Skip to main content

Every announcement from Microsoft and Bethesda’s joint E3 showcase

Going into E3 2021, Microsoft was always the company to watch. While the Xbox Series X has been light on exclusives so far, there was a sense that E3 was going to be where the narrative changed. That’s largely because of Bethesda, which Microsoft officially acquired this year in a blockbuster deal. To celebrate, Microsoft and Bethesda decided to hold a 90-minute megaconference this year, which set fans’ expectations extremely high.

It’s safe to say that Microsoft delivered. The show was packed wall-to-wall with news, announcements, and updates on previously revealed games. It started with a grand unveil for Starfield, Bethesda’s open-world space game, which will launch in November 2022. Halo Infinite got a spotlight as well, though it still doesn’t have a firm release date. It wouldn’t be a Microsoft show without Forza, and the latest installment of the racing series got a massive segment as well. That barely scratches the surface of what was shown during Microsoft’s loaded press conference, so here’s all the highlights.

Halo Infinite gets free-to-play multiplayer

Halo Infinite Official Multiplayer Reveal

Halo Infinite is coming this holiday season, but it still doesn’t have a firm release date. Microsoft’s shooter juggernaut was supposed to launch with the Xbox Series X last November, but was indefinitely delayed nearly a full year. The game and its first multiplayer season will launch at the same time.

A new trailer gives a deeper look at the game’s story. It turns out that Cortana has been “deleted,” and there’s a new A.I. helping Master Chief. We also got a glimpse at the game’s multiplayer mode, which looks like traditional Halo play. The multiplayer will be free-to-play.

Starfield coming in 2022 as an Xbox console exclusive

Starfield: Official Teaser Trailer

Starfield has a release date, but it’s a little later than fans may have been expecting. Bethesda’s open-world sci-fi game will officially land on November 11, 2022 — well over a year from now. A cinematic teaser trailer shows a character walking around a massive spaceship. At one point, they toss a gun down on a table before jumping into the pilot seat. The game will be available on Xbox Game Pass on launch day. It will be a console exclusive for Xbox Series X/S and be available on PC as well, but not Xbox One.

The news leaked hours before the official Microsoft show after The Washington Post mistakenly published the trailer early, along with a “making of” feature.

Redfall is a new Xbox Exclusive from Arkane

Redfall - Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase 2021 - Official Announce Trailer

We got a glimpse at a brand-new Bethesda title, which will be exclusive to Xbox. Redfall is a new vampire shooter from Arkane Studios. The game is set to launch next summer.

Mexico-set Forza Horizon 5 set for November release

Forza Horizon 5 Official Announce Trailer

Forza Horizon 5 is coming on November 9. The racing game got a massive spotlight at the Microsoft stream that focused on its new setting, Mexico. The game has an open-world battle royale mode called The Eliminator.

Psychonauts 2 will arrive this summer

Psychonauts 2 Action Trailer // Summer 2021

Pyshconauts 2 got a brand-new trailer, which gave another look at the anticipated platformer. It’ll launch on August 25 on Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, and PC.

The Outer Worlds 2 is coming … eventually

The Outer Worlds 2 - Official Announce Trailer - Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase 2021

The Outer Worlds 2 is in development, though that’s about all we know about it. The RPG got a cheeky trailer, which joked about how the game doesn’t have any form of gameplay ready to show yet.

Battlefield 2042 gets a wild gameplay trailer

Battlefield 2042 Official Gameplay Trailer

Following its official reveal earlier this week, we got a first glimpse atBattlefield 2042‘s actual gameplay. EA dropped a new trailer that was heavy on stunts and gadgets. We also got to see some of its new specialists in action, including character zipping around with a grappling hook.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 takes on Chernobyl next April

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chornobyl — Gameplay Trailer

Microsoft shared a new trailer for S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chernobyl, which gave a close look at its story and gameplay. The biggest reveal is that the game will launch on April 28, 2022.

