Thursday, July 23rd 2020

Xbox Games Showcase Post-Mortem: Halo Infinite, Fable, Forza, and Many Others Revealed

Today, Microsoft held a long-awaited reveal for many upcoming games that the company hopes will justify bringing players into their ecosystem. Whether via their existing Xbox devices or through the next-generation Xbox Series X and gaming PC, the company put on a show showcasing the future of games as they envision them - but many more games from even Microsoft's first-party studios weren't showcased - yet.

The star of the show and opening opus was Halo Infinite, the much-awaited next installment in the Halo saga. The showcase revealed a part of the campaign, with cinematics and gameplay, and it does seem to be another step in the right direction for the franchise. The 8-minute gameplay video showcased the gorgeous environments, particle and sound effects made possible by the new Splipspace Engine in the new Halo game, with a number of impressive new weapons and game mechanics (that grappling hook does seem sweet, doesn't it?). A look at the map reveals an open-world-esque approach to game design, with 343 industries promising the game to be many times bigger than their two previous games, Halo 4 and Halo 5: Guardians, combined. A smooth 60-frames per second and 4K resolution is promised in what will definitely be the Xbox Series X's crown launch jewel. No multiplayer was shown - yet. We expect 343 Industries to start launching Sprint videos on the development of the game in the coming months, and also new game trailers showcasing the mechanics of the game.
Other interesting tidbits in the Halo Infinite gameplay reveal are: a too-eager viewport rendering culling which makes environment detail disappear too soon (hope that's fixed); different enemy reactions according to the area you're hitting with your shots (stumbling Brute after being shot on the knee); gorgeous, nature-populated world; environment traversal akin to that present in Halo 5; grappling hook available as a terrain traversal option; sprint mechanic; equipment is apparently making a return; and seamless transition between cinematics and gameplay.


While Halo is Microsoft's juggernaut, the roster of games doesn't stop there. The company showcased a number of high-quality games to be released on the system and on PC as well - there is no differentiating factor on the platform you choose to play in with the new Microsoft vision for gaming. All games that were showcased will be available via the Xbox Game Pass distributing service, which means a single subscription will allow you to play all games as they are launched, in whatever platform you so choose.


Another big reveal in the showcase was, of course, the rumored Fable - a long-dormant franchise that has, nevertheless, withstood the test of time. Playground Games seems to have gotten its peculiar humor right, and even though no gameplay was shown, this signals the eventual return of one of Microsoft's best RPG franchises yet.


Another big coup for the company was the announcement of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2, which is being developed exclusively for Microsoft's consoles and PCs. We all know the cult following that the original S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and subsequent expansions garnered, with GSC Gameworld showcasing a gorgeous, haunting environment filled with anomalies and impressive physics and graphics effects. A game that's bound to bring more players to the Microsoft gaming ecosystem, to be sure.


Forza Motorsport is another mainstay of Microsoft Studios, and the company teased a new installment that just looks absolutely stunning. The game will be running in 4K resolution, with 60 frames per second and support for raytracing effects. Forza has always been one of Microsoft's poster-franchises on graphics fidelity; the lighting, the car and player models, and environment lighting are absolutely top-notch, and you'll be able to play it on your PC as well.


A new RPG from Obsidian has also been announced - Avowed - which seems to take place in a medieval fantasy setting with necromancy, magic, and a The Lord of The Rings vibe to some of the environment art and design. Right alongside Avowed was the announcement of an Expansion for The Outer Worlds, subtitled perils on Gorgon, which brings extra story content to the original game.


The showcase also revealed a series of Xbox games being updated for the power available in the new Xbox Series X games console. Ori and the Will of the Wisps, for one, will see an update that brings about improved sound design, as well as smooth 4K-rendered visuals running at a stunning 120 FPS. Gears 5, Gears Tactics, Sea of Thieves and Forza Horizon 4 will also receive visual and rendering updates that take advantage of the new processing prowess available in the Xbox Series X.

