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Xbox and Bethesda’s Developer_Direct is their most important showcase ever

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. 

Image used with permission by copyright holder

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. 

A car rendered in beautiful detail in Forza Motorsport for Xbox Series X.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Hopefully, we will also start to see a semblance of a release cadence that we can expect Microsoft to follow in the future. Even though Starfield isn’t getting a release date at the January 25 event, its delay and vague release window will sting a lot less when we know exactly when other first-party games (plus an Xbox port of Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition) are coming out. It has been easy to lose faith in Microsoft’s content lineup this generation, so Xbox Game Studios and Bethesda need Developer_Direct to emphasize just how much Xbox fans have to look forward to, even in just the next couple of months.

The consistency factor

While the decision not to include Starfield is controversial, I don’t mind it because it sets Microsoft up for showcase consistency throughout 2023. It has already confirmed that Starfield will get a showcase of its own, and the success or failure of Developer_Direct will likely play a part in how that announcement turns out. Regardless, it’s clear that console fans like consistent digital showcases, even outside of major events like E3. There have been whole Twitter accounts dedicated to counting the days since the last Nintendo Direct, while the rumor mill is always full of people speculating when Nintendo, Sony, or Microsoft might be holding a showcase and what games could possibly be at those events. 

A screen capture from the Redfall gameplay reveal.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

From 2018 to early 2020, Inside Xbox provided that for a while, but those shows seemed to die off at this console generation’s genesis, as there were a couple of separately branded presentations ahead of the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S’s launch. After that, Xbox fans have just had the two Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcases in June and individual game marketing. Although those Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcases were both pretty good, one showcase a year is just too little for many gaming fans, especially when the release lineup is light in a year like 2022. 

With Developer_Direct, Xbox Game Studios and Bethesda are introducing a new showcase branding, and it needs to become something that Xbox fans can remember and look forward to regularly. Microsoft needs 2023 to be a redemptive year for Xbox, and Developer_Direct may play a big part in that, starting with the presentation on January 25.

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Tomas Franzese
Gaming Staff Writer
Tomas Franzese is a Staff Writer at Digital Trends, where he reports on and reviews the latest releases and exciting…
Xbox and Bethesda’s Developer_Direct: how to watch and what to expect
Redfall Cover

Microsoft has confirmed rumors that it will be holding a game showcase later this month. Called a Developer_Direct, this livestream will take place later today and feature updates on Xbox Game Studios and Bethesda games launching over the next few months, like Redfall.  Xbox doesn't typically do that many games showcases outside of events like E3, so this Developer_Direct seems like Microsoft's own take on the Nintendo Direct or State of Play formula.
That said, it's being a bit more transparent that it will be a bit slower-paced than Nintendo or PlayStation's shows typically are. For those planning to watch the show live today, this is how to watch Xbox's Developer_Direct Showcase as well as what you can expect from games like Redfall, Forza Motorsport, Minecraft Legends, and The Elder Scrolls Online at the event. 
When is Xbox and Bethesda's Developer_Direct? 
Xbox Game Studios and Bethesda's first-ever Developer_Direct will air live and for free later today, January 25, at 3 p.m. ET / 12 p.m. PT. 

How to watch Xbox and Bethesda's Developer_Direct
The Developer_Direct showcase will be officially livestreamed by Bethesda and Microsoft in the following four places: 

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Our most anticipated Xbox Series X games of 2023
Spaceship on planet in Starfield.

