E3 2021: dear Xbox, now or never

E3 2021: dear Xbox, now or never

E3 2021

Despite its now chronic difficulties in offering first party video games to match those of the competition, in the last two years it is undeniable that Xbox has managed to recover some of the ground that the gaming division of Microsoft had lost following the disastrous launch. Xbox One of 2013.

In addition to developing a service such as Game Pass, which alone was able to deal a big blow to the balance of power between the two parties, the turning point came through a at times pyrotechnic acquisitions campaign, which culminated in September 2020 with the announcement of the purchase of ZeniMax, the parent company of Bethesda.

Having a battery of 23 development studios firmly in hand, Microsoft reaches this E3 2021 with particular premises, since despite having shown that it knows how to move well in the recent past, the Redmond giant still has the responsibility to convince on its shoulders, especially if we look at the line -up of next-gen video games for Xbox Series X. Despite the difficulties dictated by the pandemic have hit both companies, the first 8 months of PS5 have been marked by the arrival of several exclusive first parties, while on the other side of the fence is missing still that important title that can justify the purchase of the new console.

As if that were not enough, while Sony has shored up these first months of 2021 with some State of Play dedicated to video games coming out for PS5, Microsoft is remained in total silence, except for a quite forgettable event dedicated to indies. On balance, we have no updates on the status of the Xbox Game Studios since last December, when at The Game Awards the company unveiled the first project in the hands of The Initiative, namely Perfect Dark.

Halo Infinite will be among the protagonists of Microsoft's E3. Will we see multiplayer or another piece of the campaign? It is true, the strategy chosen by Microsoft certainly provides a series of advantages, and makes the event of June 13 certainly the most anticipated of the entire E3 2021. Yet the choice to remain on the sidelines has also proved to be a double-edged sword. , since the Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase will be anticipated by an amount of expectations that are difficult to quantify. After a silence that lasted more than six months, the public is now demanding that the company unveils all its cards and that it packs an event that will amaze the onlookers.

Given all the assumptions, it is easy to understand how the E3 2021 represents a key crossroads for Xbox aspirations, even if on balance the conference itself may hide fewer surprises than we might imagine. In fact, several studies have already presented the projects they are working on, and while we can expect to receive concrete updates on many of them, the space for new, unexpected IPs is really limited.

Let's take a look at example Halo Infinite, which after the caporetto last summer remains the only exclusive triple A first party confirmed for 2021. The new chapter of the historic saga will be among the protagonists of the conference, and the hope is to be able to attend sequences of gameplay that makes us quickly forget last year's presentation. All the clues suggest that 343 Industries could focus this time on the multiplayer sector of Infinite, however the fact that the segment of the campaign shown in July has disappointed expectations does not mean that we can return to see something more specific of the adventure that Master Chief is preparing to live on Zeta Halo.

Its presence is in no way confirmed but it is precisely the promotional material released in recent weeks by Microsoft to suggest that Starfield will be the great star of the evening. The new sci-fi RPG from Bethesda Softwork s has been at the center of several rumors in recent months and, among the many rumors circulated in recent times (some of these that would even see it coming out as early as 2021), what it seems what is certain is that we will finally be able to see one of the most anticipated titles in the Xbox universe in action.

Watch on YouTube. Among the likely guests to the party we also find the new racing game of Turn10, the software house that together with Playground Games has the merit of having proposed the best racing games of the last 10 years. The studio, according to the trailer shown last year, is working on a new iteration of the Forza Motorsport series, whose new chapter is among the suspects for a possible release in 2021. After all, the last video game by Turn10 dates back to 2017 and would be the time has really come to get back behind the wheel of a Forza Motorsport capable of showing off the brute power of the Xbox Series X.

Moving in the opposite direction, Playground Games seems to have abandoned the Microsoft racing department, having shoulders the responsibility of developing the hard reboot of one of the most famous intellectual properties related to Xbox, that of Fable. The development seems to be still in an embryonic state and for this reason we do not expect to see it at E3 this year, yet the insistent rumors about a new Forza Horizon set in Mexico leave room for the imagination. What if Playground had crafted one last, exotic Forza Horizon before channeling all its energy into the development of Fable?

First announced back in 2019, Senua's Saga: Hellblade II will also likely be among the attendees of the Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase. The game, now in development for several years, is one of those that Microsoft could surprisingly launch already in the first months of 2022, and in this sense we could expect a massive presence at the conference of the new Ninja Theory title. The studio is also working on two other distinct projects, the psychological horror Project Mara and the mysterious The Insight Project, although it is difficult to imagine seeing them on this occasion.

