Microsoft’s fourth-generation Xbox consoles, Xbox Series X and S, are entering their third year. And while Year 1 started off with a soft launch in the exclusive games department, the second half of the first year of this generation brought the rush Xbox fans have been waiting for for years. From Forza Horizon 5 to Halo Infinite to Psychonauts 2 to Microsoft Flight Simulator, it seemed like the Xbox exclusive game drought had come to an end. Of course, by now you know the story because you’ve lived it. All of 2022 was like a mirage in the desert: you thought you saw water ahead, but was it really there? Therefore, 2023 has to be a success for Xbox gamers who have invested so much in the platform. Microsoft is a multi-billion dollar company that seems to have exhausted the patience of its players. Fortunately, there are reasons to be optimistic.
Is Xbox Series X/S finally going to give us what we expect?
The conversation about Xbox exclusive blockbusters in 2023 begins and ends with Starfield, famed game designer Todd Howard’s first new IP in decades, and the first game he’s directed since Fallout 4 in 2015. Howard gave it a try in 2020, promising a November 11, 2022 release date, 18 months before what was planned. It didn’t work out, but now Starfield is almost here, and pardon Arkane’s Redfall (which we’ll talk about in a bit), Starfield isn’t just the biggest game to come out of Bethesda since Microsoft bought the publisher for $7.5 billion. two years ago, it is, on paper, the kind of exclusive that makes people want to buy into the Xbox ecosystem. And for the millions of players who still enjoy Skyrim from Starfield’s own team, there’s good news: Starfield could be Skyrim in space, which should be welcome news for the millions of Elder Scrolls fans who have been around for more than one year. decade waiting for the sixth installment of that venerable saga.
But Starfield will have to wait until at least the middle of the year. Everything seems to indicate that Redfall will come out first. The four-player cooperative first-person shooter and vampire slayer looked downright delicious when we last saw it and got a wealth of input from co-creative director Harvey Smith, and it should help ease the pain of seeing how the last two Bethesda’s big releases (Arkane’s Deathloop and Gameworks’ solidly weird Ghostwire Tokyo) were released as PlayStation 5 exclusives as part of a deal Bethesda signed with Sony prior to the acquisition by Microsoft. Thankfully, Deathloop is already on Xbox Game Pass and Ghostwire should follow when PlayStation’s one-year term of exclusivity expires in March. Arkane has always made devilishly clever games (Hall of Fame game designer Warren Spector calls them immersive sims) that have tended to garner more critical acclaim than commercial success. Given the perennial success of vampires in pop culture, perhaps Redfall may finally be the game that ticks both boxes for the studio.
Last time we saw him, Redfall looked fantastic.
Also expected for the first half of 2023 at Forza Motorsport, the reboot for the next generation of the saga of racing simulation games for Xbox. Although the first seven Motorsport installments have been magnificent, Horizon has become the best Forza throughout its five iterations. Plus, it has a broader appeal. So Motorsport will have to dig into its sim-based story to once again raise the bar above its raucous sibling. What has been shown so far has been magnificent, not to mention that developer Turn10 Studios has taken a lot of time to rebuild the game from the ground up, since Forza Motorsport 7 launched way back in 2017 on Xbox One. Forza Motorsport Developers they’ve never failed, so fans of racing games have good reason to be excited when this reboot arrives.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has had a huge impact on the gaming industry, and two major Xbox exclusives scheduled for release last year were delayed to allow for war literally encroaching on developers’ doors. First person shooter STALKER 2: Heart of Chernobyl, from the Ukrainian studio GSC Game World, is the most prominent of the games whose development timelines have been affected. This survival horror shooter is expected to hit Xbox Game Pass in 2023, and when it does, the entire gaming community will be looking forward to seeing it succeed.
The same can be said for Sad Cat Studios, which had to be moved elsewhere for the team’s own safety due to the invasion. Work on Replaced has resumed and hopefully it will also see the light of day in 2023 as an Xbox exclusive.. A cyberpunk thriller with gorgeous 2.5D pixel art set in an 1980s alternate reality, it was a featured title at its debut at the Xbox 2021 event. Keep an eye out for it.
