E3 or not, we're still getting the Xbox and Bethesda showcase in 2022. Not only does this raise the question of whether we even need E3 anymore, but it also has our minds spinning at what could possibly be revealed to further bolster the Microsoft Game Studios roster when the showcase goes live on June 12.
Last year, E3 2021 marked the first ever Xbox Bethesda showcase. While we weren't left wanting for new game announcements, the presentation was still a bit of a damp squib, with an over-reliance on CGI trailers and little in the way of actual gameplay.
We want that to change this year, and hopefully it should. Microsoft Game Studios has plenty of games announced for Xbox Series X|S and PC that we haven't even seen gameplay for yet. This year's Xbox and Bethesda showcase marks the ideal opportunity for a gameplay blowout on several upcoming games including Fable, Redfall and perhaps Perfect Dark, to name but a few. Not to mention the unfortunately delayed Starfield, Bethesda Game Studios' next big sci-fi RPG adventure.
There's likely going to be a bunch of announcements related to games that have already released, too. Forza Horizon 5 expansion details seem likely, as well as content updates for Halo Infinite, Sea of Thieves and Microsoft Flight Simulator.
Here are five games we want to see make an appearance at the Xbox and Bethesda showcase, whether they be safe bets or total pipe dreams.
Starfield may have been delayed to the first half of 2023, but we'd love at least a smidgen of an update on the game's development to see how things are shaping up.
Starfield is to be the next giant RPG adventure from Bethesda, trading the high fantasy of The Elder Scrolls and post-apocalypse of Fallout for a spacefaring sci-fi romp. Very few details have been revealed about the game so far, aside from its setting, so we fully expect a substantial vertical slice to be showcased at this year's presentation.
What we do know is that Starfield will be big. Perhaps too big, according to a former dev, who stated that the game may need to shed a significant amount of content if it's going to release on time. Due to the recent delay, however, that hopefully won't come to pass, and we'll get to play Starfield finally in 2023 as a full-fledged, content-rich experience.
The other big Bethesda game we'd love to see make an appearance is Redfall, the co-op first-person shooter being developed by Arkane Studios, who was previously responsible for hits like Deathloop, Prey, and Dishonored. With a resume as impressive as that, Redfall shouldn't disappoint.
All we've seen of the game so far, though, is a brief CGI trailer shown at last year's Xbox and Bethesda showcase. The trailer was admittedly a fun watch, introducing the game's playable characters and a delightfully spooky, vampiric setting.
Among a gaming landscape where co-operative shooters are a dime a dozen, Redfall seriously needs to set itself apart from the crowd if it wants to attract and retain a sizeable audience. Arkane's no stranger to making excellent first-person games, thankfully. Hopefully the developer can continue its winning streak and deliver on this ambitious project.
Unfortunately, Redfall has also been delayed and is currently slated to launch sometime in 2023, twisting the knife even further when it comes to Xbox Series X/S exclusives. As is the case with Starfield, we'd still love to see even a brief gameplay segment to give us something to dig our teeth into.
Ever since that debut CGI trailer, we've been pining to see even a smidgeon of gameplay for Playground Games' Fable. A reboot of the much-loved trilogy originally developed by Lionhead Studios, its announcement trailer was perfectly on-brand, teasing a darkly humorous fantasy setting. But it told us nothing of the game beyond that.
Details, thus far, have also been scarce, outside of a few promising industry hires. These include a combat designer from CD Projekt Red, and writers who cut their teeth on series like Borderlands and Batman Arkham.
Xbox has a habit of announcing games via CGI trailers, and then keeping tight-lipped about them for years afterward. Despite reassurances from Xbox head Phil Spencer and Playground devs that work on the game is progressing smoothly, we won't know for sure until we get to see Fable in action. Hopefully, that'll happen at this year's Xbox and Bethesda showcase.
Arguably one of the most exciting announcements from Xbox in recent memory, the Perfect Dark reboot is currently being developed by new AAA studio The Initiative and Crystal Dynamics, who were responsible for the excellent Tomb Raider reboot trilogy and... Gex. Remember Gex? We miss him.
The N64's Perfect Dark, a spiritual successor to GoldenEye 007, is perhaps one of the most influential first person shooters of all time, and instantly made its heroine Joanna Dark a popular gaming icon. The middling Perfect Dark Zero arrived on the Xbox 360 five years later. As such, the reboot (which is reportedly a third-person action game with an emphasis on stealth) has to impress.
Reports of the game being stuck in development hell, however, don't bode well for the project. As a result, we think Perfect Dark appearing at the Xbox and Bethesda showcase is a long shot, but we hope we'll get at least some updates on the project in the form of a new trailer or a tentative release window.
A new Banjo-Kazooie
And now for the pipe dream announcement. Outside of 2013's Killer Instinct, the Battletoads reboot, and the superb Rare Replay compilation, Xbox has seriously dropped the ball on making use of developer Rare's library of brilliant IP. We think it's high time that changed.
While there are several Rare games we're pretty nostalgic for (Jet Force Gemini and Grabbed by the Ghoulies immediately spring to mind), the iconic bear-and-bird duo have to be next on the list for a grand return.
We're not asking for a new Banjo-Kazooie for the sake of nostalgia. Collectathon style platformers are arguably back in vogue right now. Big hits like Sackboy: A Big Adventure, A Hat in Time and Super Mario Odyssey have proven in recent years that there's still a huge audience for this style of game, which Xbox absolutely should capitalize on. And it owns the perfect IP with which it can achieve that in Banjo-Kazooie.
Do we even need E3 at this point?
Even though E3 2022 has been cancelled in the fullest capacity, the Xbox and Bethesda showcase is still going ahead regardless – around the same time as it did last year, no less.
Additionally, Sony has shifted to a greater focus on digital presentations in recent years with its State of Play showcases. And Nintendo has been doing it for the better part of a decade with its Nintendo Direct format. As a result, we fully expect both companies to host their centerpiece presentations around the time E3 would have normally taken place.
E3's influence on the industry looks to be waning, then. That's especially so considering each publisher's digital presentations and events like Summer Games Fest picking up the slack with its own bespoke conference of new game announcements. As such, E3 runs the risk of becoming entirely obsolete now that publishers and other third parties aren't beholden to its presence.
The annual gaming showcase certainly does have its own quirks and charms, and we'd be sorry to see it go. It's especially great for those visiting in person, as they're able to preview games through hands-on demos.
But for the casual observer, the big draw is the announcements, the world premieres, the shock reveals you never saw coming. None of that is lost in E3's absence, as publishers' bespoke presentations continue to prove. With that in mind, it's hard to say that even if E3 does return next year, if gamers would even care all that much.