Microsoft promised Thursday’s Xbox Games Showcase would be all about the games — and it turns out they weren’t joking. Setting aside talk of the upcoming Xbox Series X console for a later date, Microsoft bookended its hour-long highlight reel of upcoming games with two biggies: Halo Infinite (which fans expected), and an all-new, next-gen Fable game — which came as a pleasantly fantastical surprise.
The new Fable teaser is super-short and doesn’t reveal much, but it does show off the visual style that’ll reintroduce Fable — a beloved fantasy franchise that gave the original Xbox its first big RPG hit all the way back in 2004 — to a new generation of players.
Though the game was teased simply as “Fable,” the new title from Playground Games marks the 4th installment in the Xbox-only action-RPG series. Microsoft didn’t indicate whether it’ll be a direct sequel or a reboot, and didn’t offer a release date — but it appears to be in development as an Xbox Series X exclusive, which means it may be a while yet before the next chapter in Albion’s story wisps its way onto our new consoles.
Of course the other big reveal was developer 343 Industries’ closer look at Halo Infinite, including a promised first peek at gameplay. For fans who’ve been hooked ever since the original Halo: Combat Evolved, it feels like classic Halo — only updated in every imaginable way for the current and future generation of Xbox consoles.
Halo Infinite is expected to launch alongside the Series X, with Microsoft touting — as it did for every game it showcased — smooth, consistent 60 frame per-second gameplay. We still don’t have a firm release date, since it likely could tip Microsoft’s hand on when the Series X itself will arrive — but Master Chief is firmly slated to make landfall sometime this holiday season.
Halo and Fable were just the big-name highlights in a showcase filled with new game announcements, as well as updates on expected titles. Microsoft rolled out a total of 22 games in the works from its in-house roster of studios under its new Microsoft Game Studios umbrella, including a sizzle reel of three games from Obsidian Entertainment led by Avowed — an all-new fantasy IP set in the Pillars of Eternity lore-verse.
With no release date revealed, Avowed also looks to be an Xbox Series X game, meaning it likely won’t cross console generations to play on the current Xbox One. Obsidian kept things rolling, though, by announcing a new DLC expansion to The Outer Worlds, an RPG that earned the studio a Nebula Award for games writing earlier this year. Take a peek at Peril on Gorgon, an upcoming expansion that promises to add new characters, a new planet, and new weapons — all while tying in with the main story. The Outer Worlds: Peril on Gorgon is set to arrive on Sept. 9 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
Then came a new look at Grounded, Obsidian’s honey-I-shrunk-the-game take on surviving as a tiny trooper in your own backyard. Grounded’s game preview is set to release for Xbox Game Pass, Xbox Game Pass for PC, Xbox Game Preview, and Steam Early Access on July 28.
In-house developer Undead Labs also revealed a new installment in its State of Decay survival series, teasing State of Decay 3 with an announcement trailer that quickly takes a dark turn toward the zombified macabre. State of Decay 3 doesn’t yet have a release date, so expect it to debut as an Xbox Series X title when it arrives.
Developer Fatshark also announced Warhammer 40,000: Darktide, the upcoming sci-fi sequel to 2015’s Vermintide. The trailer’s short but sweet, leaving your four-member drop team to fend for themselves as they’re ambushed in a dark forest. An Xbox Series X console launch exclusive (meaning it’s likely to show up later on other platforms), Warhammer 40,000: Darktide is set to release sometime next year.
Things got trippy fast when developer Double Fine rolled out a new announcement trailer for Psychonauts 2 to Jack Black’s dulcet vocal tones. Raz’s next journey into the mind-meld of Psychonauts’ distinctively cartoonish acid-verse is set to arrive as a console launch exclusive sometime in 2021.
In all, Microsoft teased there’ll be 100 games ready to play when the Xbox Series X launches this year, and showed off tons more teases for both new and previously-announced titles including Rare’s Everwild, the next Forza racing game, As Dusk Falls from new in-house studio Interior/Night, Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 from Ninja Theory, a new expansion for Phantasy Star Online 2 from SEGA, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 from GSC Game World, Bloober Team’s innovative horror thriller The Medium, and more. If anything, today’s showcase demonstrates that Microsoft appears to be serious about serving up its own plateful of Xbox exclusives, even as Sony preps its next wave of competing first-party games for this holiday's upcoming clash of the next-gen consoles.