If you enjoy games, E3 is like birthday party that lasts nearly a week. It’s when we find out what delights the major publishers have planned for us over the next 12 months or so. Developers and publishers finally get to lift the veil on their hard work and show us what they have been doing. E3 is going to be very different this year, as due to the pandemic everything is going to be online. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t going to be lots to get excited about. Over the next few days, leading up to the event, we’re going to share our predictions for what could be announced at the big shows. First up, here are our predictions on what will be announced at the Xbox and Bethesda E3 showcase.
After the debacle of the Xbox One launch, Microsoft has been playing catch-up in the console space. Having reached the next generation of consoles, now is its time to show what the company is really made of. Microsoft and the Xbox team have made huge investments in development studios, particularly the megaton acquisition of ZeniMax Media (Bethesda, id Software, and more). We now need to see what these developers are working on. Although some of these studios have only been part of the Xbox brand for a couple of years, they were surely working on stuff before they joined Microsoft.
Clearly, a lot of time in the Xbox and Bethesda E3 showcase is going to be taken up by the next installment in the Halo franchise. This is the IP that built the Xbox brand and, after its showing last year, it has a lot of goodwill to win back. How this new instalment will fit in storywise after the misstep of Halo 5: Guardians has yet to be revealed. But the fresh start Halo Infinite is promising sounds welcome. We know that there is going to be more of an open-world approach to the gameplay. Expect this to be more akin to the desert and ice locations of Gears 5 where you found extra sections to play through in the world rather than open-world offerings like The Witcher or Grand Theft Auto. We also know that the multiplayer will be free-to-play, so some clarity about the monetization of this would be welcome.
What we really need from the gameplay footage that is bound to be shown is some impressive visuals. The last time we saw the game the graphics were underwhelming, to the point of spawning a popular meme. While this is a game designed to still run on the base Xbox One, developer 343 Industries is targeting a visual showcase on the new Xbox Series X and PC. We expect to see a marked improvement in the look of the game. And if they come out again and say that ray tracing will be added in through a patch at a later date, they may as well go home right now.
For a while, Forza games arrived with the same regularity as EA Sports titles. It has now been over two years since the release of the brilliant Forza Horizon 4. A year ago, we got a teaser for Forza Motorsport. Turn 10 Studios is completely redoing the game engine and dropping the number from the name, so this is likely something of a reboot. The teaser released last year was notable for two things. First, the footage shown was of cars going around the exact same corner over and over again (the corkscrew from Laguna Seca). Second, the teaser said that it was only for Xbox Series X|S and PC. This isn’t a game that is coming to Xbox One, and that means Turn 10 can really push the technology and visuals.
When Xbox boss Phil Spencer revealed the new consoles, he said that Microsoft would continue to support Xbox One with all first-party titles for a couple of years. This could mean that Forza Motorsport won’t launch until at least the end of 2022. However, as the game is currently running a closed beta for a very select number of Forza fans, we wouldn’t be surprised to see either an early 2022 release or (more likely) a September 2022 launch. With the game clearly at a late stage of development, we expect to see at least a more substantial gameplay trailer.
The Xbox and Bethesda E3 showcase should be when we finally learn what Starfield actually is. Some screenshots for Bethesda’s latest have been leaked over the years, but the only official image or footage we’ve seen is the announcement trailer which was more of a mood piece without any hint of gameplay. There are lots of rumors about the game but nothing much has been confirmed. We know that it is a single-player game, the start of a franchise, and is aiming for a next-gen experience. Anything further about the game is just conjecture.
We assume that it will be some sort of RPG, as that’s what Todd Howard and his team are known for. It’s expected to be an exclusive for Xbox and PC. Some possible screenshots suggest that players will have to manage their oxygen and carbon dioxide levels, and there will be health and stamina bars. These leaked shots also showed a holstered shotgun, so it’s safe to assume that there will some form of combat on display. Other than that, well, we’ll just all have to wait and see.