Speaking of projects that have shown themselves for the first time in 2019, the conference could (and should) tell us about Everwild, the new Rare project that has already appeared in two fascinating trailers which, however, have not revealed many details about its nature. Everwild is certainly one of the most enigmatic and at the same time interesting first party titles in the entire Xbox line up, so we hope that during the Rare event it will not limit itself to showing only and exclusively a predictable update for Sea of ​​Thieves.

Watch on YouTube. According to the latest rumors, Avowed could be one of the big excluded from the Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase. To tell the truth, we don't have many details on the progress of the work of the new Obsidian RPG, and at this point we would not be particularly surprised if the game were to skip the event to reappear at one of the next Xbox appointments. The studio, however, seems to have several other projects in the pipeline and one of these could concern a sequel or a full-bodied DLC of The Outer Worlds: is there any surprises in sight on Sunday?

Although for many it may not have the charm of the other titles mentioned so far, also State of Decay 3 will likely be among the participants at the conference on 13 June. The third installment of the franchise created by Undead Labs had already shown itself at the Microsoft summer showcase with a quick CG trailer that left a lot of room for imagination, and perhaps this will be the right opportunity to attend some gameplay sequences that reveal the ambitions of this third chapter.

If we do not expect particular news regarding new IPs from the internal Microsoft teams, already committed to their respective projects, some surprises could come from the studies that are headed by Bethesda. id Software, after the success of Doom Eternal, may be developing a new chapter in the historic shooter series or may instead be grappling with brand new intellectual property. The studio is unlikely to make a quick appearance at the conference but dreaming costs nothing.

Arkane Studios, once Deathloop is released, will also have nothing planned for its future. We know that the Lyon team is putting the finishing touches on its exclusive timeline for PS5, while the Austin-based team is working on a new video game not yet announced. The rumors speak of a new fantasy IP linked to vampires, Project Omen, which could be unveiled as early as next Sunday, during the Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase.

Watch on YouTube. Although the new Indiana Jones project seems to be still in the early stages of development, MachineGames may not desert the event and pull the sequel to Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus out of the hat, thus ending the splendid trilogy that began in 2014. The latest effort of the development team dates back to 2019 (with the cooperative spin-off Youngblood), so the time may be ripe to see some announcements from the Uppsala studio.

While it is plausible that something of what we have covered so far can skip the conference, it is equally true that there are many productions that could peep out during the Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase. For example, we could bet on the fact that Flight Simulator will receive a release date for Xbox Series X | S later in the evening, but it is also possible that some minutes will be dedicated to those exclusive third parties such as Scorn and The Ascent.

Teams such as Mojang, Compulsion Games, The Coalition and The Initiative remain temporarily out of the game: the latter is working on the Perfect Dark reboot but we are convinced it is too early to see it in action. Similarly, The Coalition only released Gears 5 in 2019, while the other two studios are presumably working on new IPs (in the case of Mojang, linked to the Minecraft franchise).

Starting from these premises , perhaps an entire night would not be enough to make room for each of the Microsoft and Bethesda studios. With only 90 minutes available, we are extremely curious to find out who will be able to snatch a ticket for what is anticipated to be a key event for the future of Xbox, even considering how a part of the conference could be dedicated to announcements that do not concern closely. the launch of new video games.

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Senua's Saga: Hellblade II is the fruit of Microsoft's first major acquisition and could finally show itself with gameplay at the Xbox conference. We are obviously talking about the news related to the Game Pass or those related to the acquisition of new studios or specific IPs of other publishers. Also in this case we can draw inspiration from the rumors that are plowing the ether in recent weeks: starting from some social clues left by the social media managers of Xbox and EA, some claim that the new Battlefield could arrive on the Game Pass since its day one . Moreover, there are those who point out that with the EA Play set for July, the upcoming presentation on June 9 could suggest a possible presence of the game at the Xbox show.

Taking a look at all the studies that Microsoft holds after the acquisition of ZeniMax, it is obvious to say that now the company really has all the credentials to be able to compete with its historical rival. But there are no more excuses and that moment has arrived, that of the "now or never", in which you have to show what you are made of, give proof of all your willpower, of the ferocity towards the goal. The means are there, but the determination?

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