On August 24, Xbox will kick off day zero of Gamescom. I would argue, this conference is as important as any other conference the publisher has had in the last few years. Their E3 lineup gained a lot of praise as the company revealed what Xbox will look like over the next few years, and I think what they’ll have to show at Gamescom will hopefully refine that vision of the future. What we currently know is that Xbox will not be announcing any new projects.
Instead, everything we’ll see on August 24 will be updates for games that we already know exist. As far as I’m concerned, this is the best thing possible for the company. As it stands now, there’s a strong chance that some of Xbox’s previously announced titles may not see a release until as late as 2024. So for today, I want to look at what I think we’ll see at the Xbox show. I’d say this is a predictions article, but let’s be honest, I will miss some stuff. With that said, let’s talk about something that I know will be there.
With the release of the Steam Deck later in the year, I’m excited to finally jump back into the Xbox ecosystem. That being said, we’ve hardly seen anything from Halo Infinite’s campaign. With the game’s multiplayer beta picking up a lot of positive buzz, Gamescom is a great opportunity for 343 to prove that Halo can be more than just a great multiplayer game. As for a release date, it’s clear that the team at 343 and Xbox have been waiting for other gaming giants to announce their release dates first. With Call of Duty: Vanguard coming out on November 5 and Forza Horizon coming out on November 9, I think the end of November is a great time for Halo to make its way out to players. My personal prediction would be for either November 23 or 30.
It feels weird to say, but Forza has become THE franchise for Xbox. With Halo 5 not being the game that fans hoped for, Xbox needed something to step up and become the face of the console, and surprisingly, it was the Forza franchise that took the reigns. And because Forza is so important for Xbox, and German’s love fast cars, Forza showing up at Gamescom is a recipe for success!
I don’t know if Psychonauts will become a mascot franchise for Xbox moving forward. But, with that said, I think Xbox must make sure that non-Xbox owners realize just how talented the team at Double Fine is. With Psychonauts 2 coming to everything, it’s an excellent opportunity to get players excited for future Double Fine projects that will be exclusive to Xbox. Everything we’ve seen about the upcoming game looks like a lot of fun. I think one last blowout trailer to get people hyped would be a great way to send off the game before it launches the day after this event.
When the first Hellblade made its debut, everyone who experienced what Ninja Theory had to offer was blown away. Since then, it’s been a roller coaster of emotions for the small studio as they’ve been purchased by Microsoft and now suddenly find themselves as one of the flagships for the Xbox One Series X/S. We haven’t seen a lot from the game, but what has been shown off has left us all amazed. With some of the most incredible visuals we’ve seen yet, Hellblade 2 looks to be ready to show everyone just what next-gen gaming can do.
With all of that said, I think now would be a great time to show off some type of gameplay and to let fans know that this will be one of Xbox’s big releases for 2022. As I said at the beginning, I think this conference is crucial for the company. When the show ends, everyone knowing what the road map looks like for the rest of 2021 and 2022 would be huge for Xbox.
State of Decay 3
It has been a long time since I’ve owned an Xbox, but the State of Decay franchise has always made me jealous during my time away. An open-world multiplayer game with zombies that can permanently kill the squad that I’m trying to build? Sign me up! And with State of Decay 3 running on some of the most powerful hardware possible, I think the team at Undead Labs has their best chance to deliver the game they’ve always wanted.
Similar to Hellblade 2, I think State of Decay 3 is a perfect title to showcase for Xbox’s 2022 road map. Hellblade 2 and State of Decay 3 look to be two intense games. This is why I think Xbox is really going to need something with a little bit more commercial appeal. Hit the Howard light. It’s time for Starfield.
For me, Starfield is one of the most confusing games going right now. So many people were excited after the game’s first trailer was shown at this year’s E3. For me, though, I didn’t get it. After how masterfully Bethesda handled the release of Fallout 4, I expected to see that again with Starfield. Give me one big trailer and then announce the release date. Instead, we got a teaser trailer for the game that was a year and a half away. Finally, after all of the hype and speculation, we ended up getting a trailer that revealed that there was, in fact, a game called Starfield. Oh, joy!
There’s still a lot that we don’t know about one of next year’s most anticipated games. And with Starfield, in my opinion, being Xbox’s biggest console exclusive on the horizon, Gamescom is the first real stop for this hype train. Todd Howard says this game is a Han Solo simulator. What does that mean? Do I have a giant dog best friend? Am I gonna befriend a young farm boy and then find myself in a competition with him to see which one of us will end up dating his sister? AM I GONNA SMUGGLE?!
With so many questions, Gamescom couldn’t come at a better time. I, for one, can’t wait to see that I’ve either nailed my predictions or I’ve fallen flat on my face. If you’ve ever read any of my predictions in the past, we all know which is the most likely to happen. Thankfully, I do all of this for fun and am never saddened by how wrong am I… Gamescom starts August 24 and ends August 27. I’m excited, and I hope you are too!