Xbox Serves Up a Full-Course Gaming Experience for 2024

Ready to order everything on the menu? I sure am!

Xbox Serves Up a Full-Course Gaming Experience for 2024
Photo by Jonathan Kemper / Unsplash.

For a while, it seemed like Xbox would never truly release any quality titles for their platform; little did we know they were busy cooking up something special.

As a lifelong fan of Xbox, I wanted to be excited about the titles that they were making. However, after an acquisition spree that included buying major third-party publishers Bethesda and Activision, laying off thousands of employees across their game studios because of the state of the industry, shutting down studios like Arkane Austin and Tango Gameworks, and even putting some of their exclusives on other platforms like the PlayStation 5, I felt Xbox was losing its identity, increasingly controlled by its corporate parent, Microsoft.

Despite everything, I’m happy to see that the ambitious bets made by Xbox are finally paying off after everything that was shown in the 2024 Games Showcase.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 6 Press Kit. Source: Press Kit.

Kicking it off with some tempting appetizers

The show began with a quick sneak peek of what’s to come in the next installment of Call of Duty, Black Ops 6. As expected, it was a bombastic, stylish trailer filled with action and spectacle that will surely make it the best-selling game of the year based on its usual performance. In recent years, I have grown tired of the series as a whole, particularly with the release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III, which felt like a repackaged DLC instead of a full game. However, I was intrigued to see what Activision had in store for the Black Ops franchise.

To begin with, the campaign got me excited as it takes place in the 1990s during the Gulf War, just as Black Ops Cold War took place in the true life events of the 1970s and 80s. With the game, you can enjoy handcrafted missions that offer multiple approaches to completion. Plus, there’s a central hub where you can analyze gathered evidence and uncover extra secrets.

The Black Ops 6 Direct brought good news — the classic Prestige system is making a comeback along with a round-based Zombies mode. Even the introduction of the omnidirectional movement system gives me hope that Call of Duty will soar back to the top as the premier first-person shooter franchise.

Phil Spencer, CEO of Microsoft Gaming, then announced the next Doom game, DOOM: The Dark Ages. As a fan of the rebooted Doom series, I felt thrilled to see id Software take a different direction by creating a prequel set in the Medieval era. While there were leaks out there saying that this new Doom game was going to be set in the Medieval timeline, it was still thrilling to see the Doom Slayer killing demons left and right with some new exciting weapons, like a mace for close-quarters combat and a chainsaw shield you can throw and retrieve back like a psychopathic Captain America.

Some enticing first-party entrees

We got another trailer for the upcoming Fable reboot coming from Playground Games, makers of the Forza Horizon series. While I have played none of the games, I am still in awe at the visuals that are displayed, making me wonder if what we are seeing truly is in-game footage being played. With the Fable games, you’ll find that distinctive British humor combined with a vibrant, colorful energy. It’s confirmed to come out in 2025, so I might watch this one. I might even play some of the previous games just to understand why Fable is so beloved among the Xbox fanbase.

Another first-party game I am guaranteed to play on day one is Indiana Jones and The Great Circle. Being developed by Machine Games, I know in my mind that it is going to be an excellent game of intrigue, puzzle-solving, and action that will keep me glued to my seat. As someone who has enjoyed the newer Wolfenstein games, it seems like Machine has never made a poor game. I hope it captures the same rollicking adventure vibes from the Indiana Jones films when it comes out in 2024.

Source: YouTube.

As I was watching the summer showcase, I was feeling pretty good about the number of first-party titles being shown. However, there was one game that appeared and totally surprised me: Perfect Dark.

Rumors were floating around that the development was not going smoothly. However, the gameplay reveal trailer crushed those claims by showcasing a spy espionage theme in the game, allowing players to use gadgets such as a voice recorder to imitate a guard’s voice and gain entry to a locked security gate. Many of the platforming sections feel like Mirror’s Edge, as you see the protagonist, Joanna Dark, climbing up pipes and parkouring along walls with gunplay that would fit well in a Splinter Cell game.

I couldn’t believe it when I first saw it, but it quickly became my highlight of the show. Now we just need to see if co-developers The Initiative and Crystal Dynamics can deliver on the promise of what they've been making all these years.

In South of Midnight, I like that Hazel will encounter companions on her journey, including her very unique mode of transportation, Catfish. Source: YouTube.

Finally, one first-party game I'm excited to play in 2025 is South of Midnight by Compulsion Games. Looking at the gameplay, I like Hazel's magical weaving powers in this gorgeously hand-drawn visual world set in the Deep South. The platforming and traversal seem to rely heavily on that weaving, making this game stand out from others in the third-person action-adventure genre.

Ready for some indie desserts?

Before I delve into my final thoughts on the Xbox Games Showcase, I wanted to take a moment to spotlight a few indie games that caught my attention. One title is a new release called Mixtape, from The Artful Escape, a studio whose previous work I really enjoyed.

Mixtape shows players a coming-of-age story about three friends who go through pivotal memories via a series of vignettes that provide comedic and cheerful gameplay. It includes a licensed soundtrack from artists like DEVO, Roxy Music, Lush, The Smashing Pumpkins, Iggy Pop, and more. Considering it is coming on day one via Game Pass, I am definitely checking this out when it releases in 2025.

Seeing a new Life is Strange title also shocked me. As someone who enjoys point-and-click adventure games, I have played most of the Life is Strange franchise. So, this new game, Life is Strange: Double Exposure, intrigued me, especially because it features Max Caulfield, the protagonist of the first Life is Strange.

From the footage they showed, it sounds like you will solve another mystery of a murdered friend and have new abilities at your disposal; Max can now travel to alternate realities, increasing the impact of choices and consequences when it releases on October 29th.

Who wants seconds?

While I didn’t cover all the game reveals, I had a feeling that a certain game would make an appearance because of online rumors. It had been a while since the Coalition released a new Gears of War game, so everyone assumed it would be Gears 6. Nevertheless, the big reveal turned out to be Gears of War: E-Day.

It’s a prequel set 14 years before the events of the first Gears of War, featuring the return of fan-favorite protagonist Marcus Fenix and his partner Dom at the start of Emergence Day, the event where the Locust started their invasion. Based on the trailer alone, it looks like the developers are going back to the dark, gritty, grotesque horror atmosphere that was present in the first game.

Source: YouTube.

While the series has always been known for its macho 80s-action schlocky tone with its characters in the original trilogy, the developers went down a more serious route for Gears 4 and 5. With this announcement, The Coalition can stretch its creative muscles by returning to the franchise’s roots, which made it so special as a key title in the Xbox first-party pantheon.

In wrapping up this showcase, I feel reassured knowing that Xbox is finally in an excellent position to release some quality titles they've been working on for the last few years. It seems like the time is finally here for Xbox to arrive with a buffet of delicious titles to sink our teeth into. Let’s hope that they are polished and relatively bug-free to perfection.


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