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Xbox finally has a pulse

Published Jun 9th, 2024 5:18PM EDT
Microsoft showed off the first gameplay from Perfect Dark.
Image: The Initiative

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Xbox had to give fans something to cheer about. That’s exactly what it did at the Xbox Games Showcase on Sunday. Scrutiny of Xbox is at an all-time high following the shocking closure of four internal studios last month. Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer did an admirable job of distracting us from that with a thrilling showcase.

We’re approaching the fourth anniversary of the Xbox Series X/S, but in some ways, it still feels like we’re waiting for the next generation of Xbox to begin. There have been scattered highlights, including Halo Infinite, Hellblade 2, and Starfield, but the list of notable games exclusive to Xbox and PC is still way smaller than we would have expected for the 23 game development studios that exist under the umbrella of Xbox Game Studios.

What exactly have all of these teams been working on for the past four years?

On Sunday, we finally got a closer look at the work that all of these studios have been doing. It all started with Doom: The Dark Ages, id Software’s hotly anticipated follow-up to 2020’s Doom Eternal. The last two Doom games have been fast-paced, gory, ridiculously fun crowd-pleasers, and based on the trailer, Dark Ages is more of the same.

But Doom was just one beloved franchise to return on Sunday. We also saw the first gameplay from The Initiative and Crystal Dynamics’ Perfect Dark reboot, which looks to bring the dormant franchise into the new generation with style.

We also saw Call of Duty: Black Ops 6, the new Fable (sans gameplay, sadly), State of Decay 3, Age of Mythology: Retold, and Gears of War: E-Day, which is a new mainline entry set 14 years before the original Gears of War. These were the updates that hardcore Xbox fans have been waiting months or even years to see, and the company delivered.

Then, there were original titles without connections to existing series. South of Midnight brings third-person action to the American Deep South with mystical powers, swamp monsters the size of buildings, and a talking catfish. Obsidian Entertainment’s Avowed continues to impress as well with its colorful world and meaningful decisions that impact the story.

The problem for Xbox now is the same as it’s always been: We don’t know when half of these games will actually be playable. Fable has a chance to be the biggest action RPG since Elden Ring, but all we got was a cinematic trailer and a vague 2025 launch window. The Perfect Dark reboot was first announced in late 2020, and nearly four years later, we still have no idea when we’ll be able to play it. South of Midnight won’t be ready until 2025, and neither will Doom: The Dark Ages, Expedition 33, or Mixtape. And that’s if none of them get delayed.

Microsoft also took the opportunity to reveal three new Xbox Series X/S consoles launching this holiday season. Xbox is expanding its hardware portfolio with a 1TB Series S in Robot White, an all-digital Xbox Series X, and a 2TB Xbox Series X Special Edition in Galaxy Black.

Honestly, this was about as good a show as anyone could have expected from Xbox. There were new entries in big franchises, exciting original properties, highly anticipated releases from third-party studios, and even fresh hardware for those who want to upgrade their launch console or are looking to finally make the jump from Xbox One to Xbox Series X/S.

Now, the only question is how long we’ll have to wait to play all these games.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.