Microsoft chose to focus the Xbox & Bethesda Showcase on games releasing in the next year, but that meant a lot of known titles which will be releasing after that were no-shows. Here are a few of the notable absentees…
We got to see all kinds of new announcements at the Xbox & Bethesda Showcase, with MS also dropping a graphic detailing Xbox titles launching this year and in the first half of 2023. Still, lots of announced titles from Xbox Game Studios will be looking to drop in Q3 2023 and beyond, so here’s a recap of the biggest ones we know about, when we last heard from them, and when we think they’re likely to launch.
Last official update: September 2020
Rare’s beautiful fantasy adventure still seems to be a good way off, with reports this time last year suggesting that Everwild’s radio silence was due to the game being restarted from scratch. We still don’t even know what the game actually is, and it seems like we may not even get to see a re-reveal for a while — those same reports suggested Everwild is “optimistically” targetting a 2024 launch window. Realistically, then, there’s every chance that could have slipped to 2025 by now, especially if development was indeed completely restarted on the game.
Last official update: December 2020
The Initiative’s return to the world of Rare’s classic N64 shooter (and later 360 launch title, Perfect Dark Zero) is another project that looks to be having a rough time. Reports emerged earlier this year suggesting that the developer had lost around half its staff, which “heavily affected” the reboot’s progress. It can’t help that development is being aided by Crystal Dynamics, with that studio now going through its own changes in the wake of Square Enix selling the developer to Embracer last month. Whatever state Perfect Dark is in, it seems pretty clear that we won’t be seeing it for a while.
Last official update: July 2020
Obsidian’s RPG was a no-show at last year’s E3, with the team coming out afterwards to say we’d see more of Avowed soon, but that still hasn’t come to pass, sadly. In this case, however, we’re likely not looking a development strife, rather a sheer volume issue. Obsidian has loads on the go — as well as Avowed, it’s still working on Grounded, has The Outer Worlds 2 in the works, and even announced another new title at the Xbox & Bethesda Showcase in Pentiment. If we had to guess, we’d say Avowed probably just didn’t fall into the show’s one-year window, but there’s nothing currently to suggest it couldn’t arrive as soon as late 2023, even if we’ve really yet to see anything more than that initial reveal almost two years ago. The team’s packed slate would be enough to suggest that it might come a little later, though…
Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2
Last official update: February 2022
Conversation around the Hellblade follow-up has been pretty continuous since it was revealed in late 2019, with lots of smaller updates here and there before we got to see extended gameplay at The Game Awards last year. It’s a hugely ambitious project that appears to be much larger in scope than the first game, which itself was announced a good three years ahead of launch. Senua’s Saga feels like one for the ‘late 2023’ pile, although it could still be further out if the true scale of the game extends much beyond what we know so far.
Last official update: July 2020
Playground’s Fable project is another that hasn’t seen light of day since its original announcement, with only a few interviews that came out just after the reveal telling us anything more. As a first stab at a non-racing game for the team, this one was always going to need a little more time in the oven, especially given the fantasy series’ long history of not quite being able to deliver on the full scope of the vision that was initially promised. Reports earlier in the year suggested progress had been a little slow due to Playground’s lack of genre experience but seeing as it has been in development for around five years at this point, you’d expect the team to have a fair bit to show for its efforts by now, even if it hasn’t been forthcoming in showing anything. Phil Spencer did say we’d be seeing this and Avowed before The Elder Scrolls VI, but given that was still in the design phase this time last year, that doesn’t exactly narrow it down much. MS will also want to give all of these big RPGs (and Starfield) room to breathe, so development progress won’t be the only factor in when they all ship, especially with competitor titles like the next Dragon Age to consider. Late 2023 feels optimistic for this, but I do think Fable might be further along than we realise…
Last official update: N/A
An odd exception on this list as the only game that hasn’t actually been announced, the GoldenEye 007 remaster has been abuzz with activity since we first picked up the achievements on the very first day of 2022. Some rumblings suggest a planned reveal earlier this year may have been postponed following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but the more optimistic among us were expecting so see it during the showcase. Alas, that wasn’t the case, although there is still one other prime window coming up. Gamescom is happening in late August, and overlaps with the 25th anniversary of the N64 original on August 25th — a better opportunity for a shadow-drop, we have perhaps never seen.