Next year is shaping up to be the most important for Xbox ever. A number of significant titles that could finally give Microsoft a foothold during this console generation are scheduled to release in 2023. We'll also likely learn whether or not Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard will go through. As such, there's a lot for Xbox fans to look forward to in 2023.
Xbox's 2023 console-exclusive slate is shaping up to be fairly diverse, featuring everything from cinematic platformers to RPGs to real-time strategy games. It's a far cry from the indie-dominated exclusive lineup of 2022. We've rounded up eight games set to define Xbox Series X's 2023 that fans should keep an eye on going into next year. We're only counting games with announced release windows, so titles like Senua's Saga: Hellblade II and Avowed won't show up on this list. Still, there are plenty of 2023 games for Xbox fans to get excited about. 
Planet of Lana -- spring 2023
Planet of Lana Xbox Game Pass Trailer
There are several 2D platformers coming exclusively to Xbox systems next year, like Replaced and The Last Case of Benedict Fox. The cinematic platformer that has stood out the most to us, though, has been Planet of Lana. Developed by Wishfully and published by Thunderful, this atmospheric, cinematic 2D platformer is of note because it's a gorgeous sci-fi adventure about a boy and a cute alien creature trying to survive an invasion. Planet of Lana's beautiful visuals remind me of Ori and the Will of the Wisps, and its gameplay harks back to Inside, so I'll eagerly be awaiting its release in spring 2023. 
Minecraft Legends -- spring 2023 
Minecraft Legends – Announce Trailer
Minecraft Dungeons was an enjoyable Diablo-like spinoff of the Minecraft formula, and now Mojang and Blackbird Interactive are taking a page out of Pikmin's book with Minecraft Legends. Set to release in spring 2023, Minecraft Legends is a real-time action strategy game where players defend the Minecraft Overworld from Piglins by commanding hordes of recognizable Minecraft creatures. Minecraft Legends looks like it will scratch that real-time action strategy itch as we wait for Pikmin 4, and will likely introduce a lot of new players to the genre. It is a multiplatform release, like all Minecraft titles, but its inclusion on Xbox Game Pass will make it a must-play Xbox Series X and S title in 2023. 
Forza Motorsport -- spring 2023
Forza Motorsport - Official Trailer - Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase 2022
Nearly three years after being announced in July 2020, we'll finally get our hands on the next mainline Forza game soon. It'll be interesting to see how Turn 10 Studios has evolved the formula in the wake of notable racing titles like Gran Turismo 7 and spinoff Forza Horizon 5. The new Forza Motorsport seems to be going all-out with its visuals, focusing on real-time ray tracing, dynamic time of day and weather, and high frame rates during races. Forza Motorsport will certainly be one of the prettiest games to ever release on Xbox Series X and S, so we definitely have our eye on it heading into its release next spring.
Redfall -- first half of 2023
Redfall - Official Into the Night Trailer
Originally slated to release in summer 2022, Redfall's delay really hurt Xbox's first-party prospects this year. That's one reason why we're interested to see how this vampiric cooperative shooter from Dishonored and Deathloop developer Arkane turns out when it releases in the first half of 2023. Arkane's switch from immersive sims to an open-world co-op shooter here is intriguing, so we're curious to see how they'll pull it off while still achieving satisfying horror undertones. Being the first brand-new Bethesda game to be an Xbox exclusive post-acquisition, Redfall is set to be a very meaningful release for Xbox Series X and S,
Starfield -- first half of 2023
Starfield: Official Gameplay Reveal
Starfield needs little introduction. Announced in 2018, players have been hyped for this brand-new sci-fi IP from Bethesda Game Studios for years and want it more than ever after its release date of 2022 was delayed. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is one of the most influential RPGs of all time, and Fallout 4 isn't too shabby either, so it's no surprise that we're excited to see what that team can do with a sci-fi experience that has taken eight years to create. Starfield is set to be a massive game with thousands of explorable planets, a grandiose story, shipbuilding, base building, and lots of RPG systems and combat. It will be one of the biggest AAA releases of 2023 period, let alone the biggest on Xbox. Even if no other Xbox Series X and S games are on your radar heading into 2023, keep an eye on Starfield when it releases in the first half of the year. 
Hollow Knight: Silksong -- first half of 2023
Hollow Knight: Silksong - Xbox Game Pass Reveal Trailer - Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase 2022
Hollow Knight is one of the best Metroidvania games ever made, so it's understandable why we're quite excited for a sequel that follows the character of Hornet in a whole new kingdom. While this game will also be available on Nintendo Switch, PS4, and PS5, its day one availability on Xbox Game Pass will make Xbox the premier console on which to play Hollow Knight: Sillksong. It appeared during the Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase this year, suggesting it will release sometime in the first half of 2023 despite developer Team Cherry's relative secrecy surrounding it. Regardless, anyone who loves of a good Metroidvania will want to check out Hollow Knight: Silksong whenever it launches in 2023. 
Ravenlok -- first half of 2023
Ravenlok - Official Announce Trailer - Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase 2022
Although we haven't heard much about the game, Ravenlok's unique style has us eagerly awaiting its release on Xbox Series X in 2023. Ravenlok is an action RPG with an Alice in Wonderland-like story where a girl is whisked away to a magical kingdom ruled by a cruel queen. Although its gameplay doesn't look like anything too out of the ordinary, the game features beautiful voxel visuals that get a shocking amount of detail out of what are normally crude geometric shapes. Ravenlok's beautiful visuals certainly will keep it on our radar when it launches day one on Xbox Game Pass. 
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 -- December 2023
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chornobyl — Gameplay Trailer
The postapocalyptic shooter S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 has been a long time coming and will hopefully finally be released in 2022. It's a survival-horror shooter set in the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone, following players as they navigate through the radiation and horrific enemies there in search of riches. The looks we've gotten at the game so far are thick with atmosphere and appear really promising. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 has unfortunately suffered some massive delays due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which has severely impacted the development team at GSC Game World. Still, the studio is adamant about releasing it on Xbox Series X and S in December 2023, and we can't wait to see the results of what this team has been working on. 

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Everything announced at Xbox Games Showcase Extended
Fall Guys parodies Halo's believe trailer.

