Xbox 20/20: July Games Showcase – Full Event WrapUp + Review

After a brief pre-show with Geoff Keighley announcing indie titles including Hello Neighbor 2 and some other, never-before-seen studios releasing games on [email protected] program, we were presented with the Xbox 20/20: July Games Showcase. This event took place on Thursday, July 23, 2020 at 9am PST and was an entirely digital event broadcast live to millions of viewers all around the world from the comfort of their own homes.

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The first countdown led to a secondary countdown and then the Xbox Games Showcase began. Xbox Game Studios presents filled the screen then we are shown a space station in orbit to a planet. A drop of liquid metal is shown in a space forge which is fabricating some type of object using the lack of gravity and advanced robotics. We realize it is building a grappling hook for Master Chief. We do see that there is a massive crater on the planet which was being shown. Master Chief’s suit is coming together.

Cortana is speaking about things, “armor cannot hope”, she says among other things. Abstract statements about how humanity is necessary for life to continue. “It all means nothing, until you step inside”, she says, and we are shown the intro to a demo screen for Halo Infinite. There’s a portal on the screen. “2560 May 28, 167 days after we lost” is shown as the setting for a cut-scene that comes next. An aerial vehicle is crashing with Chief and his comrade inside. Chief was found floating in space and brought back but Banished are in combat with Master Chief despite his teammate’s opposition.

The player then takes control of Master Chief and heavy Halo 1 vibes are felt as the gameplay begins. There’s all of the usual suspects for intro level enemies of the original Halo series, but weapons have seen a major upgrade in selection. New enemies show up being dropped from escape pods that must hurt like hell to escape in, and some more advanced enemies resembling those of Gears who are better at gunfights. Vehicle combat, and a view of the Halo planet Chief is currently on are also shown from up high.

Enemy drop ships continue to bring in more and more advanced enemies. Overall, the art style and gameplay all look classic. Enemies are threatening to destroy the ring of the Halo planet and they tell Chief that the Arbiter and Banished will work together against him. The antagonist will face his final battle of his life against Master Chief and it’s a fight to the death.

For the first time players explore a mysterious new Halo ring several times larger than the previous games with more complex visual effects. Halo Infinite will be available Holiday 2020 on Xbox Game Pass for PC, Xbox One X, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X automatically (and free) through Smart Delivery with Optimization for Xbox Series X. Halo Infinite is developed by 343 Industries who promised a first look at Multiplayer is promised in the coming months.

A new World Premiere, Xbox Game Studios Presents… A campfire out in the woods is shown, cutting a stick into arrows, brandishing a hunting knife, and roaring at a wolf on the prowl at night. Suddenly, we are shown a snowy daytime with crossbow and backpack in tow, the survivalist finds a blood trail and inspects it. The wolf is being eaten, by a Zombie Deer. State of Decay 3 Game Pass, X, PC, Smart Delivery, Optimized for X

Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox, rocking a Halo Infinite shirt 9 of 15 Xbox Studios showing games today, including 5 new first party games harnessing their passions to bring their dreams to life. “how you find and play your games is as important as the device,” he mentioned as a segment about XBOX GAME PASS began reminding viewers how Xbox gamers can play every game at the event today from subscription or free-to-play.

Thanks to Xbox Game Pass the platform has an unmatched library according to Phil Spencer with the state of the art platform being Xbox Series X. One studio that has always pushed the limits of hardware is Turn 10. They are early in development on the next Forza MotorSport. Ray Tracing, Native 4K, and all at 60 frames per second only possible on the Xbox Series X. In-engine World premiere trailer was shown next.

The trailer looks like a film. Take a look for yourself.

Next RARE had their showing…

We are shown a waterfall and nature with high fidelity fantasy graphics of another campfire but this time less somber and more of an onward and mysterious vibe. The rituals and bonds of this world are much different than ours, with magic, meditation, friendly creatures, and the struggle of light against dark in a big wild world. There’s even space events to witness, ceremonies to heal animals, and a river of life from the other side. The game is called Everwild and we have been waiting to see more of it for some time.

Louise O’Conner the Executive Producer of Everwild discusses what it means to be an ‘eternal’ and feel the flow of magic through nature and every living thing. That’s what players can look forward to playing as and learning about their culture. The community already growing around Rare’s new game is excited to see more and can’t wait, and us too.

