It’s that time of year again, Xbox is putting on their annual summer showcase where they show off what’s coming next to the platform. This year’s show in particular feels like it has a chance to be a good one, as Xbox has many first party studios and third party partners that could be ready to showcase what they are building.
We already know that big hitter games like Starfield and Forza Motorsport will be there, but with the combined Xbox Games Showcase and Starfield Direct being roughly 2 hours long, there will be a lot of time to show other games. We’ve also just gotten some tweets from Aaron Greenburg confirming that everything shown from their first party will either be in-engine, in-game, or in-game with some cutscenes. This thankfully means that we won’t be getting full CGI only trailers from Xbox, leaving us even more excited.
The team at XboxEra has come together to compile what we believe could be shown on June 11th. As usual, we won’t get everything right, and there are sure to be surprises we couldn’t possibly predict.
With that being said, let’s dive into our predictions for Xbox’s 2023 Showcase.
Games We Know
No matter what is shown at Xbox’s conference, Starfield is unlikely to be dethroned as the biggest game at the event. Bethesda and more recently Xbox fans have waited a long time for the next massive single player game from Bethesda Game Studios.
Led by Todd Howard, Starfield is the first new IP from this studio in over 25 years, the biggest Xbox exclusive in over a decade, and in the words of Phil Spencer, one of the most anticipated games in Xbox history.
We expect an in depth look at Starfield, answering many questions fans still have of the game. A Todd Howard deep dive presentation is always exciting to watch and we expect the “Starfield Direct” to be no exception.
Turn 10 has already confirmed that Forza Motorsport will make an appearance at Xbox’s showcase on June 11th, with a closer look at the games campaign a few days later during their “Forza Monthly” stream. We aren’t expecting much from the game at the upcoming showcase, at most a sizzle real showing the graphical spectacle of Forza and maybe a release date.
Game Pass Day One titles
One of the best things about Xbox’s annual summer showcase is all of the third party titles that are announced as day one Game Pass releases. We know the same will happen this time around, ranging from smaller indie titles to bigger budget games. Maybe we’ll see release dates for previously shown games like Cocoon or Flintlock, but what we know for certain is that we’ll hear/see “Day one on Game Pass” quite a bit.
Games We Expect
Avowed is a game that was announced many years ago and has gone silent since its initial announcement. This next open world RPG from Obsidian has been in development for many years and fans have been waiting to see the game’s official unveiling.
There is strong reason to believe that this upcoming Xbox showcase will be the place where Avowed finally gets its long awaited debut. Looking at the official key art for the Xbox Games Showcase, the Xbox logo is enveloped in a glowing green light. This green light in the logo is very similar to the green shown in the Avowed announcement trailer.
This usually could be passed off as a coincidence, but Xbox’s recent games showcases all themed their logos around the big games that were shown during the event. Halo and Starfield being the most recent examples, it makes sense that Avowed may be the game that gets the most attention during the showcase.
After nearly 3 years since announcement, now is the time for Obsidian to let us peak behind the curtain on their next role playing game.
Halo. A game that for many is synonymous with Xbox, which means it’ll surely have some kind of presence at the show, right? We think so, but not in a particularly big or exciting way.
Halo Infinite has found a steady audience over the past few months, with the game neither performing particularly well or particularly bad on Xbox’s charts. For better or worse, it’s hit a stable population and most of the updates to it will be the usual live service affair. What this means for the showcase is that we fully expect Season 4 of Halo Infinite to have a small trailer, similar to past trailers for SoT, FO76, etc. We expect the trailer to be well edited and quite entertaining, if their last few trailers are any inclination, but for anyone expecting bigger Halo news, like the long rumoured Battle Royale or Firefight mode, we don’t think those are likely to appear.
Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II
Hellblade II was the first Xbox Series X|S first party game that was ever announced all the way back in December of 2019, and since then Xbox fans have been eager to lay their hands on Ninja Theory’s follow up to Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice.
We have already seen gameplay from Hellblade II back in 2021, but what was shown was not much more than an interactive cutscene. It feels like it’s time to get a proper deep dive into the gameplay of the game as well as the long awaited release date. Some speculation has pegged this game as a surprise end of 2023 game, but we will be happy if we see the game release sometime within the next year or so.
Live Service Updates
While some fans may be tired of the annual updates for Xbox’s many live service games, we fully expect games like Fallout 76, Elder Scrolls Online, Sea of Thieves and others to have a presence at the show. We expect new content updates from at least these three games with possible updates on player milestones.
Hi-Fi Rush DLC
Hi-Fi Rush was a surprise hit for Xbox earlier this year and we think there’s a really good chance we will get an announcement of new DLC for the game at the showcase. John Johanas, who led developer on the game, has been not so subtlely teasing the existence of DLC for Hi-Fi Rush and it being announced in some way at the showcase. This feels like a no brainer announcement and we welcome anything new from Hi-Fi Rush.
East Asia Games Presence
Last year’s Xbox showcase had an entire segment dedicated towards Japanese titles releasing. Wo Long, Personas 3, 4, and 5, and then the Kojima partnership were all back to back. We expect to see something similar this year, with maybe an even larger focus on Japanese and East Asian games.
We expect a surefire presentation from Bandai Namco who is no stranger to Xbox’s showcases. Possible candidates also include SEGA and KOEI TECMO, who have announced projects and Game Pass inclusions on Xbox’s stage many times before. While not quite guaranteed, don’t be too surprised to see a PC or mobile-centric developer take the stage, too, as there’s quite a bit of movement in those spaces to branch out to console platforms in recent times.
