We are just days away from Microsoft’s Xbox Games Showcase 2023 and Starfield Direct. This annual gaming ritual rallies the community around the wild prospects of stunning game reveals and internet-breaking announcements. While passionate Xbox fans are eager to see what the teams at Xbox Game Studios have been diligently crafting behind the scenes, 2023 has been a distracting and occasionally disappointing year for the brand, with the circus of the Activision/Blizzard acquisition and Redfall’s rocky release dominating conversations.
Thankfully, energy and momentum have positively shifted for Xbox in recent weeks. Following a polarizing PlayStation Showcase, Microsoft appears reinvigorated and notably confident in its upcoming event. The VP of Xbox Games Marketing, Aaron Greenberg, has even skipped the infamous “temper expectations” tweets this year. This messaging, combined with teases from Sarah Bond, Phil Spencer, and the official Xbox social accounts, suggests fans are in store for an excellent Xbox Games Showcase.
The current excitement, curiosity, and critical skepticism surrounding Xbox’s impending show is amplified by the platform’s light first-party output in 2022 and last year’s marketing decision to focus the entire showcase on games coming in “the next 12 months.” So, what should we anticipate from Xbox, given the current outlook from the community and a freshly established sense of self-confidence? That’s precisely what we’ll discuss with our official predictions for the Xbox Games Showcase 2023.
What will probably be at the Xbox Games Showcase 2023
Before we dive into the list of games we're expecting Microsoft to feature at the Xbox Games Showcase, it's important to note that these are merely predictions based on the state of development timelines, recent activity from key personnel, industry insights, and a sprinkle of good old-fashioned conjecture. Like many fans, we don't know entirely what's in store for this year's showcase. That being said, these are our best forecasts for the games most likely to make an appearance.
Let's start with the fantastical elephant in the room, Playground Games' massively-anticipated reboot of Fable. First revealed at the Xbox Games Showcase in 2020, the debut trailer playfully teased the project's existence and not much more. Since its announcement, the gameplay demonstration has been speculated and predicted for every subsequent Xbox Games Showcase. Considering professional updates that indicate flighting for Fable and Xbox's recent social media glitter bomb, it seems incredibly likely that we'll see Fable on Sunday.
It's hard to determine whether this will be a full-fledged gameplay trailer or merely in-engine footage with cinematic elements and narration to help further set the tone of the reimagined world of Albion. Still, it's even harder to imagine Fable not showing at all during the Xbox Games Showcase 2023. If Fable's development still has a considerable way to go, there's also a strong chance Microsoft will lean into a remastered Fable collection to tide fans over for the next year and change.
Another two extremely-awaited Xbox Game Studios titles that have a genuine chance of turning up at the Xbox Games Showcase are Obsidian Entertainment's dark fantasy RPG Avowed and Ninja Theory's dramatic spectacle Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2. During last month's interview on the Kinda Funny Xcast, Phil Spencer specifically mentioned these two games when highlighting potential Xbox Game Studios releases that could launch in the quarters following Starfield.
Factoring in these statements from Phil Spencer, we are poised to hear about the release timing for Avowed and Hellblade 2 potentially. With Starfield scheduled to launch in September, there's an open Holiday 2023 release gap for something like Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2. However, considering the dynamic nature of game development, Microsoft may be hesitant to commit to that slot. Either way, gameplay for Avowed and a release window for Hellblade 2 are announcements we'd confidently put on our Bingo cards.
While not what many consider a notably adventurous prediction, Forza Motorsport is almost guaranteed for the Xbox Game Showcase 2023. The gorgeous racer has delighted fans at previous Xbox Games Showcases and the Developer_Direct in January. Curiously, Forza Motorsport didn't receive an official release date when shown earlier this year, so chances are we'll get confirmation of a late Summer/early Fall 2023 release. Additionally, Playground Games has an opportunity to announce an exciting expansion for Forza Horizon 5.
Regarding other fan-favorite ongoing Xbox games, Microsoft has set the precedent of announcing thrilling updates at major Xbox events. Heading into the Xbox Games Showcase 2023, we are conveniently on the cusp of two significant seasonal rollouts for Sea of Thieves and Halo Infinite. In 2021, Sea of Thieves arguably stole the show with its outstanding Pirates of the Caribbean mini-campaign. Since then, fans have been clamoring for more crossovers. During the show, we expect flashy feature-forward trailers for Sea of Thieves and Halo Infinite.
