The lack of first-party titles from Xbox, especially on the AAA front, is no secret. But Microsoft promised that 2023 will be different and get it closer to its aim to release at least one big game per quarter. To illustrate that, Microsoft aired the Xbox Developer Showcase, a video presentation (mostly) focused on games coming out in the first half 2023. They had a lot to show, including gameplay from some long-awaited titles and a brand new game reveal. Keep reading to get the lowdown on Microsoft’s upcoming releases.
The latest Minecraft spinoff is an action-strategy game co-developed by Mojang Studios and Blackbird Interactive. The visuals are surprisingly beautiful, given the retro graphics of Minecraft. The art style is reminiscent of “HD 2D” games from Square Enix like Octopath Traveler and the remake of Live A Live. Minecraft Legends releases on April 23, 2023.
Elder Scrolls Online
Xbox aired a 30-minute segment focused exclusively on Elder Scrolls Online and its latest expansion, Necrom: Shadow over Morrowind. The new chapter, which takes players to Eastern Morrowind, is about 30-hours of content. New content includes four PvE dungeons and the new Arcanist class, the seventh overall and first new class in five years. The expansion releases March 13 on PC and March 28 on consoles.
The segment of the Xbox Developer Showcase focused on Forza Motorsport centers on how the latest entry in the Forza series is looks and sounds more realistic than ever. It would have been nice to learn more about the gameplay but, to be fair, one of the main appeals of the Motorsport series is how much playing the game feels like the actual driving experience. The game is set to launch sometime in 2023.
The surprise announcement of the day was Hi-Fi RUSH, a rhythm action game from Tango Gameworks with a colorful art style and cel-shaded graphics. It looks more expansive than any other rhythm game I can think of, hinting at a large, possibly open world. The footage shows wannabe rockstar Chai fighting alongside teammates, each with their own unique abilities, to perform “dynamic combos and over-the-top action.” Hi-Fi RUSH is starkly different from Tango’s other titles, the horror series Evil Within and supernatural Ghostwire Tokyo. You can see for yourself if the tonal pivot is successful, because Hi-Fi Rush is available to play now.
A deep dive into Redfall‘s gameplay was exactly what was needed to satiate longtime fans of Arkane, showing viewers that the vampire-hunting shooter is more like Arkane Austin‘s 2017 immersive sim Prey than previous trailers suggested. Like Prey, the weapons do more than blast enemies and blow things up and the unique abilities in the game separate it from other first-person shooters. Redfall looks like a more approachable Arkane game, which may be just what Xbox needs right now. The game comes out on May 2.
The Xbox Developer Showcase, while light on surprises, provided a lot more info about 2023 titles and gives reason for fans to get excited about Xbox again. If Microsoft manages to release all these games, Starfield, and maybe another exclusive or two, 2023 will be the best year Xbox has had in a long time.