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A Quick Recap Of The Xbox Developer Direct Show That You Must Know

Xbox announced a couple of weeks ago that they’d be kicking off 2023 with a short show detailing some of the games they promised that will be released in the first half of 2023 during their E3 conference last year. They touted talking in-depth and giving us more details and release dates for four games from four of their first-party studios, asked fans to temper their expectations, reassured them that there are bigger things on the horizon, and also let us know that they are keeping their biggest title as of yet, “Starfield,” under wraps for now as it will get its own individual presentation soon. The show in question was titled “Developer Direct,” which was to be hosted by the developers themselves and was slated for 25th January 2023

25th January is here, and the show came and went. What did we get to see, then? The quick answer to that question is that Xbox delivered on what they promised with this show by giving us more information about their upcoming games “Redfall,” “Minecraft Legends,” “Forza Motorsport,” and the next expansion of “The Elder Scrolls Online.” Though little, what was shown did pique my interest in one of these titles that I didn’t care about before and hyped me up even more, two titles that I was eagerly awaiting to get my hands on. All of this came out alongside a big surprise that none of us were expecting (despite it getting leaked a couple of days ago), and after watching the show, I can safely say that I enjoy this format and way of presentation a lot more than some of their previous outings, which had a tendency to be long and stretched out, cringy at times, and a mishmash of talking a lot but saying too little, for lack of a better word. This was Xbox Developer Direct.


Minecraft Legends

They started the show off with a look at the multiplayer mode of “Minecraft Legends,” and it looked interesting. I have said before that I don’t much care for this game as neither the genre nor this IP catches my interest, but what I saw did catch my attention a little. There’s a ton of focus on base building, and since it’s a strategy game, lots of planning and quick thinking were on display. The mode they showed was 4v4, and it looked quite fun despite my not being a fan of this genre. I can envision my friends having a blast and screaming at each other as we desperately try to win matches. As much as I don’t care for “Minecraft” and would love to see something new from Mojang, it was evident that they put a lot of work and a lot of love into this project, and it made me happy to see their excitement. Now I know it’s their job to sell it, so they’ll go to any lengths to promote it, but I feel like there is a ton of negativity on the internet towards everything, especially gaming, and me rejecting this game without even trying it out makes me part of that group, since I’d hate to be that guy who craps over someone’s hard work, so I am moving forward on this one with an open mind from now on. There’s still a lot I don’t understand about this title, but we won’t have to wait much longer as the game is set to be released on 10th April 2023, for the Xbox and PlayStation consoles, alongside the PC, and since it’s a Microsoft first-party game, it’ll be a day one addition to Xbox Game Pass.


Elder Scrolls Online

From the bunch that was shown, this game didn’t get a lot of time allotted to itself as they have another live stream planned for it detailing every aspect of their newest expansion titled “Necrom.” Now, if you have never played ESO before, do yourself a favor and try it out. It may not be for you, but at the same time, it’s one of the most popular and well-made MMOs out there that comes packed with tons of action and lore and a world where you can literally spend thousands of hours. The expansion will arrive on June 20, 2023.


Forza Motorsport

I was already looking forward to the release of “Forza Motorsport,” and what they showed got me even more pumped for this game. While I spend hundreds of hours playing every “Forza Horizon” game, I still spend an ample amount of time on the track with the “Forza Motorsport” series. Turn 10 Studios is calling it “the most technically advanced racing game to date,” and I mean, they have my vote of confidence as each entry in their games speaks for itself. If I am to break down everything that they talked about, then I can safely say that there was nothing particularly new that they mentioned when compared to their presentation from last year’s E3, and yet, at the same time, we did learn about new tidbits that are sure to elevate our racing experiences and take it to new heights. For starters, there are over 500 cars and 20 locations, five of which are completely new and have never been seen before in the “Forza Motorsport” series, including a track in South Africa. Then we have the new damage model and dirt buildup, which are individual to each car and are sure to add another layer of immersion. They also touched a bit on how the dynamic weather and time of day will affect each lap of our racing experience, and it sure looks transformative. Tons of customization and performance tuning, alongside some of the most “modern” race cars, also await us here. Above all of the things announced, two things immediately caught my attention, with the first being immersive audio. They have completely re-done the audio for each car to make them sound more raw and natural, with an added layer of parts affecting and changing the sounds, which is awesome. An added benefit here is that the soundscape of this game will take full advantage of 3D sound systems like Windows Sonic and Dolby Atmos (a first for the series), and I can already imagine the engine of my car roaring in my ears. The second thing is that they confirmed the resolution and framerate, and the game will run at 4K60fps while supporting real-time raytraced reflections and global illumination on track. Thanks, Forzatech, and please don’t blow up my Xbox as I try to play this game. Surprisingly, they didn’t give a release date for this one, but it’s still slated for 2023. They do have more to show tomorrow, January 26, with their Forza monthly stream, so maybe they’ll announce the release date there? Either way, this game truly looks like a next-gen racing experience and will obviously be part of Xbox Game Pass when it launches this year.


