In a surprise announcement, Bethesda today revealed that Starfield and Redfall have been pushed back from 2022 to 2023. Starfield, in particular, was set to be a big seller and a major driver for Xbox Game Pass. With Starfield and Redfall now out of the picture until the first half of 2023, Xbox fans might be wondering what they can expect in 2022.
In short, not much, at least not much of what we know so far. As for new first-party releases confirmed for the rest of 2022, Xbox has none.
The next Forza Motorsport game is expected to release this year, but that’s not confirmed. The series had been on a bi-year release schedule since the franchise debuted in 2005. Microsoft gave Turn 10 more time with the next game, but it’s been five years since Forza Motorsport 7, so it’s about time that the next new one appears. entrance, we imagine.
Looking at other studios of its own, Obsidian is working on a couple of new RPGs, including The Outer Worlds 2 and Avowed, but neither have an official release date yet. Obsidian’s Honey, I Shrunk the Kids-meets Rust, Grounded game could come out of beta and officially launch in 2022.
Then there’s Gears of War studio The Coalition, which is expected to be working on Gears of War 6, but it’s unknown if it’s real or not and it’s set for a 2022 release. The Coalition is also developing a second project, but all we know is that it’s not a Star Wars game.
One of Microsoft’s newest studios, The Initiative, is doing a new Perfect Dark reboot with the help of Crystal Dynamics. However, its development was reportedly “heavily affected” by recent billing, and the title is not expected to release this year.
Looking ahead to the UK, developer Rare is creating a new IP called Everwild (in addition to their ongoing support for Sea of Thieves), but this project has undergone significant changes and is therefore not expected to be released. launch soon. Meanwhile, Microsoft’s Playground Games is making a new Fable game, but it doesn’t have a confirmed release date yet. All we’ve seen so far is a brief CG trailer and there’s no actual gameplay or concrete details. Playground is also likely making the next Forza Horizon game now, but we wouldn’t expect it until 2023 or 2024.
Then there’s Ninja Theory’s Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2, another high-profile Xbox game of its own that also doesn’t have a release date or release window. Some behind the scenes images have been released and yet they look stunning.
Another studio of its own, Wolfenstein developer Machine Games, is making an Indiana Jones game with Bethesda’s Todd Howard producing, but it’s not expected to release anytime soon.
Looking at third-party studios, Microsoft has a partnership with Just Cause’s Avalanche studio for its new game, Contraband, but that title doesn’t have a release date yet. Then there’s Ark: Survival Evolved 2 starring Vin Diesel, which is coming to Xbox as a console exclusive release, and this one is in the books for 2022.
In June 2021, Microsoft committed to releasing a new first-party Xbox game every three months. However, it is unknown if it was more of a soft ambition than a concrete commitment and, as always, any plan established one day can change the next for any reason. After all, Todd Howard said that he was sure that Starfield would be released in November 2022 and now it is not. So far in 2022, Microsoft hasn’t released a new game of its own.
Microsoft is expected to provide clarity on its upcoming release schedule during the Xbox and Bethesda Games Showcase on June 12. For its part, Bethesda said it’s putting together “deep-dive” gameplay showcases for Starfield and Redfall “soon,” but whether or not that will be in the showcase or sometime before (or after) remains to be seen. The Xbox and Bethesda showcase could also offer surprises, including potentially new releases for 2022 (like Halo Infinite’s rumored new mode), so Microsoft’s 2022 lineup as it looks now might not be telling the whole story.
As for the competition, there are a number of Switch exclusives this year, including Bayonetta 3, Mario Strikers: Battle League, Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, Splatoon 3, Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes, and Xenoblade Chronicles 3, among others. PlayStation, meanwhile, has God of War: Ragnarok available for 2022, as well as Forspoken, and potentially the rumored Last of Us remake for PS5.
Another factor at play here is Xbox Game Pass. The service currently boasts 25 million subscribers, creating an ongoing revenue stream for Xbox regardless of when Starfield and Redfall are released. The service isn’t expected to slow down in 2022, even without those games. Some speculate that Microsoft could strike new deals with third-party publishers to offset any potential impact from the Starfield and Redfall slippage, but that’s just conjecture for now.
That said, we’ve seen some big-name third-party games launch for Game Pass on day one, including Outriders, MLB The Show 22 and 21, and more. So it’s not inconceivable to think that Microsoft could try to target some of the 2022 releases to fill in the Game Pass gaps left by Redfall and Starfield.
In any case, Microsoft plans to grow Game Pass with a streaming device option and working with TV manufacturers to put an Xbox app directly on connected TVs. According to a VentureBeat story, Microsoft could launch these deals as soon as next year, and those moves could be a big deal to help grow Xbox Game Pass and further increase the subscriber base.