I feel like I’m writing this from the bottom of a well. I normally watch these broadcasts in the company of folks on Twitter, but per my last post I’m not there right now so I have been spamming reactions in Discord to a potentially less excitable audience.

HALO Infinite

I am a HALO fan. Of all series, it’s the one which contains the most games I have completed. As a result, I am psyched about HALO Infinite. The demo comprised 8 minutes (with a bit of a cut-scene at the start) of the Master Chief doing what he does best. The new engine running on XBX hardware (I assume) really does seem to make a serious difference, as the demo looked to be silky smooth. Of note: I was particularly impressed by the audio. With a proper bass setup the gunfire audio will hurt you as much as it hurts your enemies, and I can’t hear the HALO-esque leitmotif without getting goosebumps. And the Chief now has a grappling hook that can be used to climb and to close distance to enemies! Fan-freakin’-tastic!

Tell Me Why

Tyler taking a deep breath outside.

We seem to be living in the golden age of narrative adventure games, and I am very pleased to be alive for it. Dontnod, makers of Life is Strange, are releasing a new narrative adventure called Tell Me Why which appears to focus on twins Tyler and Alyson who use their special mystical connection to unravel the truth behind their troubled childhood. I loved Life is Strange so I’m looking forward to this one.

Everwild

Everwild X019 Screenshot

After Sea of Thieves targeted the hardcore PvP audience, Rare’s next game Everwild might be aimed at the exact opposite fanbase. Although the presentation shows absolutely nothing about how the game plays or what it’s about, we can glean that it has something to do with traveling and being at one with nature. The art style looks fantastic.

Grounded

Obsidian took up most of the presentation, with the official announcement of The Outer Worlds DLC (hell yes!) and a refresher on their upcoming tiny-world survival game Grounded which has you playing as a shrunken kid whose goal is to make it through your back yard and presumably back into your house. I had known about this game, but wasn’t aware that it had survival and building elements, which very well might mean that it’s roughly in the same vein as the Fortnite version that Epic abandoned.

As Dusk Falls

I don’t know what this game is about or how it plays, but it looks insanely stylish. A bit of reveal before the gameplay shows the developers and designers using photos as a basis for for the game art, giving the whole thing a very comic book feel. Adding to that, if the game plays like the trailer — with fewer moving parts and more “paper doll” aesthetics — then this is going to be another potentially excellent narrative-driven adventure.

The Medium

As much as I don’t like horror games, The Medium has agimmick that made me interested in this one. Again, no word on the plot or the game play, but you get to control two characters in two worlds, presumably linked somehow, in a split screen environment. At the same time. I don’t understand it either, but watch the trailer.

Fable

Hell yeah, everyone, Fable is back! That it’s named Fable has me cautious in calling this a “new game”, but I hope it is and isn’t just a 4k remaster of the original. No game play, no word on when, how, or what, but here’s an amusing teaser!

Others

There were some other titles mentioned in the presentation, like a new Forza game that looked amazing on account of the XBX’s ray-tracing technology, a re-re-release of one of the Ori games (platformers aren’t my thing), oh hay Destiny 2 showed up to say that it’ll be available on the XBX (after being available everywhere already for, like, years now), a mysterious action-adventurer called The Gunk (which I hope is a working title), and a sequel to the horrifying stealth game Hello Neighbor. Oh yeah, and another “can we put zombies to rest already” State of Decay game. Meh.

And sorry that I omitted the Square Enix games (Dragon Quest XI, I think, and the one from the creator of Sonic the Hedgehog). My eyes kind of glossed over when those were being shown so I don’t really remember anything about them. Also, expansion for PSO2 for those who are still playing that.

Overall Thoughts

Honestly, there wasn’t a single game (except Ori and State of Decay 3) that I didn’t like. HALO Infinite is a slam dunk for me, and Tell Me why and As Dusk Falls have piqued my interest. A new Fable with modern technology should be mind-blowing, though, as a lot of innovative water has passed under the RPG bridge since the series first arrived, and we should be in for a real treat this time around.

Not a lot was said about xCloud, though, which is disappointing but not completely unexpected as this presentation’s focus was on the games that were noticeably absent from XBOX’s earlier-in-the-year presentation that earned them a whole lot of flack for having neither flash nor substance.

The best news, though, is that all games shown were said to be available through the XBOX Game Pass, which is without a doubt the best subscription in gaming today. You get these games when they launch, technically not really free, but at a buffet price. And better than best, pretty much every single game shown was listed for XBX and for Windows PC. While not every game was listed for XB1, being able to get all of these titles (eventually) on PC is a big win for PC gaming. I hadn’t planned on picking up an XBX as I’ve finally learned my lesson on buying new console hardware so I am obviously overjoyed that I’ll be able to experience HALO: Infinite and all of these other fine titles at the screen of my choosing.

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