Original Articles

Xbox E3 2021 – Everything Announced at Games Showcase

Plenty of games on the horizon for Xbox fans.

by William Schwartz

xbox-bethesda-e3-2021

Some say that E3 doesn’t truly kick off until one of the big three show their wares.  With no Sony on the cards for E3 2021 and Nintendo not due until next week, a completely beefed up team at Microsoft took the stage at E3 2021 for a virtual press conference where they unveiled a bevy of new releases, some that were very much expected and others that fans had been waiting for years to hear about.  If you missed anything from the Xbox Showcase we’ve got you covered with every major announcement from the stream.  Without further ado, let’s get into everything you need to know from Microsoft, Xbox, and Bethesda from E3 2021.

Every Game at the Xbox x Bethesda Showcase

  • Starfield – November 2022 – Exclusive – Game Pass
  • Stalker 2 – Game Pass
  • Back 4 Blood – Game Pass
  • Contraband – Avalanche
  • Sea of Thieves – Game Pass – June 2021 New Content
  • Battlefield 2042 – October 2021
  • Psychonauts 2 – August 25th, 2021 – Game Pass
  • Fallout 76 – Game Pass
  • Elder Scrolls Online – Console Enhanced June 2021
  • Party Animals – Game Pass
  • Hades – Game Pass
  • Somerville – Game Pass
  • Halo Infinite
  • Diablo II – September 2021
  • A Plague Tale Requiem – 2022
  • Slime Rancher 2 – 2022
  • Far Cry 6 – October 2021
  • Shredders – December 2021
  • Atomic Heart
  • Replaced
  • Grounded
  • Among Us
  • Eiyuden Chronicle
  • The Ascent – Game Pass – June 2021
  • Age of Empires IV –
  • The Outer Worlds 2 – 2022 – Game Pass
  • Flight Simulator
  • Forza Horizon 5 – Fall 2021
  • Redfall – 2022 – Game Pass

Starfield Release Date

If you were hoping to see some of the finer points for Starfield you’re going to have to wait until next year.  However, Microsoft/Bethesda did reveal when to expect the game.  November 2022 is when you’ll finally get to play Starfield, the sci-fi take on a Bethesda RPG that we’ve all been waiting for.  That said, there is some information to glean from the trailer, including the use of Creation Engine 2 for the game.  Aside from that, all we know is that this is a brand-new universe from BGS.  E3 2022 will most likely be a deep dive into Starfield.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R 2 Heart of Chernobyl Gameplay Reveal

We got a couple of big pieces of information regarding S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2.  It’s going to be here by April 2022 and when it arrives it will be a timed Xbox Console Exclusive.  More importantly though, fans got to get a good look at the gameplay from the game and it’s looking impressive.  Check out the trailer below for a look at the dazzling next-gen visuals, ray tracing, and what looks to be some pretty varied gameplay.

Back 4 Blood is Coming to Game Pass

Back 4 Blood is the latest co-op shooter from the creators of the Left 4 Dead series.  In collaboration with Warner Bros, Turtle Rock studio looks to be carrying the torch for Left 4 Dead while Valve let’s the franchise fester.  The latest trailer revealed at E3 2021 showcases the PvP aspects of Back 4 Blood and if there’s anything you can take away from that reveal it’s that this game is going to be heavily influenced by their previous work.  Better yet, if you’re a Game Pass subscriber you’re going to be able to play Back 4 Blood on day one.

Contra Band Announcement

E3 always has small teasers that don’t reveal all that much.  The teaser for Contraband was just that.  Seemingly set in the 1970’s this is a cooperative open world shooter from the creators of the Just Cause series.  Not much else was revealed in terms of gameplay for Contraband.  So it’s really going to be up to speculation in terms of what type of game this is.  Judging from the trailer it seems to be some kind of treasure hunting co-op game, but we’ll need to wait for more details.

Sea of Thieves x Disney Collaboration

Jack Sparrow and the likeness of other Pirates of the Caribbean characters will be making their way to Sea of Thieves in a free update called “A Pirate’s Life”.  Due to arrive on June 22nd, this is a collaboration between Disney and Microsoft that noone saw coming, but makes perfect sense.  Sea of Thieves has recently found new life with its availability on Game Pass and the addition of new, free content will certainly be welcome by those that are continuing to play the game.

Battlefield 2042 Gameplay Trailer

Battlefield 2042 was recently revealed, but this gameplay was saved for the Microsoft x Bethesda Showcase.  In it we see a return to form for the Battlefield series, where things massive maps, vehicular combat, and wild sandbox action coalesce in a way where many games try, and fail.  For more details about what’s to come in Battlefield 2042 check out our info-dump from a recent hands-off preview for the game.

Twelve Minutes Release Date

When a romantic evening goes wrong, police break into your home and accuse your family of murder.  Twelve Minutes is a real-time interactive thriller where you’ll need to use all information available to change the outcome of an ongoing twelve minute loop.  Another title coming to Game Pass on Day One, Twelve Minutes will arrive on August 19th.

