Xbox at Gamescom 2021: few surprises, a huge absentee

Xbox at Gamescom 2021: few surprises, a huge absentee

Xbox at Gamescom 2021

There is a very clear reason why athletes often retire at the very peak of their sporting careers. Nothing they will achieve later will be able to match the successes they have just achieved, and rather than become protagonists of a slow decline, they prefer not to disappoint any kind of expectation by withdrawing from any kind of competition.

Microsoft, as is natural. , could not close the shack and puppets a few minutes after the great event of E3 2021 which shed light on the bright future that the Xbox ecosystem has in front of it, and it was in some ways predictable, if not obvious, that at Gamescom 2021 the big M would in any case have disappointed the expectations of an audience that now, like never before, has a great deal of interest in learning more about what Phil Spencer and his colleagues have to offer them.

We knew it, Aaron Greenberg had made it clear in advance that yesterday's event would only be dedicated to video games coming out by 2021, so no one could imagine in good faith receiving updates on titles such as Avowed, Fable, H ellblade 2 and Project Dark. But wow, it was the Microsoft conference at Gamescom 2021, the second or third most important event of the year, so hoping for a lively conference and with some surprises was entirely legitimate. And why not, why shouldn't Halo Infinite have stepped on that damn stage, finally showing all the progress achieved by the single player campaign a year later?

Unfortunately for those who followed all 90 minutes of the showcase, tonight's event was unfortunately terribly similar to the streaming B that Microsoft organized as a follow-up to its presentation at E3, a space dedicated to the now so many first party studies that in the calm and serenity of the post-fair, were able to talk for several minutes each of their respective video games in development. There were bursts of pure enthusiasm and intense interest, but a really important minute was given to the updates relating to slightly outdated video games like State of Decay 2 and Wasteland 3, which broke the pace of the conference entirely.

Watch on YouTube. Conference that at least initially, however, had really started with a bang. Dying Light 2 kicked off the event with an exciting new gameplay trailer that focused on elements like parkour and combat, showing some of the tons of new moves this sequel will bring to players.

Watch on YouTube. After that, it was the turn of the first in-depth talk that involved the developers of Microsoft Flight Simulator, fresh from the arrival of the game on the Xbox Series S | X in July. Jorg Neumann, director of this new chapter, talked about the upcoming World Update VI dedicated to Germany, and announced the arrival of a very famous new aircraft in the Teutonic country, the Junkers JU-52.

Look up YouTube. After flying in the skies of Microsoft Flight Simulator, the live took the turn of the Game Pass, showing a showreel of some independent video games of the Humble Games series arriving in the catalog of the service on day one. Among the most interesting, we point out Midnight Fight Express, Unpacking, Next Space Rebels and Signalis.

Watch on YouTube. Another Humble Games indie is Into the Pit, a gloomy roguelite FPS that took a few minutes of the conference to show itself to the public with a trailer that was able to paint the dark atmospheres of this intense shooter very well. Developed by a single person, the game will be released on October 19th and will be included at launch in the Game Pass.

Watch on YouTube. The space dedicated to the indies of Humble Games was followed by a parenthesis entirely focused on Age of Empires 4, during which the director of the long-awaited strategic Adam Isgreen unveiled a preview of one of the micro-documentaries that will be inserted from time to time for give the player some more information and curiosity about medieval life. The clip covered the trebuchet, one of the engineering masterpieces of the time, and ended with the confirmation of the game's release date set for October 28, 2021.

Watch on YouTube. Perhaps one of the most important announcements of the entire evening came almost under the radar, and concerns the expected arrival of xCloud on Xbox One and Xbox Series S | X. From this autumn, new generation console video games (in addition to all those in the Game Pass catalog) will be able to be played at their highest quality even on Xbox One thanks to streaming, and through the Microsoft service we will be able to start a game on Series S or Series X via xCloud while it may still be in the process of being downloaded from the marketplace.

A considerable step forward for the service, which will allow those who have not yet managed to grab a new Xbox generation to continue playing with friends in any title of the catalog. Just an invitation, a couple of clicks, and you are already in the company of your companions without the need to download any software from the net.

Watch on YouTube. Wasteland 3 was also among the stars of the live, with a trailer that presented the second DLC of the game, Cult of the Holy Detonation. The game director David Rogers was able to show the audience all the news of the expansion through a talk that lasted several minutes, during which many gameplay sequences of the new DLC were broadcast.

Watch on YouTube. We then returned to talking about indie, with the fleeting appearance of Stray Blade, an action RPG developed by Point Blank Games and published by 505 Games in which we will play the role of an adventurer on a perilous mission. The game is scheduled for 2022 and showed off with an action-packed gameplay trailer that highlighted all the merits of an experience focused on combat and exploration.

Watch on YouTube. For all lovers of the grand strategy genre, it will be important to know that Paradox's masterpiece, Crusader Kings 3, is coming to Xbox in an adaptation that will not just clone the game to bring it to consoles. This profound strategy will arrive on Xbox One and Xbox Series S | X with a totally revised interface and control system, to be completely usable even without a mouse and keyboard. While the game does not currently have a console release date, it is confirmed that it will be included at launch in the Game Pass.

Watch on YouTube. To follow, The Gunk returned to plow the stage of an Xbox event with a short gameplay trailer that was not, however, able to properly delve into the gameplay of the game by the authors of Steamworld. The Gunk is scheduled for December 2021, and is definitely one of the indies coming to Xbox to watch closely.

Watch on YouTube. Before slipping towards closure, the show took a brief moment to present to the world a splendid Xbox Controller themed Forza Horizon 5, the Playground Games racing game to which the last part of the conference was reserved. Brightly colored and with a transparent shell, the controller is already available for preorder, and will be the perfect companion to explore the four corners of Mexico when the game releases on November 9.

Watch on YouTube. As we had anticipated, Forza Horizon 5 was perhaps the only, great protagonist of an event that reached its peak in the part dedicated to him. Playground Games arrived on stage with an 8-minute gameplay trailer, which portrays the early stages of the game and which was the focus of our preview [ -forza-horizon-5-preview] that you can find on the site.

The trailer shows the "first boot" of Forza Horizon 5, an opening sequence that will lead players to drive the most beautiful cars of the festival in the different biomes that characterize Mexico, and has also revealed what will be the cover cars of this fifth chapter: the Mercedes-AMG One and the Ford Bronco.

The battery of studies in the hands of Microsoft is really impressive, and in some respects it was right to give everyone the opportunity to appear during an event that by its very nature is second-rate compared to E3 two months ago. Despite this, Gamescom remains in any case one of the most important fairs of the year, and net of the last, exciting minutes, the showcase held by Microsoft has frequently been lost in a lot of chat about video games that could have their dedicated space in other venues.

Despite this, the thing that is perhaps more difficult to digest is that once again Halo Infinite has skipped the appeal of a Microsoft event. The new chapter of the Master Chief saga does not yet have a release date, and despite the multiplayer has shown itself in great dust in the very recent technical test, there is still no shadow of a new gameplay trailer related to the campaign of the game. At this point, the suspicions about his possible postponement begin to become dangerously concrete.

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