Xbox and Bethesda’s Blockbuster E3 Show

Xbox and Bethesda’s Blockbuster E3 Show

Xbox and Bethesda’s Blockbuster E3 Show

Posted by Lawrence Rennie

14 Jun, 2021


For the first time now as a joint conglomerate, Xbox and Bethesda took to the E3 center stage to deliver a blockbuster show of some huge and exciting games to come. Xbox were more than delighted to show off the strength of direction they’re taking with Game Pass, as all but three of the 30 titles shown at the showcase today were first day Game Pass releases. If you’ve not joined the Game Pass gravy train yet, you might just have to.

Xbox and Bethesda’s showcase proved without a doubt to be the biggest, most impressive show of convention so far, with hotly anticipated titles like Halo Infinite and Bethesda’s Starfield taking the limelight. From rip roaring racers to Pirates of the Caribbean game updates, here’s the best of Xbox and Bethesda’s E3 2021 showcase.


Todd Howard took to the stage to introduce Bethesda’s hottest new IP, Starfield—a game which is their first wholly new project in 25 years. The cinematic trailer was in-engine alpha footage, which would suggest the game is still some ways off, but Bethesda have opted for one of their typical stylistic release dates anyway with 11.11.22. Big question marks over whether that date will be met‑but for now the cinematic trailer at least set a very impressive tone and scale for the game to come.

Keep an eye on this one.

The final reveal that Starfield would also be an Xbox exclusive and a day one Game Pass release also set a huge tone for how this Xbox convention was about to play out, as Xbox continue to take big swings to fuel more and more into Game Pass as their flagship. The Bethesda acquisition is proving itself a mighty weapon in the ongoing “console war” that we’re only now just beginning to see play out. The paths of Sony and Microsoft are at a hugely divergent crossroads, with Xbox’s road looking the better option so far.

Stalker 2: Heart of Chernobyl

Cinephiles might be surprised to see a sequel title based from the film works of Russian film master Andrei Tarkovsky taking second billing at a gaming conference’s biggest show, but Stalker 2: Heart of Chernobyl looked to possess plenty of promise.

Unsurprisingly this Slavic based mutant apocalypse title looks somewhat resemblant of the Metro series—not that that is a bad thing by any means. Stalker takes you up through the radiated zone of Chernobyl where evidently the nuclear disaster has had some ill-advised side effects on some beings. You’ll be fighting and surviving against the worst of this mutant infestation with a ramshackle team at your side.

Stalker 2: Heart of Chernobyl is set for an April 28, 2022, release.

Back 4 Blood

Turtle Rock Studios are back with an imitator of their own iconic franchise. Back 4 Blood looks every bit a Left 4 Dead clone down to even the aptly chosen title. But you can’t complain too much about more of a good thing, and Back 4 Blood certainly looks to set to deliver on the co-op zombie killing mania of Left 4 Dead.

Back 4 Blood releases this year on October 12.

Sea of Thieves—A Pirates Life

A crossover that makes all too much sense, yet somehow this Pirates of the Caribbean title update for Sea of Thieves proved to be one of the most surprising highlights of the showcase. Complete with all your favourite crew members of the Pirates’ franchises Black Pearl, the A Pirates Life update adds all-new story content to the sea-fairing multiplayer title.

It comes in just over a week on June 22.

Yakuza: Like A Dragon

Tune up your karaoke machines again, because Yakuza: Like A Dragon makes its way to Game Pass today, joining up with the full library of all the other mainline Yakuza games now.

12 Minutes

Another Xbox exclusive, 12 Minutes promises to be a short interactive thriller featuring a star-studded voice cast of James McAvoy, Daisy Ridley, and Willem Dafoe. This one certainly looks worth an afternoon’s play with what will likely be a well told, intensive story done in a unique style.

12 Minutes will appear on your Game Pass libraries August 19.

Psychonauts  2

After what has seemed like an eternity in development, Double Fine are finally back with Raz and the crew for Psychonauts 2. It promises the same rambunctious narrative play and twisted platforming and chaotic action as the first, only now much bigger and probably better.

Psychonauts 2 releases August 25, 2021.

Fallout 76 Updates

Fallout 76 has apparently had a new life breathed into it after taking to Game Pass as Bethesda were delighted to announce it as Game Pass’s most popular game. The Fallout team are rewarding those claims with the ‘Steel Reign’ update slated for July, and, more importantly, a tease for ‘The Pitt’ in 2022. Fallout 3 fans will remember The Pitt as a story dlc way back when which took players to the broken industrial foundations of Pittsburgh.


Okay Xbox fans, your turn is up for the best game of last year. Hades, the dungeon crawling roguelike GOTY, is coming to Xbox consoles and Game Pass on August 13. Delight in the glorious art style, voice acting, intense combat and hellish difficulty if you have not already—you will not be disappointed.


