fable 4

Insightful Gaming – How Xbox Wins NextGen

I’m pretty stoked about next gen. 60fps? True 4K? SSD? Unreal 5? Ray Tracing? Sign me up. I have a feeling RPGs, stealth games and platforming are going to be huge. We also might see some incredible PC style strategy games finally hit consoles. And maybe, just maybe, a good Superman game. We have three systems: Xbox Series X, PS5, and Switch Pro (come on, it’s a given). In this quickie post, how can Xbox win next gen?

This is nothing more than a wishlist. I am not using any “insider info.” Nope. Just thirty years of gaming, my skills as an analyst, and my thoughts on where the industry is and where it can go. With that mumbo, jumbo out of the way, let’s get down to business.

June Event:

All about the hardware. Xbox Series X. Maybe the cheaper version, Xbox Series S. Elite Controller 2.0. Talk about Game Pass and X-Cloud. Demonstrate how Xbox Live is bigger and better. Then do a full power presentation.

If I were in charge of marketing, I’d press the following: Most Powerful System. Best Online Experience. Best Controller. Full Backwards Compatible. No censorship. Then emphasize Smart Delivery. I’d also ensure the event was only a day or two after Sony’s June event.

Lastly, I’d show-off some 3rd party titles. New Batman from Montreal? Superman from Rocksteady? Cyberpunk 2077? Harry Potter RPG? New Splinter Cell? Talk about how Xbox is the premiere choice for all third party titles. Then announce a bunch of timed exclusives. Hardcore gamers hate them, but it makes a significant impact on the market in general. Also, make the Flight Simulator the showpiece. End the presentation blasting the theme song from the 1990s X-Men animated series – yeah, Sony has Spiderman. We have the X-Men.

July Event

This first one is a long shot, but it makes sense. EA makes most of their money from live services. Live services work well with sport titles and Dice war games. They do not like single player experiences. Xbox wanted BioWare before. Plus, Respawn and Visceral Games would be perfect fits. Lastly, EA has never been a big fan of the Star Wars license. So they can unload it.

So the conference opens up with the announcement BioWare is now an Xbox studio. The Original Mass Effect trilogy, the Dragon Age trilogy, KOTOR I & II and Jade Empire are all being remastered alongside Saber Interactive. 4K resolution. 60fps. New content. Better gameplay mechanics. They show teasers for a new Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Anthem 2.0, and Jade Empire 2. But no rush. They then announce they are making KOTOR III alongside Obsidian.

Obsidian shows off dlc for The Outer Worlds, Grounded, and Pillars of Eternity 3. They also tease The Outer Worlds 2 and Alpha Protocol 2. Sega makes a statement that all of their new games are coming to Xbox: Persona, Yakuza, Sonic, Virtual Fighter, Phantasy Star, Atlas, and Total War. Then Total War announces they are working on a Halo RTS. This is followed by a string of 3rd party exclusives: Alan Wake 2 (Remedy), Marvel vs DC (Capcom), Dying Light 2 (Techland), Scalebound (Platinum), and Elden Ring (FromSoftware). This leads then to showing off a host of JRPGs that are finally coming to Xbox.

The Coalition show dlc for Gears Tactics, and then tease Mech Assault, Gears 6, and Jedi Academy. Ninja Theory show updates for Bleeding Edge, and then show Hellblade 2. They finish with teases for Project Mara and Odyssey 2. Trailers for Age of Empire 4 (Relic), Forza Motorsport 8 (with teaser for a new Forza New Horizons), Killer Instinct (no longer made by Rare), and then a bombshell: Bungie is once again an Xbox Studio. They drop trailers for Destiny 3 and a new IP and they tease they will be tackling Battlefront.

Rare shows off Sea of Thieves 2.0 with NPC crews and a host of improvements and additions. They show trailers for Everwild and Banjo and hint that they are not finished with Conker or the Battletoads.

The Initiative blasts onto the stage with a futuristic spy thriller reboot of Perfect Dark. They also tease they are working on X-Men and Deadspace. Then the trailer for Fable 4 is dropped by Playground Games. This segment is finished off by ReSpawn showing off Titan Fall 3, Apex Legends 2.0, and Jedi Fallen Order 2.

People Can Fly announces they are now an Xbox Studio. They show off a new IP and then tease they are tackling a reboot of TimeSplitters. Cause why not? Xbox then drops teasers for what multiple in-house studios are working on. A nice ten minute showcase of multiple games spread across multiple genres.

We then get teasers for Starfield, a new Witcher game, and that all dlc for LA Noire 2 is time exclusive for Xbox. Larian Studios comes out to say they are now an Xbox studio and Baulders Gate 3 and Divinity 3 are coming to Xbox. And then a partnership is announced: Xbox will be working with Bandai to create a Full Metal Alchemist game. They show off improvements to MineCraft and Fortnite before ending on a full reveal of Halo Infinite.

New weapons, new vehicles, improved melee, dual wielding, more assassinations, bigger environments, better stealth mechanics, and your armor takes on battle damage. You can also smash throw walls and drop a building on enemies – options are almost limitless to how you want to tackle missions. Hundreds of npcs make for huge set pieces. More WOW moments. The banished, the flood, new alien species, massive boss battles, space combat, and awesome Halo music. They reveal the biggest campaign ever with improved multiplayer and even a battle royal mode. 343 Studios then ends with a teaser for ODST 2.