Redfall

Arkane is the best, and just like that, I am done with my obligatory praise of Arkane Studios. See? I am learning. I was already pretty excited for “Redfall,” and anyone who has read any of my previous articles would be rolling their eyes hearing me say it for the umpteenth time. What they showed here left me even more impressed, and I wholeheartedly want this game in my hands right this instant. It’s shocking how much they showed, and yet it is evident they haven’t even scratched the surface of what’s in store for us; but then again, Arkane makes games that are extremely hard to describe. We got a glimpse of how the campaign will work alongside tons of side activities and other stuff that the world of Redfall, Massachusetts, will throw our way. I am not going to get too much into detail with everything here, or I will simply fanboy out and take 20 paragraphs to finish, so please check out the gameplay demo; I am sure you’ll come out impressed. We got a glimpse of weapons (some skins that look super cool), a look at some of the new vampire enemies (all of which look awesome), a sort of vertical slice of sorts at the map of the game (which looks bigger than I thought), and a whole lot of vampire slaying action. The game, visually speaking, looks even better than it did the last time they showed it, and my sneaking suspicion of it running at 4K at 60fps might be true after all(still no official confirmation on that). There are also what seem like dungeons that will take us into areas beyond our dimension, and yes, it looks as trippy as it sounds. Then we have area bosses, each with their own unique abilities, who, when killed, give us a “key” that takes us to the realm of the vampire gods that we’ll have to fight and kill. There is so much there that, once again; you’ll have to see for yourself with character builds, crazy environmental detail and storytelling, and the good old Arkane magic all packed with a pinch of “Far Cry.” Of all the things, the one that was music to my ears was that the game is properly balanced for both single-player and co-op play and has a heavy emphasis on story. I was already sold, but now I am even more sold on this if that’s even possible or makes sense. Everyone that was comparing this to “Left 4 Dead” can finally shut up, I hope. I urge everyone once again to please check out the presentation to see and learn more for yourself, as I am not doing it justice by blazing past it. “Redfall” will be released on May 2, 2023, and will be part of the Xbox Game Pass (naturally). This might be my single most-expected game to come out this year (yes, that includes “Starfield” as well).


Hi-Fi Rush

Finally, we have the surprise that I mentioned earlier and the one game from the show that really got me pumped, especially when imagining the possibilities of the future of all these studios under Xbox’s wing. Okay, so this game got leaked a couple of days ago, and aside from the name, the leakers got everything wrong as they claimed this would be a free-to-play live service game(way to kill someone’s mood), but the official reveal happened, and it blew my socks off. “Hi-Fi Rush” comes to us from Tango Gameworks, the guys behind the brilliant “The Evil Within” series and, more recently, “Ghostwire: Tokyo,” you know, graphic and gory horror games, so you’d expect their next game or new IP to be in line with their previous work, right? Nope, as this game is a cartoon-style, 3D rhythm action game with stunning, charming, and vivid visuals, an immediately endearing cast of characters (some may find it cringe-worthy but to each their own), and a cat that you can pet. Believe it or not, Shinji Mikami is associated with this project, which is very funny to me. I am a sucker for games that know they are games and are here to entertain us, and I’d take them over movies masquerading as games that are there to give us trauma any time of the day. That’s what I love about Xbox personally—they make games. Games that don’t take themselves or their worlds seriously are a blast to play alone or with your friends. In “Hi-Fi Rush,” you play as a wannabe rockstar named Chai, who is the product of an experiment and can now hear, see, and feel the rhythm in everything. The game will feature tons of original tracks from brilliant artists and will not punish you for not following the rhythm-based structure but reward you for following it, a concept that is, I think, new for this genre. The visual style seems to have taken heavy inspiration from a classic game called “Jet Set Radio,” but everything else about it is new and unique, with tons of charm that I cannot get out of my head. The craziest piece of information here is that they shadow-dropped the game, meaning it’s available and ready to play right now! This is so rare these days and sure takes me back to the Xbox 360 days, massive Kudos Tango. You can play this with Xbox Game Pass, so feel free to give it a shot; after all, we can all appreciate unique and inventive ideas that come from the most unexpected places. This game makes me wonder what the future of a lot of the studios under Xbox has in store for us, as it was developed quietly and is something I would have never expected to come from Tango Gameworks in a million years. We saw something similar with Obsidian as they released “Grounded” and, more recently, “Pentiment,” small-scale and low-budget borderline indie titles that do not follow the format of the games they make in general. Who knows what some of these studios may give us in the future, and the prospect has me extremely excited. New ideas, no matter how they are executed, are always winners in my book.

That was a quick summary of the Xbox Developer Direct. A sow that delivered what it promised with a big surprise included, all the while not overselling itself and running just the right amount of length. Other than Xbox’s E3 shows, I think this is the best format for a presentation they have come up with that gets straight to the point, and I think they should stick with this and do it more often. As a side note, even though it wasn’t announced here, I feel like I should mention that “Goldeneye 007 Remastered” will also be hitting Xbox Game Pass on January 27, 2023, so get ready to put on those nostalgia glasses and challenge your friends for 1v1 couch coop matches once again. Massive kudos to Xbox and Microsoft for hosting such a delightful show, and thank you to all the developers for putting in so much work to make such incredible games for us to enjoy. Your work is appreciated.


See more: Day-One Xbox Game Pass Releases 2023 That You Should Not Miss


Kartik Sharma
Kartik Sharma
Kartik is sometimes a freelance content writer and an actor. He loves spending his time reading books, playing videogames, dabbling in music, exploring different cultures and languages, etc. loves everything that is art and loves to explore new horizons.