I think it’s safe to say the Xbox and Bethesda smashed it out of the park with this year’s E3 showcase. While there will still be detractors – you know the ones – I can’t think of an E3 showcase in recent memory that I left after being as hyped up as this. Showing off 30 games, with 27 of them coming to Game Pass day one and many of them exclusive, the old – admittedly based in truth – adage that Xbox has ‘no games’ is well and truly on the way out of the door.
Xbox and Bethesda hit us with game after game after game, with very little in the way of waffle or slow points in the entire 90 minutes, which made the presentation just breeze by. We tried our hand at live reacting to it (while also playing drunk bingo, which didn’t quite do me any favours…) and the three of us could barely keep up with the excitement.
By now you’ve no doubt seen the showcase, but it’s worth highlighting a few of the stand out moments among the many that were here.
First up, we’re heading straight to the end. We had hoped for something from Arkane but I don’t think we genuinely expected it what with Deathloop coming to PS5 exclusively later this year, which made it all the more exciting when we got the final reveal of Red Fall. Arkane are the masters of giving the player tools to use in whatever way they see fit, allowing you, me, Tom, Dick, Harry and everyone else to all play the same game completely differently. Up until now that has been a solo affair but here, we get to team up against a horde of human and vampire enemies. Sure the trailer was CGI but I have no doubt that we’ll see everything shown and more be possible by players come next summer. Some strong Left 4 Dead vibes brought character and humour to the trailer too, with the four protagonists playing off of each other nicely. As you’ll see from our (slightly inebriated) reaction, this is one the team are very excited for.
Of course, I’d be remiss to skip over the start of the show; our first glimpse at in-engine footage (though not gameplay, sadly) of Starfield, the long-awaited project from Bethesda. It looked absolutely stunning, with incredible detail on the interior ship we saw, as well as the scope of the planet outside. The Creation Engine 2 looks to be making use of the next gen hardware well, perhaps also bolstered by not being tied to an Xbox One release. The tone setting here genuinely gave me goose bumps as I just watched it again now, with that wonderful score complimenting the visual perfectly. Like approximately 900 billion other people I adore Skyrim and remember getting fully immersed in that vibrant, deep, detailed world back in 2011. I can only imagine the possibilities space and next gen hardware offer Bethesda considering what they were able to squeeze into Skyrim back then. Hiding the release date in plain sight too was a nice touch, again calling back to Skyrim’s 11/11/11 release with its own 11/11/22 date.
So far, Bethesda have done the heavy lifting but Xbox were not going to hand it all over so easily. Forza Horizon 5was revealed with its Mexico setting offering some incredible visuals and gameplay potential. I’m not a racing fan for the most part; I like to dabble here and there, crash some cars and then move on but this got me very interested. The wide open areas, volcanoes (!!) and potential for multiplayer fun hit just right along with those stunning visuals. I hope the opening doesn’t drag as much as Horizon 4’s did, allowing us to get into the action quicker, but otherwise this looks like a great way to spend some time this Nov. 9th!
Then, there’s Halo Infinite. This was a much more measured showing than last year, perhaps somewhat smartly, though I’d have liked to see them come out swinging with a revamped campaign gameplay session. What was shown though was a beautiful looking sweeping shot of Zeta Halo, along with a touching cinematic with a new AI as they and Chief hunt down Cortana. I’ve always been interested in the Halo lore (yes, I’m one of them book readers) even if I’ve fallen off of it over the last few years but this short tease already has me more invested than the entire Halo 5 campaign ever did. But probably more importantly, we got our first proper glimpse at multiplayer and boy howdy does it look good. Free to Play whether you have Game Pass or not, and Cross Play/Progression, it looks like classic Halo once again. Halo 5 did a fantastic job at getting me back into multiplayer, but just from this brief glimpse Infinite looks to be taking the best of the original trilogy and blending it with improvements from Guardians as well as natural progression thanks to new tech and learnings over the years. Again, literal goosebumps watching the Spartan grapple hook to the ceiling, no scope an enemy, then drop and back whack another in one fluid motion. Then the colourful, explosive battles seen in the Capture the Flag section reminded me why I used to adore Halo MP so much. I cannot wait to get in and start playing with the sandbox on offer here.
These were just some of the highlight from the entire show. Notable mentions include former Playdead founder Dino Patti’s new UK based studio Jumpship reveal of Sommerville, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2’s stunning looking trailer, Back 4 Blood confirming Game Pass day one status with a fantastic new trailer, The Outer Worlds 2 getting a tongue-in-cheek reveal, more 12 Minutes gameplay… truth be told I could just list the entire line-up here, it was that good. Perhaps the only down note for me was slightly too long was spent on Fallout 76 and ESO DLC chat, but then they are both immensely popular games so I can understand this decision.
If you don’t watch anything else though, you must check ot the trailer for Atomic Heart from Mundfish. What began as a lovely looking post-apocalyptic title soon took tonal shifts that no-one could have seen coming, and it’s quite something to behold.
Overall, I think this was an excellent outing for Xbox, Bethesda, and all those involved. We got plenty of expected content mixed in with some great surprises and reveals, and it barely stopped to let us catch our breath yet didn’t overwhelm us with too much at the same time. Xbox are on a roll right now, and it can only go up from here. What a year or two we have to look forward too, and we’re still waiting on more from titles such as Fable and Perfect Dark which were both absent here.
What did you think of the show? Hit us up below in the comments or on Twitter @xboxtavern or me personally @enaksan.Become a Patron!