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Xbox + Bethesda showcase promises big new games...for 2023

It might be a quiet holiday season for Xbox.

Microsoft's Xbox + Bethesda showcase aired today, giving more airtime to a slew of platform-exclusive titles that will be debuting in the next twelve months. While high-profile Bethesda games like Redfall and Starfield got extensive gameplay previews, Xbox was forced to sheepishly confirm that it doesn't have any high-profile first-party exclusive titles set for the 2022 holiday season.

That's not necessarily a bad thing for Xbox. Microsoft spent the show hammering home how many games it was showing off from third-party partners would be available day one on Xbox Game Pass. Combined with an expanded rollout of Xbox Cloud Gaming, the company still has a strong marketing message to help sell Xbox devices at the end of the year, and hopefully pick up more revenue-driving subscribers.

Like Geoff Keighley, Phil Spencer appeared to do some pre-show moderation about expectations, saying that today's showcase would be more "gameplay-focused." This is apparently because the company is responding to fan requests for footage of games in action. 

There were still some neat first-party surprises to be had. The Forza Motorsport series is getting its first new entry since 2017 from Turn 10 Studios, and Obsidian Entertainment debuted Pentiment, a stylized 2D role-playing game that resembles images from illuminated manuscripts and woodcut prints.

Mojang also revealed its next Minecraft game: Minecraft Legends, an "action strategy" game that lets players unite various Minecraft creatures in a battle to save the Minecraft Overworld.

One interesting Game Pass reveal was the library of Riot Games. League of Legends, League of Legends: Wild Rift, Legends of Runeterra, Teamfight Tactics, and Valorant are all coming to Xbox Game Pass, with free characters and upgrades to help subscribers jump into these online games.

A slow holiday season for first-party platforms does mean that third-party developers and publishers have a chance to shine. Games like A Plague Tale: RequiemScorn, and The Callisto Protocol will are some of the titles Xbox put front-and-center in a showcase of what's coming out in the next 12 months.

A showcase of the next 12 months of Xbox Games.

A bounty of Xbox games

Here are all of the games Xbox announced or showed off in today's Xbox + Bethesda showcase.

  • Arkane Studios' vampire-hunting co-op RPG Redfall.
  • Hollow Knight Silksong, which still does not have a release date.
  • High On Life, a new first-person shooter from Squanch Games, featuring the voice of Rick & Morty co-creator Justin Roiland.

A screenshot from High on Life

  • Riot Games' Game Pass launch
  • A Plague Tale: Requiem
  • Forza Motorsport
  • Microsoft Flight Simulator, which is getting a "40th anniversary edition" update with new vehicles, including Halo's Pelican spaceship.
  • Blizzard Entertainment's Overwatch 2, which will be playable in Early Access starting October 4, 2022.
  • Ara: History Untold, a new turn-based strategy game from Oxide Studios. Its last game was Ashes of the Singularity.
  • The Elder Scrolls Online is getting a new expansion this year called High Isle.
  • Fallout 76 (which was recently scrutinized for poor production practices that direly impacted QA) is getting a new expansion called Expeditions: The Pitt.
  • Forza Horizon 5 is getting a Hot Wheels crossover, bringing speed boosters and plastic orange tracks to the game's vivid landscape.

Hot Wheels tracks mixed into the Forza Horizon 5 landscape

  • Ark II, the sequel to Ark: Survival Evolved promised a 2023 launch date.
  • Scorn, a new shooter with strong H.R. Giger vibes from Ebb Software.
  • Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn, a third-person action game from  Kepler Interactive.
  • Mojang's new game Minecraft Legends developed in partnership with Homeworld and Hardspace: Shipbreaker developer Blackbird Interactive.

A screenshot of Minecraft Legends

  • Lightyear Frontier, a multiplayer space survival simulator that lets players pilot giant mechs.
  • Gunfire Reborn, an increasingly popular PC game from Duoyi Games, is coming to Xbox in October 2022.
  • The Last Case of Benedict Fox from developer Plot Twist. This looks like a side-scrolling action exploration game inspired by the style of H.P. Lovecraft.
  • As Dusk Falls, an interactive motion comic story from developer Interior/Night. 
  • NetEase battle royale game Naraka Bladepoint is coming to Xbox Game Pass.
  • Obsidian Entertainment revealed its next game: medieval 2D RPG Pentiment.
  • Obsidian Entertainment's Grounded, which is leaving Early Access in September 2022.
  • Ereban: Shadow Legacy, a cyberpunk stealth game from developer Baby Robot Games. This one seems to show the mainstreaming of shadow platforming mechanics seen in games like Schim.

A screenshot of Ereban: Shadow Legacy

  • Blizzard Entertainment's Diablo IV showed off a new player class: The Necromancer (previously introduced in Diablo III's Rise of the Necromancer), and got an extensive gameplay showcase that promised years of live game support as part of its online open world.
  • Sea of Thieves' Season 7 trailer promised new ship customization options, and the potential for players to save personalized ship loadouts.
  • Ravenlok, a new action RPG from developer Cococumber.
  • Team Ninja debuted a new game called Wolong Fallen Dynasty, which also came with a promise from Xbox CEO Phil Spencer to bring more Japanese titles to the platform, including Atlus' Persona series.
  • And last but definitely not least, Xbox showed off gameplay for Bethesda Softworks' Starfield, which looked like a healthy combination of Bethesda's Fallout games and Hello Games' No Man's Sky

A screenshot of Starfield

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