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Gaming Highlights: Xbox Games Showcase 2024

 
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I have two things to say before I get started on my highlights of the Xbox Games Showcase 2024. One: screw Call of Duty, I'm not watching that or writing about it past a release date. Two: I don't care if this was a showcase for Xbox generally speaking, this header is going to be of Max because she's the only thing that matters here. Or ever. (I may have a problem. It was dormant for a bit but now it's too late for us all.)

Game highlights

South of Midnight (Xbox Game Studios, Compulsion Games)

Compulsion Games is a Canadian gem. What those people come up with is always steeped in hidden meaning while also being delightfully yet creepily strange. I'd hate to see inside their brains. You can tell what this trailer is right away because of the Compulsion bumper sticker – a lovely touch. Despite the developer being located in Montreal, South of Midnight is set in the United States' Deep South. Heroine Hazel lost her mother but gained the powers of Weaving. Weaving is really cool, and kind of Scarlet Witch-y: it is a magical ability that allows Hazel to rework the tapestry of energy making up the universe. She is now being accompanied by one amazing giant catfish, AKA Catfish. (I'll have another Catfish reference in another game write-up. So look forward to that?) Reality has begun to fray, if that isn't clear. Folktale creatures have come to life and corruption is taking over the area.

South of Midnight will be released for PC via Steam/Microsoft and Xbox Series in 2025.



Fable (Xbox Game Studios, Playground Games)

It's nice to finally see some more footage of Fable out in the wild. It's been over a decade since we've had our hands on a new game in the series, and I'd argue Fable fans are up there with Skate fans in terms of seeming delusional until their favourite series actually gets revived. At last year's Xbox Games Showcase we got a trailer, but that still contained so little information. Today's trailer follows Humphrey, Albion's Greatest Hero*. Note the asterisk. He may be exaggerating. The trailer's description reads: "What does it mean to be a Hero? Humphrey, once one of the greatest, will be forced out of retirement when a mysterious figure from his past threatens Albion's very existence." Humphrey once took in a woman with nowhere else to go, but she was best described as "something else." Super skillful. Super powerful. Super terrifying. And she's super back. Fable, as always, relies heavily on choice: choose your actions to become the person you want to be… or the person you need to be.

Fable will be released for PC and Xbox Series in 2025.



Winter Burrow (Noodlecake, Pine Creek Games)

I trust Noodlecake, so let's go! The protagonist in Winter Burrow is a mouse returning home, only to find it in ruins. She doesn't understand why. She can't ask her aunt; she tried but the bridge is (conveniently?) broken. So she will spend her time transforming a tree stump into a cozy home. No matter how hard it gets out there, she'll always try to find meaning and beauty in the world. You'd think that a small city mouse has no chance against a big countryside winter, but remember: every winter leads to spring. (Actually, winter leads right to summer now, but that's neither here nor there.) The ending of the trailer, when the mouse reunites with her aunt, had me laughing for a solid couple of minutes. I even rewatched it a couple of times. It's brutal.

Winter Burrow will be released for PC and Xbox in early 2025.



Mixtape (Annapurna Interactive, Beethoven & Dinosaur)

"My mixtapes bends others to my will." Well, that's one doozy of a Life is Strange-like superpower, isn't it? Mixtape is set back when summers would last forever. Friendships were unbreakable, and any trouble was good trouble. Mixtape is visually stunning with a soundtrack to match: Devo, Rozy Music, Lush, The Smashing Pumpkins, Iggy Pop, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Joy Division, and more. Your greatest memories are stored in music, after all.

Mixtape will be released for PC via Steam/Windows, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series in 2025.



You know who else has Life is Strange-like powers? Let's return to Max, the best protagonist ever, the star of the original Life is Strange game. And a new game, too. Max is back, baby!

Life is Strange: Double Exposure (Square Enix, Deck Nine)

I've saved the best for last. Y'all, the way I screamed when I got a mere hint (instant) of what this trailer would contain! If a game were to be my spirit animal, it would be Life is Strange. I identify with teen Max so much, and I'm excited to see the adult she's grown into in Life is Strange: Double Exposure.

The history behind who is handling Life is Strange is a bit confusing. It was created by Don't Nod, and developed by Don't Nod, but Square Enix owns the rights. Deck Nine made direct prequel Life is Strange: Before the Storm, and did pretty well with it in my opinion. Don't Nod then made Life is Strange 2, featuring completely different characters with very few overlapping references to the original. People didn't like that so much, but again, I loved it. The next Life is Strange game was back to being developed by Deck Nine, and I'm not going to lie: as much as I love the original and relate to Max, True Colours is almost good enough to take that number one spot in my heart. There is something about a woman making emotions a superpower that is just hot.

