Vikings, vampires, dinosaur killing and more revealed during Xbox Series X gameplay showcase
We are coming up on the summer, and while that means we are entering a dry season for video game releases, we are entering an incredibly active season for video game news. This is when all the big companies announce their plans for the coming year, and for Sony and Microsoft that means next-gen consoles. Microsoft is starting off the party in a major way with an Inside Xbox presentation that will show us everything the Xbox Series X is able to do.
You know there’s something really endearing about seeing the whole Xbox Team streaming from their kitchens, libraries, and so on. Before Microsoft even started the presentation they gave us a small rundown about how all major teams have shifted to working from home, and it’s really amazing how so many major teams are still managing to make AAA games from their home computers.
But enough about that, you want announcements. So here we go.
Bright Memory Infinite
The presentation started with a genre that has become synonymous with Xbox at this point, the first-person shooter. But this game is no shooter you’ve seen before. Aside from your fairy standard loadout of guns, you also get futuristic grappling hooks, swords and shields, and some really bizarre powers. There are definitely some strange time shenanigans going on here. Perhaps even more impressive is that it was developed by one person!
Smart Delivery is Microsoft’s new version of cross-buy support. Smart Delivery games will only ever need to be purchased once. Doing so will grant you access to the game on both Xbox One and Xbox Series X. It’s a new standard that, hopefully, Microsoft’s competitors will also adopt.
New consoles means new racing games. In fact, for some reason it seems like racers sell consoles, even though we tend to ignore them for much of the rest of the year. This title brings us a lot of the major developments we have seen over the past generation, including day/night cycles, real-time weather, multiple vehicle selection, and more.
Environments in this game include New York, Norway, China, Brazil, Italy, Arizona, and more. Each of these locations will change depending on the time of year. For example, the East River will freeze over in winter in New York, allowing you to race right across it.
You will be able to race everything from buggies to sprint cars, to cars specifically developed for going left and drifting around an oval course. One of the things the developers were so excited about was four player split screen. Strange thing to push during a global pandemic, and a weird retro feature to be excited about, but hey, like they said, it’s always great to play racing games with friends.
Finally, there’s the career mode which will feature one racer, voiced by Troy Baker, going up against another voiced by Nolan North. Now that’s a rivalry. This will definitely be one of the major titles to look out for in the launch lineup and is yet another title that makes use of Smart Delivery.
So, this trailer got a little freaky. It was largely cinematic, and, frankly, it looked like something out of an H.R. Geiger fever dream. There were all these weird skeletons and aliens and techno organism things and lots and lots of weird sexual energy. Like…. We can’t describe it here, just watch the trailer. We’re not sure what this game is actually about, but it’s going to give us nightmares for the next few weeks. Thanks Microsoft!
Chorus: Rise as One
Speaking of sci-fi, here’s another genre that we rarely see outside of launch lineups, the flight-sim. However, this is no simple rail shooter or dogfight simulator. It has this weird plot that seems to blend fantasy with sci-fi, as the main character seems to have some weird dark magic link with her ship. If the next generation is the generation of genre mashups, sign us up!
While all sports have been canceled this spring and early summer season, digital sports don’t have to stop. Madden 21 will continue to bring you all of the best football action on the Xbox Series X. There weren’t many other details given, but we do know that it will be another game with Smart Delivery, so you can purchase it for Xbox One and then play it later on Xbox Series X.
Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines 2
There’s a bit of weird horror focus for this presentation. Showing a family strung up by fishhooks by their cheeks is one hell of a way to show off the newest World of Darkness property coming from Paradox Interactive. This was one of the first looks we had for Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines 2 and it was pretty sick. We saw Brujah throwing people through walls, Tremere seducing humans at clubs, and Malkavians doing… the aforementioned fish hook thing. The point is, you’ll have a lot of choices in this new open world vampire simulator.
Call of the Sea
Call of the Sea appears to be a sort of adventure game taking place on a hidden island. Our protagonist is searching for someone, and yet is finding some strange ancient secrets. It has sort of a Tomb Raider vibe to it. Also, you might turn into a mer-folk, so that’s cool. Are we down for a mermaid Lara Croft?
Welcome to the bleak post-apocalyptic cyberpunk future. The Ascent is a twin stick top down shooter that takes place in a high-tech world that suffers a sudden power shutdown. With chaos and anarchy reigning it’s up to you, your friends, and a lot of guns to get to the bottom of the shutdown, and save the future leaving a trail of bodies in your wake.
Alright, the Xbox Series X appears to be the console for horror buffs. The Medium is yet another psychological horror game done by the people behind Layers of Fear and Observer, featuring a protagonist that can commune with spirits and see the future, and the future looks like hell. It will be soundtracked by Akira Yamaoka, the composer for the Silent Hill series, and will be available this holiday season.
The main gameplay mechanic of this game is the ability to see two worlds, the real world and the spirit world. The real world is, of course, our world, but the spirit world shows things as they actually are. For example, a very nice person in the real world could be an awful monster in the spirit world and vice versa. The main character, Maryanne will have to navigate these two worlds to solve puzzles and uncover secrets in an old, closed down, condemned hotel in Poland in the late ‘80s. The developers said that they used this two world concept to reflect how things were heavily censored in Poland in the ‘80s, while allowing the player to see much deeper into the reality of the world, beyond the outward veil that society projects.
No console launch would be complete without some high quality, pure, anime and Bandai Namco is here to oblige. Ever wanted to fight against a walking bouquet of flowers with hooves and human hands? No? Well too bad! These are “The Others” the main antagonist of this wonky action game. They can’t be hurt, they can’t be stopped, except by one dark haired anime boy with psychic powers and a big katana. There is a specific audience which will be sold on the Xbox Series X by this title.
Second Extinction: Reclaim Earth
If there was anything more synonymous with the Xbox name than shooters, it’s shooters where you get to kill a lot of aliens. Well this title one-ups even that and lets you kill whole packs of alien dinosaurs. It’s pure high-concept gun-camp. Once again, there’s an audience for this type of game and you know who you are.
Yakuza: Like a Dragon
When we first heard about Yakuza: Like a Dragon we thought it was a pretty interesting idea to set a traditional turn based JRPG to the backdrop of a gangster story. However, it looks like you just can’t keep the craziness out of a JRPG, as this gangster story also has dark magic, legendary weapons (which just so happen to be bats wrapped in barbed wire), space lasers, and giant monstrous shrimp. It’s clearly tongue-in-cheek, and it’s going to be a launch title for the Xbox Series X alongside an Xbox One and PC release.
Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla
Of course, Microsoft closed out the show with the biggest name headliner on this list: Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla. Now, Ubisoft’s definition of “Assassin” is a little stretched at this point. Much of the gameplay showcased huge raids, ship battles, whole towns burning down, massive hordes of soldiers being taken on by a single burly Viking warrior. It’s intense, but not particularly stealthy.
The new protagonist is Abor, a Viking raider joining the Viking assault on England. Not only will players be raiding English settlements, they will be attempting to settle the land, form alliances, and make difficult choices that will inform who Abor has alliances to.
This is another title that will have Smart Delivery, allowing you to purchase it on any Microsoft platform and get it on all Microsoft platforms.
That’s all the reveals we saw for this Inside Xbox. It was a ton of info for a lot of next-gen games. Which ones are you most excited about? Watch the full showcase below: