The Xbox’s first-party game lineup was already sparse. With Starfield and Redfall being the two games slated to arrive this year, the fact that they were both postponed at the same time was a huge disappointment for myself and most Xbox enthusiasts. But, to be clear, these delays are only a negative because these are the only known Xbox first-party releases for the rest of the year. I am completely in favor of delaying games so that gamers do not have to deal with incomplete, broken $70 games. With that in mind, and the Xbox & Bethesda Showcase just around the corner, how can Xbox save 2022?
Despite the fact that revealing Starfield’s release date a year early has already come back to haunt Xbox, we still need some release date windows. After Microsoft’s purchase spree over the last few years, it’s safe to assume that at least a couple of those games are at least a year away.
Ninja Theories’ Hellblade is a nice example. After the popular game’s release in 2017 and the studio’s acquisition by Xbox in 2018, it’s safe to say Hellblade 2 Senua’s Sacrifice has been in production for quite some time. The game’s appearance at the 2021 Game Awards provided even more confirmation that it is likely a year away. It will come as a relief to gamers to learn that it will be released in the summer or perhaps during the holidays of 2023.
Xbox gamers are aware that new games are on the way. Most people understand that excellent games take time and that game development does not happen overnight, but if Xbox wants to keep closing the gap with PlayStation, opening up that roadmap and letting gamers know what they might be playing in the next 12 months will help to calm the choppy waters.
Xbox Game Pass
Xbox Game Pass must be in the forefront for the remainder of 2022, especially now that PlayStation has made some headlines with its Game Pass competitor. If Xbox wants to make some fans happy, they should secure a major 2022 title for the service. Gotham Knights, in my opinion, would be a fantastic game to send shock waves and get some momentum back on their side.
With a release date of October 25th and it being one of the most anticipated games in recent years, such an announcement would be shocking. Maybe I’m overthinking things, but this is what occurs when first-party content falls short of what Nintendo and PlayStation are doing. Microsoft needs to think large with Xbox Game Pass and rely on third-party games until their own studios are firing on all cylinders, which should happen in the first quarter of 2023, according to my estimates.
Actual Game Play
It goes without saying that gameplay is what gets people excited. CGI trailers have a place in the gaming world, but it’s the actual gameplay of someone controlling a character that gives the player a true sense of what they’re in for. Technically, Xbox did this at the VGA with Hellblade, but let’s be honest, that clip met the bare minimum of gameplay standards.
For a deep gameplay display, Starfield and Redfall are no-brainers. Starfield in particular, as it is the more prominent of the two games, yet we have no idea what it is. Starting the showcase with a Starfield start screen and immediately jumping into 10 to 15 minutes of action will be a fantastic way to get things going. It establishes the tone for the remaining titles. With the exception of some undisclosed games, which can get away with a CGI trailer that simply informs us that the game is in development.
It’s no secret Xbox has a lot of work to do. Following the announcement of the potential Activision/Blizzard deal, Xbox appears to have lost steam. The first five months of the year had been nothing more than a waiting game, but the next seven months could be massive if played correctly. Give us games, a glimpse into the future, and some hope.
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