A listing of all the new showcased games follows, so you can dive deeper into the ones that strike your fancy:
  • Halo Infinite
  • Fable
  • Forza Motorsport
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2
  • Balan Underworld
  • Dragon Quest XI
  • Avowed
  • Echo Generation
  • Exomecha
  • State of Decay 3
  • Tell me Why
  • As Dusk Falls
  • Psychonauts 2
  • Warhammer 40,000: Dark Tide
  • Tetris Connect
  • The Gunk
  • CrossfireX Campaign
  • Medium
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29 Comments on Xbox Games Showcase Post-Mortem: Halo Infinite, Fable, Forza, and Many Others Revealed

#1
Dristun
Well, that was pretty boring imo. Halo doesn't look next-gen at all?
The only surprise was seeing STALKER2 in the line-up: looks pretty but I won't start believing until I see the goods, that is the gameplay.
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#2
u2konline
No sign of a remastered Brute Force
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#3
sepheronx
Dristun
Well, that was pretty boring imo. Halo doesn't look next-gen at all?
The only surprise was seeing STALKER2 in the line-up: looks pretty but I won't start believing until I see the goods, that is the gameplay.
I was gonna say the same. When I heard they were actually doing STALKER 2 I was excited. But I dont think the original team is even around anymore. First game was so darn good even if it was broken.
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#4
agatong55
Best thing about that conference was Game Pass owners and people who play games on computers since everything they showed will be on both at release.
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#5
ZoneDymo
Dristun
Well, that was pretty boring imo. Halo doesn't look next-gen at all?
The only surprise was seeing STALKER2 in the line-up: looks pretty but I won't start believing until I see the goods, that is the gameplay.
Right? I was SO freaking underwhelmed by Halo, I mean it looks just dated and the sound is crap and the voice work as well....like what was that?
And STALKER as well as Warhammer, those are good names but these teasers show nothing.
I will say that the STALKER trailer was a tad too .... western for me? too hollywood? not really becoming of that STALKER is all about imo.

Actually all these are just announcements with a teaser, preeeetty boring.
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#6
Camm
I’m not sure I got the hate directed at Halo, the game doesn’t look bad at all. Maybe the biggest issue here is Halo’s artstyle is kinda cartoony to begin with, and the further away from realism you get, the harder it is to show fidelity upgrades. Shrug.

Avowed might be the biggest announcement here for me, a new Obsidian RPG which whilst we all sort of knew was coming, is freaking awesome.

The biggest issue I think is Microsoft is still too early in its acquisitions lifecycle to really start getting big new games out to finally put to bed the ‘exclusivity’ argument.
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#7
bug
I hope we're all on the same page when I say 4k@60fps will require upscaling. PCs will still net the better experience. Provided they don't get crappy ports. Again.
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#8
Naito
All in all, a little underwhelming for me. I know that these are the 'first wave' of games that are still somewhat geared for the last generation (are we even calling them generations anymore?), but I'm sure they could have turned up a few settings or showcased some of the newer technology. High framerate and resolution are great, as the opposite can really detract from the experience, but they really don't show off the next big leap in graphics. A few people may say ray tracing is just a gimmick, but I believe it goes a long way in enhancing immersion by helping bring environments alive through more realistic shadows, lighting and reflections. Perhaps Digital Foundry's in-depth tech analysis videos have made me all too aware of techniques used in games, however smart, which only just pass as believable.

That being said, I'm sure Halo will still play like Halo and be thoroughly enjoyable. The 343 industries look would probably make it hard to integrate some of the more gritty effects expected in a more realism-based art style. However, I did expect a lot more, as Halo titles, aside from the MCC ports, have been far and few between compared to earlier generations and the extra time in development, from a graphical point of view, just doesn't really show.

Also, while I know it was an 'Xbox' showcase, I'm fairly disappointed there was no news for the Age of Empires series. Whether it be AoE III Remastered or AoE IV, I was keen to get an update.

Maybe these kind of showcases are the new normal and I must temper my expectations.
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#9
sam_86314
Avowed and Fable 4 are the ones that stuck out to me.

Let's see how Playground does with Fable 4. AFAIK they only have experience making racing games.

Also hopefully Fable 2 will get released on PC and 3 will be re-released?
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#10
Fluffmeister
bug
I hope we're all on the same page when I say 4k@60fps will require upscaling. PCs will still net the better experience. Provided they don't crappy ports. Again.
Yeah, RDNA2 is supposed to put Nv out of business, lets hope future games look more "next-gen".

