Pass at launch.
Playground Games’ take on the iconic Lionhead franchise has been radio silent ever since its reveal back in 2020, but Fable could still make an appearance at the next Xbox Games Showcase. Look at it this way: Bethesda and Tango Gameworks managed to hot drop a real game of the year contender in Hi-Fi Rush earlier this year, so what’s necessarily stopping Xbox from doing it again and surprising everyone with some Fable information?
A supposed reboot for the franchise, not much is actually known about what the new Fable will be all about, but there’s been a host of conflicting reports and rumors coming from Playground Games about supposed difficulties during development. These have been debunked, but expectations aren’t exactly high with a lot of people about the quality of Fable, especially after Redfall. The Xbox Games Showcase could be a good chance to move the conversation into a positive direction.
Another game that was seemingly revealed before being dropped off the face of the Earth, Contraband was announced back in 2021 with a pretty vague CGI trailer, something that’s become a bit of a staple of Xbox game reveals over the past few years. Two years later, and there’s still nothing to show for the collaboration between Xbox and Avalanche Studios, but this Showcase could be when we see more about this ambitious release.
A co-op heist game set in a fictional version of the 1970s, not much is known about the actual gameplay, but the reveal trailer seems to indicate that vehicles are front and center of it all. With Avalanche working on open world games already thanks to the Just Cause series, Contraband could be their next big step, but we’d have to see more of the game in order to make that distinction.
4. State of Decay 3
Xbox’s flagship zombie survival series, State of Decay has carved out a decent niche for itself when it comes to co-op gameplay, but State of Decay 3 could be where the series finally hits that next level. State of Decay 2 is fun and all, especially after the host of updates and refinements that Undead Labs have made over the years, but the potential of where State of Decay 3 could go is infinitely more interesting.
Like other games in this list, State of Decay 3 was revealed with a vague CGI trailer that didn’t really tell you much about the game itself. There was a zombified deer, putting State of Decay 3 in the same company as Train To Busan, but aside from that, very little details about the game have been revealed. 2023’s Xbox Games Showcase could be time to lift the lid on State of Decay 3, especially as it has been five years since the last one.
5. Hellblade 2
It feels like Hellblade 2 has been on the cusp of releasing for the past few years now, with Xbox offering a new glimpse into the upcoming Nordic adventure at every available opportunity. Despite that, only one gameplay trailer has been released during Hellblade 2’s pre-release campaign, so while some more Hellblade 2 footage seems likely at the Xbox Games Showcase, whether it’ll actually lead to any significant announcements could go either way.
A continuation of Ninja Theory’s incredible 2017 release, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, Hellblade 2’s story hasn’t been confirmed as of yet. Considering the first game saw Senua travelling to the depths of Hel itself to rescue the soul of her dead lover, we can expect Hellblade 2 to chronicle something equally epic. With Senua herself now reportedly appearing on Game Pass adverts, a release date reveal during the Showcase in June could be on the cards.
6. Shocking Game Pass News
The idea of some “shocking Game Pass news” might seem a bit generic, but typically, Xbox have used the Xbox Games Showcase and other presentations like it to make some huge Game Pass announcements. Usually, those announcements are that a big name series is coming to Xbox for the first time, like Persona, Yakuza, Guilty Gear and others, but with fewer franchises to court over, any Game Pass-related announcement will have to go bigger.
Some potential ideas for a Game Pass announcement that’d make waves could include Ubisoft+ being rolled into the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate package, or that Xbox are launching the family-plan subscription worldwide, but a real game changer could be native Game Pass support on the Steam Deck. Yes, you can get Game Pass on the Deck already, but it involves plenty of rigamarole. It appears that people within Microsoft have looked into it, and the Steam Deck has swiftly become an incredibly popular handheld gaming option, so offering native support for the Steam Deck feels like a logical conclusion.
7. Compulsion’s Project Midnight
The developers behind Contrast have been mostly quiet ever since Microsoft acquired the studio and released the much-maligned We Happy Few, but don’t take that silence as they’ve been sitting on their hands, as the studio has apparently been hard at work on something dubbed Project Midnight, which could be debuted at the Xbox Games Showcase. What good would a showcase be without an actual reveal, after all?
While Compulsion haven’t actually announced anything about the game yet, PR and Community Developer Naila Hadjas confirmed in an interview with Xbox Squad that their new game will be a third-person, narrative focused adventure, making it a bit of a departure from We Happy Few. The project has been in full development for a while now, so this year’s Xbox Games Showcase could be the right time to lift the curtain on Project Midnight.
Maybe Xbox will also get them to make a CGI trailer for it before disappearing for three years. Part of the ship, part of the crew.
8. Something Gears Related
A banner franchise for Xbox, it probably won’t be too long before we see something Gears-related at an Xbox related presentation once again. While it might be a bit too soon for The Coalition and Xbox to unveil Gears 6 (though we’d certainly be happy to see it), there’s a wide world outside of the next mainline installment that could be explored. Gears Tactics 2 wouldn’t go amiss, for instance, even if it probably wouldn’t happen.
Aside from dreaming about a Gears Tactics sequel, one “break glass in case of emergency” option that Xbox could deploy is the long-rumored Gears of War Remastered Collection, or Gears: The Marcus Fenix Collection if we’re following Halo’s example. For fans who have been waiting for Gears of War 2 and 3 to receive the Ultimate Edition treatment, that announcement would be brilliant. Failing that, Xbox could just bring out professional big lad Dave Bautista and tell the world he’s playing Marcus Fenix in the Netflix adaptation. That’d still be really cool.
9. A New Acquisition/Third-Party Deal
It’s no secret that the CMA’s ruling against the acquisition of Activision Blizzard has been a huge blow to Xbox, so naturally the company will want to put on its bravest face at the Xbox Games Showcase in June. What better way to do that, and signal to the authorities in charge that you’re not trying to create a monopoly, than by announcing you’ve acquired another studio? Don’t worry guys, it’ll only be some kind of small indie company, like SEGA or Electronic Arts.
Facetious joking aside, an acquisition might be a bit far-fetched in the current landscape, but the announcement of some third-party licensing deals would certainly be a huge coup for Xbox. If Sony wants to license the Final Fantasy series to PlayStation in what seems like perpetuity, what’s to stop Xbox from getting the exclusive rights to Dragon Quest or The Bouncer 2? Similarly, with Sony nabbing the rights to the Silent Hill 2 remake, maybe Xbox could make the case for the rumored MGS 3 remake to be an Xbox exclusive.
They’re very unlikely to happen, let’s be clear, but Microsoft needs to go all-out this June, and announcing a ridiculous third-party deal that catches everyone off-guard would be the best way to do that.
10. The Elder Scrolls VI
Look, we’re probably still like 3 years off the actual release of The Elder Scrolls VI, the next installment in Bethesda’s flagship franchise, and for the longest time, it’s felt like Bethesda have been devoting more resources to Starfield than anything else. That being said, Starfield is receiving its own special presentation, with Bethesda and Xbox seemingly committing to a 2023 release, so a look into the future wouldn’t hurt anyone.
It doesn’t have to be much, just the smallest crumb of information would probably be enough to hold over any Elder Scrolls fans who have no interest in ESO. Maybe it’d be enough to occupy them until Obsidian launches Avowed, another game with no set release date and one CGI trailer to its name. Xbox really do have a type when it comes to reveals.
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