The month of June always promises new game announcement trailers and updates with each passing year, and this year was no exception. Despite the cancellation of E3 2022, the show still managed to go on with many standalone presentations in its place, making room for the Microsoft x Bethesda showcase to take to the stage.
And with a runtime of around 1.5 hours, there was indeed plenty to unveil. Unannounced titles made their debut, unreleased projects received new trailers, and existing works got updates, but the focus on a one-year release window here was what was different from previous iterations. Essentially, the spotlight only belonged to games that are going to be released within a one-year window — with the exception of the last segment, which was set aside for an extended look at the highly-anticipated sci-fi role-playing game (RPG) Starfield.
Here’s how everything at the Microsoft x Bethesda showcase went down.
Opening with Arkane Austin’s co-op, open-world horror game Redfall, Microsoft kicked things off with an extended look at vampire-shooting gameplay and the abilities of each character: the sniper-type Jacob Boyer, Coast Guard officer and engineer-controlled type Remi de la Rosa, the cryptozoologist with a lethal offensive toolkit Deviner Crousley, and lastly, the telekinetic all-rounder Layla Ellison. It’s very much Arkane-style (aka in the vein of Dishonored and Prey), and will be hitting Xbox consoles and PC sometime in 2023.
Hollow Knight: Silksong
The sequel to the acclaimed Metroidvania Hollow Knight received a new gameplay trailer at the Microsoft x Bethesda showcase, but there’s still no word on a release date. Hollow Knight: Silksong does look as beautiful and soulful as its predecessor, is set to feature a new world and different skillsets. Instead of Knight, Hornet, who played both friend and foe to the latter in the original title, will be taking over as protagonist here.
High on Life
A definite surprise at the Microsoft x Bethesda showcase, High on Life is the next title from Rick and Morty creator Justin Roiland’s Squanch Games, and it’s as zany and bizarre as one would expect. The first-player shooter has players using talking guns with unique personalities and attributes as they stand their ground against a horde of aliens trying to use humanity to make drugs. It’s certainly far from conventional and looks to be a whole load of nonsensical fun, with a release currently slated for 2022.
A Plague Tale: Requiem
The rats are out again in full force, as a new trailer for A Plague Tale: Requiem promises. In it, protagonist Amicia is seen lobbing fireballs at them, or darting around to take down human enemies. Stealth appears to be a core part of gameplay, with more sneaking and backstabbing (literally) action laying in wait. The sequel to 2019’s A Plague Tale: Innocence features a new region inspired by medieval France, and will be coming to Xbox Series X and PC sometime in 2022.
Riot Games on Xbox Game Pass
Riot Games is heading to the Xbox Game Pass, and with a bunch of bonuses in tow. League of Legends, League of Legends Wild Rift, and Valorant will come with all champions and agents unlocked by default, while Legends of Runterra and Teamfight Tactics are set to bring a decent offering of unlocks at launch. The library will be available to play on PC and mobile after its addition to Game Pass later this year, and this is a definite highlight of the Microsoft x Bethesda showcase.
Forza Motorsport goes heavy on hyper-realism in a nearly six-minute gameplay demo. Described as almost a full reboot of the series, the upcoming racing title will feature new physics, improved car handling, and enhanced true-to-life details, such as dynamic time of day, differing tire textures at various speeds, and even individual scratch damage. Maple Valley, a classic Forza track, is returning to the fray, while tire and fuel management is set to be a new addition. The game is slated for release next Spring on Xbox Series X | S and PC.
Microsoft Flight Simulator
Microsoft Flight Simulator is celebrating the franchise’s 40th anniversary in style with classic airplanes, gliders, helicopters, and a surprise special similar to the vein of its Top Gun: Maverick tie-in: the UNSC Pelican from the Halo series. All of these will be available for free for those who already own the game when it drops in hot in November 2022.
As a follow-up to its beta session earlier in April, Overwatch 2 has shared an official release date at the Microsoft x Bethesda showcase, alongside a first look at the highly-anticipated Junker Queen in action. Blizzard Entertainment’s hero shooter will be free-to-play when it launches, with early access beginning 4 October 2022. While the gameplay abilities of Junker Queen weren’t detailed (that’s likely to be reserved for a standalone showcase on 16 June), the character received her own announcement teaser in an art style that’s reminiscent of the Borderlands series.