Next up, family memories turn dark and strangely more than one person can see it at a time. Dontnod Entertainment is bringing yet another journey into the human spirit through a destructive past and shattered siblings who start to see visions of tragedies that happened to them. But what if following and pursuing the past will lead to some answers that are best left undiscovered? The Life Is Strange producers present Tell Me Why Chapter One August 27, 2020.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps will get a very special version for Xbox Series X which can reach frame rates and resolutions thought impossible. 120hz in Full 4K HDR in its highest possible quality with ultra settings and low input latency which has definitely always been a strong point for the incredible and impactful series from Xbox Game Studios. Coming later this year…

Private Division from the furthest reaches of the universe comes… The Outer Worlds DLC is shown. It is Peril on Gorgon, coming September 9, 2020.

We were then shown the biggest game of the year is said to be Cyberpunk 2077, with the punchline being that the smallest game is now here, from Obsidian Entertainment “the makers of games that are nothing like this one,” comes a survival of shrunk proportions. Grounded is announced to be hitting July 28th on Xbox Game Preview.

After the trailers the developers talked about Peril on Gorgon and Grounded which are projects that aim to tell a story and provide new gameplay mechanics for fans of gaming. Obsidian also has been working on a big RPG… World Premiere, “oaths are lost and forsaken”,

“we have always known war”.

Transitions are shown which use the top of the Xbox Series X as an illustration for the branding.

Matt Booty explains that Obsidian is making their ultimate project with Avowed built from the ground up for the custom hardware in Xbox Series X. But Xbox Studios also works with indie games including Interior/Night studio in London. The Studio head presented the game about learning more about yourself. It takes place in the American Southwest and changes how you will shape the fate of people trying to find their way in a world they don’t fit into.

The World Premiere for this game is shown. Original Interactive Drama is the genre for this title which takes storytelling of an unusual group of people who have their lives tangled together through various courses of events, some of which are mysteries. As Dusk Falls is the name of the game.

Ninja Theory took the stage next and reminded us of the insane looking Hellblade 2 trailer launched at the previous Xbox Series X event. Unreal Engine 5 for PC and XSX is the lead platform of the game which takes place in Iceland. More about behind-the-scenes is coming soon including photogrammetry source material used to make the game.

Xbox Game Studios next presented an animated short with some hilarious scenes. Double Fine is celebrating 20 years with Jack Black and Tim Schafer footage from January 2019 partying together and making music since before. Psychonauts 2 protagonist visits a brain in a jar and pops in to the Double Fines “quiet place” with Jack Black’s voice opening things up.

The artistic evolution of this video combines 3D animation, game scenes, and a live performance in the studio of power rock style with a sprinkle of psychedelic funk (both in the game and song). “I can smell the universe, and I can taste the sky, and I can see each molecule in my cosmic eye,” are some of the lyrics tributed to the game’s crazy looking gameplay and worlds. There’s a vehicle debuted, “The Feel Mobile”, and the overall game is way more abstract and more trippy than expected – at least in the scenes we are shown.

The Xbox Series X console is shown next and Sarah Bond, Head of Xbox Partnership & Ecosystems takes the stage next to discuss all that Xbox is working on. One developer in particular takes the focus, and we are told about Bungie bringing Destiny 2 to Xbox Game Pass and optimized version to Xbox Series X. All expansions starting this September will also be available for Xbox Game Pass members and the title has full xCloud support. The XSX version will be 4K resolution at 60 frames per second with Destiny 2: Beyond Light adding new content to the game as well.

Destiny 2: Beyond Light shows creative weaponry such as platform grenades, freezing grenades, crossbows, magic staffs, and various other Ice Magic-themed “Darkness”. November 10, 2020 the title releases as part of Xbox Game Pass. This is just one example of how Xbox will change gaming, we are told, including the way games are played. The rest of the show, we are told, are all Xbox exclusives built with Xbox as the lead platform.

Console Launch Exclusive, World Premiere

We are shown a creepy abandoned amusement park and apartment building. Next we are shown underground tunnels with emergency lights going off. After that we see terrible weather, strange floating magic metals, insects, electrically charged air, storm activity, unexplained phenomenon resembling mini-black holes, and humans trying to survive and continue living through it all. Underground, meanwhile, terrible things are happening. Experiments on humans in test tubes. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 is coming to Xbox.

