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Everything Microsoft revealed at its 2022 Xbox & Bethesda Showcase

The stand-in event for the announcements that would have taken place at E3 in past years was jam-packed with expected blockbusters and a few shocking surprises.
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Written by Michael Gariffo, Staff Writer on
The logo of the Microsoft Xbox & Bethesda Showcase
Microsoft

Microsoft revealed a slate of over 30 new games, expansions, and add-ons at this year's Xbox & Bethesda showcase. The event stepped in for the press conference the company would normally hold at the still-canceled E3 (Electronics Entertainment Expo). That event had served as the stage for major consoles and PC gaming debuts in so many past years, going all the way back to Master Chief's original debut at E3 2001. 

Also: How Microsoft and Samsung may finally take cloud gaming mainstream

Now, in its own event, Microsoft debuted several of the titles everyone expected to see at this show, including Bethesda's new "Skyrim in space" title Starfield, vampire-focused FPS Redfall, and more. But, some of the show's biggest announcements may have come from two very unlikely sources: Activision Blizzard, which remains in the process of being acquired by Microsoft, and Riot Games. 

The Showcase included far too many titles to go in-depth with each and every one of them. So, let's take a look at some of the biggest reveals and most shocking surprises, followed by a round-up of the smaller titles and lesser-known games, all of which are coming over the next 12 months. 

The showstoppers

Redfall

Microsoft gave this title a place of pride as the one it opened the show with. The previously-revealed FPS got fleshed out considerably, with gameplay footage showing a squad-based (or solo) shooter that takes place in the titular town of Redfall, Massachusetts. Apparently, a group of vampires have taken up residence there, blocking out the sun and attracting an increased number of the town's residents to their cause via cults. 

You play as Layla Ellison, a young girl with a fairly nebulous set of mysterious powers. She's helped out by a predictable rag-tag group of friends, including some classic gaming archetypes like a sharpshooter, a "tech expert" with a robot dog, and more. The gameplay looks to be a mix of stealth-focused and traditional FPS portions, with a heavy focus on power-based combat, a la Overwatch or Valorant. It also includes an RPG-esque progression system to help you customize those powers and weapon combat. 

Release: Early 2023

Platforms: Xbox consoles, PC, Cloud

High on Life 

Another FPS from Squanch Games and the team behind Rick & Morty and Solar Opposites. With a pedigree like that, you're probably not surprised when I tell you most of the trailer was beyond bizarre, featuring several talking guns and one talking knife. Oh, and one of the guns sounds just like Morty. 

This one looks to take all of the odd humor, gross-out moments, and a strange-yet-endearing cast of characters (that also happen to be weapons) of the aforementioned animated series and turn it into an FPS. We'll find out if that strange mix of ambitions works later this year. 

Release: October 2022

Platforms: Xbox consoles, PC, Cloud

Riot Games Partnership 

Riot Games–maker of League of Legends, Valorant, and more–is coming to Microsoft's Xbox Game Pass in a BIG way. The duo revealed that Game Pass subscribers will be able to play Riot's full library of main titles on PC and mobile with a slew of exclusive benefits. 

Among those benefits are: 

  • All League of Legends Champions unlocked
  • All League of Legends: Wild Rift Champions unlocked
  • All Valorant Agents unlocked
  • Legends of Runeterra's Foundations card set fully unlocked
  • Select Teamfight Tactics' Little Legends unlocked

When combined, all of these unlocks would amount to a fairly hefty amount of cash if one were using real-world currency to purchase them, rather than going through the in-game unlock methods that rely on actual game-time and achievements. Game Pass subscribers will also receive an undisclosed "XP boost" within several of these titles. 

Release: "This winter"

Platforms: PC, mobile

Forza Motorsport 

Microsoft's trademark racking game is going back to the racetrack in its latest iteration. The new title skips the open-world seen in the Forza Horizon series and instead focuses on the nitty-gritty of realistic track racing. This includes a "48-times improvement" in physics simulation, with considerations now being given to details as minute as how much grip a tire should have based on the temperature of the track, as decided by the in-game dynamic weather system. 

Further adding to this realism is a new, expanded car customization system, improved graphics with ray tracing support, new photogrammetry scans of real-world tracks, fuel management, tire compound selections, and more. Microsoft also noted that Forza's classic Maple Valley track would be making its return with all-new and improved graphics. 

Release: Spring 2023

Platforms: Xbox consoles, PC, Cloud

Overwatch 2 

The first of the two big Blizzard reveals at the Showcase came as a shock to me and likely to every other Overwatch fan out there eagerly awaiting any shred of news on the long, long-simmering sequel. An event had already been scheduled for June 16, where the developer was expected to reveal some unknown details. It turns out we didn't have to wait that long. 