Ara: History Untold
At first glance, Ara: History Untold appears to be a real-time strategy title that takes after the Civilization and Age of Empires franchises. However, it won’t be respecting history in the same way as the two, and instead, presents itself as a turn-based grand strategy game instead, offering players the chance to create their own history and version of the past. Little else is known about it, except that it’s currently in development for PC with no word on the release date.
The Elder Scrolls Online: High Isles
Released a week ago as a US$40 expansion, The Elder Scrolls Online: High Isles brings players to the never-before-seen region of Systres Archipelago. It spans 30 hours of story content and side quests, with a story focus on reigniting the ongoing Three Banners War. The game is available for PC, and will be heading to PlayStation and Xbox consoles on 21 June.
Fallout 76 will soon allow players to leave the Wasteland and head into the Pitt, which first made its appearance back in Fallout 3 as an add-on. Like the Elder Scrolls Online expansion, this was already announced, but there was a little teaser shown during the Microsoft x Bethesda showcase.
Forza Horizon 5
Forza Horizon 5 is getting its first expansion, and it’s none other than a Hot Wheels DLC. In the announcement trailer, a squad of new Hot Wheels cars can be seen racing around various orange tracks, and it looks like a real blast. That’s set to launch on 19 July.
The dinosaurs are back to rule in Ark 2, having travelled with their human masters in the previous game. Captured in Unreal Engine 5, the “real-time footage” shows off the vast environment of an entirely new planet, and confirms that Vin Diesel is still attached to the project. It won’t arrive until 2023, which is a year later than originally planned.
There are plenty of grotesque creatures, veiny appendages, and horrific-mangled entities in Scorn. The horror title is releasing on 21 October 2022, and will likely feature some puzzle-solving and combat mechanics, as the protagonist (who looks like some kind of organic construct) makes his (its?) way to what seems to be an alien facility.
Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn
Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn pits humans against the mighty gods in a magic-meets-gunpowder setting. The open-world RPG sees protagonist Nor and her companion, Enki, embarking on an “epic journey of vengeance, gunpowder, and magic in humanity’s last stand” when it releases in 2023 on the Xbox One and Xbox Series X.
Strategy is the name of the game in Minecraft Legends, in which players are tasked to protect the Overworld from an invading army of piglins. The game will have them forge alliances with mobs and lead them into strategic battles against the invading forces in two different ways: an online campaign co-op and a competitive multiplayer mode. As shown at the Microsoft x Bethesda showcase, 2023 is the date to look out for.
Lightyear Frontier is a relaxing farming simulator — think Stardew Valley but with mechs. The non-violent adventure offers co-op for up to three players, who have to work together in a distant planet to build a life by farming crops, exploring new areas, and building a homestead. It will be arriving sometime in Spring 2023.
The Last Case of Benedict Fox
This one’s for fans of Lovecraftian influences and the Metroidvania genre. The Last Case of Benedict Fox is looking real gorgeous, promising a 2D side-scrolling mystery that involves a whole bunch of occult thrills, demon action, and an invasion into the consciousness of the dead when it arrives to Steam, the Epic Games Store, and Game Pass for PC in Spring 2023.
As Dusk Falls
A branching game about family secrets, As Dusk Falls invites players to go on a solo trip to find the truth, or team up with up to eight players for a co-op experience. The interactive drama is coming to PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X | S on 19 July.
Released last year, Naraka: Bladepoint will be heading to consoles, starting with Xbox, with a new campaign mode, the new Dual Blades weapon, and cross-play support in tow. The melee battle royale is making its debut on the Xbox Series X | S on 23 June.
From the director of Fallout: New Vegas comes Pentiment, a stylised 2D RPG that’s built around branching narratives. Described as a “narrative adventure,” the project is slated to arrive on Xbox and PC later this year in the form of a medieval painted art style.
