Player 2 Versus – The Xbox & Bethesda Developer_Direct January 2023​

Player 2 Versus - The Xbox & Bethesda Developer_Direct January 2023

It is finally time for Xbox to hit us with some information about some long-awaited titles. They had a lean year so 2023 really needs to be put up or shut up time for the big black box under your tele. The first chance for Microsoft to do that is their very first Developer Direct, a new format for sharing information for the teams at Xbox. Find out what Matt and Paul thought of this show and how it sets up what will hopefully be a good year for Xbox. 

Minecraft Legends

Matt: If I am honest, Minecraft isn’t my thing. That being said this looks to take Minecraft in a direction that may very well be my thing. A strategy take on the blocky world could just be the thing to get me interested. Balance is super important in an RTS experience like this and my biggest worry is that after watching the video I feel like the balance could well be in the favour of the defending team, but it will be impossible to say for sure until the game is released on April 18. Either way, I know my Minecraft-loving son is going to have an absolute blast with this and that is what’s important right? 

Paul: Yeah I’ve been a pretty vocal anti-Minecraft person for years, and you can probably blame my being a teacher for that so I doubt that Legends will be on my radar come release, but honestly this strategic take holds some level of appeal, albeit light. It’s not my favourite genre, but there’s some temptation there that if they can nail the balancing act then I could jump in and take it for a spin 

Forza Motorsport

Matt: Sim racing is not for everyone, but the is no doubt this is looking to be one technically impressive game. As someone who plays both GT and Forza, I feel like Forza has had the edge, especially on the tech side of things for a while now and after seeing this trailer I feel like that trend is likely to continue. 4K 60FPS with ray tracing on the console is an impressive claim and if it holds up it is going to be wonderful. As long as they can avoid the nasty micro-transaction stuff that GT dabbled in I am pretty confident it is going to be a great game for racing fans. No release date for the game was disappointing but Xbox is still saying before June, so fingers crossed it doesn’t get another bump

Paul: You say sim racing isn’t for everyone, and I’m a part of that crowd – the genre is just something I don’t jive with. Every time I see a sim racer I see the tried and true PR spin activate, talking about the game’s visuals and the fact that it’s X times more realistic than the games that came before, and Turn 10 maintained the rage here. I’m hoping that, for the sake of the franchise and as a potential trendsetter for the genre, this new Motorsport becomes a platform so that we don’t see a new entry every 2-3 years and fans can continue to be fed well for a long, long time. 

Hi-Fi Rush

Matt: What a surprise. There were rumours of a Tango announcement but I didn’t expect the team behind The Evil Within and Ghostwire Tokyo to bring us an upbeat rhythm action title that has more colour than all of their previous games combined. It looks like an absolutely rollicking good time and the biggest surprise? It is out TODAY. The old stealth launch still has an impact right? Keen to jump in and give it a go. 

Paul: I’d heard about this one, with some leaks emerging in the last week, and it all sounded really promising. What hi-fi rush has proven to be though, is far better than what I had envisaged being off the back of those leaks. There’s a really great energy in the trailer, but also seemingly through Tango Gameworks which was awesome to see considering that The Evil Within games haven’t hit extraordinary heights and Ghostwire Tokyo wasn’t fantastic either. The stealth launch of the game is awesome though, and I cannot wait to check it out later today.

The Elder Scrolls Online: Necrom

Matt: ESO is probably my greatest regret in gaming. I really, really love it. It is my perfect MMO in that it allows me to play solo but easily join in some group fun without the need to commit to a guild. My regret is I just don’t have the time to dedicate to it like I want to. There is just so much to explore and do and that doesn’t sit well with the life of a games reviewer. I will absolutely get Necrom and absolutely tell myself I am going to put some serious time into it and then absolutely not have the time to do so. But seriously folks, if you liked adventuring in any way, don’t be put off by the MMO bit, ESO is a great game for single players too. Give it a try. 

Paul: Every time ESO appears I’m that little bit more tempted. I have all that I need, except time, and that’s the killer for me, especially as the game continues to grow. What Zenimax Online is doing with ESO is extraordinary, and this Necrom expansion looks genuinely fantastic, so if all developers and publishers could do me a massive favour and just not release any games for a while, then that would be great – then I can finally dive right in.

One day…

Redfall

Matt: I just knew this wasn’t going to be some simple L4D clone. Arkane just doesn’t fly like that. I think they took too long to get the message across but now they have, it is easy to see that Redfall shares a lot of common DNA with Dishonored, which is 100% a-ok by me. This very much looks like my jam and being able to play solo or with a team is just perfect. Very excited to be able to play this with the P2 team and maybe relive some of my favourite memories of playing multiplayer Borderlands 2 all those years ago. 

Paul: Redfall has been gradually growing on me bit by bit since its reveal. At first, I was hesitant, simply because I’m not the online multiplayer guy for the most part, but with each showing, and the fact that it leans more into the Borderlands type of co-op as opposed to the Left 4 Dead/ Back 4 Blood style means that the game has an even greater chance of both getting, and retaining, my interest. Glad to see the release date too, it cannot come soon enough.

The Show

Matt: I liked the format and I think this is something that Xbox needs to do more of. I think that with all the new studios the timing of COVID hit Xbox harder than any other publisher, but that excuse can’t hold for much longer. This show was a good step to moving forward for the brand and hopefully showing that there are games coming and coming soon. I think that perhaps a less produced version of the show, featuring honest chats with the developers would be more appealing for me, but otherwise, it is a smart format and I think Xbox should probably do one of these per quarter, it could really help to build back some of that goodwill that got sapped last year. 

Paul: The format worked really well and it was a nice step in the right direction for Xbox. The “All killer, no filler” model is something I can really get around. We don’t need the fluff, we don’t need couches and talk of trebuchets, we just need gameplay, and to hear from the people making the game, discussing what their design intentions are – and this show delivered that in spades. I’d like to see it tightened up further in the future, perhaps having only one or two deeper dives, which then opens up room for 3rd party or indie reveals, similar to a Nintendo Direct of a State Of Play, but they had to show their exclusives off today, just to shut us clowns up if nothing else, so with that done, I’d love to see them apply those suggested ideas into the future. A fantastic start… now, where’s that Starfield showcase at?

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