Microsoft, Bethesda, and Xbox: E3 Predictions
Microsoft and Bethesda will jointly host their combined E3 2021 event in the conference’s highly anticipated schedule of showcases. This will be the first time Microsoft and Bethesda have hosted together—taking place on Sunday, June 13th. Since Microsoft acquired Zenimax in a high-profile transaction, both parties have enjoyed popular intrigue and anticipation for what the two companies will work on as one. Zenimax is the parent company for Bethesda, and Bethesda is most widely known for its success with the Fallout and Doom series.
The E3 2021 event hosted by Microsoft and Bethesda will, of course, cover all things Xbox, new game releases, and official announcements for upcoming projects that may be unexpected. The showcase will be 90 minutes long and is to be held in a totally digital format—so viewers can watch online only. The general manager of Xbox games marketing, Aaron Greenberg, commented that “The show will be focused on games from Xbox Game Studios, Bethesda, and many game creators from our partners around the world.”
This will be an interesting event to tune into during the E3 2021 schedule because of Bethesda’s involvement. Microsoft may own Bethesda now – and Bethesda is playing a huge role in Xbox’s future releases – but Bethesda are still making games for other consoles. Deathloop is reportedly being released on PC and PS5, so we may get some surprises.
When is Xbox’s Showcase at E3?
The official dates and times have landed for Microsoft’s E3 2021 event! The show will take place on Sunday, June 13th at 6 pm in the UK. The show will be available to watch live through all of Xbox’s social channels, including Twitter, Twitch, and YouTube. The show is scheduled to run for a 90-minute duration filled with releases, news, updates, and announcements. It will feature upcoming games from Xbox Game Studios and Bethesda Softworks alike—since Microsoft and Bethesda jointly host it.
Bethesda’s New Releases?
2020 saw one of the biggest acquisitions in the video game industry, as Microsoft purchased Zenimax Media and all of its studios, IP, and tech. In case you didn’t know, Zenimax included more than just Bethesda, although Bethesda was arguably the cherry on the top of the deal. Zenimax own id Software, Arkane Studios, Tango Gameworks, and Machine Games—most of which you probably recognise from your favourite startup screens. The acquisition also included the impressive IP of Elder Scrolls, DOOM, Dishonoured, and of course, Fallout.
Microsoft has been working behind the scenes to make the most out of their massive purchase, and it looks like they’re cashing in on the publicity by sharing their E3 slot with Bethesda as joint hosts. This is likely also an attempt to solidify the acquisition in the public’s mind, making Xbox and Bethesda go hand in hand.
According to comments within the company and leakers’ insights, Bethesda will be headlining its time with the launch of Starfield. We don’t know much about this new game. We know it’s a single-player RPG set in space and is being developed by the same teams behind the newest Fallout games and the Elder Scrolls franchise. Those factors all make for an exciting-sounding release that will draw plenty of critical attention.
Bethesda hasn’t given us any solid details, but from what we can tell it will be a game focused on cosmic exploration with some level of ship customisation involved. We’re thinking it might be an amalgamation of No Man’s Sky and Subnautica.
Some test screenshots were leaked of Starfield, which gave us some insight into what the game’s premise may be. It seems fairly certain that the game will also be announced as an Xbox and PC exclusive.
A Bounty of Xbox News and Game Releases?
The Xbox Game Pass is sure to be a feature in the E3 event with Microsoft this year. The Game Pass has caught some criticism in recent years, but it’s a definite cornerstone in the Xbox system. If you’re an Xbox owner, the likelihood is that you’re also a Game Pass owner. If you want access to games and features that are, basically, necessities in the X and S series consoles, then you need a Game Pass.
Announcements from Xbox regarding the subscription service would certainly be welcome, especially if there are any improvements to speak of. Fans have speculated that things like a Game Pass Family plan would be a popular addition. Or, cloud streaming expanded to a wider variety of platforms and countries could be a nice surprise for users. Similarly, the Xbox series X and S could be set for some hardware and software upgrades following their initial launch.
Moving over to the games, we’re expecting Xbox to make a reveal about Forza Horizon 5, following the usual Forza schedule. This game in the series is supposedly set in mountainous desert regions in sweltering Mexico. This is also a title where we’ll see some technical showcasing in connection with the series X and S consoles, as Forza Horizon 5 will probably feature the kind of showstopping photorealism that the new consoles are capable of.
In the same realm of exquisite graphics, Flight Simulator may be announced for console too, possibly due later in 2021.
Alongside the central titles from Microsoft, the smaller internal studios will have their chance to shine in the event. We might see teasers for the likes of Sea of Thieves, with quality of life updates and more adventure areas. Age of Empires‘ 4th instalment is scheduled for release this Autumn. So, as the launch date for Age of Empire IV draws ever nearer, we can expect at least a gameplay trailer or two for the memorable strategy franchise.
Looking back on Microsoft’s previous showcases, we can make some educated assumptions about what else they’re likely to discuss. In the past, Microsoft used the E3 platform to reveal details about Fable, State of Decay, Hellblade, and Perfect Dark. It’s very possible we’ll hear about the newest games in each of those series. Amid the excitement to hear every little morsel about every little project within the giant gaming machine that is Microsoft, we have to remember the practical limitations of an event like E3. Firstly, there’s a definite time limit to each showcasing partner’s event slot; even it feels more casual in its virtual format.
Expecting long gameplay features, trailers, and demos simply isn’t a realistic expectation as these presentations inevitably take up developers’ time. Furthermore, with most of the games mentioned above still in development, creating detailed content ready for the public just won’t be possible.
Of course, we can’t make a prediction for Xbox’s E3 event without mentioning their crowning headline, Halo Infinite. It received some serious backlash for its poor visual quality in 2020’s showcase, so this would be Microsoft’s perfect chance to push that back and offer an impressive update with some firm dates and specifics.