One particularly well-received moment during the 2022 Xbox Games Showcase involved Phil Spencer commenting on the company's commitments to Japanese video game creators. In addition to the announcement of Personal 5 Royal coming to Xbox Game Pass, the team unveiled the long-rumored collaboration between Xbox and famed developer Hideo Kojima. The possibility of Xbox reaffirming those commitments during the Xbox Games Showcase 2023 feels probable, especially because of the unfortunate oopsie from the Atlus Instagram that announced Persona 3 Reload and Persona 5 Tactica are coming to Xbox Game Pass.
Speaking of Xbox Game Pass, the first batch of titles confirmed for June 2023 was suspiciously lighter than average. Because of the continued positive reaction to substantial Xbox Game Pass announcements, we imagine Xbox has a few compelling shadow-drops up its sleeves. One of which possibly being a current-gen remaster of Fallout 4. While certainly not assured, Xbox could also set the internet ablaze by shadow-dropping Hollow Knight: Silksong in Xbox Game Pass.
Xbox fans should also expect a handful of brand-new reveals from Xbox Game Studios. It isn't easy to pinpoint which teams will assertedly be in attendance. Still, Compulsion Games, InXile, and The Coalition seem most likely. Compulsion Games has been heads down on a new IP since the release of We Happy Few, currently codenamed Project Midnight. InXile is reportedly crafting a first-person RPG named Cobalt. And The Coalition is probably cooking up Gears 6 in Unreal Engine 5. Any of these announcements could be featured at the Xbox Games Showcase 2023.
What might be at the Xbox Games Showcase 2023
The most fascinating components of Xbox predictions right now are the remarkable possibilities for the future. Microsoft has made tremendous investments in Xbox Game Studios and Xbox Game Studios Publishing, and for players, that will unquestionably lead to an enhanced slate of engaging video games. Highlighting a smaller selection of likely candidates for the Xbox Games, Showcase 2023 is infinitely easier than swimming through the speculative pool of potential announcements. So, let's cover some games that may or may not star in the show.
Xbox Game Studios Publishing has positioned itself as a core pillar of Xbox's business strategy. While acquisitions can guarantee consistent exclusive content, strategic partnerships with high-profile developers are equally excellent methods of bringing worthwhile games to your platform. When discussing the second-party output of Xbox in the near-term future, a handful of titles seem more likely than the others.
The action-oriented heist game Contraband from Avalanche Studios, the mythical Kojima Xbox collaboration (rumored to be called Overdose?), and the side-scrolling fantasy title Wandering Tower (Project Belfry) from Stoic Studio all have a chance for fresh trailers at the Xbox Games Showcase 2023. Obviously, the likelihood of all of these Xbox Game Studios Publishing titles appearing at a singular event is low, but definitely not out of the question. We could also see Xbox unveil a brand-new surprise global partnership.
Readily one of the most prominent desires from fans are updates regarding previously announced Xbox Game Studios releases. Everwild was first shown at XO19, State of Decay 3 was unveiled at the Xbox Games Showcase 2020, Project Mara was teased in early 2020, and Perfect Dark shockingly arrived at The Game Awards 2020. Several of these tentpole titles haven't received official updates of any kind in years. Fable, Avowed, and Hellblade 2 feel like superior contenders. However, given the total runtime, there's space for one of these highly anticipated Xbox Game Studios titles.
Overall expectations for the Xbox Games Showcase 2023
On paper, Xbox is emplaced to deliver a stellar show for fans. The hopeful one-two punch of the Xbox Games Showcase 2023 and Starfield Direct, coupled with the Extended Games Showcase, presents ample opportunities for Xbox to demonstrate why players worldwide should be excited about the platform's future. Historically, skeptics have criticized Xbox's inability to supply the same level of hype as its competitors, but the undeniable swagger displayed by the team ahead of this year's show implies we're in for a fantastic time.
For breaking coverage of the Xbox Games Showcase 2023, tune into our live blog this Sunday at 10 am PT. And to keep yourself entertained until then, check out our list of the best games on Xbox Game Pass.
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Miles Dompier is a Freelance Video Producer for Windows Central, focusing on video content for Windows Central Gaming. In addition to writing or producing news, reviews, and gaming guides, Miles delivers fun, community-focused videos for the Windows Central Gaming YouTube channel. Miles also hosts Xbox Chaturdays every Saturday, which serves as the Windows Central Gaming weekly podcast.