Contraband is a new open-world game

Contraband – Official Announce Trailer – Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase 2021

Just Cause developer Avalanche is making a new Xbox game called Contraband. A vague teaser trailer noted that it’s an ope- world co-op game, though it didn’t say too much beyond that.

A Plague Tale: Requiem brings more rats

[E3 2021] A Plague Tale: Requiem - World Premiere Reveal Trailer

Xbox exclusive A Plague Tale: Innocence is getting a new sequel. A Plague Tale: Requiem looks very much in line with the original stealth adventure game that takes place during a plague. It features more giant swarms of rats, a defining feature of the original, and will launch sometime in 2022.

Diablo 2: Resurrection arrives in September

Diablo® II: Resurrected™ Street Date Trailer

Diablo 2: Resurrection, a remake of the classic Blizzard title, got an official release date. It’ll launch on September 23.

Microsoft Flight Simulator lands on Xbox

Microsoft Flight Simulator - Xbox Series X|S Gameplay Trailer - Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase 2021

Microsoft Flight Simulator is finally coming to Xbox. A new trailer for the console version showed the game running in 4K on Xbox Series X. It’ll be available via Xbox Game Pass on July 27. It’s also getting a free expansion based around the Top Gun franchise to coincide with the upcoming film Top Gun: Maverick.

Yakuza: Like a Dragon and more coming to Game Pass

Our @Bethesda count shot up 10 games today | #XboxBethesda

— Xbox Game Pass (@XboxGamePass) June 13, 2021

As teased ahead of the show by the Game Pass Twitter account, Yakuza: Like a Dragon is joining the service today. Indie hit Hades will hit the service on August 13, when the game lands on Xbox for the first time.

Game Pass is also getting more Bethesda titles, including Fallout 3 and The Evil Within 2.

Everything else …

  • Back 4 Blood‘s new PVP mode got a short trailer.
  • Sea of Thieves is getting a collaboration with Pirates of the Caribbean on June 22.
  • Indie title 12 Minutes will launch on August 19.
  • Doom Eternal is getting an Xbox Series X upgrade on June 29.
  • Fallout 76 is getting a new Steel Reign update on July 7 and The Pitt is coming next year.
  • Party Animals is a cute multiplayer brawler coming in 2022.
  • Somerville is a creepy new indie coming in 2022.
  • Far Cry 6 got another new trailer, showing off some gameplay.
  • Slime Rancher 2 is coming in 2022.
  • Shredders is a snowboarding game coming this December.
  • Atomic Heart got a stylish new trailer.
  • Grounded is getting a Shroom and Doom update on June 30.
  • Replaced is a stylish side-scroller coming in 2022.
  • 15 player lobbies are coming to Among Us on June 15.
  • Age of Empires IV is coming on October 28.

Editors' Recommendations

Giovanni Colantonio
Giovanni is a writer and video producer focusing on happenings in the video game industry. He has contributed stories to…
Nintendo confirms that it won’t be part of E3 2023
Pikmin and Bulborb in Pikmin 4.

Nintendo has confirmed reports that it won't be participating in E3 2023, meaning the gaming trade show will be missing one of its key vendors when it returns in-person this June.
"We approach our involvement in any event on a case-by-case basis and are always considering various ways to engage with our fans," a Nintendo spokesperson said in a statement to The Verge. "Since this year’s E3 show didn’t fit into our plans, we have made the decision to not participate. However, we have been and continue to be a strong supporter of the ESA [Entertainment Software Association] and E3."
After taking 2020 and 2022 off and being digital-only in 2021, this year was supposed to mark the grand return of E3, which was once a dominant game industry trade show that attracted every big video game company. Although Sony hasn't participated since 2019, it still came as a shock in January when IGN reported that both Nintendo and Microsoft would not be attending E3 this year as well. It appears that the report is true, as Microsoft has not confirmed any E3-related events outside of its independently run Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase.
Nintendo skipping E3 2023 not only takes away a vendor that dominated the show floor in previous years, but also raises questions about whether or not the company will hold an exciting Nintendo Direct around then. While Nintendo typically holds a big showcase with lots of first-party game announcements around June every year, in 2022 it only held a third-party driven Partner Showcase in June. Now that we know it won't be at E3 2023, we're left to wonder when exactly then next big Nintendo Direct will be. 
E3 2023 will take place between June 13 and June 16, but don't expect Nintendo, Sony, or Microsoft to have a big presence there.