Grounded is finally taking off from the ground, as it welcomes more players to its backyard with an official September 2022 launch, alongside the addition of new weapons, armour, and a big, scary Mantis.
Ereban: Shadow Legacy
There’s no need to hide in the shadows when you can be the shadow. In Ereban: Shadow Legacy, you play protagonist Ereban, who has the ability to morph herself into a plume of smoke to kill enemies, creep along walls, and infiltrate tight spaces. The cyber-apocalyptic setting is shaping up to be a delight, with the cel-shaded aesthetic bringing added depth to the art style. Prepare for a heap of fast-paced stealth action at some point in 2023.
A release date has yet to be announced for Diablo IV, but a new cinematic trailer has offered a fresh look at the new Necromancer class, who can summon undead minions to do their bidding. Alongside an open-world setting, the game will also feature cross-progression across PC and consoles, and couch co-op, with long-term content planned for years after its launch.
Sea of Thieves
Ahoy, mates! The new Sea of Thieves update lets seafaring folks live out their captain dreams, who will be able to name, customise, and decorate their ships. Season 7 is arriving on shores on 21 June.
A bizarre wonderland awaits players in the vibrant, colourful world of Ravenlok. The upcoming title seems to take after the convention of fairytale retellings, with a focus on real-time combat that places it more into the “action” genre. No release date has been given, but it will come to Xbox and PC sometime in 2023.
Described as a sci-fi puzzle adventure, Cocoon is the brainchild of Jeppe Carlsen, the lead gameplay designer of Inside and Limbo. There isn’t much to go on in the announcement trailer, though the presence of a worlds-within-worlds reality hopping system should make for an interesting experience. The game will open up on Steam, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch sometime in 2023.
Wo Long: Final Dynasty
Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty is a game that promises mythological and horror elements, and there seems to be a strong hint of that in the reveal trailer. While it’s unclear whether the game will feature more hack-n-slash action characteristic of the Dynasty Warriors franchise or the Souls-like combat in Nioh, the grand reveal of Lu Bu at the end does seem to set the stage up for an epic boss fight. Or team fight, whichever works. There’s no word on a release date at the Microsoft x Bethesda showcase, but it’s set to come to PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC in 2023.
Hear, hear! The long-requested PC port for Atlus’ Persona series is finally here. Persona 3 Portable, Persona 4 Golden, and Persona 5 Royal will be available on the Xbox Series X and PC starting 21 October, and as part of the Xbox Game Pass subscription. We certainly didn’t see this coming (cue Persona 5 OST)!
Hideo Kojima’s Unannounced Game
Surprise! Hideo Kojima confirmed that his next game project will be a collaboration with Xbox Game Studios at the Microsoft x Bethesda showcase, but unfortunately, there were no more details beyond that. The esteemed developer has, however, described it as a “completely new game that no one has ever experienced or seen before,” so it could the horror work-in-progress Overdose, which got leaked a while back. The hype train just got real.
It has been 25 years, but Bethesda’s first new IP will soon become a reality. Previously announced for a 2022 release, the work-in-progress was later delayed to the first part of 2023, with nothing much to show except for an eight-second reel. Now, an extended 15-minute footage has offered a more concrete look at gameplay, consisting of shooter combat, dogfighting mechanics, character creation, environment design, and a switch between first- and third-person camera.
The new Starfield trailer also gave a quick lowdown on the overarching story. Set on the fictional setting of Kreet that extends beyond the Solar System, the game sees players playing the role of a member of a space-exploring organisation called Constellation, who is tasked to gather the scattered fragments of a mysterious entity over 100 explorable systems and 1000 planets.
Think No Man’s Sky for the planet exploration bit, and a blend of Fallout and The Elder Scrolls for storytelling and combat — there’s really a lot going on here.
Now, that’s what we call ‘going out with a bang’! The Microsoft x Bethesda showcase was nothing short of exciting, and from the sight of things, it seems 2023 is shaping up to be a good year for games. There’s certainly enough to go around to satisfy that gaming itch, be it for an AAA enthusiast, or an indie game enjoyer, so do lock in the dates and keep an eye out for those that you’re interested in.