We currently don’t know a whole lot about Everwild other than the game will see players witness “unique and unforgettable experiences in a natural and magical world.”
Though the gameplay remains a bit of a mystery, the stunning visuals and wholesome soundtrack really come together to bring this fantasy world to life in the trailer. We can’t wait to find out more and can see Everwild playing a large part in the event on Thursday.
The Initiative’s Project
The Initiative was a new Santa Monica-based studio established in 2018 by Microsoft solely for the purpose of releasing top-tier titles for the Xbox consoles. Given it’s been two years since the developer was established, and top-tier exclusives are sure to be the order of the day, we’d hazard a guess that The Initiative’s next game will show up in one form or another throughout the July event.
Given the studio is headed by Crystal Dynamics veteran Darrel Gallagher, we’re hazarding a guess that The Initiative could be working on an exclusive title akin to Naughty Dog’s Uncharted series, or Crystal Dynamics’ rebooted Tomb Raider titles. Something that scratches that action adventure itch and fills the gap in Microsoft Game Studios’ roster.
Forza Motorsport 8
While Forza Horizon arguably has the better gameplay over its more serious, simulation sibling Forza Motorsport, its the latter that is the true technical showcase title between the two.
Turn10 Studios are always the leaders in pushing Microsoft’s hardware to the max. They know how to squeeze every last drop of power out of the hardware to make car models more sublime and intricately detailed than the last, environments look near photo-realistic, and all of that to remain buttery smooth with a consistent, high frame-rate.
Forza Horizon may be the dominant series now when it comes to enjoyable gameplay, but the two series tend to alternate releases, and given Forza Horizon 4 was the last release, there’s no doubt in our minds that Forza Motorsport 8 will showcase the true capabilities of the hardware, and will feature for a good few minutes on Thursday.
Formerly Lionhead Studios’ baby bursting with British charm, the Fable license was retained by Microsoft Game Studios long after Lionhead was shuttered. Since that sad day back in March 2016 where both the studio and the upcoming Fable Legends were canceled, fans haven’t heard a peep from the series.
But then the rumors began doing the rounds. The team at Playground Studios — the developer behind Forza Horizon — would be expanding with a new studio that’d be working on a new Fable game. Fans were ecstatic at the prospect of returning to Albion once more, and then there was nothing… again.
If a new Fable game is in development, it seems fair to say that now is the time to finally unveil it.
Third-Party Offerings (Assassin’s Creed Valhalla / Madden NFL 21)
While a slew of nothing but exclusives would be sure to put a smile on the faces of Xbox fans, there’s a pretty good chance that some major third-party titles will show up during the Xbox Series X July event. Namely, EA Sports with Madden NFL 21 given its a juggernaut series year in year out.
We could also see Ubisoft showing up with Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, or maybe even Activision with its still-unannounced Call of Duty title.
The gameplay will no doubt get players excited just to check out these third-party titles that’ll no doubt launch alongside the Xbox Series X; they’ll also be there to showcase any platform-exclusive content you’ll get from third-party deals, or just show how well the game runs on Series X.
State of Decay 3
Since being acquired in 2018, Undead Labs has more or less worked on just improving and releasing new content for its just-released State of Decay 2.
We definitely haven’t heard about what Undead Labs is working on next, and with a good two years since its last release, it seems like this July event is perfect timing to show off what they’ve been cooking up.
Our guess? Why, State of Decay 3, of course! Though as much as we like the series, we’re hoping that whatever Undead Labs’ next title is really pushes the envelope forward.
Be that in terms of the State of Decay series getting a huge gameplay overhaul and change up to feel less clunky and more modern, or just embarking on a new IP altogether. We’re excited to see what the team has to show, and would be surprised if they’re not part of the July showcase.
Hellblade 2: Senua’s Saga
Ninja Theory, another of Microsoft’s 2018 acquisitions, has shown us what they’re working on with Hellblade 2: Senua’s Saga.
The original game, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice was very much a story-driven, environmental puzzle-based experience, with combat seldom leading the gameplay front. Its focus on the struggles and plights of mental health resonated with both critics and users, becoming one of the most beloved titles of 2017.
Hellblade 2’s first trailer and reveal dropped towards the end of last year and given the aforementioned drive on exclusives for the Xbox Series X, we’d expect this to show up with some gameplay during the July event, too.
Reminder: There Will Be No Hardware Details
As Aaron Greenberg tweeted out last week, fans shouldn’t expect to hear anything about the Xbox Series X’s price, release date, or just about anything else on the hardware just yet.
“No business, devices, or similar news, just games. A whole show about (an) hour-long focused on games. Hope you enjoy it!” Greenberg tweeted out, tempering fans’ expectations following the rather poor reception to the May event.
It may be disappointing news to some, but at least we’ll get nothing but games and no boring business spiel aimed at investors this time around. You can expect the price and release date details for the Xbox Series X to come in the August or September events, when they’re announced.