Microsoft may have shown over 30 upcoming Xbox Series X games in its blockbuster Xbox and Bethesda Games Showcase, including no fewer than five first-party exclusives, but there could have been more. A lot more. When you look at the list of what’s in development at Microsoft Gaming, it’s actually kind of wild how many games the Xbox Games Studios group has already announced – and that it could have shown today.
Below you’ll find 10 Xbox Series X exclusives that are missing-in-action after the Xbox E3 2022 showcase. It’s difficult to really know why Phil Spencer and co decided to hold back these Xbox exclusives back to be shown another day, although the publisher did note at the outset of its presentation that it was focusing on games releasing within the next 12 months.
It’s also worth noting that we haven’t included games like Contraband and STALKER 2 in here. While they are Xbox Series X exclusives that didn’t get a fresh showing, they are from third-party developers – made in collaboration between Xbox Game Studios Publishing and Avalanche Studios and GSC Game World, respectively.
What we’re doing here is focusing on the 10 Xbox Series X exclusives that are in development at Xbox Game Studios, that have already been announced, and are otherwise considered MIA after one of Xbox’s best E3 showcases in a long time. So without further ado, let’s get into it.
The Elder Scrolls 6
Listen, I don’t blame Bethesda for not uttering the words “The Elder Scrolls 6” during the Xbox E3 2022 showcase. The studio did, after all, spend a significant amount of time detailing its first new IP in 25 years – Starfield. The Elder Scrolls 6 was announced back in June 2018, and we’ve had scant few details since. The long-awaited sequel to Skyrim is likely still in pre-production, with much of Bethesda’s efforts focused on Starfield – which we’ve just learned is so large that it will contain over 100 systems and 1000 planets. It’s early days yet for The Elder Scrolls 6, but it’ll be with us… one day.
Indiana Jones game
It’s been quite some time since we had a new AAA experience out of MachineGames – five years, to be exact, following the release of Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus in 2017. It’s why many believed that the studio’s secretive Indiana Jones game would receive a reveal during the Xbox Bethesda Games Showcase. Sadly, the event came and went without any mention of the famed archeologist. Indiana Jones was first teased in January 2021, and it’ll probably be quite some time before we learn anything more about the “original story” MachineGames is crafting.
Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2
Honestly, I was a little surprised that Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 wasn’t given a lush new gameplay trailer during the showcase. Ninja Theory has been fairly transparent throughout development, delivering regular updates that detail the studio’s efforts with Unreal Engine 5 and new photogrammetry technology. With the showcase focused around games that will release in the next 12 months, however, sadly it would appear that Hellblade 2 is a little further out than we might have otherwise suspected. Although the developer did say back in June 2021 that Hellblade 2 had yet to enter “full production” so that does line up.
Given that developer Ninja Theory is spending the majority of its efforts on the development of Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2, perhaps it’s no surprise that we haven’t heard anything on Project: MARA for a bloody age. This experimental horror game – set in a single location, rendered in stunning photo-realism – has only had a handful of teases since its reveal in January 2020. Ninja Theory believes that Project: MARA may “showcase what could become a new storytelling medium”, so we’re happy to wait to hear more.
The Outer Worlds 2
There was no chance of The Outer Worlds 2 appearing in 2022. No way whatsoever. But it’s still an in-development Xbox Series X exclusive that didn’t make the cut, so here are. When Obsidian revealed that The Outer Worlds 2 was in development at E3 2021, it did so while actively acknowledging that there was no release date, no gameplay, no design for the lead character. The Outer Worlds 2 is early in development and won’t be seen for quite some time – particularly with Obsidian otherwise occupied with development of Grounded, Avowed, and Pentiment.
This absence cuts deep. Microsoft first unveiled that Fable 4 was in development back in 2020, a full series reboot in development at Playground Games – the studio behind the Forza Horizon series. We’ve been sustained by the short cinematic reveal trailer for two years now and many believed – and when I say believed, I do of course mean desperately hoped – that we would finally get a sense of the new Fable game this year. Alas, another Xbox conference, and another no-show for Fable 4. There’s been such a dearth of new information since its reveal that the Fable reboot is clearly earlier in development than suspected.
Everwild is another absence that’s a little surprising. Developer Rare has had its new online co-op game in development for years now, revealing Everwild back in 2019. That debut trailer revealed a beautiful world with a focus on collaborative play, and we’ve been eager for more information ever since. While reports have done the rounds suggesting that development has been rebooted entirely, there was some expectation that Everwild would finally be shown after three years of unbridled speculation.
We know that Joanna Dark does her best work in the shadows, but we’d sort of hoped that she’d be dragged into the light for E3 2022. Xbox Game Studios assigned a reboot of the Perfect Dark series to The Initiative, a brand new studio that’s trying to build prestige AAA games for the Xbox platform. We’ve heard reports of a rocky development since it was announced in 2020, so perhaps it’s no surprise that Perfect Dark remains MIA. With The Initiative now co-developing the game with Tomb Raider developer Crystal Dynamics, hopefully we’ll see more of Perfect Dark and the next Xbox E3 showcase.
State of Decay 3
State of Decay 3 didn’t get even a mention at the Xbox Bethesda showcase, which is a shame, because the cinematic trailer that was revealed in 2020 looked bloody stunning. There have, however, been reports doing the rounds that Undead Labs is trying to overcome a toxic workplace which may have delayed production. State of Decay 3 is earlier in development than we had originally expected, so we may be waiting a while to see this new generation take on a zombie-filled, simulated sandbox.
I’m not going to lie, I let the internet get my hopes up. The swell of excitement around the Xbox and Bethesda conference, particularly as countless Obsidian developers took to social media to tease their involvement in the showcase, had gotten me excited about seeing more of Avowed. If you don’t remember it, Avowed is Obsidian’s brand new RPG – set in the Pillar of Eternity world, but otherwise looks like the studio’s take on The Elder Scrolls Oblivion. Well, that didn’t happen. It didn’t happen and my damn heart is broken. Obsidian announced Pentiment is in the works, and we didn’t get anything out of Avowed. Well, there’s always Gamescom!