We are just under a month and a half before we close 2021 that has left us some great moments in the video game industry. A year in which, luckily, we have begun to see the end of the path of the COVID-19 pandemic also in the industry, with the return of events such as E3 2021, which allowed us to experience some of the most important moments of the industry. In addition, it was also the year in which the purchase of Bethesda by Microsoft and all that that implies was definitively closed.
A real earthquake that has moved all the chips on the board and that showed that Microsoft, in case there was still any doubt, is with everything and goes with everything with Xbox. One more example of this has been the spectacular closing of the year we are having, with almost monthly launches of games from our own studios. Psyconauts 2, Microsoft Flight Simulator, Age of Empires 4, Forza Horizon 5, and Halo Infinite have made covers and headlines in the final months of the year, marking the true beginning of the new Xbox Game Studios era.
An era marked by the purchase of studios that from 2022 has to begin to exploit and define itself as we all hope. In addition, 2022 will mark four years of the first purchases (that glorious moment of E3 2018 when Phil Spencer announced the purchase of Playground Games, Ninja Theory or Compulsion Games among others). Four years of work that have to finally start to see its fruits and results.
Therefore, in this house we want to review what we could see in the coming months. There is much speculation and little certainty, also the result of Microsoft’s new policy of not giving too early dates and focusing on the most immediate. But that does not mean that we do not have things confirmed and that the environment does not show what we can expect in 2022.
Bethesda Exclusives Firsts
The first thing to point out and talk about is, without a doubt, what we have clear, sure and confirmed. And that’s Bethesda and its first Xbox exclusives. As we told you a few weeks ago in our article about the first anniversary after the purchase, much was said about whether Bethesda games and their studios would be exclusive to the Microsoft ecosystem. The question was resolved at E3, where they showed the first Starfield CGI trailer and made it clear that it would be exclusive. And the same happened at the closing of the conference with Redfall, Arkane’s new IP.
In addition, they confirmed that both games would arrive in 2022. In the case of Starfield they gave the exact date, November 11. Meanwhile, for Redfall they only pointed to one season, summer 2022, without giving an exact month or date. It is true that neither of the two games have we seen gameplay yet, but we have no doubt that they will be two of the most important games and outstanding releases of the year.
Xbox Game Studios in 2022: surprises and big covers
Now entering a more speculative phase, first we want to talk about Grounded. The Obsidian project is on its way to two years in Game Preview and players are raving about each new update. In our opinion, 2022 should be the year the game officially comes out, leaving the Game Preview status. Plus, it would be the best starting gun for the company’s plan to release a title every year. Although, if we pay attention to the latest rumors and leaks, next year we would have a double launch by Obsidian: Grounded and an RPG set in the 16th century that in recent weeks has come to light.
This, according to various sources, is a minor job, with few people involved, and which is scheduled to leave in 2022. An RPG where we must investigate a series of bloody murders where, in principle, there would be no combat system in mind. A curious proposal on paper and a different approach within the genre.
Without leaving the RPG genre we want to jump into the pool. Yes, whoever writes these lines knows that what he is going to say can cause controversy and be very difficult to do, but we have come to play. Fable will be the other great title that arrives in 2022. We recently told you that Playground had been working on this new game for four years and next year it will be five years of development. A more than reasonable time for a AAA title today. My bet is that it will be the game that closes the year, in December, as Halo Infinite does this 2021.
The return of Fable is a moment dreamed of by many of the fans of the saga and Microsoft consoles. A saga that had always been synonymous with quality and a standard, along with Halo and Forza, on Xbox. For all this, 2022 is perhaps the best time for us to see it. Not only by tempo, as we mentioned a few lines above, but also by situation and by being the perfect example of the new Xbox and its strategies. Playground was one of the studios that was most praised for its purchase and is the ideal candidate to start this new phase, with the permission of Bethesda of course.
With all this, Fable at the end of the year would be a perfect closure after the arrival of Starfield in November and that would allow to repeat the good feelings of 2021. Difficult? Yes. Impossible? No.
Last but not least, it should come as no surprise that Forza Motorsport also came out next year. In this way, the quota of sports titles would be maintained and also it would return to the usual rhythm, with alternative launches between the Horizon and Motorsport saga. A common trend during the generation of Xbox One and that in recent years has been lost due to the restart that the franchise has suffered. And now is the time to demonstrate the work of the last 3-4 years of Turn10 that, although they have helped other studios as a support team (the last case in Forza Horizon 5), they have more than enough quality and the time to prove it again.
Also, a launch in 2022 would be quite logical. First, because this is how the sports sector would be covered in the year. Second, because it is a totally different game from what Forza Horizon 5 offers and would allow Xbox to have a list of scandal sports games in its first two years: Microsoft Fligh Simulator, Forza Horizon 5 and the new Forza Motorsport.
With all this, and ending with speculation, the Xbox launch schedule would be as follows:
- Summer 2022: Redfall
- Late Summer: Grounded
- October: Forza Motorsport
- November 11: Starfield
- December: Fable
Undoubtedly, a year of authentic scandal, with titles of all kinds and other support releases (such as the arrival of Deathloop or the aforementioned Obsidian RPG) that would allow Microsoft to take a new blow on the table and demonstrate the current reality of Xbox Game Studios – High-quality titles every so often. Because, at the end of the day, Phil Spencer’s idea was always to launch a great game every 3 months and with this he would cover it with guarantees.