Not only did the big Overwatch 2 reveal confirm the long-expected shift to a free-to-play model, but it revealed the game's coveted release date and gave us our first look at the Junker Queen, the second new hero confirmed for the sequel after Sojourn, who was playable in the recent beta. On top of this, keen-eyed viewers could spot a slew of new skins, new map locales, and even hints at as-yet unrevealed heroes, like the "Kanezaka fox girl" that's been rumored for years now. We'll likely get to see more about her, as well as the rest of the previewed Junker Queen cinematic on June 16.

Release: October 4, 2022

Platforms: Xbox consoles, PC

Diablo IV 

The other big Blizzard reveal was the fifth and final class for its forthcoming Diablo IV sequel: the Necromancer. This new class looks to use undead minions and some fairly evil-looking spells to tear its way through the hordes of enemies you'll face across the 150+ dungeons in the game. This class joins the Barbarian, Sorceress, Rogue, and Druid–all of which feature a completely new character customization system. 

Blizzard also revealed new details about PVP-specific zones where players can go to duke it out with other players, complete with some particularly adept players being marked as "loot pinatas" you'll want to hunt down for their drops. PVE and PVP portions of the game will support couch co-op and crossplay multiplayer for PC and console players, with all those adventurers enjoying the game's new dynamic world that sees conquered areas turning into new ones dungeons or safe havens, depending on the player's actions. 

Release: Early 2023

Platforms: Xbox consoles, PC

Starfield 

This is the title that was widely expected to be the showpiece of the whole event, and Microsoft delivered on those expectations. Not only did it get the single longest presentation, but it closed out the show. Knowing what we do now, it's completely understandable. Not only is this game the spiritual successor to Skyrim, one of the most long-lived and widely-loved RPGs of all time, but it's MASSIVE. 

How massive? That's a question Bethesda's Todd Howard asked himself in the presentation, and he answered with this: 1,000 fully explorable planets, spread across 100 star systems, all accessible via player-created and customized space ships. You'll be able to tweak your craft's look, features, and weapons systems. That last bit is particularly important as you'll definitely be running into hostile ships judging by the space-based dogfighting seen in the trailer. 

Have no fear that this customization is limited to your ships. Howard laid out an incredibly deep-looking character customization system that allows you to tweak every aspect of your appearance and a skill progression system that combines the "best from previous [Bethesda] games." You can also craft and modify your player character's weapons, too. 

You'll be leveraging all of this technology and personal skill to find and retrieve mysterious artefacts that can apparently answer the question, "What's out there?"

Release: 2023

Platforms: Xbox consoles, PC, Cloud

Everything else

In addition to the blockbuster titles revealed or detailed above, Microsoft also debuted a huge slate of other new properties and add-ons for existing games. Let's take a quick look at each of them. 

Hollow Knight: Silksong 

The follow-up to one of the most successful "Metroidvania" type games of all time is coming to Microsoft's Xbox Game Pass on day one. Unfortunately, we still don't know exactly when that day will be, but it's sometime within the next 12 months. 

Release: Within 12 months

Platforms: Xbox consoles, PC, Cloud

A Plague Tale: Requiem 

The sequel to A Plague Tale: Innocence, this title looks to provide an equally bleak and emotional journey through a new setting and new adventures. 

Release: 2022

Platforms: Xbox consoles, PC, Cloud

Flight Simulator 40th Anniversary and Flight Simulator  

Microsoft's "longest-running franchise" is getting a 40th-anniversary update that will add helicopters, gliders, and other unusual aircraft. Among the slew shown off in the trailer looked to be the Wright Bros' Kitty Hawk Flyer and the Spirit of St. Louis. Current Flight Simulator owners also received a nice surprise during the reveal: The UNSC Pelican from Microsoft's Halo series is available right now as a free add-on. 

Release: November 2022

Platforms: Xbox consoles, PC, Cloud

Ara: History Untold 

An alternate-history, turn-based strategy game set in the world of Civilization IV. It looks ready to take the Civilization formula and bring in class alt-history tropes like steampunk technology, modern-day versions of ancient empires, and more. 

Release: Within 12 months

Platforms: PC

The Elder Scrolls Online: High Isle 

An expansion of Bethesda's Elder Scrolls Online MMORPG takes the action to new island locales, adding new zones, new mounts, and more. 

Release: June 21, 2022

Platforms: Xbox consoles, PC, Cloud, Stadia, Playstation 5

Fallout 76 - Expeditions: The Pitt  

This expansion to the post-apocalyptic MMORPG takes place in what used to be Pittsburgh, where players will "forge new alliances, undertake new challenges, and earn all-new rewards"  while trying to help settlers protect their small scrap of the wasteland.

Release: September 2022

Platforms: Xbox consoles, PC, Cloud 

Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels 

This new expansion takes the somewhat tenuous realism of the Forza Horizon series and throws it out the window by letting you race on giant Hot Wheels tracks using vehicles sourced from the real world and the Hot Wheels toy collection. 

Release: July 19, 2022

Platforms: Xbox consoles, PC, Cloud

Ark 2 

This sequel looks to pack in even more dinosaurs than its predecessor into the survival game genre and adds in what looks an awful lot like Vin Diesel for good measures. 