Somerville looks to be another sleeper surprise waiting to impress. This pixel-art style story game didn’t give away much, but certainly it has the makings of being an intense interactive story piece as a couple make their way through something of an apocalypse scenario.

This one is another console exclusive and day one Game Pass release for some time in 2022.

Halo Infinite

After Halo Infinite’s more disappointing previous outing 343 were ready with an atmospheric cinematic and a glimpse into Master Chief’s new story. Cortana is gone, but don’t worry, he’s got his new totally-not-Cortana AI to help him out now (as he continues to mope about missing Cortana).

Halo Infinite will also release with an entirely free to play multiplayer mode that looks epic in scope, promising all new abilities, grapple hook movements and new ways to evolve combat. Teabagging shall remain the same, however, only now with a buttery smooth 120 frames per second. 

Perhaps more worryingly though, Halo Infinite set the ambiguous release window of “the Holidays”, suggesting that 343 and Xbox might me a tad dubious about their own release schedule.

A Plague Tale: Requiem

The rats are back, and back with a vengeance as we return to A Plague Tale with Requiem. The de Rune siblings look set to be addled with yet another dire quest, though perhaps now with the aid of more good rat friends.

Release for A Plague Tale: Requiem is set for 2022.

Atomic Heart

If you’re into eery world with mannequin looking robots, gravity powers, War of the Worlds-looking-ass tripods, and a shredding anime-style soundtrack then Atomic Heart may just be the title for you. It’s difficult to make quite heads or tails of what the game actually is but it certainly captures the imagination and should be one to watch for the future.  

Atomic Heart looks to be available for all Xbox platforms and Windows 10, but no indication was given to when.

Age of Empires IV

“Wollolo!” Age of Empires is back with Age of Empires IV! Get back to the ancient battlegrounds of yore and crush your enemies with extreme military tactics and yodelling monks.

Build up your kingdom as you seek to destroy others this Fall, as Age of Empires IV drops on Game Pass for PC, Windows 10, and Steam on October 28.

Outer Worlds 2

I have to be very careful here: This Isn’t the Outer WILDS 2, it is the Outer WORLDS 2—Obsidian Entertainment’s answer to not getting to make another Fallout game while out of the umbrella of Bethesda, though now in fact both Obsidian and Bethesda are together again under the umbrella of Microsoft, so could happily go about making a New Vegas 2—just, you know, if they wanted to…

Only putting it out there…

As the trailer for The Outer Worlds 2 joked on, the game actually doesn’t have much for it at the moment. This tease was merely to promote that the game is in development and will at some point exist. It was a good tease, nonetheless.

Forza Horizon 5

It wouldn’t be an Xbox conference without a new Forza update. Forza Horizon 5 looks every bit a next gen title as it showed off excellent visual fidelity and realistic cactus needles. As with most Forza titles the details are king here, and Forza Horizon 5 is extremely intricate for every single one.

The racing sim takes us now to the sandy dunes and ancient ruins of Mexico as you tear up the land with your best buds.

Forza Horizon 5 will also feature some custom game modes too, such as taking your own car bowling, or collecting…piñatas. Because, you know, Mexico…


Potential cultural appropriation aside, Forza Horizon 5 certainly looks impressive and finally a welcomed sign for the ushering in of Xbox’s true next gen era. The game will release for all Microsoft platforms and day one Game Pass on November 9.


The Xbox and Bethesda showcase started to close out, but not before Phil Spencer led us excitedly into one last reveal from Arkane Studios.

Redfall, an exclusive for Xbox coming in Summer 2022, is a brand-new IP from the team behind Dishonored and Prey, so there is plenty to be excited about here. We were only given a pre-rendered cinematic trailer so it’s all a bit of a mystery quite what Redfall actually is. What we do know is that it is open world and playable solo or amongst friends. The trailer suggested a team-up fight in the vein of Left 4 Dead against vampires and magical emos. You yourself will be equipped with guns and similar magic to take on the undead.

The trailer itself didn’t do too much to raise the excitement, but Arkane’s track record and Xbox’s evident confidence in the game to mark it as the closer make this one to watch for. 


About Author

Lawrence Rennie

Lawrence is a Scottish-born writer with a love of games and films that he fortunately turned into a career grumbling about online. When not firing away the hours buried in a game or film he also co-writes 'Mechastopheles', an original comic series published by the UK’s leading comic magazine 2000AD as a naturally born-grumpy Scot; however, he asks that you don’t ask him too much about it though! Lawrence’s other musings include podcasts, fitness, his cat, and one day developing his own screenplay.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments