After the strange debacle that was, generally, the pre-release of the Xbox One, what with Microsoft’s odd focus on it being your one-stop-shop for “entertainment” over just games (Watch TV! Interact with sports! Skype with your friends! Share videos on YouTube! Oh, and use it to play games, too. /sadtrombone), it comes as no shock to see that, with the pre-release of the Xbox Series X, Microsoft has been singularly focused on games. This mindset was well on display in last week’s Xbox Games Showcase. There were no new hardware reveals, no flashy interludes purporting on what we already know – that the future of gaming is going to be pretty darn nice. Instead, the event gave Xbox fans more than few good gaming reasons as to why its console would sail heads and tails over the competition. Here are a few of my own takeaways from the showcase.
The award for “I’m not much into foreshadowing, but…” goes to:
At the start of the showcase, my husband asked me if there was anything I was hoping to see. My ready and simple answer was “Fable 4.” With nary a glimpse of neither hide nor hair of it during the regular show, much to my surprise, it showed up as the “one more thing” reveal at the end of the showcase. True that we didn’t get much more than some pretty cinematics that were, in the end, rife with the silly humor for which the series is known, but at least we got something. Something showing that the team at Playground Games was still working on this game, and frankly, that’s enough for me, especially when compared to the oblique “reveal” at Dragon Age 4 during Sony’s PS5 reveal event. Give me a new Fable game with the simple RPG joy of the second game and none of the bored heaviness of the third, and we’ll be good to go.
The award for “If Fable 4 stinks, at least I’ll have…” goes to:
The reveal of a new first-person RPG from Obsidian (Fallout: New Vegas, The Outer Worlds), was my biggest and most delightful surprise of the showcase. By all counts, if Fable 4 wasn’t enough for me to want to dive into an XSX, Avowed could push me over the edge. Medieval setting? Check. Magic AND swords? Check. Creepy, skeletal enemies? Check, check, and more check.
The award for “That’s a Rare game?!” goes to:
As one who will forever associate Rare with titles such as Conker’s Bad Fur Day and Banjo-Kazooie, I was amazed by the company’s latest effort, Everwild. In a world where beautiful games may become even more beautiful in the next gen, Everwild, not unlike The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild in looks, was truly stunning. I only wish that the trailer gave a better sense of what exactly the game is going to be like, but guess we’ll have to wait to see what becomes of its mesmerizing graphics and emotionally moving scenes.
The award for “Of course they’re going to open with that” goes to:
Halo Infinite (of course)
With the surprising number of Halo games in our gaming library, you’d think I’d have picked one up by now. Alas, you’d be wrong. Halo has become one of those series that I enjoy watching far more than playing, and I’m looking forward to seeing some great Let’s Plays of Halo Infinite.
And, finally, the award for “I’m not crying, you’re crying” goes to:
Tell Me Why
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found games that feature sibling relationships to be much more emotionally impactful than games about spouses or lovers. The glimpses we got in Dontnod’s Tell Me Why of two siblings struggling with both their pasts and presents left me feeling sad, hopeful, and very curious. Again, it’s hard to tell what type of game its going to be from the trailer, but my sense is that, for me, it’ll be something like Beyond: Two Souls, metaphorically speaking. The kind of game that challenges players in different ways but is emotionally rewarding in the end.
If you tuned in, what were some of your most memorable impressions from the Xbox Games Showcase?
Lede image © Microsoft Corporation.