2021’s Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase was a highly anticipated event coming into E3, with fans eager for news about Halo Infinite and Bethesda’s upcoming release, Starfield. The tight, prerecorded showcase featured 30 games, many coming from their bolstered first-party studio line-up.
Rather than go through absolutely everything, we’ve picked out the biggest takeaways from the presentation.
Fans and newcomers to the long-running Halo series will be buoyed by the news that its latest entry will feature a free-to-play multiplayer, while the full game itself will be available to play at launch through Xbox Game Pass. In trailers that were shown during the Showcase, Halo Infinite’s graphics looked much improved from 2020’s Xbox Games Showcase, where its visuals came under heavy fire amid internet criticism. With regard to gameplay changes from previous titles, a grappling hook was introduced, enabling players to grab weapons in mid-air and traverse maps more quickly, allowing for creative tactics in firefights. While Halo Infinite still has no official release date, it is expected to arrive during the 2021 Holiday season.
Forza Horizon 5
The Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase revealed the newest locale for the Horizon Festival – Mexico. A trailer shown for the title demonstrated a variety of different environments to be explored by players, including deserts, jungles and cities, among others. Chief among the points emphasised by the team at Playground Games was the level of detail that would be present in the in-game world, which was touted to make full use of the power of the Xbox Series X. Using the EventLab gameplay toolset, players will be able to create custom races and game modes, while the Horizon Arcade was shown off as a seamless experience for challenges without the need for loading screens, lobbies or menus. Forza Horizon 5 will be released on 9 November 2021, and will be available on day one through Xbox Game Pass.
The first console title developed by Bethesda Game Studios since Fallout 76’s release in 2016, and the first new game universe created by Bethesda Game Studios for 25 years, Starfield has been hotly anticipated since it was first teased in 2018.
While firm details on the production’s narrative are still scant at this point, a teaser trailer for Starfield billed the experience as ‘the beginning of humanity’s final journey’. Players will be taken on a journey to ‘answer humanity’s greatest mystery’. Starfield will launch on 11 November 2022 and will also be available on day one with Xbox Game Pass. It’s also an Xbox exclusive.
Xbox Game Pass
As you may have been able to tell with the previous entries in this list, Xbox are going all in on their subscription service, Xbox Game Pass. While wrapping up the Showcase, Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox, announced that of the 30 games shown during the presentation, 27 of them would be made available on day one through Xbox Game Pass. As well as this, previous Bethesda titles, such as Doom (2016), Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, The Evil Within 2 and the first three Fallout games were revealed to be available on Xbox Game Pass from 13 June.
Xbox clearly envisions a future where the service is the centrepiece of its offerings, as seen throughout the Showcase. While Sony has long presented itself as a company ‘for the players’, Microsoft now appears to be changing the narrative in a bid to recoup its losses over the previous generation of consoles. Game Pass is widely held as the gold standard for value to gamers, enhanced further when EA Play was added in 2020. The partnership saw Electronic Arts titles brought to Xbox Game Pass at no additional cost to subscribers.
For more information about the Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase, click here.
To see Voice Magazine’s live coverage of the event, click here.