With the Xbox Series X’s holiday release window drawing increasingly closer, Microsoft is finally giving us a good look at the next-generation console’s upcoming first-party titles.
We know we’ll catch our first glimpse of Halo Infinite during the tech giant’s upcoming ‘Xbox Games Showcase,’ but there are also rumours swirling about another Fable game, a reboot of the Perfect Dark franchise and, likely, at least a few original titles.
For context, the tech giant’s stable of Xbox Game Studios now features a total of 15 notable developers, including The Initiative, Turn 10 Studios, Obsidian Entertainment, Ninja Theory, Double Fine, Rare, Vancouver’s The Coalition and Montreal’s Compulsion Games.
Microsoft’s Xbox Series X first-party game showcase is set for July 23 at 12pm ET/9am PT and will streaming on YouTube, Twitch, Facebook and Twitter. Geoff Keighley, creator and host of The Game Awards, will also be hosting a pre-show at 11am ET/8AM PT that will feature “additional world premieres” as part of his ongoing ‘Summer Game Fest’ event.
Next Thursday, join me for a special Xbox Games Showcase pre show on @YouTubeGaming with additional world premieres! Live at 11 am ET / 8 am PT, plus @Halo Infinite campaign reveal in the showcase. #SummerGameFest pic.twitter.com/1ui9oUYh7n
— Geoff Keighley (@geoffkeighley) July 17, 2020
— Aaron Greenberg 🙅🏼♂️❎ (@aarongreenberg) July 17, 2020
Aaron Greenberg, Xbox’s general manager of marketing, also recently tweeted about Keighley’s event, stating that fans won’t “want to miss this pre-show.” While it’s unclear what Keighley’s pre-show will feature, it’s likely worth checking out.
With all that said, rumours surrounding the keynote have been swirling for weeks now, so we’ve rounded them all up in one convenient location.
Once a big-name franchise associated with the Xbox brand, the Fable series has been dormant for several years, with the only recent games being 2017’s Fable Fortune, a free-to-play card game, and Fable Anniversary in 2014. Also, a near-complete co-operative action role-playing game set in the Fable universe called Fable Legends was cancelled by Microsoft back in 2016.
Though it’s still unclear what Xbox Game Studios developer could be working on a new entry in the Fable franchise, rumours point to Playground Games, the studio behind the Forza Horizon series.
The fact that a Twitter account with connections to Microsoft called @fable appeared a few weeks ago added further fuel to this fire. However, more recent rumours indicate the long-rumoured new Fable game won’t appear at this week’s Xbox Games Showcase and could be revealed at a later date.
Other Xbox Game Studios games
We know for sure 343 Industries’ Halo Infinite will get a lengthy gameplay trailer during the Game Showcase. However, beyond this, little is known about the game. It’s also unclear how Microsoft and 343 Industries will make an arena shooter like Halo relevant in the current battle royale-dominated shooter genre.
Your legend makes it more than just a number. pic.twitter.com/8DUFGz3FsO
— Xbox (@Xbox) July 16, 2020
So far, only a few cinematic teasers have been revealed from the game so far. What we do know, however, is the Halo Infinite portion of the keynote will be focused the game’s campaign rather than multiplayer.
Beyond Halo, we’ll also likely catch a glimpse of Age of Empires IV, the long-awaited return of the real-time strategy franchise. It’s unclear if the game will be playable both on Xbox and PC, but given the keynote is set to be Xbox Series X focused, it’ll likely be coming to both platforms.
Other upcoming Xbox titles include Double Fine’s Psychonauts 2, and InXile’s Wasteland, the latter of which releases August 28th. Rumours are circulating that InXile could also be working on a big-budget Unreal Engine 5-powered title, but beyond the fact that the game exists, we don’t know much about it.
We’ll also likely catch a glimpse of Ninja Theory’s Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II, a new Forza game and something from Rare, a studio formerly owned by Nintendo that released the well-received Sea of Thieves back in 2018. Dlala Studios is also handling a reboot of Rare’s iconic Battletoads series.
Finally, there is also a rumour currently circulating that third-party games could be shown off during the keynote despite the presentation’s primary focus on first-party titles. More specifically, VentureBeat is reporting Activision might reveal the next entry in the Call of Duty franchise during the showcase.
What’s The Initiative working on?
While Microsoft announced the creation of its Santa Monica, California-based studio The Initiative back in 2018, we haven’t heard anything regarding what the developer is working on yet.
There’s a possibility Microsoft could use this showcase to show off what the studio is developing, recent rumours suggest the tech giant is holding back this reveal. This makes sense, given The Initiative was only founded two years ago and likely isn’t far enough along developing a game to reveal it to the world.
Previous rumours indicated The Initiative could be working on a reboot of the Perfect Dark franchise, a long-dormant first-person shooter series that broke new ground in the genre way back on the Nintendo 64. While the franchise tried to mount a comeback as an Xbox 360 launch title with Perfect Dark Zero back in 2005, the game was somewhat divisive.
Xbox Series X pricing and release date
Unfortunately, it’s unlikely we’ll get pricing or a release date for the Xbox Series X at this Game Showcase. It’s expected Microsoft will confirm the Series X’s pricing in August alongside its often-rumoured less powerful Lockhart next-gen system that’s sometimes referred to as the Xbox Series S.
That said, there’s a strong possibility we’ll see some sort of announcement related to Xbox Game Pass and Project xCloud, Microsoft’s game streaming platform. Rumours point to a big-name third-party title possibly coming to Game Pass, though it remains unclear what game that would be.
The tech giant recently announced that xCloud would be making its way Game Pass Ultimate subscribers for free this September.
Xbox Series S
It’s likely Microsoft won’t reveal its less powerful next-gen console during this particular showcase. Codenamed Lockhart, the Xbox Series S is rumoured to only be capable of 1080p or 1440 gaming instead of 4K like the Series X.
Because of this, the S is tipped to feature a cheaper price tag than the more expensive Series X. Microsoft has yet to publicly discuss its plans for Lockhart, though several leaks indicate Lockhart’s specs include 7.5GB of RAM, a slightly slower CPU and 4 teraflops of GPU performance. For comparison, the Series X features 13.5GB of RAM and 12 teraflops of GPU performance.