Console Launch Exclusive, World Premiere

A gothic / steampunk underground lab of some sort is being explored by an elite team of commandos seemingly in the future. Their weaponry are malfunctioning. A narrator logs a report for the higher ups. Warhammer and Fat Shark are behind this title which continues in first person with high fidelity and immersion. Suddenly, the worst thing ever, a ton of Zombie-like creatures are there! 2021: Warhammer 40,000 DARKTIDE.

Console Launch Exclusive, World Premiere

Enhance presents a video with gamers of all different kinds playing Xbox. The video shows the unity of humans of all ages, races, genders, and presents the connection of gamers together in life. Tetris Effect is shown next with three players connecting into one. Tetris Effect Connected optimized single player and all new multiplayer is announced for Xbox Holiday 2020.

Console Launch Exclusive World Premiere

From the makers of SteamWorld comes an interesting space saga. A character lands on a strange planet with lots of fungi and plant life. Suddenly, something strange is discovered. This surreal, alternative world looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun to explore on Xbox. With every planet likely comes the good and the bad, so be prepared for both. Adventure in The Gunk on Xbox Game Pass.

Console Launch Exclusive

Bloober Team shows off their psychological thriller in which the main character is capable of exploring the normal world and the spirit world. Dual Reality Gameplay, Two Worlds Rendered Simultaneously. Cutting a wall of meat, running from terrible spirit beings and creatures, and trying to get to the bottom of a sinister mystery in The Medium.

Console Launch Exclusive, World Premiere

SEGA is next up with our first look at a brand new, expansive world for New Genesis: Phantasy Star Online 2 coming 2021 which was given a full gameplay reveal, promises of unknown enemies, and more. We are shown folks using online play together and squadding up with pre-ordained quick-chat enabled and performing teamwork gameplay in a true boss fight.

Console Launch Exclusive, World Premiere

Smilegate Entertainment presents CrossfireX Campaign, the story mode version of the game currently available in Beta testing with crossplay. The cutscenes also mention that multiplayer for this game will be free-to-play. The game is coming 2020, and it looks interesting.

10 world premiere trailers, 22 console launch exclusives, and everything shown today is available in Xbox Game Pass (or free-to-play) and this was just a preview of the games coming to Xbox. Forza Horizon 4, Gear 5, Sea of Thieves, and more will also be getting free upgrades through Smart Delivery for free through Game Pass and there will be over 100 optimized Xbox Series X titles at launch. More to come this year.

World Premiere, Xbox Studios Presents…

From PlayGround Games comes a trailer with a sword, a fairy, a skull, and a wizard narrator. Something inside starts to stir, could it be? They said it wouldn’t be likely. The frog eats the fairy suddenly. A huge world is shown. Fable is coming! Big hype moment! We are only given a small glimpse though, and then we are shown a sizzle trailer of everything featured in today’s event.

Wow, thanks for watching folks. It really looks like Xbox is having the comeback of a lifetime this coming generation. We can’t wait to see more of Fable and hopefully that happens next month, not later!

PRESENTATION SCORE: A

FINAL VERDICT

Fable is something fans have wanted for a long time, became rumored for the event, and would have let everyone down if absent – so it was fantastic to see a great reveal trailer for the game. Halo Infinite was given a 9 minute gameplay segment and looked awesome, and Obsidian announced a big New IP RPG project they have been working on called Avowed. There were also 7 other World Premiere trailers (10 in total) from third party, indie studios, and 9 out of 15 Xbox Studios (first party) at today’s event. In addition, every single game that was featured in today’s event is going to be part of Xbox Game Pass, you don’t need to buy them! This presentation did an excellent job showing off awesome games coming to Xbox and really made you feel why you would want to be part of Xbox with features like Smart Delivery, Game Pass, and high frame rate gaming (HFR).

Xbox deserves huge credit for debuting the first ever 4K 120fps game on console (Ori and the Will of the Wisps: Xbox Series X Optimized Version / Free Upgrade) and the confirmation that the title will be using fully maxed out Ultra Settings. Other important games confirming the 4K 60fps benchmark was also a major win for Microsoft with a great spread of games across all different varieties of genres helping solidify the show’s lineup of New IP and highly anticipated games while giving shine to some lesser known, but highly unique and intriguing titles. In total there were 22 console launch exclusives revealed and we found out that Xbox Series X will have 100+ titles optimized for it at launch with all of those being free upgrades to next-gen versions (if needed) through Smart Delivery.

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