State of Decay 3
Last official update: July 2020
The 90-second CG teaser trailer from 2020 is literally all we have on Undead Labs’ next zombie-packed survival adventure, to the point that there’s not even so much as a mention of State of Decay 3 on the developer’s official site. There’s a great game somewhere at the core of State of Decay, but the series has felt to be lacking the kind of polish to push it up through the ranks into a position as a first-party heavy hitter. Zombie games aren’t exactly in short supply, either — MS has even been courting big third-party ones like Back 4 Blood into Game Pass — so I feel like Undead Labs might be given enough breathing room to take its time to get this right, make sure the third time really is the charm, and State of Decay finally gets a game that lives up to the franchise’s evident potential.
Last official update: January 2021
It’s been almost 18 months now since news broke about MachineGames picking up the iconic hat and whip to be the next team to create an Indy game, and once again, it’s been as quiet as a tomb ever since, aside from some conflicting rumours recently surrounding the game’s exclusivity. Still, with Tomb Raider dev Crystal Dynamics busy with multiple other projects and Sony seemingly done with Uncharted for now, there’ll be no rush to push this out, right? Well, not quite. The next movie is currently slated for a June 2023 release and it’d be surprising if MS wouldn’t be looking to piggyback the hype from Harrison Ford’s final stint as Indy, although whether or not the game will actually be done in time for that is of course another matter entirely. Don’t write MachineGames off on that front, thought — it pushed out three Wolfenstein games in the space of five years so we’ve seen how quick the team can work, so this one seems it’s potentially a great fit for Q3 2023 slot, exclusive or no.
What about the other first-party studios?
That’s all the announced stuff we didn’t get updates on at the showcase (almost all down to these being games for Q3 2023 and later), but even this leaves a good amount of first-party teams unaccounted for. The Coalition announced in May last year that it was moving to Unreal Engine 5, and engine shifts are no quick thing — what the tech-savvy team dazzles us first with using UE5 is still a mystery, be it a new Gears, the rumoured Gears collection, or something else entirely, but it likely won’t be for a while. Then there’s Compulsion Games, who we know to be working on a new third-person adventure game but we’re unlikely to see that for some time, either. Double Fine Productions has multiple new projects in the works, and while we’ll probably see some smaller games and published/supported titles over the next few years, don’t hold your breath for anything on the level of Psychonauts 2 any time soon.
InXile Entertainment, meanwhile, has been spotted hiring for a new first-person UE5 RPG, so you have to imagine that completely new gameplay style will mean this one is a long time coming. Id Software too has posted job listings for roles on classic FPS franchises, hinting at a possible Quake comeback (or maybe a return to Wolfenstein duty as MachineGames toils away on Indy), but Id famously takes its time with its games and the results are usually worth it, aren’t they, Doom? Next is World’s Edge, and aside from light rumblings about a possible return to Age of Mythologies (which would make Heidi explode), there’s nothing to report there at the moment. Finally, Tango Gameworks only recently shipped Ghostwire: Tokyo as a timed PlayStation exclusive so probably isn’t too deep into its next project yet, and while we’d expect to see Ghostwire coming to Xbox and Game Pass once its exclusivity period comes to an end, it’s surprising that we haven’t had similar confirmation for Deathloop yet. Arkane’s time-loop shooter is free of its shackles as of mid September this year, yet it’s nowhere to be seen in Microsoft’s roadmap for the next 12 months. Cause for concern, or is the focus purely on brand new games in the new MS visuals? Well, the appearance of live service games like Halo Infinite and Sea of Thieves as well as third-party titles such as Modern Warfare II and Hogwarts Legacy would suggest that isn’t the case, so perhaps it’ll just quietly come to Xbox later this year. Or maybe the team has decided it’s not worth the extra effort, or Sony has extended its exclusivity window? We won’t know until Microsoft confirms the state of any Xbox versions of these two games, but hopefully we’ll get the news in the next few months.
With a follow-up showcase planned for tomorrow, it’s possible that Microsoft might look to share updates on some of these first-party titles that are further out, although we’d expect it to be more a deep dive into some of the newly-announced games from the main show, as was the case last year. Looks like we’ve got our main slate for the next year of Xbox gaming, and it’s extremely unlikely that any of the games here (with the sole exception of GoldenEye) will be far enough along to squeeze into the current now-to-mid-2023 lineup. We’ll be back tomorrow with all the news from the second event, and we’ll keep you updated when we hear any more about these big games that will be coming to Xbox in Q3 2023 and beyond!
Which of these are you most looking forward to, and which are you most worried about? Let us know!
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