Other Bethesda studios
Despite Microsoft splashing the cash to pick up all of the studios associated with ZeniMax, we don’t expect to really see much from them. Arkane Studios and Tango Gameworks are putting the finishing touches on their games. But as these are timed exclusives for PlayStation, it’s safe to say that we won’t see anything of these during the Xbox and Bethesda E3 showcase. Though, it has to be said that it would be a total baller move to show new trailers for these along with captions saying that they will come to Xbox Game Pass in 2022. MachineGames its still early in development on its Indiana Jones game. And, as we have already had a teaser trailer, it’s unlikely that we’ll see anything else from the game for a while.
That leaves us with id Software. Doom Eternal was released over a year ago. This means the developer is undoubtedly working on something else, and it’s unlikely anything will get shared yet. The one exception to this could be if it’s a franchise we already know. We would love to see id reboot the Quake franchise in the same way it has with Doom. There’s also an outside possibility that Arkane is busy working on something alongside Deathloop. Again, whether that’s ready to show is another matter entirely.
Other Xbox Game Studios
Of course, Bethesda isn’t the only studio under the Xbox banner. It’s likely that we’ll see some gameplay from Psychonauts 2, the latest brain-bender from Double Fine. The Coalition has confirmed that it’s working on multiple projects, but they’re a long way out. It’s safe to say we won’t see anything from the Gears studio this week. Obsidian is hard at work on Avowed, which is also a long way off so probably won’t make an appearance. We may get confirmation of a sequel to The Outer Worlds, as Microsoft has just renewed the IP. However, expect something like a splash screen rather than any actual footage if that’s the case. Rare is continuing to update Sea of Thieves, so we may get a trailer about what we can expect there. The company is also working on Everwild, so maybe we’ll finally learn what the game actually is.
Perfect Dark was revealed at The Game Awards in December. As it’s fairly early in production, don’t expect to see anything more from that. And speaking of The Game Awards, the year before saw the reveal of Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II. Since then, there hasn’t been that much revealed about the game. We’re probably due some gameplay and possibly even a release window of next year. Playground Games is working on the next Fable, but that will probably get a full reveal next year. And we assume that Playground will wait for Turn 10 Studios to finish the Forza engine update before releasing a new entry in the Horizon spin-off. Two studios that have been quiet are Compulsion Games (We Happy Few) and Undead Labs (State of Decay). We could quite possibly see what both of these studios are working on.
Xbox Game Pass
Whatever is shown during the presentation, we can guarantee that Xbox Game Pass is going to be pushed hard. Aside from the fact that all of the aforementioned first-party games will be coming to the service on day one, you can expect a wealth of indie titles revealed for the service as well. You can definitely expect an ID@Xbox sizzle reel to be shown, featuring lots of indie games coming to Xbox Game Pass.
With Flight Simulator due to come on console this summer, we wouldn’t be surprised to have an “and it’s available now” moment there. There have been rumors that the latest entry in EA’s Battlefield franchise could come to Xbox Game Pass on day one. That could be a huge reveal to share during the conference. Microsoft has been aggressive in getting some major third-party titles to come to the service. The console versions of Outriders and Mechwarrior 5: Mercenaries joined Game Pass on day one. Here’s hoping that this spills over to the PC side of things as well.
And if you want a more outlandish prediction for something to come to game pass, how about adding Ubisoft+ to Game Pass? After all, EA Play is available with the Ultimate version of the subscription service. There have been rumors that Ubisoft+ may join Game Pass, and E3 would be the perfect place to announce the addition.
Will the Xbox and Bethesda E3 showcase “power your dreams” or your nightmares?
There are some safe bets among our predictions, but the safest bet of all is that there will be something that we aren’t expecting. Microsoft and the Xbox team have a lot to prove, and they are going to want to show why they have been acquiring so many studios. Bethesda also has to step up after the debacles of Fallout 76 and Wolfenstein Youngblood. Let’s hope that the company comes out swinging and impresses us all with the full reveal of Starfield. What you can be sure of, however, is that we’ll be covering all of the big announcements here on PC Invasion.