Microsoft’s fourth-generation Xbox consoles, the Xbox Series X and Series S, are now in their third year. Year 1 began with a soft launch for the dedicated games division, but later in the generation’s first year came a flood that emptied the Xbox. Fans have been waiting for years. From Forza Horizon 5 to Halo Infinite, Psychonauts 2 to Microsoft Flight Simulator, Xbox The drought of exclusive games is finally over [Editor’s note: Whoops!]Of course, by now you know the story. you survived itThe whole of 2022 has been like a desert mirage. We thought we could see water ahead, but was it really there? So 2023 has to offer Xbox gamers who have invested heavily in the platform. Microsoft, his trillion-dollar company, appears to have run out of patience with its player base. Fortunately, there are reasons to be optimistic.
Will X finally give it to Ya?
Conversations about a 2023 Xbox blockbuster began with Starfield, the first new IP from renowned game designer Todd Howard in decades and the first he directed since 2015’s Fallout 4. is a game. Howard tried to call him. He is back in 2020, 18 months earlier than he promised a release date of 11/11/22. It didn’t work out, but Starfield is finally here and I apologize to Arkane’s Redfall (which we’ll get to in a moment), but Starfield isn’t the greatest game since his Bethesda. Microsoft bought the publisher for $7.5 billion Two years ago, on paper, it was the kind of exclusive that people wanted to buy into the Xbox ecosystem. We have good news for the millions of players enjoying his Skyrim, unique to the Starfield team. skyrim in spaceThis is welcome news for millions of Elder Scrolls fans who have been waiting for the sixth installment in the venerable series for over a decade.
But Starfield will have to wait until at least closer to the middle of the year. All indications are that his aforementioned Redfall will be released first. The vampire-hunting four-player co-op first-person shooter looked really fun the last time I saw it. huge information dump By co-creative director Harvey Smith, Bethesda’s last two major releases (Arkane’s own Delicious Deathloop and Tango Gameworks Firmly Weird Ghostwire: Tokyo – will be released exclusively for PlayStation 5 as part of Bethesda’s deal with Sony prior to its acquisition by Microsoft. Luckily, Deathloop is now on Xbox Game Pass, Ghostwire following when his one-year PlayStation exclusivity expires in March. Arkane has always made games devilishly smart – Hall of Fame Game Designer Warren Spector I call it an immersive sim – tended to garner critical acclaim more than commercial success.
Also scheduled for the first half of 2023 is Forza Motorsport, the next-gen-only reboot of Xbox’s long-running sim-racing game series. As great as his first seven Motorsport entries were, Horizon was arguably the better Forza in five iterations. It also has a broader appeal. So Motorsport needs to dig deep into its sim-based history and raise the bar for its noisy brethren once again. With the release of Forza Motorsport 7 on Xbox One in 2017, it goes without saying that the developer, his Turn10 Studios, has spent plenty of time rebuilding the game from the ground up. The developers of Forza Motorsport have never failed to deliver, so racing game fans have good reason to be excited when this reboot concludes.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has had a major impact on the video game industry, and two major Xbox exclusives due for release last year have been postponed given the war has invaded developers’ literal doorsteps. Triple-A first-person shooter STALKER 2: Heart of Chernobyl from Ukrainian-based studio GSC Game World is the hottest of the games whose development schedule has been impacted. Survival horror shooter hopefully coming to Xbox Game Pass in 2023. With each appearance, the entire gaming community cheers for its success.
The same can be said for startup studio Sad Cat Studios, which had to relocate for the team’s own safety due to the invasion. Work has resumed on Replaced, which is set to ship in 2023 as an Xbox exclusive. . Set in a 1980s alternative reality, Cyberpunk his thriller with gorgeous 2.5D pixel art was a standout title as it debuted at Xbox’s 2021 Showcase event. Keep an eye on this!
More recently, Xbox’s 2022 Showcase promised more exclusives in 2023. Minecraft Legends is an action-strategy game that will cater well to casual audiences, but is unlikely to make a difference for core gamers. Instead, the biggest move Xbox is making in his 2023 and beyond (and currently the most compelling recent popcorn-grabbing soap opera) is Microsoft’s attempted acquisition of Activision-Blizzard. Sony and Microsoft take ludicrous turns in front of the regulatory committee to appear softer and weaker than their counterparts, either to go ahead with the deal or to stop it altogether. The reality on the ground is that, hopefully, the company will suddenly bring Diablo 4, Blizzard’s mighty 2023 sequel, to Xbox Game Pass. , getting the new Diablo into Game Pass would be a huge win for Xbox.
Even setting aside the Activision and Blizzard dramas, Microsoft still has a number of previously announced exclusives that could be released later in 2023. Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 is a gorgeous psychological thriller powered by Unreal Engine 5 from a renowned developer.Ninja Theory seems like the most likely contender for many. It’s hard to rate Avowed as we haven’t seen the gameplay trailer yet, but Obsidian has already delivered One 10/10 game Exclusive to Xbox, Avowed could be the perfect way to keep Skyrim fans happy while waiting for The Elder Scrolls 6. Could it sneak in at the end of 2023? Perhaps it depends on where Starfield lands on the calendar.
Perfect Dark, Fable, The Outer Worlds 2, Contraband, and Gears 6 all seem unlikely to sneak in before the end of Xbox Series X’s third year, but at least we’ll see something tangible from each. More specifically, it’s unlikely that one or more of State of Decay 3, Indiana Jones, or Everwild will be hitting consoles sooner than expected. The bottom line is that it’s long past the time for Microsoft to give fans blockbusters.
All of these games come with a $70 price tag. raise the price of the game Starting at $60. Luckily, many Xbox gamers never really feel the effects. Because all of these first-party games launch directly into Xbox Game Pass. The monthly fee remains unchanged (for now).
hardware and services
In that regard, Xbox Game Pass was so successful that it’s now a meme. This is probably the best scenario Microsoft could have hoped for when he launched the service in 2017. Lie: Xbox Game Pass is truly the best deal in gaming and should offer not only the first wave of expiring first party exclusives in 2023, but also ongoing third party value. It hasn’t happened yet, but it’s reasonable to expect MLB The Show 23 to return to service on launch day. So does Siege at Dawn, the intriguing farming sim Lightyear Frontier, the sullen platformer Benedict Fox’s Last Case, and the quirky action-adventure Ravenrock. And that’s just what to expect in the first half of the new year.
Meanwhile, Xbox Cloud Gaming continues to quietly evolve and integrate into the Xbox ecosystem via Game Pass. The Xbox Series S has a deal. Oh yeah, you can now actually find and buy the Xbox Series X in many stores. Too troublesome. Now that you have your console in hand, you can further personalize your Xbox experience by ordering a custom Xbox Elite controller from the Xbox Design Lab.
Ultimately, 2023 will be a big year for Xbox, and we understand the urgency of Xbox owners. Microsoft has seen its stable of first-party studios grow significantly over the past few years, correcting a series of mistakes that compounded during the Xbox One generation. Players have been patiently waiting, but at this point Microsoft has exhausted all remaining goodwill. In short, it’s time to put up or shut up. Luckily, all signs are that this year will finally be the year, just like the Chicago Cubs in 2016.
Ryan McCaffrey is IGN’s Executive Editor of Previews and host of IGN’s weekly Xbox show. podcast unlockeda monthly (like) interview program, IGN UnfilteredHe’s from Northern Jersey, so it’s a “Taylor ham” rather than a “pork roll.” Discuss with him on Twitter @DMC_Ryan.