It's early days of course, don't cry fanboys.
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#11
BorisDG
The event was pure disaster. The "next gen" looks pretty underwhelming.
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#12
ViperXTR
borefest and doesn't look anything nextgen, curious about stalker but not much was shown and original team is not making it anymore
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#13
BorisDG
ViperXTR
borefest and doesn't look anything nextgen, curious about stalker but not much was shown and original team is not making it anymore
Plus the charming quirkiness will be removed due to UE4.
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#14
ViperXTR
BorisDG
The event was pure disaster. The "next gen" looks pretty underwhelming.
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#15
Fluffmeister
Yeah looks terrible, but even in PC land the tech is two years old.
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#16
MxPhenom 216
ASIC Engineer
Camm
I’m not sure I got the hate directed at Halo, the game doesn’t look bad at all. Maybe the biggest issue here is Halo’s artstyle is kinda cartoony to begin with, and the further away from realism you get, the harder it is to show fidelity upgrades. Shrug.

Avowed might be the biggest announcement here for me, a new Obsidian RPG which whilst we all sort of knew was coming, is freaking awesome.

The biggest issue I think is Microsoft is still too early in its acquisitions lifecycle to really start getting big new games out to finally put to bed the ‘exclusivity’ argument.
I mean just the textures in Halo look like they are mostly all 1k resolution or lower....
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#17
siki
And when halo didnt look like crap compared to anything else and it was always awarded with the highest praise.
Why even bother puting any extra effort in it?
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#18
phill
Forza Horizon will have my interest but that's about it and now I can get that on the PC but they don't offer the physical copy for it, just the download for that and the Xbox.. I swing that way!! :laugh:
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#20
Chomiq
Most of the stuff looked meh, I liked Evervild which looked nice but blurry so probably 30fps cap. But hey, it's not like I'm buying series x, so no caps on pc.
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#21
MxPhenom 216
ASIC Engineer
Chomiq
Most of the stuff looked meh, I liked Evervild which looked nice but blurry so probably 30fps cap. But hey, it's not like I'm buying series x, so no caps on pc.
I certainly felt more excited after Sony's
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#22
Vayra86
Durr.... yeah a new franchise sequel for every single one of the three that are worth mentioning. Another Fable... a franchise with so much lost potential I doubt they will ever recover it.

WOW MS. Where can I pre order? :kookoo:

XSX is going to fail like every single box before it. It happens every time, its just that people started seeing it since the Xbox 1, but really... All MS has done to this point, is some ports and a small handful of exclusive franchises, and to be fair, all of them are pretty soulless to me. Halo had soul but it's long gone. The rest? Dunno, feels like a Mars bar that just doesn't have the right taste and a weird logo.

And yes, the eternal sports games, the odd racer, we get it, we know it, and its so casual it bores the crap out of me. This is about as innovative as a brick wall.

ONE thing does stand out to me... STALKER 2. I had zero faith in that title ever coming out at all, but with MS behind it to keep GSC on the right path... surely it'll get released at the very least - and on PC too. Yay, now let's hope they evolved it abit.
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#23
QUANTUMPHYSICS
I was waiting for Techspot to mention the Halo Infinite trailer.

Game looks like it wants to be DOOM minus the excessive gore and violence.

Frankly, I'd like to see Doomguy brutalizing those grunts, elites and brutes.



Thus far, I've seen NOTHING to make me excited to buy Xbox Series X or PS5.

The original Playstation sucked me in with just a short glimpse of WARHAWK. Made me take out $300 from my college fund to buy one.
The original Xbox sold me with Soldier of Fortune II. Made me buy one over PS2.
Xbox 360 sold me with QUAKE 4.
Xbox ONE sold me with Battlefield 4.
Xbox Series X hasn't sold me.

I think I'll stick to my gaming PC till they have a good way to sell me.
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#24
Easo
Stalker, STALKER!!!
I almost grew old waiting for it.

And 40k L4D shooter is also welcome, especially since you are not gonna play as Astartes for once...
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#25
Super XP
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 should end up being a Legendary Release!
If the game studio plays its cards right, it's going to be a HIT!
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