E3 2021: Xbox & Bethesda Recap

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And we are onto the majors with Xbox presenting their E3 presser online early Monday morning. Much like every conference this was entirely online and streamed live in the early hours. Didn’t stay up to binge the 90 minute presser? That is ok we have your full recap for you.

Starting off with one of the titles we knew was going to be featured was Starfield. Showing off an ingame teaser, Starfield comes from Bethesda who was acquired by Microsoft last year and the reason why we have a combined press conference now. Not much was said aside from Starfield being set to the background of Space Exploration and from the same people that gave you Fallout 4. Starfield is expected in November 11, 2022 and will be both an Xbox exclusive and be available on Game Pass day one.

Following that we got an overview of just how many games would be shown as part of the conference before launching straight into another 2022 release – S.T.A.L.K.E.R 2. A FPS in the radioative area of Chernobyl we got to see some gameplay of gunplay, mutations and anomalies all in a 5 minute clip. Stalker 2 will also be coming to Game Pass.

From Stalker we went straight into a WB Games title with another FPS but in the form of the spiritual successor to Left 4 Dead – Back 4 Blood. Much like Left 4 Dead this is a swarm based up to 4 player zombie horde survival title and it will be available (again on Xbox Game Pass Day One) on October 12.

Not stopping and just powering through we then got something from Avalanche Studios makers of the Just Cause series. Just a teaser effectively is Contraband didnt give much away but given the studios other titles we can guess it has something to do with stopping (or maybe being) drug runners.

Following Contraband was the latest from Sea of Thieves doing a little bit more than channeling it’s best Pirates of the Caribbean with it’s first actual tie in with Disney taking more than a few characters from the series and putting them into the Sea of Thieves world along with some of the Supernatural elements from the Disney movies. If it plays as good as it looks, this will be a must play and the DLC coming out next week on the 22nd of June for Sea of Thieves players.

Not being alone in things you can play almost immediately was Yakuza: Like a Dragon which takes place in the Yakuza series and drops today as a sneaky announcement.

Then, Battlefield 2042 which we had already seen announced last week but with more gameplay than cinematic shown this time around with what looks to be an epic battle occuring in Dubai against the backdrop of a giant sandstorm rolling in. Showing off just how much map and verticality there is in this map it is pretty easy to imagine how much absolute chaos a full server would be when it comes out in October.

Then next we got a trailer for the previously announced 12 minutes which is a single room timeloop thriller. While the trailer did not give us any new looks at the game what is more important is that it did give us a release date for August 19th this year. And yes it will be on Game Pass.

While on a roll of games that had already been announced was the new trailer with a LOT of gameplay for Psychonauts 2. The Tim Schafer (Day of the Tentacle, Monkey Island) created title will be coming out also in August on the 25th, so not far away at all.

And with that we got a break from the barrage of trailers and jumped back for some Bethesda specific developments. Leading in 10 more Bethesda titles will be coming to Game Pass today before showing some of the planned free DLC for Fallout 76 available July 7th and some upcoming 2022 content being teased too.

Elder Scrolls Online Enhanced Edition coming to consoles this week we got a little bit of a reminder of all the content that has been dropping for ESO PC players that console players will get tomorrow with again Game Pass.

Stepping away from Bethesda is the previously released on Steam title of Party Animals. The up to 4 player death match style beat ’em up has you picking your adorable fighter on a variety of locals from ancient runes to moving trains. It comes out for Xbox (game pass) next year but you can check it on Steam right now too.

And while on games already out for other platforms, the Nintendo Switch addictive Metroidvania Rogue, Hades is coming to Game Pass in August.

Changing gears for Somerville is what seems to be a survival title with a man and his famly during possibly an alien invasion? Look if the dog doesnt survive there will be some serious words to be had. This actually looks pretty good and tt comes out in 2022 and through… dramatic pause…. Game Pass.

It wouldn’t be Xbox without Halo and we got some Halo Infinite. While during the conference they talked about the game and explorable locale. Showing off what we think was a story mission during the game we see the next part from the previous announce trailer with Master Chief in space searching for weapons before confirming where we left off from the last game story wise.

And you can’t have Halo without Multiplayer and with a first look at that was confirmation that Multiplayer will be available at Launch for Halo Infinite when it releases later this year.

Blizzard also made an appearance during the Xbox Showcase with a confirmation of a release date of the remastered Diablo 2 coming to Xbox. While we are pretty keen to play this one for nostalgia vibes the up to 8 player coop will definitely put this on the play list when it releases on the 23rd of September.

