Microsoft kicked off its annual XO fan convention earlier today by announcing new games from Rare, Obsidian, and Dontnod, along with new indie titles, the continued expansion of the Xbox Games Pass library, and the impending arrival of a few classics that have never before appeared on an Xbox platform. On the off chance that you don’t actually want to sit through an hour and a half of branded t-shirts, keep reading for the full rundown of today’s events.
All the new stuff:
Drake Hollow – Xbox One + PC, 2020
Developed by Boston-based indie studio The Molasses Flood, Drake Hollow is a multiplayer survival/farming game where players must “gather supplies, battle savage creatures, and build villages to protect the local innocent vegetable folks known as Drakes.” As seen in the above trailer, a young woman gets totally owned by a crow who tricks her into entering the world of the Drakes, where she and her cartoon pals do sick grinds on crystal lasers and fight family-friend demogorgons. The Molasses Flood’s first game, The Flame in the Flood, put similar survival mechanics in a roguelike package on Xbox, PS4, PC, macOS, and Nintendo Switch in 2017.
West of Dead – Xbox One + PlayStation 4 + Nintendo Switch + Windows Store + GOG + Steam, 2020
This procedurally generated twin-stick shooter stars Ron Perlman (Hellboy, Highlander: The Series) as William Mason, a dead man looking to uncover the identity of the only person he can remember: a mysterious man in black. The game takes place in the fictional town of Purgatory, Wyoming, in 1888, and from the heavily cell-shaded action shown in the trailer, it’s got a real MadWorld vibe. West of Dead will be available through Xbox Games Pass when it launches next year, and an open beta is currently live on Xbox One. The other platforms listed above are present on the game’s official website, but it’s unclear if these ports will launch simultaneously, or at a later date.
Grounded – Xbox One + Windows Store + Steam, Spring 2020
Hot on the heels of The Outer Worlds comes Grounded, the next game from the RPG masters at Obsidian. This ain’t no Fallout though, this is a multiplayer survival game that’s one part Rust, one part Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. Players explore a suburban backyard as tiny little ant-sized children, who must battle against (comparatively) giant bugs and spiders while trying to eek out a meager existence. Obsidian says that Grounded features “thrilling story-based missions” that players can tackle alone or in groups, and in true survival game fashion, it launches as an Xbox Game Preview (read: early access) title next spring. It’ll be available on Game Pass for Xbox One and PC, as well as through the Windows Store and Steam.
Everwild – Platforms Unknown, Date Unknown
Everwild is the newest, most mysterious title from Perfect Dark/Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts developer Rare, and we know basically nothing about it. Rare says “the Everwild team is focused on building an experience that allows for new ways to play in a natural and magical world,” and that the game will “offer memorable, engaging and meaningful experiences,” but beyond that and the trailer above, we got nothin’. Is this an Xbox One game, or something for Project Scarlett? Does Rare even know at this point? It is impossible to say, but hot damn are those leaf-deer rad.
Tell Me Why – Xbox One + Windows Store + Steam, Summer 2020
In Life is Strange developer Dontnod’s latest adventure game, players help twins Tyler and Alyson Ronan piece together the difficult pieces of their shared childhood. “After spending ten years apart, the twins recall many of their shared experiences differently,” according to the game’s official website. “It’s up to the player to choose which version of the twins’ memories to believe –- and those choices will determine the future course of the twins’ lives.”
Tyler is a transgender man, which Dontnod and Microsoft say they are deeply committed to getting right. In a statement to Vice Games, Microsoft said:
“We brought many transgender players in for user research, testing, and feedback throughout development, which has been invaluable. We also received guidance and feedback from transgender friends and colleagues to build genuine and authentic characters.
In addition, DONTNOD and Xbox Game Studios partnered closely with Nick Adams, GLAAD’s Director of Transgender Representation, from the very beginning of “Tell Me Why’s” development to ensure that Tyler is an authentic hero and to help create an inclusive gaming experience that invites more people to play.
GLAAD has been a terrific partner, as Nick has consulted in story, dialogue, character design, environmental design, and voice casting as everyone took great care to ensure Tyler is a genuine, multi-dimensional character, avoiding the many harmful transgender stereotypes.”
Tyler is voiced by trans actor August Black according to The Hollywood Reporter, and Dontnod has committed to casting as many trans actors as possible for the game’s various alternate language voice tracks. Tell Me Why is an episodic adventure in three parts, which will be released as a complete season at some point next summer. Here’s hoping they do right by it.
All the old new stuff:
Yakuza, Final Fantasy, and Kingdom Hearts on Xbox One
Microsoft also announced that legacy titles from the above franchises will be available on Xbox One next year, many through Xbox Game Pass and some for the first time ever. Here’s the full list of what’s ahead:
- Final Fantasy 7 (Games Pass, Xbox + PC)
- Final Fantasy 8 (Games Pass, Xbox + PC)
- Final Fantasy 9 (Games Pass, Xbox + PC)
- Final Fantasy 10 (Games Pass, Xbox + PC)
- Final Fantasy 10-2 (Games Pass, Xbox + PC)
- Final Fantasy 12 (Games Pass, Xbox + PC)
- Final Fantasy 13 (Games Pass, Xbox + PC)
- Final Fantasy 13-2 (Games Pass, Xbox + PC)
- Final Fantasy 13-3 (Games Pass, Xbox + PC)
- Final Fantasy 15 (Games Pass, Xbox + PC)
- Yakuza 0 (Games Pass, Console Only)
- Yakuza Kiwami 1 (Games Pass, Console Only)
- Yakuza Kiwami 2 (Games Pass, Console Only)
- Kingdom Hearts 1.5 (Not Games Pass)
- Kingdom Hearts 2.5 (Not Games Pass)
- Kingdom Hearts 2.8 (Not Games Pass)
Get three months of Xbox Games Pass Ultimate for $1
Xbox Games Pass Ultimate normally grants Xbox Live Gold, as well as access to PC and console Games Pass libraries for about $15 a month, but you can get three months for $1 for a limited time. Also for a limited time, Games Pass Unlimited includes one month of EA Access, three months of Discord Nitro, and six months of Spotify Premium. That’s $60 worth of Spotify for a single slim jim! I’m maybe more excited about that than anything else on this page, truth be told. You will need to manually cancel your EA Access, Discord Nitro, and Spotify subscriptions after one, three, and six months respectively, so be sure to write yourself a note or something.