More recently, the Xbox 2022 presentation promised more exclusives for 2023. Minecraft Legends is an action and strategy game that it may be successful with the casual crowd, but probably won’t appeal to the most demanding gamers. Instead, the biggest move for Xbox in 2023 and beyond (and right now the most fascinating soap opera in recent memory) is Microsoft’s attempted takeover of Activision-Blizzard. As Sony and Microsoft take turns trying to appear tamer and weaker than each other to regulatory bodies in an attempt to push the deal forward or stop it altogether, the reality on the ground for Microsoft is that if the deal goes through, the company would suddenly take Blizzard’s powerful sequel for 2023, Diablo IV, to Xbox Game Pass. The Call of Duty exclusivity situation is another matter entirely, but including a new Diablo in Game Pass would be a huge win for Xbox.
Avowed could be the perfect way to satiate Skyrim fans while the wait for The Elder Scrolls VI continues.
Even putting the Activision-Blizzard drama aside, Microsoft still has a number of previously announced exclusives that could land in the second half of 2023. The magnificent psychological thriller Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2powered by Unreal Engine 5, from the famous developer Ninja Theory, seems the most likely candidate of all. Avowed is more difficult to calibrate, as we haven’t even seen a gameplay trailer yet, but it could be the perfect way to satiate Skyrim fans while the wait for The Elder Scrolls VI continues. Could it sneak in at the end of 2023? Possibly, though it could depend on where on the calendar Starfield ends up landing.
Perfect Dark, Fable, The Outer Worlds 2, Contraband y Gears 6 parecen poco propensos to sneak in before the third year of Xbox Series X/S comes to a close, but hopefully we’ll at least see something tangible from each of them. Specific, It is not ruled out that State of Decay 3, Indiana Jones and Everwild will arrive on the console sooner than expected. In short, it’s time for Microsoft to offer its fans blockbuster exclusives.
All of those games will be priced at €80, as Microsoft has finally joined most of the major publishers in the industry in raising the price of their games. Fortunately, many Xbox gamers won’t notice the effects, as they all those first-party games launch directly on Xbox Game Passwhose monthly price (for now) has not changed.
hardware and services
In that sense, Xbox Game Pass has been so successful that it has become a meme, which is probably the best-case scenario Microsoft could have hoped for when they launched the service in 2017. The point is, the meme doesn’t lie: Xbox Game Pass really is the best gaming deal out there, and 2023 should deliver more than just the first wave. of first-party exclusives, but also third-party added value. Although no official announcement has been made yet, it’s reasonable to expect MLB The Show 23 to return to the service on launch day. The same will happen with the indie game Hollow Knight: Silksong, Ark 2 with Vin Diesel, the up-and-coming Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn, the intriguing farming simulator Lightyear Frontier, the haunting platformer The Last Case of Benedict Fox, and the quirky action-adventure Ravenlok. And this is only what is expected for the first half of the new year. No doubt more will come.
Xbox Game Pass has been so successful that it is already a meme.
Meanwhile, Xbox Cloud Gaming continues to quietly evolve and integrate into the Xbox ecosystem via Game Pass, there are Xbox Series S deals, and oh yeah, now. you can find and buy an Xbox Series X in many stores without too many complications. And once you’ve got your console in hand, you can now order a custom Xbox Elite Controller from Xbox Design Lab, further customizing your Xbox experience.
As a last resort, 2023 is a very promising year for Xbox, but it comes with an understandable sense of urgency on the part of Xbox owners. Microsoft has seen its roster of first-party studios grow tremendously in recent years, rectifying a number of bugs that were exacerbated during the Xbox One generation. Gamers have been patient, but at this point, Microsoft has exhausted the goodwill it has received. He had left. In short, the time has come to turn or shut up. Fortunately, everything indicates that this is finally going to be The Year.