That's a long way of saying I trust Deck Nine with Max, and I hope I don't regret that decision. Life is Strange: Double Exposure is a supernatural murder mystery. Max finds her best friend Safi dead in the woods… so why does she still hear her friend's voice? Max doesn't know who she can trust after that. Her powers bring her to a universe different than – but parallel to – her own. Here, Safi is alive. For anyone who kept up with Life is Strange lore, there is a fantastic comic series that explores Max travelling between universes with and without key figures from her teenage years. So a game focusing on parallel realities makes a lot of sense.

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Max is the only person with access to both realities, so Max is the only person who can investigate in both realities. She should be able to save Safi, just as long as she both solves and prevents the murder in two timelines. Poor Max, no matter what she does death and murder seems to follow her.

Now I will bring things back around to Catfish from South of Midnight. Well, kind of. It's actually about Catfish the TV Show. It's funny that Life is Strange's Max made her return to the world this week when Catfish the TV Show's Max made his brief return to our screens this week too. Is this relevant to anything? Not really. Just strange coincidences… right?

Life is Strange: Double Exposure will be released for PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series on October 29; it will launch later for Nintendo Switch. A special livestream will take place on June 13 at 12 p.m. ET / 9 a.m. PT.



Full list of featured games

  • Call of Duty Black Ops 6 (Activision) – launching October 25 for PC via Steam/Microsoft, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series, Xbox One
  • Doom: The Dark Ages (Bethesda) – launching in 2025 for PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series
  • State of Decay 3 (Xbox Game Studios, Undead Labs) – launching for PC via Steam/Epic/Microsoft, Xbox Series
  • Dragon Age: The Veilguard (BioWare, Electronic Arts) – launching in Q4 2024 for PC via Steam/Epic, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series
  • Starfield: Shattered Space (Bethesda) – DLC launching in 2024 (plus, updates to the base game today)
  • Fallout 76: Skyline Valley (Bethesda) – update launches on June 12 for PX, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series, Xbox One
  • Clair Obscur: Expedition 33 (Sandfall Interactive, Kepler Interactive) – launching in 2025 for PC via Steam/Epic, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series
  • South of Midnight (Xbox Game Studios, Compulsion Games) – launching in 2025 for PC via Steam/Microsoft, Xbox Series
  • World of Warcraft: The War Within (Blizzard) – expansion launching on August 26 for PC via Battle.net
  • Metal Gear Solid Delta: Snake Eater (Konami) – launching for PC via Steam, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series
  • Sea of Thieves: Season 13 (Xbox Game Studios, Rare) – update launches on July 25 for PC via Steam/Windows, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series, Xbox One
  • Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn (A44 Games, Kepler Interactive) – launching on July 18 for PC via Steam/Epic, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series, Xbox One
  • Age of Mythology: Retold (Xbox Game Studio, World's Edge, Forgotten Empires, Tantalus Media, CaptureAge, Virtuos) – launching on September 4 for PC via Steam/Microsoft, Xbox Series, Xbox One
  • Perfect Dark (Xbox Game Studios,The Initiative, Crystal Dynamics) – launching for PC, Xbox Series
  • Diablo IV: Vessel of Hatred (Blizzard) – expansion launching on October 8 for PC via Steam/Battle.net, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series, Xbox One
  • Fable (Xbox Game Studios, Playground Games) – launching in 2025 for PC, Xbox Series
  • FragPunk (Bad Guitar Studio) – launching in 2025 for PC via Steam, Xbox Series
  • Winter Burrow (Noodlecake, Pine Creek Games) – launching in early 2025 for PC, Xbox
  • Mixtape (Annapurna Interactive, Beethoven & Dinosaur) – launching in 2025 for PC via Steam/Windows, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series
  • Microsoft Flight Simulator 2024 (Xbox Game Studio, Asobo Studio) – launching on November 19 for PC via Steam/Microsoft, Xbox Series
  • The Elder Scrolls Online: Gold Road (Bethesda) – expansion available now for PC/Mac; launching on June 18 for consoles
  • Life is Strange: Double Exposure (Square Enix, Deck Nine) – launching on October 29 for PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series; launching later for Nintendo Switch
  • Indiana Jones and the Great Circle (Bethesda, MachineGames) – launching in 2024 for PC via Steam/Microsoft, Xbox Series
  • Mecha Break (Amazing Seasun) – launching in 2025 for PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series
  • Wuchang: Fallen Feathers (505 Games, Leenzee Games) – launching in 2025 for PC via Steam/Epic/Microsoft, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series
  • Avowed (Xbox Game Studios, Obsidian Entertainment) – launching in 2024 for PC via Steam/Microsoft, Xbox Series
  • Atomfall (Rebeliion) – launching in 2025 for PC, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series, Xbox One
  • Assassin's Creed Shadows (Ubisoft) – launching on November 15 for PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chornobyl (GSC Game World) – launching on September 5 for PC, Xbox Series
  • Gears of War: E-Day (Xbox Game Studios, The Coalition) – launching for PC, Xbox Series
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Watch the showcase: American Sign Language




Watch the showcase: Audio Description


 

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