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What We Want To See At The Xbox/Bethesda Not-E3 Showcase

The Xbox E3 press conferences have always been some of the most exciting of the entire year, as they’re filled with a mix of first- and third-party games coming to Xbox, PC, and the cloud. With Microsoft now owning Bethesda, they’ve gotten even bigger, and 2022’s Xbox and Bethesda Not-E3 Showcase should feature news and announcements on a bunch of major franchises. Starfield is in development, The Coalition is working on multiple projects, and Halo Infinite continues receiving content updates nearly a year after launch. But what do we really want to see?

Here’s what the GameSpot staff hopes to see at the Xbox and Bethesda press conference, including hardware news and updated looks at some of the previously announced games across their internal studios. And for more on Not-E3, check out our full press conference schedule.

Demonstrate that Perfect Dark is worth getting excited for

The upcoming Perfect Dark is seemingly one of the highest-profile exclusives in Xbox’s arsenal, but it’s been a long time since it was a relevant franchise. While the original was one of my favorite games for many years, Perfect Dark Zero was an absolute mess–and that’s a game that was released nearly 17 years ago, which is to say, long enough ago that many Xbox fans (or prospective Game Pass subscribers) may have no familiarity with it whatsoever. And for those of us who do remember the series, it’s hard not to still have a sour taste from Zero.

While the new Perfect Dark may still be far away, the Xbox showcase can take the opportunity to outline some of the vision for what the franchise can be in the modern day. What we’ve seen and heard so far reveals effectively nothing, so this is a chance to set the stage and get people excited about what’s in the works–and to win over those like myself who remain hesitant to get their hopes up. — Chris Pereira

Halo Infinite story DLC

Halo Infinite is planned as the Halo game for the foreseeable future, possibly for as long as a decade. 343 Industries almost certainly won’t release numbered sequels with their own campaigns during this time, instead adding on to what it has already created in Infinite with additional campaign missions and story content. There is so much about Zeta Halo we still don’t know, with lots of teases suggesting a huge threat could lurk there that makes the Banished look like a bunch of toddlers.

Sure, multiplayer remains crucial to Halo’s success, but being able to release substantial new campaigns within the existing Infinite framework should cut down on total development time, and while the game’s lengthy post-launch roadmap still includes missing features like cooperative play and Forge mode, it would be nice to get a little taste of what Joseph Staten and the team have cooking for Master Chief. — Gabe Gurwin

Xbox Streaming Stick

Microsoft is thinking beyond the console. This has been true for some time already, and when the promised Xbox streaming stick arrives this year or next, it could really shake things up. I have often wanted to recommend Xbox games to friends and family, but asking them to spend at least $300 on a console is a big ask. With the Xbox streaming stick (and once the functionality is built directly into TVs as Microsoft has discussed), things will get much easier. Yes, it will still require a controller and smooth and stable internet, but the streaming stick has the potential to make every TV in the world an Xbox device, and that’s an exciting proposition. — Eddie Makuch

A first look at Fable

It’s been two years since Microsoft issued a teaser for Fable, the reboot of its adventure RPG series from Playground Games. It’s now been in development for five years, and it’s high time we see something more than a silly gag about a frog eating a fairy. With Microsoft’s 2022 lineup suddenly looking extremely sparse, Fable might be ready to step into the role of this year’s big fall release. Even if it’s not quite ready yet, though, seeing what Playground is doing with a game that falls completely outside its normal genre will be interesting. — Steve Watts

Tease the value of Game Pass for 2022

A big part of the appeal of Game Pass is guaranteed day-one access to anything Microsoft produces. And with a wide and growing range of internal development studios, it’s clear that the company wants the value of Game Pass to rely on a steady stream of first-party games. But this year is suddenly very empty for first-party games, which leaves Microsoft in a strange position for Game Pass. Its big summer press conference is its best opportunity to show off what we’re getting this year for our subscription, be it first-party games that are closer to complete than we realized, or just loads of third-party deals with big publishers and indies. Either way, Microsoft needs to show off the value of Game Pass to make it appealing for the rest of the year, especially as inflation has consumers tightening their belts and cutting unnecessary expenses. — Steve Watts

Microsoft’s revival of Activision’s greatest series: Guitar Hero

When I was in college, Guitar Hero was the greatest thing going. Developer Harmonix and publisher Red Octane launched what ended up being an incredible party experience that my friends and I couldn’t get enough of, and we definitely thought we looked awesome thrashing through songs like “Jordan” and “Through the Fire and Flames,” even though we absolutely were rapidly slamming buttons on giant Fisher-Price-looking guitar toys. Still, the game was extremely fun and had a huge impact on the gaming landscape at the time–Harmonix would expand the field it helped to launch in the US with the much more complete (but, to me, never quite as tight) plastic toy video game band experience with Rock Band. For its part, after Activision acquired Red Octane, it went wild in pumping out game after Guitar Hero game, blasting the market with something like 12 console titles in five years.

Ultimately, yeah, there was too much Guitar Hero for a few years there, and you could argue Activision took a successful franchise and buried it through oversaturation. It tried to revive the franchise in 2015 with the excellent, FMV-filled Guitar Hero Live, but the game never quite took off–probably because it was a pain to acquire new songs thanks to a stupid microtransaction-slash-subscription model.

Now that Microsoft is taking charge, though, it’s time to bring back Guitar Hero in a form that’s better than ever. The fundamentals of Guitar Hero Live are great; gigs are presented from a first-person view with real footage of the rest of your band, and as you fail at songs, they get progressively more angry with you, turning every “I forgot to attend this class for a semester and the final is right now” dream you’ve ever had into a hilarious video game experience. The “live” part was also cool, giving you a stream of songs like you were playing along with the radio. I’d love to see Microsoft combine the good ideas of Guitar Hero Live with Game Pass to create a hybrid live-game approach, where a subscription or piecemeal sales could make sense without feeling like a nickel-and-dime slog to play songs I like. Please, Phil Spencer, give me more Guitar Hero. — Phil Hornshaw

A deep dive on Redfall

I’ll admit, I’m excited for Redfall despite having very little idea of what it is. The reason for that is simple: It comes from Arkane Studios, one of the few names that can get me invested in a game purely because its company logo is on the box. Still, it would be nice to find out what this game is, as we seem to be less than a year away from its launch and have only been given a cinematic trailer so far. My expectation is something like a AAA version of The Blackout Club, a first-person co-op horror immersive sim. This blend of genres worked well in that under-the-radar example, and I suspect the Arkane touch will allow a similar concept to really explode into something beautiful. — Mark Delaney

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