If you enjoyed the rat avoiding of A Plague Tale then you will probably enjoy the rat flood in the trailer for A Plague Tale: Requiem coming out in 2022 on Game Pass. If you are looking to experience a pandemic for the first time.

While there isn’t much new to know yet, Far Cry 6 will of course be coming to Xbox this year so it definitely got shown off for Xbox. The trailer itself was largely gameplay but we think we need to know more about this attack chicken.

Next was the trailer for…. we aren’t quite sure what but Slime Rancher 2 has you capturing or farming sentient goo. Like some sort of reverse Splatoon FPS. Though we do like the bunny goo.

Shredders is a snowboarding sports game that has you dropping down the fresh powder doing tricks with friends. It’s snowboarding, it’s on Xbox, not much more to add here except it is out later this year for Game Pass.

We first got a first look at Atomic Heart a few years ago and the new trailer being set to some Japanese Pop wa not what we expected. Much more gameplay that shows off a Bioshock like game play against retro inspired robots did get our interest but we would love a release date to go with it. Looks good though.

Replaced is a pixel based side scroller that looks pretty damn good too. The backdrops and scenery just push this one up to a whole ‘nother level and it too is well worth a look. We are going to be watching out for this one ahead of it’s 2022 release date as it will be an Xbox Exclusive

Grounded is a game that didn’t really hit for everyone when it first released with it’s Honey I Shrunk the Kids style game play but during the showcase we saw a new update Shroom & Doom will give more updates to the title. Still being labelled ‘not complete’ the new update will add such player requested features as ‘sitting’ but we think the arachnophobia mode that let’s you change Spider models to something less threatening is pretty cool.

Among Us was next up with 15 player lobbies for Xbox. Not much you don’t already know about Among Us outside of saying of course it is coming to game pass.

Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes was next as an announcement and not a lot we can say about this one as JRPG inspired games aren’t our best topic but the mixture of 2D characters on 3D environments does give it a nice look.

Following that we got a new isometric shooter that will scratch that Diablo but with guns itch through The Ascent. Another Xbox Exclusive Diablo with guns is probably the best way to describe the gameplay which does look pretty slick in it’s very short trailer.

Age of Empires IV was next with an October release date. If you are familiar with Age of Empires or even Civilisation you know what to expect here. Ship to Ship battles were definitely more of a point to show in this one than in previous editions of the game but you can find out yourself when you get it (on Game Pass).

Next with possibly the most self aware commentary of any trailer for the entire Showcase and possibly E3 with the announcement of The Outer Worlds 2 is confirmed. Seriously, watch this one it will confirm absolutely nothing about the game and it knows it.

Microsoft Flight Simulator in 2020 got so much attention while everyone was stuck at home and letting them fly using maps of their own cities, but any Flight Simulator pilot will already know that MS Flight Simulator drops nearly every year and this year’s edition will be out in July. If you have the hardware to handle it with all the settings turned way up. But this year Flight Simulator will also have some DLC in the way of a tie in to Top Gun: Maverick.

Another staple of any Microsoft Xbox E3 event is Forza and this year was no different with Forza Horizon 5 officially announced. Showing off an announce trailer followed by a solid 7 minutes of gameplay for this one coming out in November. The next Forza will be set against Mexico and aims to up the map size on top of any previous title. The game play demo shows off a lot of the scenery and map diversity with photogrammetry (the process of converting GPS tagged pictures into 3D renders) being used to reproduce locales but it’s pretty clear this one was designed with the next gen Xbox in mind. The sky being an actual HDR capture from video shot in Mexico is something that would be unheard of in previous generations.

There were a lot of titles that did not appear like the new Fable that was mentioned towards the end. But if we were to try to summarise the Showcase the answer would be Game Pass with 27 of 30 titles shown all coming to the service.

Being a Xbox Showcase the biggest titles were left for last with Redfall being Bethesda’s new open world shooter coming from the teams behind Prey and Dishonored. Set in a post apocalyptic modern world we see guns, magic, robots and what we assume are vampires. There is some new Wolfenstein like energy to this cinematic trailer, but it looks good.

Is that it? Of course not. While no new hardware was announced given the new Xbox only just came out there is one thing that Microsoft does better than anyone else and that is tie in merch. Last year leaning into the meme that the Xbox Series X looks like a Fridge Xbox brought out the Xbox Fridge – now we are getting the Xbox Mini Fridge that uses the same cooling technology as the actual console.

If you have a spare 90 minutes you can watch the full press conference but there isn’t much on top of what we covered in this recap outside of a few minutes focused on Halo Infinite which you can go directly to here. We expect there will be some other Xbox related announcements as part of other press conferences this week and we will be doing our best to recap the big announcements for you.