Yikes! Since last week's announcement from Microsoft about their unveiling of first-ever Xbox Series X gameplay, the gaming world was thrown in a whirlwind of excitement and anticipation. With all the unfortunate hoopla of COVID-19 and its effects on our daily lives, 2020 being the year of the Next-Gen understandable got overshadowed. But, here comes Microsft at the right time to have us briefly forget about such terrors, and have us hyped for a much better end to the year than the beginning. Their Inside Xbox event just wrapped up, and....we saw a bit of next-gen, but, it was a bit underwhelming.
first up...no first party titles until july
The Inside Xbox event started with the view of getting the bad news out of the way first. It was confirmed right off the bat that there will be another Xbox event in July exclusive for showcasing Microsoft Studios games. Not exactly a surprise (this news bounced around social media), but what was incredibly surprising was that we didn't receive at least one First Party trailer to wet our lips a little. The thinking here might have been to avoid pissing off your global partners, but this is a big first event for your new console, throw us a bone Microsoft.
Games From The big publishers/developers were missing
A picture like what we see here above has become the usual routine when showcasing a new console. It's always the same. Some company big wig comes on stage -on stream in this case- and spew the usual script of working with many amazing developers on getting their games to the console. There is no surprise that major Third-party devs are working on Xbox Series X, but what was surprising was (except for Ubisoft and Bandai Namco) that they were a no show. There was no Elden Ring gameplay from From Software, no new game (heavily believed to be a new Batman game) from Rocksteady. There wasn't even a quick look at CyberPunk 2077 running on Series X hardware.
Where was the Gameplay??!
In the end, all of my gripes I mentioned above could have been ignored if, and this is a big IF! Microsoft stuck to there own marketed hype and provided us with actual next-gen gameplay. This was by far the biggest disappointment about today's presentation. Apart from the impressive Bright Memory Infinite and Yakuza Like A Dragon, there was hardly any actual gameplay. What we got instead, were many edited cinematic trailers that simulated gameplay as well as the dreaded 'in-game engine footage' dangled about as gameplay. The biggest slap in the face came from Ubisoft who mentioned various times throughout the stream not to miss the grand reveal of Assassin Creed's Valhalla's gameplay to only be hit with the ole 'bait and switch', giving us another pretty in-engine cinematic trailer. It is really a shame that an indie game made by one person upstaged the big Triple-A headliner.
Look, we are not saying it was all bad. One plus is that majority of the games shown were new IPs, and there were a few interesting titles like the aforementioned Bright. However, I truly believed that Microsoft did more harm than good today, especially with rumours flying about that a PS5 event will be taking place later this month. Base off recent industry happenings, there is little doubt that Sony's third-party offerings would blow what we saw today, out of the water.
I am happy that we finally got a good look at next-gen, but unfortunately, it was a lukewarm start for the Series X.
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Hey I am Marlon Mcfarlane the writer here at Blue Crescent Studio & a longtime lover of all things Animation & Gaming.