Read more
Here’s what E3 2023 could look like without Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft
Playstation character wall at E3 2018

Let's start with the good news: E3 2023 will be held in its in-person format once again after three long years of digital events necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, this time with ReedPop at the helm. The bad news is that Sony, Xbox, and Nintendo -- gaming's "Big 3" -- may not show up at the industry’s biggest convention this summer.

This is according to a report from IGN citing multiple sources, who claimed the companies won’t be a part of the show or make appearances on the floor at the Los Angeles Convention Center in any way. Their absence from this year’s E3, especially Nintendo’s, may come as a shock to the gaming community, but it's not such a surprise when looking at the past few iterations of E3. Even before the pandemic locked everyone down in 2020, Sony and Xbox had been hosting their own E3-style livestreams, so it was more likely they would do it again this year anyway. Nintendo, on the other hand, managed to show off its upcoming games via Nintendo Direct streams and at its booth, console kiosks and all.

Read more
Xbox and Bethesda’s Developer_Direct is their most important showcase ever
A screen capture from the Redfall gameplay reveal.

Xbox Game Studios and Bethesda just announced that their first-ever Developer_Direct showcase will be held January 25, giving Microsoft footing in the game showcase space outside of events like E3 and Gamescom. After a rough year for Xbox first-party studios, this Developer_Direct will finally give us another very deep look at games like Redfall, Forza Motorsport, and Minecraft Legends, whichwill start to form its game lineup for this year, whetting our appetites for what's to come to Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, and Xbox Game Pass in 2023. Although the seeming lack of any brand new first-party announcement might make this Developer_Direct not feel that exciting to the average player, this is a critical showcase for Microsoft if it wants to win jaded fans back.
So far this console generation, Microsoft has been inconsistent in terms of both content and transparency about the state of its games. We've gotten a couple of exhilarating bursts of info on new upcoming exclusives at the past couple of Xbox summer showcases, and fall 2021 had a solid lineup of releases in Deathloop, Forza Horizon 5, and Halo Infinite. But these flurries of excitement are overshadowed by large droughts in terms of releases and reports that cast doubt over the state of some first-party games' development. That's why Developer_Direct will be so crucial for Microsoft. This show will allow it to refocus players on a (hopefully) more consistent release lineup and start to give fans a consistent showcase cadence to be excited for. 

The content factor
Digital Trends has done plenty of writing highlighting how 2022 was a very weak year for Microsoft. The delay of Redfall and Starfield in 2022 really ruined that year, even though Pentiment and As Dusk Falls were good games. For more mainstream gaming fans, though, Xbox Game Studios and Bethesda's 2023 looks way more exciting. Games like Redfall, Forza Motorsport, Minecraft Legends, and Starfield have 2023 release windows, while long-announced games like Senua's Sacrifice: Hellblade II, Contraband, and Avowed seem like they've been in development long enough to not be too far off. However, Xbox Game Studios and Bethesda haven't shown us how this year will be paced out in terms of releases, and players were not pleased with Microsoft's lackluster presence at The Game Awards 2022
That's the first major task of Developer_Direct. While no release dates were technically promised in its announcement, this show is a prime spot to let Xbox fans know precisely when they can get their hands on these long-awaited first-party titles. One of the most exciting parts of a Nintendo Direct is consistently seeing Nintendo's lineup for the next few months take form in real time, giving fans a bunch of neat titles to experience before the next inevitable showcase. Xbox is sorely in need of something like that, and Developer_Direct provides the perfect opportunity to do so, mainly because it seems to be focused less on the number of announcements and more on delivering info about games people are already interested in. 

Read more