Psychonauts 2 Release Date Announcement

We’ve known about Psychonauts 2 for quite some time after the news broke that Microsoft purchased Double Fine.  However, we had no idea when to expect the game.  Know we know.  Psychonauts 2 will launch on August 25th and it will be coming to the Xbox Series X/S as well as Xbox One and PC.  But it’s also going to be arriving on the PlayStation 4.  Check out this latest trailer below:

Fallout 76 – The Pitt

Yes, Fallout 76 is still alive.  While it might not have launched in the best possible state in the world, Bethesda hasn’t given up on it.  In fact, it’s undergone several major updates which have continually improved on the game.  From the trailers dropped at the Microsoft x Bethesda showcase they don’t appear to be stopping those updates anytime soon.  A brand new expedition was announced for The Pitt, which will take players from West Virginia to another nearby locale.  While that was just a teaser of things to come, there was a secondary bit of content revealed in terms of what to expect from the upcoming Steel Reign update as well.  Take a look at both, below:

Elder Scrolls Online Optimized for Xbox Series X/S

The Elder Scrolls Online MMO has been on consoles for quite some time, but it’s getting updated for Xbox X/S owners on June 15th.  This update will give players the option to run the game at full 4k resolution or at 60fps depending on preference.  It will also improve other visual facets of the game in terms of better draw distances, reflections, textures, shadows, and load times.  If you’re looking for a reason to jump back into ESO this is it.  Check out the Console Enhanced Trailer below:

Party Animals Reveal

Party Animals is a brand-new competitive party game that looks to be in the same vein as Gang Beasts, but instead of jiggly blobs you play with cute wobbly animals.  Regardless, if you like some good old fashioned physics-based fun, Party Animals seems like it will fill that need.  Regardless, it won’t be out for quite some time.  Party Animals was announced to be coming in 2022, but it will be available on day one via Game Pass.

Hades Coming to Game Pass

As if Game Pass needed more good games, Hades is coming to the service.  Topping the GOTY lists of many in 2020, Supergiant Games’ Hades is definitely a can’t miss title.  Now that it’s on Game Pass, thankfully more people will get to enjoy one of the better rogue-lite titles in years.

Somerville Release Window First Gameplay + Coming to Game Pass

Coming from Jumpship, Somerville is a sci-fi adventure that’s set in a world where a large scale conflict is going on. Reunite your family after what can only be conceived as an alien invasion seems to be the premise of this title.  Another game that will be headed to Game Pass when it releases in 2022.

Halo Infinite

Who knows why Microsoft tucked Halo Infinite away in the middle of their E3 presentation.  Maybe it’s been the recent delays, maybe they’re just not that confident with the series.  What we saw today was some pretty impressive multiplayer footage as well as a new look at some improved visuals over a massive landscape.  What we got from today’s reveal is that Halo is going to be a two-part title.  The first is a single player experience, which 343 can hopefully return to form on.  The second is going to be a free-to-play multiplayer component.  While these rumors have been floating around for a while, what hasn’t been floating around is Halo Infinite gameplay.

Diablo II Resurrected Release Date

Diablo II Resurrected is slated to arrive on September 23rd, 2021.  Heading to PC, Xbox Series X/S and Xbox one the remastered classic will also be hosting an open beta to try the game on Xbox and PC.

A Plague Tale Requiem Reveal and Release Date

Following up on the success of the first game, A Plague Tale Requiem will see players embark on a new adventure with Amicia and her brother Hugo as the curse hunts them down.  A Plague Tale Requiem will be on Game Pass day one and will release in 2022.

Far Cry 6 New Gameplay

We’ve already heard plenty from Far Cry and Giancarlo Esposito-led cast for the game.  It’s going to be a lot of what we expect from the Far Cry series and that means big open worlds with plenty of sandbox fun.  This latest gameplay trailer, is, however, brand new so feast your eyes on that below and then begin the wait.  Far Cry 6 is coming on October 7th, 2021.

Slime Rancher 2 Announced

Coming in 2022, the sequel to the popular Slime Rancher players will play as Beatrix as they attempt to unravel the island’s secrets and wrangle slimes.  Game Pass subscribers will be able to do so on Day One.

Shredders

Taking inspiration from Amped, snowboarding movies, and the current stars of the snowboarding world, Shredders takes players to the mountains and allows them to unleash their skills in this beautiful title.  Coming December 2021, and will be available day one on Game Pass.

Atomic Heart Announcement

Atomic Heart might be the weirdest thing that you’ll see from Microsoft x Bethesda showcase today in terms of gameplay.  However, courtesy of the PR department from Microsoft we’ve learned that Atomic Heart is an action-RPG that is based in the Soviet Union in an alternate reality circa 1955.  That alternate reality already has the technology for things like the internet, holograms and robots.  You’ll play as agent P-3 who is tasked with investigating a manufacturing plant that has gone silent.  Yet again, this one will be on Game Pass on Day One.

