Microsoft is set to host its Xbox Bethesda Games Showcase today – June 12, 2022. This digital conference will be one of the highlights of the E3 2022 period, in spite of the ESA canceling the main event on our E3 2022 schedule. That means that all eyes will be on Microsoft, with many players looking to this showcase to see how the slate of Xbox Game Studios exclusives are shaping up, and for any new information on the announced acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
Microsoft finds itself in a bit of a strange position heading into the Xbox and Bethesda Games Showcase. Frankly, there’s an absurd number of upcoming Xbox Series X games in active development from the Xbox Games Studios group, but we’ve seen very little of any of them. It’s been years since we last heard anything concrete on games like Everwild, Fable 4, Forza Motorsport, Perfect Dark, State of Decay 3, while the likes of Avowed, Project: Mara, Indiana Jones, Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 (and others) remain just as elusive.
Of course, it might be best to temper your expectations now. With ongoing stock shortages making it difficult for would-be Xbox owners to get their hands on a Series X, the scaling back of E3 in 2022, and the COVID-19 pandemic wreaking havoc on release schedules, there’s a good chance that Microsoft may keep its cards close to its chest this time around. With all that in mind, here are six things we expect to come from the Xbox Bethesda Games Showcase.
Massive Starfield showcase
Bethesda recently announced that Starfield was being delayed into the first half of 2023. The new science-fiction RPG, from the studio responsible for Fallout and The Elder Scrolls, was originally scheduled to release on November 11 – a showpiece for Xbox Series X in 2022. While its delay is certainly a blow to Microsoft’s fall lineup, I think there’s still a fairly good chance that we’ll see it in action.
It takes time and resources to create a demo for an in-development video game that is fit for public consumption. And so while the difficult decision was made to push back the Starfield release date, giving Bethesda Game Studios time to properly complete and polish its first new IP in 25 years, it isn’t out of the realm of possibility for a playable demo to have been completed. If that’s the case, we should still be set for a lengthy showcase that’ll give us a sense of how Starfield plays and the scale of Bethesda’s ambition.
The future of Gears teased
There are rumors doing the rounds that suggest that the Gears of War series is set to receive a Halo: The Master Chief Collection style package in 2022. While they have been unverified the truth is, a Gears of War Remastered Collection is a bit of a no-brainer. Given the growth of Game Pass, getting the full Gears series to a consistent fidelity and performance benchmark would be good for the series’ future – not only to breathe some new life into Gears of Wars’ multiplayer, but to get players caught up with the series ahead of an eventual sequel to 2019’s Gears 5.
In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Microsoft at least teased the future of the franchise here. The Coalition has been collaborating closely with Epic Games on Unreal Engine 5 – with the studio having a hand in that impressive The Matrix Awakens demo – and so it seems inevitable that Gears 6 will be on the near horizon, acting as a showcase for UE5 on Xbox Series X.
Halo Infinite gets its act together
The release of Halo Infinite hasn’t exactly gone to plan. 343 Industries released what is undoubtedly the best Halo game in a decade, but the live service package surrounding it has proven to be divisive. Promised campaign and multiplayer features remain MIA, battle pass seasons are being dragged out over six-month stretches of time, and there are serious concerns surrounding the pipeline of new maps, modes, and weapons. That said, it is a hell of a lot of fun to just play the damn thing.
It’s why I’m hoping that Microsoft uses E3 as an opportunity to take stock of where Halo Infinite is at and regain its composure. More forthright communication around campaign co-op and multiplayer Forge mode would be welcomed, but I really want to see where Master Chief is heading next on Zeta Halo. The Halo Infinite ending cliffhanger sets up post-game conflicts that will expand and evolve over the next decade, the first of which is thought to be Halo Infinite: The Endless. Honestly, a hint at the plan surrounding story DLC would likely help calm the storm of discontent that is threatening to envelop 343 right now.
Microsoft bets big on licensed IP
This is a total shot in the dark, but I wouldn’t be surprised if studios from the Xbox and Bethesda groups have games to reveal that are built around established entertainment franchises. In recent years, we’ve seen an industry-wide proliferation of the Star Wars brand – everybody from DICE to Quantic Dream have been hard at work creating upcoming Star Wars games – while the Marvel machine finally kicked into gear at 2K, PlayStation, and the former western wing of Square Enix.
We know that Microsoft has at least one deal in place with Disney, with Wolfenstein developer MachineGames creating an Indiana Jones game. There’s a good chance we’ll get more information on that project, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there were further collaborations. Given its success, it’s surprising that there’s been no movement around The Mandalorian, while the cosmic side to Marvel remains largely untouched by developers despite its growing prominence in the MCU. Licensed games aren’t going away, and it would be wild for Microsoft to not invest heavily here.
Lock down the 2022 lineup
We are now six months into the year and there are no first-party exclusives on the books for 2022: Starfield and Redfall being delayed has left quite the space. While it’s expected that the end of year lineup will include third-party platform exclusives like Ark 2 (likely to be given a gameplay reveal) and STALKER 2: Heart of Chornobyl (unlikely to be shown, as the war in Ukraine has impacted development), there are still some big genre gaps to fill. Sony is in a similar position, with little more than Last of Us: Part 1 and God of War: Ragnarok on the books from the PlayStation Studios group for 2022. It’s why I’m expecting Microsoft to use the Xbox + Bethesda showcase as a statement of intent.
My speculative predictions? Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 from developer Ninja Theory will launch this autumn, a convincing showcase of Unreal Engine 5 on Xbox Series X. Forza Motorsport will arrive too, a platform for future expansion for Turn 10’s racing simulation. Less likely, but not impossible: Everwild will be re-revealed and head into some type of open beta, after years of development at Rare alongside Sea of Thieves, and Bethesda will announce that Redfall will receive some kind of 2022 playtest too.
Honest updates on everything else
Video game publishers have a tendency to obfuscate, and I understand the temptation. Announcing any delays in development will often generate no end of speculation as to what is occurring behind the scenes, but in this instance I think it would be good for Xbox and Bethesda to give an honest accounting of where the Xbox Game Studios group is at with its various projects – particularly after the delays of Starfield and Redfall. I’m not necessarily expecting to see or hear all that much on everything that’s been announced so far – from Avowed to Perfect Dark to The Outer Worlds 2 – but an update on where each team is at with production, and the release windows they are shooting for would help to set expectations moving forward.
The same goes for the teams that are in early pre-production or otherwise working on unannounced projects. For example, We Happy Few developer Compulsion Games and Wasteland 3’s inXile Entertainment were acquired in 2018 and we’re still yet to get a clear sense of what they are working towards; Bethesda’s Roundhouse Studios was founded in 2019 and is yet to show its hand, and we haven’t seen anything concrete out of Doom’s id Software or Wolfenstein’s MachineGames in years. With over 20 developers falling under the Xbox Game Studios umbrella, it would be good to get a sense of what the future of Xbox may look like, even if more details aren’t forthcoming.
Xbox Bethesda Showcase 2022 leaks and rumors
That’s if for our Xbox Bethesda Showcase 2022 predictions, but we thought it be only fair to give you a head’s up about all of the Xbox E3 leaks and rumors that we’re hearing. Below you’ll find quick links to relevant rumors – but just remember, these remain unconfirmed! We’ll find out for sure in just a couple of hours.