Microsoft held its much-anticipated Xbox & Bethesda games showcase yesterday where the company unveiled over 30 games coming to Xbox and Xbox Game Pass in the next 12 months. The event included several new game announcements including a new Minecraft game and an Xbox exclusive title developed with Kojima Studios, but we also add a couple of surprises for existing games as well.
Overall, the 90 minutes event was pretty dense and it ended with a first gameplay video of Starfield, Bethesda’s upcoming sci-fi adventure that’s been delayed to 2023. This was definitely one of the main highlights of the event alongside the new gameplay trailer for Diablo IV, which will also be released in 2023.
Microsoft also announced yesterday a partnership with League of Legends developer Riot Games, and Riot’s biggest titles are now coming to Game Pass (though not on Xbox consoles) this winter. You can see below the roadmap for all the games Microsoft announced yesterday, and we’ll take a closer look at some of the upcoming Xbox Game Studios titles and third-party games right after.
Unfortunately, it seems that Microsoft had unintentionally leaked the announcement on Steam during the weekend, but the Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels expansion will be launching on July 19. It’s a nice throwback to the critically-acclaimed Hot Wheels DLC for Forza Horizon 3, and the expansion will bring 10 new cars to the game including four Hot Wheels cars.
Following the release of Microsoft Flight Simulator: Game of the Year Edition last fall, the game will get another free update with the Microsoft Flight Simulator 40th Anniversary Edition launching later this fall. Players can expect new aircraft types including helicopters and gliders, and the iconic Pelican aircraft from the Halo games is also available today as a free download in the in-sim marketplace.
We had not heard about the next Forza Motorsport game since Microsoft’s July 2020 Xbox games showcase, but it finally came back to the spotlight yesterday. The new Forza Motorsport gameplay trailer captured on Xbox Series X showed the game’s physics engine in a pretty impressive way with advanced car damage, real-time ray tracing, and a new dynamic time of day system. The game will be released on Xbox Series X|S and PC next year, probably in the second half of 2023 if Microsoft respects the release cycle for previous Forza games.
Microsoft also unveiled Minecraft Legends yesterday, a new Minecraft-themed action strategy game coming in 2023. “The game will have a very exciting campaign that will introduce many surprises for both new and seasoned Minecraft player alike. And for those looking to play with friends, there will be online campaign co-op and competitive multiplayer which we’re looking forward to sharing more on later this year,” said Dennis Ries, Minecraft Legends Executive Producer yesterday.
Starfield, which is expected to be released in the first half of 2023 got its official gameplay reveal yesterday. Starfield has often been described as “Fallout in space,” and it looks really ambitious with a thousand planets to explore in the game, engaging space combat, and a promise of “unparalleled freedom” from Bethesda.
Lastly, Hideo Kojima from Metal Gear and Death Stranding fame announced yesterday that he has teamed up with Xbox Game Studios to create a new Xbox exclusive game that will be powered by the cloud. The game has no title and precise release date yet, but Kojima is a game creator known for pushing boundaries, and the fact that the game will be powered by the Xbox cloud suggests that we may get something that’s never been seen before.
Even though Microsoft isn’t done yet with its acquisition of Activision Blizzard, Microsoft had some exciting news for Blizzard yesterday. First of all, Overwatch 2 will launch on October 4 on Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC as a free-to-play game. There will be a separate reveal event on June 16 at 10 AM PT on the official Overwatch channels on YouTube and Twitch.
Two big games will also launch on Xbox Game Pass on October 21, 2022. The first one is Scorn, the biopunk survival horror game that was initially expected to be released in Autumn 2021. Scorn will be a timed exclusive on Xbox Series X|S, but it’s also being released on PC.
The second game launching on Xbox Game Pass on October 21, 2022, is the critically-acclaimed J-RPG Persona 5 Royal. Persona is a series that has deep ties with PlayStation, but it’s finally coming to Xbox on the 25th anniversary of the franchise. Persona 4 Golden and Persona 3 Portable are also coming to Xbox Game Pass next year.
A Plague Tale Requiem, the sequel to Asobo Studios’ A Plague Tale: Innocence is also coming on day one on Xbox Game Pass later this year, though it still has no release date. The upcoming third-person action-adventure game looks very pretty on the gameplay footage captured on Xbox Series X, and the game will actually skip last-gen consoles entirely.
The second Blizzard game we saw yesterday was Diablo IV, which will be released in 2023. For the first in the series, the game will offer deep character customization, cross-play and cross-save support, and a larger open world. The much-anticipated game won’t be available with Xbox Game Pass, though that may change once Microsoft completes its acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
Last but not least, Microsoft has teamed up with Riot Games to bring the company’s PC and mobile games to PC Game Pass in winter 2023. While Riot’s games are free to play, what this means is that Game Pass subscribers will get all characters across League of Legends (PC), Valorant (PC), and League of Legends: Wild Rift (Mobile). Game Pass Members will also receive bonuses across Legends of Runeterra (PC & Mobile) and Teamfight Tactics (PC & Mobile).
It can be pretty costly to unlock all this additional content for Riot’s free-to-play games, and this partnership could be the first in a long series. If you missed it yesterday, you can still watch the Xbox & Bethesda Games showcase on YouTube, and there will also be a separate Xbox Games Showcase Extended show tomorrow, June 14 at 10 AM PT.