Replaced Announcement

Replaced is a 2.5D sci-fi retro-futuristic action platformer where you play as R.E.A.C.H – an artificial intelligence trapped in a human body against its own will. Replaced combines cinematic platformer, pixel art, and free-flow action combat with a deep engaging dystopian story set in an alternative 1980’s. Explore and uncover the mysteries in and around Phoenix-City from the perspective of R.E.A.C.H. who is learning how to be human in a society that has taken a turn for the worst. Everything is ruled by corruption and greed, The ones in power see humans and their organs as nothing more than just currency. Discover the dark secrets of Phoenix-City. Define your shared future. Play day one with Xbox Game Pass.

Grounded Update

A big update is coming to the early access title where it’ll get some quality of life improvements, base building, weapon upgrades, and more.

Among Us Coming to Game Pass + Bigger Lobbies

Among Us has been on Game Pass Ultimate on PC for quite some time, but Xbox players will be getting the game on Game Pass in 2021.  Plus, it’s been revealed that bigger 15 player lobbies are coming to the game as well.  A game that saw an incredible rise in popularity during the Pandemic, it’s unclear if the game will continue to have lags beyond.  Continued updates and the availability on Game Pass could help that become a reality.

Eiyuden Chronicle

In Eiyuden Chronicles: Hundred Heroes take your turn-based strategy game experience to the next level with a fine crafted 6-character battle system. Utilizing meticulously created 2D sprites and beautiful 3D backgrounds, Rabbit & Bear Studios delivers a riveting story and gameplay unlike any JRPG that has come before. Eiyuden Chronicles: Hundred Heroes is designed to bring players a modern take on a classic JRPG experience. Get ready to lead 100+ playable characters through a war-torn world only you can save.  Both games are coming day one to Xbox Game Pass.

The Ascent

The Ascent is a solo and co-op Action-shooter RPG set in a cyberpunk world. The mega corporation that owns you and everyone, The Ascent Group, has just collapsed. Can you survive without it? The Ascent is entirely playable in solo or co-op (online and local) up to 4 players and available day one with Xbox Game Pass on PC, cloud, and console.

Age of Empires IV Gameplay

Age of Empires IV is coming to Xbox Game Pass for PC and Ultimate, Windows Store and Steam on October 28! The trailer below revealed two new launch civilizations – the Abbasid Dynasty and the French. The team also showcased the 100 Years War campaign with history icon Joan of Arc; the campaign will allow players to experience this long-fought conflict between England and France. Finally, the battle took to the water in the first look at naval combat!

The Outer Worlds 2

After the success of Obsidian’s The Outer Worlds it was only a matter of time before The Outer Worlds 2 was announced.  However, this announcement was basically just enough to whet the whistle and nothing more.  No gameplay, nothing much more than a logo, and a trailer that is completely self aware of the fact that this is completely underwhelming.  It is unclear when this game will arrive.  2022 might be cutting it a little close, plus with the release of Starfield it might be a little too much overlap for the two massive Xbox games.

Microsoft Flight Simulator – Top Gun Collaboration – Xbox Console Launch Date

Microsoft Flight Simulator will arrive on the Xbox Series X|S on July 27 and will be included with Xbox Game Pass. It was also announced that a free Top Gun: Maverick expansion will launch alongside the new Top Gun: Maverick movie on November 19, 2021 this will bring fighter jets to Flight Simulator later this year.

Forza Horizon 5 Deep Dive + Announcement Release Date

In what was probably the biggest deep dive of the show, Playground Games showcased a brand new setting for Forza Horizon 5 and some stunning visuals.  Expect the release of Forza Horizon 5 later this year and for it to be on Game Pass on Day One.  You can check out both trailers below.  Forza Horizon 5 will arrive November 9th on the Xbox Series X/S as well as Xbox One, PC via Windows and Steam.

Red Fall – Arkane Austin

Microsoft’s “One More Thing” was a completely unannounced game coming from Arkane Studios.  Redfall is an Xbox Exclusive that will come to the Xbox Series X/S and PC.  The team behind the Dishonored series and Prey are going to try their hand at the vampire hunter genre.  A game that is said to be able to be played solo or co-op, the trailer below showcased what should be some really varied gameplay, while adhering to that signature succulent Arkane style.

Everything in one sizzle reel

Want to check out everything in one sizzle reel.  You can find that below.

The Xbox Mini Fridge – Embrace the Meme

The real one more thing was the Xbox Mini Fridge, which Microsoft insists is really happening.  How about instead of fridges you just try to make enough consoles so that everyone that wants one, can get one, Ok?

And that’s going to do it for everything from the Xbox x Bethesda Showcase for 2021.  A lot of big announcements and plenty to be excited for for Xbox fans.  From old franchises make returning to glory with Halo and Forza to new IPs from newly acquired studios, there’s going to be plenty to play on the Xbox and plenty of value coming to the Game Pass service in 2021 and beyond.

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