There’s a bit of a wildcard here too, and honestly it belongs in the “hail marys” sections of this piece, but there have been rumblings of a potential Persona 6 reveal on the Xbox floor. This wouldn’t exactly be the first time they’ve revealed a highly anticipated sequel to a long running franchise, but all we have for this are rumours and conjecture, so don’t go in expecting it.
Games We Hope
Will this finally be the year? The year that we see how Playground Games has managed to adapt this beloved Xbox series into the modern age? 2020’s teaser trailer announcement for the game gave a small glimpse into the tone and world that Playground was aiming to build. The trailer gave confidence that this acclaimed studio at the very least understood the “magic” that made Fable one of the most unique role playing series of the mid 2000’s.
Since the games announcement nearly 3 years ago, we have heard virtually nothing about Fable, other than the occasional passing mention of the games continued development from Xbox executives. Fable is included amongst the mystical grouping of games announced during the 2020 showcase that have gone MIA.
There really isn’t anyway to know if Fable will be at the showcase or if Playground needs just a bit more time before the game is ready to be seen. Some believe that Xbox’s recent social media posts may be teasing Fable’s appearance at the showcase, but again, there’s no way to definitively say if the game will really be there or not.
We hope to at least see something in engine from the game, or perhaps a developer update assuring the game is shaping up nicely. We don’t expect to be able to get our hands on the game anytime in the near future, so any update at all will be a welcome surprise.
We know that “Project” Cobalt is InXile’s next game and rumors suggest this game will be more ambitious than anything this storied developer has ever created. We don’t know much, but it has been suggested that they are making a first person action RPG with steampunk elements. At one time it may have been internally targeting a 2023 release date, but that seems highly unlikely now as the game is still shrouded in mystery.
If Project Cobalt does make an appearance at the upcoming Xbox showcase, we expect it to be a small “in-engine” teaser that shows a glimpse of the world. Maybe we get lucky and InXile is ready to show a small section of gameplay, Microsoft executives and developers working on the game have spoken glowingly about the games progress in recent years. It’s also just as likely that Project Cobalt doesn’t show up at all and we have to wait longer for a glimpse at what InXile has been cooking up.
Like many other Xbox first party projects, it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly when InXile will be ready to unveil it for the first time. Will 2023 be the year? We sure hope so.
Gears of War
Is it time for more Gears? Some Xbox fans may be a little tired of the series, but it has served as a staple of Xbox’s first party for nearly 20 years. We don’t expect Gears 6 in the near future as The Coalition has moved to Unreal Engine 5 and is taking their time to make sure the next entry can fully take advantage of the new technology.
The Coalition has already released multiple Unreal Engine 5 demos showcasing their expertise of the engine, including their assistance on The Matrix Awakening demo. If Gears 6 can look anything like what they’ve already shown, Xbox fans are in for a visual spectacle once again.
Outside of Gears 6, there have been rumors of a “Gears Collection”, a group of games that would include at least the first three games remastered on Unreal Engine 5. If the collection rumors are true, we’d expect the game to be released at least one year before Gears 6. Could we see it this year? Again, it’s hard to pinpoint.
Compulsion Games was acquired shortly before they released their last game,We Happy Few, and after releasing subsequent DLC for the game the studio has been incredibly quiet about what’s coming next. Thanks to more leaks by our friend Jez Corden, we know the team is working on a game with the codename “Midnight” and is supposedly a third person action game set in the deep American South that has a strong “southern Gothic” aesthetic.
Compulsion has always struck us as a developer with a lot of talent and ambition but had lacked the budget and scope pre Microsoft acquisition. Whatever this Project “Midnight” game ends up being will be the studios first full game under Microsoft, and we are hopeful to see a glimpse at what the studio has been building at the upcoming showcase.
Games That Would Surprise Us
More Xbox First Party
We know so much about what Xbox’s first party studios are working on, with a mix of announced, rumored, and leaked games making a lineup of dozens of games still yet to be released. Games like Perfect Dark, State of Decay 3, Indiana Jones, Everwild, and more are all known quantities, but it is unclear when they will release.
You could reasonably make a case for any of these games and many others unlisted here to make an appearance at the showcase, but you wouldn’t feel confident doing so. Because of that, much of Xbox’s first party has to go under this category. With that being said, let’s go into a little more detail on a highly anticipated one.
Rare’s next game is the classic example of a game that was announced too early. Originally announced all the way back in 2019, we have not seen anything from Everwild for nearly 3 years, and still don’t really know what the game is about. Reports have suggested that the team has gone back to the drawing board on the games core design and that the game is still at least a few years away.
Out of all of Xbox’s first party lineup, Everwild strikes us as one of the top choices for games that has a chance to be special. Rare themselves are special, showing their creativity with games like Sea of Thieves. The little we have seen of Everwild shows no differently, showcasing one of the more stunning art styles we have ever seen.
Everwild showing up at this showcase would be a true surprise, a “Hail Mary” of sorts, but after so many years of silence, it’s at least plausible that the game makes its grand return in this upcoming showcase.
Speaking of “Hail Mary’s”, what better prediction to end this video off with than Banjo Kazooie. I know, I know, we predict this every year, but knowing our luck the one year we don’t is the year it happens! With that being said, not a single person (other than those potentially making the game, of course) know for certain if this beloved icon is or isn’t making a return. Is this finally the year this famous duo graces us with their presence again? Probably not, but hey, it’s worth a shot, right?