As the future of the E3 games conference remains uncertain, Microsoft is amongst the gaming giants keeping the spirit alive with major announcements over the week that would normally be E3. So, on Sunday, Microsoft held its Xbox & Bethesda Showcase with plenty of news about the upcoming future of its gaming output.

This is the second annual Xbox & Bethesda Showcase following 2021’s first event. Microsoft holds these virtual showcases to replace its E3 presence. The E3 Expo – traditionally the largest gaming conference in the world – has been cancelled for three years following the global pandemic.

Rather than go all-digital, Entertainment Software Association (the organizers) prefer to cancel. It is worth noting that plenty of events have returned to in-person, but E3 continues to hold out.

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Back to the Xbox & Bethesda Showcase, this event details upcoming Xbox exclusives as well as games from Bethesda, which Microsoft bought for over $7 billion two years ago. Microsoft also discussed Activision Blizzard games ahead of its $69bn acquisition of the Call of Duty/Diablo developer.

For the 2022 showcase, loads of games were highlighted. Too many to discuss here, in fact. To get the full lowdown, you can watch the video above or head to the main announcement blog post. In the meantime, we will cover the big announcements:

Starfield 

The biggest announcement of the show – and the game Microsoft spent the most time discussing – was Starfield. Despite its space/sci-fi theme, the game is the spiritual successor to Skyrim, Bethesda’s hugely respected and popular fantasy RPG. The big news about Starfield is it will be a truly huge game, perhaps the biggest ever created.

There will be 100 star systems to explore with a total of 1,000 planets that can be fully explored. Players access these locations in customizable spacecraft. Character customization will also be extensive, alongside the usual skill-progression gameplay from other Bethesda games.

Release: 2023

Platforms: Xbox consoles, PC, Cloud

Redfall

Microsoft opened the showcase by discussing Redfall, a previously announced first-person shooter. This time, the company was providing more details alongside gameplay footage. Redfall is a solo or squad-based FPS that is located in the town of the same name in Massachusetts. With vampires taking control of the town, it is up to the player to guide Layla Ellison – a young girl with powers – to liberate Redfall.

Release: Early 2023

Platforms: Xbox consoles, PC, Cloud

Riot Games Collaboration

During the event, Microsoft announced a new partnership with Riot Games, the studio behind League of Legends. Specifically, the company’s games will be available on Xbox Game Pass later this year. This partnership allows the entire Riot Games library to be available on Game Pass. Microsoft says the collaboration will also bring the following benefits to subscribers:

  • All League of Legends Champions unlocked
  • All League of Legends: Wild Rift Champions unlocked
  • All Valorant Agents unlocked
  • Legends of Runeterra’s Foundations card set fully unlocked
  • Select Teamfight Tactics’ Little Legends unlocked

Release: Winter 2022

Platforms: PC, mobile

Forza Motorsport 

Microsoft’s flagship racing game is heading back to the racetracks of the world. After several iterations of Forza Horizon with its open world, the series is heading back to pure racing for the first time on next-gen consoles. Microsoft is promising its most realistic racing sim year, with “48-times” improvement in the physics simulation.

Forza Motorsport will get granular, including tire wear based on the track temperature during a race, a dynamic weather system, and more. Car customizations will be extensive, while new photogrammetry scans provide life-like representations of vehicles and tracks.

Release: Spring 2023

Platforms: Xbox consoles, PC, Cloud

Overwatch 2 

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the show was Blizzard revealing the much anticipated and long-awaiting sequel to Overwatch. Blizzard already has its own event scheduled for June 16, but we got a taster at the Xbox & Bethesda Showcase. As many predicted, Overwatch 2 will introduce a free-to-play model into the game.

Release: October 4, 2022

Platforms: Xbox consoles, PC

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