August Event:

Obviously, this is where they should announce the price – $400 for Xbox Series X and $300 for Xbox Series S. They then announce a September release for Series X and a November release for Series S. They wrap it up with a showcase of the return of Summer Indies. A host of indie games will release every summer, starting with a ton of exclusives in August. Lastly, they mention that Game Pass, at least a limited version, will be coming to the Nintendo Switch in addition to Xbox Live for Switch. It’s a rad partnership and gives Xbox some serious momentum.

Summary:

Ok, so 90% of this is fantasy for sure. There could be curveballs, like ZeniMax or CD Projeket Red becoming an Xbox studio. Or maybe nothing happens and we get all hyped for nothing. But this is my wishlist, and I’m sticking to it until my dreams are dashed to pieces.

Wishlist: Top Ten Launch Titles for Xbox “Durango”

Will it have a 16 core processor? A chip to block used gaming? Will it need to have constant internet access? No disc drive or a blu-ray? A terabyte of cloud space? 7000 AMD graphic card? Kinect 2.0 built-in?

Ok, I’ll briefly jump on the bandwagon here in the midst of the next-gen rumor craze and throw out my suggestions for what would make a killer Xbox launch line-up. I’m sure we’ll see plenty of sports titles from 2k and EA, so I skipped on those for this list.

10.

What: Star Wars: The Old Republic, World of Warcraft, Guild Wars 2.

Why: Yes, I know these games are already out on the PC, but that’s not the point. This would be a statement that simply says we now do MMO’s. Throw in a promise that a Marvel and Fallout MMO are on the way and they’ll have fans eating out of their hands. Speaking of Fallout…

My Vote: 50/50

9.

What: Fallout 4

Why: Fallout 3’s vast open world and general RPG goodness made it one of the best games to appear on the 360. Its sequel is hottly anticipated, would go great alongside a Fallout MMO announcement, and would sell a ton of systems. Oh, and please give a tease for Elder Scrolls 6 while you’re at it. Please.

My Vote: 70/30

8.

What: Killer Instinct

Why: Rare needs to make a comeback. The Durango needs an awesome fighting game to help get it off the ground. Fans have been begging for this years on end. The timing couldn’t be better. Throw in some teases for a new Banjo, Kameo, Perfect Dark, and Conker. Launch it alongside Kinect Fit 2 and prepare to watch systems fly off shelves.

My Vote: 40/60

7.

What: Halo Wars 2

Why: Halo 5’s 2014 release is still another year away. Hype it up by releasing a fully redefined sequel to the Halo RTS. You can even port over Starcraft 2, Shogun 2, and C&C Generals 2 just to show that the Durango will bolster a powerful line of RTS titles. While you’re at it, throw in SimCity. One can dream, right?

My Vote: 30/70

6.

What: Samaritan

Why: Did you see the youtube vid? No, seriously, did you watch it? Then you have your answer. Launch it and announce that a Gears of War prequel trilogy is coming soon.

My Vote: 60/40

5.

What: Dragon Age 3

Why: Bioware pulled a sophomore fumble with Dragon Age 2. Same thing happened with Devil May Cry and they rebounded nicely. Bioware are still some of the best storytellers in the industry and I think DA3 will cement that. A Mass Effect 4 and Jade Empire 2 announcement as well…sounds awesome. Hopefully MS follows that up with a healthy list of coming attractions in the RPG genre including The Witcher 3, Dark Souls 2, and some JRPG goodness.

My Vote: 80/20

4.

What:  Fable 4

Why: I really enjoyed Fable 1-2. Fable 3 felt rushed and I have no intention of trying Fable The Journey. Fable can learn from Kingdoms of Amalur, Elder Scrolls, and, even, Zelda. Make us remember why this series garnered so much praise in its beginnings. If you want to release a new Forza game at launch and push Fable 4 back a few months you won’t receive a complaint from me.

My Vote: 60/40

3.

What: Alan Wake 2

Why: The first one was a true psychological thriller with a killer plot. American Nightmare showed promised for the combat aspects of the title. Combine the combat with the story on new hardware and produce a AAA title worthy of moving systems. Go ahead and use the time for announcing that Splinter Cell 6 will be another Xbox exclusive and is in the pipeline. You can even throw in Rocksteady’s next blockbuster hit to run alongside it as a launch title. But please give us more Alan Wake.

My Vote: 90/10

2.

What: TimeSplitters 4

Why: This one has been a long time coming and plenty of rumors have surfaced in regards to its development. I’m sure the Durango will have a new Call of Duty to play and probably another Battlefield. Maybe you throw in Crysis 3 within a few months of launch? Workout a way to bring Rainbow Six Patriots to the party? Timesplitters 4 gives you a unique First Person Shooter that core gamers will love.

My Vote: 70/30

1.

What: This is it. A brand new IP from Xbox. A beginning to a new series that will show that the Durango is serious about core gamers. What will it be? It best be creative, well made, and lots of fun. A great story. Be what the Uncharted series was to the PS3. A breathe of fresh air.

Why: The Xbox 360, in its later years, began catering too much to the casual player. Fewer exclusives, too many gimmick kinect games, and a lot of bone-head moves that left gamers scratching their heads. Let’s turn that ship.

My Vote: 50/50