So the Microsoft Xbox July Showcase has come and gone, detailing tons of interesting games from across the spectrum built for Windows PC, Xbox One and Xbox Series X. Of course, we finally got to see Halo Infinite in motion.
While there were a few things I wished we could’ve seen more of in the show, the message Microsoft offered was concise and clear, emphasizing Xbox Game Pass as the premier way to experience content coming out of Xbox Game Studios for the next half-decade or more.
Here are some of my key takeaways from the show, and some of the things I wish Microsoft could’ve dug a little bit deeper on.
What I loved
We got to see games like Echo Generation, with its turn-based monster show nostalgia vibes and The Medium, with its top-class horror presentation and unique next-gen features, coupled with the fact S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 will drop as a launch exclusive. Some of the smaller announcements really resonated with me, joining my growing list of most-anticipated upcoming Xbox games.
That fear of announcing games further away seems to have been shed.
For example, State of Decay 3 was revealed, giving us a glimpse at Undead Labs’ next major effort with this premier zombie apocalypse simulation game. The trailer didn’t give away much in terms of gameplay, but did seem to offer a few hints at the locale and types of enemies we may face. Up until now, State of Decay has only featured human enemies and mutants, but the new trailer showed off a zombie deer, disturbingly devouring a wolf in a bit of a role-reversal. As a State of Decay fan, seeing the game with this kind of detail was impressive, but whether or not it can be replicated in-game and not just CGI remains to be seen.
Fable was finally revealed, albiet via a brief cinematic trailer. Thankfully, Fable will retain its humor, sidestepping some rumors that it would pivot into something a little bit more grimdark. However, if you’re looking for grimdark fantasy, we have Obsidian’s Avowed, which looks to be Microsoft’s answer to Elder Scrolls. We also got a brief glimpse at the next Forza, and of course, a huge gameplay explosion for all things Halo Infinite.
I’m glad we got to see more of Microsoft’s longer term plans, and it’s something fans and, at least myself personally, have been asking for. However, it’s a bit of a double-edged sword when, again, we primarily got cinematic trailers rather than gameplay footage for some of those games that are further afield.
What I liked less
That said, Halo Infinite is a first-person shooter, and Microsoft has prioritized frame rates to that end. However, I thought next-gen was going to do away with compromises, and nothing about Halo Infinite really felt like it was a step up from Halo 5 to me. I also have concerns about the open-world gameplay. Are we going to be grinding materials to level up gear like in Destiny? If not, how to you make side objectives compelling in a shooter like Halo? There are a lot of unanswered questions there.
The future is Game Pass
Source: Windows Central
Every title it had shown off is coming day and date into Xbox Game Pass
Nothing in today’s Xbox show truly blew my mind, even if it was a rock solid show and delivered a longer-term roadmap of things to look forward to. What it did slam home to me was that we can continue to be happy and comfortable about Xbox Game Pass. I see no reason to move my primary gaming expenditure away from Xbox and PC, given that Game Pass is delivering so much value on both of those platforms right now — more value than I physically have time for even. Similarly though, I saw nothing in the show that would necessarily make a PlayStation-oriented gamer feel like switching sides.
A lot of gaming discourse revolves around the sport of “which platform is winning.” Nothing about today’s event suggests Xbox will steal the hardware sales crown from Sony, but they don’t need to. Microsoft is delivering for people already invested in its ecosystem, already invested in Xbox Game Pass, and want to carry their investment forward to next-gen hardware with the Xbox Series X, or mobile with Project xCloud. And clearly, Xbox is crushing it on the sales front.
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