E3 2021: all the news from Microsoft and Bethesda’s Xbox showcase | Games








Xbox’s Phil Spencer has finally arrived to finish things up and quickly mention all the games we didn’t actually see (from Fable to The Elder Scrolls 6 to, um, Perfect Dark). Of course, though, there’s one more thing…




Forza Horizon 5 looks astonishing. Love the fact that they’re incorporating the work of real-life street artists into the urban scenery – a nod perhaps to Insomniac’s work with the Spider-Man games. The road surfaces are incredibly detailed, with rocks picked up and thrown along the track by speeding vehicles. Once again, the team has grabbed lots of telemetry and weather data to really capture the essence of the environment.

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Forza Horizon 5 announced

This looks a lot like a new Forza Horizon game – excellent news, as these are my favourite racing games ever, as much because of the scenery as the cars. There’s some extreme weather on display here, with sandstorms and active volcanos. It’s set in Mexico, taking us from rainforests to deserts and through Mayan architecture (best not crash into that). It’s out November 9.

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“Suddenly, and for no reason, people running! These pointless slow-motion shots make everything seem cool.” A tongue-in-cheek trailer here for The Outer Worlds 2 – the sequel to 2019’s comedy science-fiction RPG.

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“If history were in your hands, what would you build?” It could only be Age of Empires, the fondly-remembered historical strategy games. Honestly it doesn’t look that much better than it did decades ago but hey, Age of Empires IV is finally coming out on October 28.

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A rather nice-looking tactical Japanese role-playing game is next: Eiuden Chronicle (actually two games, out 2022 and 2023). Remember the whole of the 00s, when Xbox was always taking flak for the total absence of Japanese games on its platform? Feels like another century now.

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Fun news for arachnophobes: giant spiders are coming to Grounded, the honey-I-shrunk-the-kids multiplayer game that’s not technically out yet (it’s still in Xbox Preview). Last year’s spacestation paranoia game Among Us is also coming to Xbox.

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I have no idea what’s going on now. Death Stranding meets Bioshock with robots and European pop? It’s called Atomic Heart, whatever it is. Have a look:




Ooh, a snowboarding game. Ubisoft announced an extreme-sports multiplayer game called Republic of Riders last night, a kind of wacky successor to Ride (its mountain sports game), but this looks a bit more focused. It’s called Shredders. and it’ll be out in December.

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A bit of a palate cleanser now, in the form of Slime Rancher 2, a cute game about hoovering up blobby creatures… this reminds me of an ancient Wii game called Elebits, which nobody will remember but me.

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Ah, we saw Far Cry 6 at Ubisoft’s event last night but it was an extended cutscene set on a boat. This looks rather more representative: explosions, guns, helicopters, killer roosters, a go-kart that flies, a backpack that shoots rockets.

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Blizzard is up next with the remake of Diablo 2, which is out 23rd September. I played so very much if this game in the middle of the night when I was a teenager – it was one of the violent games I wasn’t supposed to have on the PC, so I had to only play it after my parents had gone to bed. ANYWAY it looks bloody excellent, and of course has 8-player co-op.

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I kept sending Keith one-line summaries of the Wholesome Games announcements yesterday. “Help a shy frog find the ingredients she needs for her tea party.” “A game about helping your nan recover from a fall.” “A sitcom game about birds with social anxiety.”

After a while he thought I’d started hallucinating.




Halo Infinite coming later this year; multiplayer will be free to play

It’s time for Halo! Halo Infinite multiplayer will be free-to-play, it’s been announced. We’re seeing some in-game footage that looks considerably better and a bit less technicolour than it did at the last Xbox showcase, after which players were decidedly unimpressed.

Master Chief is pulling himself through the space-detritus of an exploded ship, picking a gun up from one of the MANY dead soldiers. He’s in search of Cortana, the AI companion that’s been his only consistent company for the past 20 years. Instead he finds a different AI, who’s evidently going to join him.

Both the multiplayer portion and the single-player will launch this year (I’m betting on Oct/Nov).

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