Release: 2023

Platforms: Xbox consoles, PC, Cloud

Scorn 

An FPS set in a "decayed hellscape" that would make any H.R. Geiger or H.P. Lovecraft fan swoon, complete with all of the dark, slimy, somehow-boney locations you'd expect from that description. 

Release: October 21, 2022

Platforms: Xbox consoles, PC, Cloud

Flinktlock: The Siege of Dawn 

A new action-adventure title that leans on "gunpowder-packed and magic-fueled combat" features an aesthetic reminiscent of Amazon's alt-history MMORPG New World. Oh, and you have a flying fox-thing as a pet!

Release: Early 2023

Platforms: Xbox consoles, PC, Cloud

Minecraft Legends 

A new RPG title set in the Minecraft universe and developed by its creator, Mojang. This take on the block-based world will see players riding around on angular mounts and swinging voxel swords to protect "the Overworld." 

Release: 2023

Platforms: Xbox consoles, PC, Cloud

Lightyear Frontier 

A homestead-building game where you pilot a transforming mech to turn an untamed section of an alien world into a cozy home. 

Release: Early 2023

Platforms: Xbox consoles, PC, Cloud

Gunfire Reborn 

A "roguelite" co-op shooter where you play as a cute, little, anthropomorphic animal desperately trying to cartoonishly murder all of your counterparts makes its debut on Xbox Game Pass. 

Release: October 2022

Platforms: Xbox consoles, PC, Cloud

The Last Case of Benedict Fox 

This "Burton-esque" mystery game is set in "an old mansion where a couple was murdered, and their child has gone missing." You'll need to navigate the secret organizations, forbidden rituals, and cold-blooded crimes to crack the case and survive.

Release: Spring 2023

Platforms: Xbox consoles, PC, Cloud

As Dusk Falls 

A visual novel or interactive drama for one to eight players where you have to make life-changing decisions for a family on the run from a mysterious past. 

Release: July 19, 2022

Platforms: Xbox consoles, PC, Cloud

Naraka Bladepoint  

Xbox Game Pass subs can soon join the 10 million people already playing this sword and sorcery battle royale. 

Release: June 23, 2022

Platforms: Xbox consoles, PC, Cloud

Grounded 

A full release of the preview title with more than 10 million players, this game tasks your group of shrunken teens with surviving backyard horrors like insects and other "Honey I Shrunk the Kids" Dangers. 

Release: September 2022

Platforms: Xbox consoles, PC, Cloud

Ereban: Shadow Legacy 

A debut title from indie developer Baby Robot Games calls on you to "harness mystical shadow powers, high-tech gadgets and avoid or kill to uncover the truth about your past and the key to saving a dying, morally grey universe."

Release: Within 12 months

Platforms: PC

Pentiment 

A visually stunning title that seems to take place within the page of an illuminated manuscript. You play as Journeyman Artist Andreas Maler trying to survive "a time of great social unrest" in 16th century Bavaria. 

Release: November 2022

Platforms: Xbox consoles, PC, Cloud

Sea of Thieves: Season 7 

The latest expansion of the 2018 pirate simulator brings new ship customization, new loot hubs, unique rewards, and more. 

Release: July 21, 2022

Platforms: Xbox consoles, PC, Cloud

Ravenlok 

An action RPG from the creators of Echo Generation set in a dark and twisted world reminiscent of LAIKA Studios' Coraline. 

Release: 2023

Platforms: Xbox consoles, PC, Cloud

Cocoon 

From Jeppe Carlsen, the mind behind LIMBO and INSIDE, comes a new, predictably mysterious adventure title that asks you to "Master world-leaping mechanics to unravel a cosmic mystery." 

Release: 2023

Platforms: Xbox consoles, PC, Cloud

Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty 

A new title from Team Ninja, best known for its Ninja Gaiden series, this hack and slasher is set in "a dark fantasy version of the Later Han Dynasty where you'll face off against a horde of demons plaguing the Three Kingdoms.

Release: Early 2023

Platforms: Xbox consoles, PC, Cloud

Persona3 Portable, Persona4 Golden, and Persona 5 Royal 

A trio of titles from Atlus' blockbuster Persona series is coming to Xbox Game Pass, beginning with Persona 5 Royal. 

Release: October 21, 2022 (Persona 4 and Persona 3 Portable release dates unknown)

Platforms: Xbox consoles, PC, Cloud

Unnamed Hideo Kojima Project 

Microsoft slipped in a surprise announcement that it's working on a game with legendary creator Hideo Kojima of Metal Gear and Death Stranding fame. Although they provided few details, Kojima himself did appear to reveal the title will be "completely new" and is a game he "always wanted to make." Apparently, this life-long dream is now being made possible by a new, special partnership with Microsoft. The segment closed with a promise for more "exciting news in the future." 

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