Microsoft held the Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase on June 12, giving a first look at gameplay for Redfall and Starfield and revealing brand-new games like Pentiment and Minecraft Legends. As that showcase was focused on reveals, it had a very fast pace outside of the extended looks at Redfall and Starfield. Microsoft changed that with a slower-paced Xbox Games Showcase Extended presentation on June 14.During it, we learned more about some of the games that we saw on Sunday, and even got some news about games that weren't featured, such as Valheim and Slime Rancher 2. This livestream was definitely much slower-paced and less reveal-heavy than Sunday's showcase, but those who want a more in-depth look at Xbox's upcoming lineup of games will enjoy watching it (below). We've rounded up everything that was announced and discussed during Xbox Games Showcase Extended.
Xbox Games Showcase Extended
Valheim is coming to Xbox Game Pass as a console exclusive
Valheim coming to Game Pass - Xbox Games Showcase Extended 2022
The first real announcement of the Xbox Games Showcase Extended was that Valheim is coming to Xbox Game Pass. The PC version of the game will arrive on Xbox Game Pass this fall. It will then come to Xbox consoles and that version of Xbox Game Pass in spring 2023 as a console exclusive.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre game is coming to Xbox Game Pass
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre - Unrated Gameplay Trailer [4K]
A new trailer was released for the multiplayer horror game based on The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which will be on Xbox Game Pass at launch. We also learned that the game will be a console launch exclusive on Xbox One and Xbox Series X in 2023 for a bit before coming to PS4 and PS5 later in the year. 
Slime Rancher 2 is still coming this year
Slime Rancher 2 Gameplay | Xbox Games Showcase Extended 2022
After skipping out on the Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase, console-exclusive Slime Rancher 2 popped up here with a new trailer showing The Conservatory, the player's base of operations, exploration gameplay, and more. It will be released in fall 2022 and be on Xbox Game Pass on day one. 
Fall Guys pays homage to an iconic Halo trailer
Fall Guys 'Spartan Showdown' Trailer - Xbox Games Showcase Extended 2022
Mediatonic and Epic Games revealed that a Halo collaboration is coming to the Xbox versions of Fall Guys on June 30. They made the reveal through a trailer that parodies Halo 3's iconic Believe trailer, as we see a lot of beans frozen in the middle of a battle. This collaboration is called "Spartan Showdown," and players will be able to earn Halo-themed cosmetics by completing challenges while the event is live. 
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 devs urge players to support Ukraine
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chornobyl | Xbox Extended Showcase Trailer
Xbox's Sarah Bond and GSC Game World highlighted the S.T.A.L.K.E.R 2 team's experience as a Ukrainian game developer following Russia's invasion of Ukraine in an emotional interview and video. GSC Game World then showed a new cinematic trailer that confirms S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 will now release in 2023. 
Everything Else

Bethesda's Pete Hines defended the delays of Redfall and Starfield, discussed how Redfall was distinct from previous Arkane and cooperative shooter games, referenced The Elder Scrolls Online and Fallout 76's expansions, and emphasized how players have lots of freedom to do what they want in Starfield in an interview.
Naraka: Bladepoint's developers gave an overview of the game's characters, gameplay, and the campaign ahead of its release on Xbox Series X|S consoles next week. NetEase Games also confirmed that it would come to Xbox One later this year. 
We got to see some brief gameplay footage from Ara: Stories Untold as the developers discussed how this grand strategy game supports player agency and reflects player choice. They also confirmed that its technical alpha begins later this summer.
The developers of Grounded reflected on the survival game's development and teased how the 1.0 launch this September will resolve the story and introduce a new Praying Mantis boss. 
Microsoft Flight Simulator and the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum's collaboration was discussed in a video featuring Gamertag Radio's Parris Lilly. 
High On Life's Justin Roiland discussed the formation of Squanch Games and his quirky new sci-fi Metroidvania shooter where players take down the leaders of a cartel with talking guns.
A dev diary for Pentiment revealed more details about the story, characters, and setting of Josh Sawyer's new medieval narrative adventure game.
As Dusk Falls got a new developer diary showing how its choice-based gameplay works and discussing its themes and narrative ahead of its July 19 launch. 
We saw some new gameplay from the Forza Horizon 5: Hot Wheels expansion, showing just how these toys have been incorporated into four new Mexican biomes.
Mojang Executive Producer Dennis Ries revealed that Mojang first teased Minecraft Legends at Minecon 2018 with a T-shirt and explained why Mojang is making an action-strategy game with Blackbird Interactive's help. 
An ID@Xbox trailer highlighted upcoming indie games like Tinykin, Togges, Coral Island, and Hollow Knight: Silksong.
Bond teased Project Moorcroft, a Game Pass feature that will let developers put demos of their unreleased games in Game Pass to get feedback from players.

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