Inside Xbox Reveals Next-Generation Games
Thursday's Inside Xbox live stream saw the console maker showcase games that will release on the upcoming Xbox Series X.
The stream showed third party games from Xbox's "partners".
The company's General Manager of Games Marketing said, "Today we're going to put the spotlight on our partners and let them shine and show you what Xbox Series X gameplay will look like".
Bloober Team, Bandai Namco, and Codemasters were just some of the third party developers that had brand new games revealed during the event.
In terms of Xbox's first-party games, Matt Booty, the head of Xbox Games Studios also appeared in the stream to say "We're excited that we will begin unveiling gameplay from our studios starting in July, including some from our newest studios like Double Fine and Ninja theory and Obsidian".
No launch date for the console or any of its games were revealed, but Sarah Bond, the head of Xbox Partnerships did say that "I'm thrilled to share with you that every major publisher worldwide is developing for Xbox, and we already have hundreds of games coming to Xbox Series X in 2021."
Microsoft also showed in the stream that every game launching on both current generation hardware as well as the Xbox Series X will be smart delivery compatible. This will mean players will only have to purchase a game once if they move between consoles.
The full list of developers and games included during the stream is as follows:
• Playism - Bright Memory Infinite
• Codemasters - Dirt 5
• Ebb Software - Scorn
• Deep Silver - Chorvs Rise As One
• EA Sports - Madden NFL 2021
• Paradox Interactive - Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2
• Out of the Blue/Raw Fury - Call of the Sea
• Neon Giant/Curve Digital - The Ascent
• Bloober Team - The Medium
• Bandai Namco studios - Scarlet Nexus
• Systemic Reaction / Avalanche - Second Extinction Reclaim Earth
• Sega - Yakuza: Like a Dragon
• Ubisoft - Assassin's Creed Valhalla
Thoughts and Analysis:
I could get philosophical about the meaning of the word "gameplay" here, but I don't really want to. I'd much rather say that Microsoft's meaning of the word "gameplay" seems very different from what I think most people would expect, but then again, I do want to cut the developers who had their work shown today a break...
It can't be easy developing a game from home. As we've seen with a lot of upcoming video games and their lackluster marketing campaigns, it must be even harder to obtain gameplay assets from multiple people (all of whom are working from their own homes) before putting it into some form of coherent trailer. This is most likely the reason a lot of the so-called "gameplay trailers" were short, or were mainly cut together pieces of mini cinematics.
I'd be remissed if I didn't talk about my second speculative reason, though, which is that these games that have been revealed are still very early in their development. Certainly, Sarah Bond's comments about hundreds of games being ready for 2021 would suggest that studios aren't exactly preparing these games for launch. I would guess that a lot of today's games will see significant delays. If they aren't due to COVID 19, then they'll be because games that are revealed before console launches often go through some trouble. Some don't ever see the light of day. Hell, I'm still waiting for Deep Down to come out...
Obviously, this was more of an opportunity to showcase third party games that will come to the next generation consoles (notice that there were no "exclusive" tags before any of the trailers in that stream, so we can assume everything shown will be "optimised for Xbox" but available on the PS5), but there really wasn't a feeling of what I'll call Xbox authenticity about any of that stream.
For a while now, Microsoft has been trying to steal Sony's "for the players" rhetoric, but I think there's more to it than just saying the words. Watching a State of Play or a Nintendo Direct lets you feel a degree of authenticity about the brand and the console community you're a part of. I've never owned an Xbox, but nothing about the tone of that event made me want to become a first-time buyer. Maybe Microsoft just needs to find their own rhythm with their online streams, but it was certainly strange not to see Phil Spencer make an appearance at all.
In terms of the games that stood out, I have to mention Team Bloober. Every time I play one of their games I'm in awe of the studio's ambition and potential. Hopefully, they keep pulling in larger player bases with each game they release because I really think they deserve more credit than they get.
I also have to say Bright Memory Infinite looks like the sequel to Killzone Shadowfall that not many besides myself have been waiting for. That was the most visually impressive game in the showcase for sure, but I definitely want to see more.
I'm also a sucker for co-op games, so Second Extinction Reclaim Earth looks like a perfect opportunity to team up, learn about dinosaurs, then shoot em all in their tiny T-Rex arms before they bite me.
Call of the Sea looks like a lovely amuse-bouche for anyone who's still sad about Campo Santo's latest cancellation. I've never played a Yakuza game, but Like a Dragon makes me want to get into them. I'd also mention Assassin's Creed Valhalla but I was already excited for that game - I just want to see someone actually playing the game, not a compilation of Vikings throwing axes at Anglo-Saxons.
Image Credits: GamesPress, Microsoft, Ubisoft.