New Unreal Engine 5 games coming to Xbox in 2023 and beyond
Microsoft has acquired many publishers and developers over the last decade, and it appears that we will finally get our hands on some highly anticipated projects from studios like Rare, Obsidian, and The Initiative in the coming years.
Obsidian Entertainment's sequel to its 2019 sci-fi RPG will transport the player to an entirely new star system with a completely new cast of characters. It appears that fans can expect more of the Fallout-style RPG goodness found in the first game but on the more powerful Xbox Series X/S hardware.
Although no gameplay has been shown, it is expected to include a higher level of customization with new skills, stats, and gear for players to experiment with. We could also see a larger game overall, given that the first entry only took 35-40 hours to complete.
The title's release date has not been announced, but we may hear more within the next year. It'll be available on Xbox Series X/S, PC, and Game Pass, and given Obsidian's first-party status, it's unlikely to appear on PlayStation 5 anytime soon.
Obsidian has also been working on Avowed alongside The Outer Worlds 2. The upcoming action RPG is set in the world of Eora, which previously appeared in Pillars of Eternity, and will cast the player in the first-person role of an envoy from the Aedyr Empire.
With a dialogue system, skills and abilities, and various weapons such as magic, melee weapons, and firearms to fight against enemies, the game will bear many similarities to The Outer Worlds and Bethesda's Skyrim. It will not, however, have an open world, but rather a large zone-based structure.
Unlike The Outer Worlds 2, Avowed has a release window. It's currently scheduled for release in 2024 on Xbox Series X/S and PC via Game Pass, and there's no sign of a delay.
Despite several delays and leaks over the years, the cult classic Stalker franchise is returning 14 years after its last entry.
Stalker 2 casts the player as a "Stalker," a person who roams the Chernobyl exclusion zone after a second disaster in search of "artifacts" with various powerful and unique abilities. Players must navigate the zone while attempting to form alliances and avoid various dangers, with unique anomalies attempting to obstruct them.
Despite development delays caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Stalker 2 is set to release as a timed exclusive for Xbox Series X/S and PC in late 2023. Given that the exclusivity period for the game is reportedly only three months, a PlayStation 5 version may be released in the future.
Everwild marks Rare's return to single-player titles after the release of Sea of Thieves in 2018. It has been described as a "third-person adventure game with elements taken from God games," and bears some resemblance to the developer's 2006 title, Viva Piñata.
The game hasn't been seen since 2020 and has reportedly undergone an entire development "reboot" due to team staffing changes, so it's unclear whether its vibrant cel-shaded art style and rumored lack of combat will make it into the final release.
Everwild was originally slated for a 2023 release, but the team has reportedly "optimistically" begun targeting a 2024 release across Xbox Series X/S, Game Pass, and PC, with longtime Rare designer Gregg Mayles being brought in to lead its development.
The reboot of the futuristic Perfect Dark franchise, announced in 2020, has had a difficult development cycle, with developers and management from both The Initiative and Crystal Dynamics leaving over the years due to production issues.
Unsurprisingly, little is known about the game so far, except that it is set in a "near future world torn apart by ecological disasters" and will most likely feature new versions of the series' characters, weapons, locations, and gadgets.
According to reports, the game is still in pre-production as of June 2023 and is "years away" from being released. When it does arrive, it will be available on PC and Xbox Series X/S, with a Game Pass release.
Ark: Survival Evolved, a dinosaur-taming survival game developed by Studio Wildcard, quickly became a fan favorite, prompting the developer to collaborate with Fast and Furious star Vin Diesel on a sequel.
Although little is known about the game, we can expect base building, PvPvE gameplay, standard eating, drinking, temperature management mechanics, and, of course, the ability to ride around and fight on the backs of dinosaurs.
Unfortunately, Studio Wildcard has announced that it has been delayed once more, with a new release date of 2024 for Xbox Series X/S, PC, and Game Pass. To tide players over until then, the studio has been working on a remaster of the original game.
The sequel to Ninja Theory's well-received Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice will see the continuation of the story of Senua, an 8th-century warrior, as she battles psychological struggles and other heavy issues throughout her personal journey.
So far, the game looks to be a true next-generation title, with stunning visuals powered by the Unreal Engine and the Xbox Series X/S. In fact, Senua was used in a tech demo to demonstrate the engine's "real-time facial animation" capabilities, and Ninja Theory appears to be ready to push its graphical quality to its limits.
In terms of gameplay, it appears that it will be more of the original's third-person action style, though Senua's actor Melina Juergens has previously shared footage of her training for the game's combat motion capture, so we may see a more in-depth moveset than before.
Hellblade II will be available as a day one Game Pass release on Xbox Series X/S and PC sometime in 2024.