Hello everyone, and welcome to another Xbox and PC recap. For the month of September, we had a fair bit of news across the world of gaming, with Ubisoft announcing multiple Assassin’s Creed titles to establish a roadmap for the future. Microsoft is continuing to work on acquiring Activision Blizzard, and huge chunks of extremely early work on the next Grand Theft Auto game leaked.
There’s a lot to dive into here, so if you missed any big chunks of news across the last month, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
Assassin’s Creed series blowout for the future
At a special Ubisoft Forward event, the publisher shared its plans for the future of the Assassin’s Creed franchise, stretching well beyond the next game. In addition to a mobile game being developed with Netflix and a AAA mobile game called Assassin’s Creed Codename Jade, there are three mainline Assassin’s Creed titles console and PC players can look forward to.
Assassin’s Creed Mirage, which is slated to launch in 2023, is a smaller game that eschews RPG elements for traditional stealth. After that, there’s Assassin’s Creed Codename Red, the next mainline RPG in the franchise which is being developed by Ubisoft Quebec. Finally, Ubisoft Montreal is working on Assassin’s Creed Codename Hexe, a game which tackles the witch trials of the 16th century Holy Roman Empire. Both of these games are a part of Assassin’s Creed Infinity, which Ubisoft is building as a platform for the future.
I am very, very tentatively excited for what this means. Mirage seems like a throwback in all the right ways — an Assassin’s Creed I can finish in under 40 hours sounds perfect — while Codename Red will appeal to everyone that has been begging for a game set in Japan since forever. Personally though, the one that has most of my attention is the one that’s several years out, Codename Hexe. The idea of setting a game during the witch trials while also making it something new for the franchise is extremely appealing.
Microsoft and Sony continue to clash over Activision Blizzard
Microsoft is working to acquire Activision Blizzard, and as part of that, the company has offered Sony a deal for three more years of Call of Duty beyond the existing agreements. That’s according to Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan, who deemed the offer “inadequate,” adding that PlayStation gamers deserve the “highest quality” experience with the franchise. All of this comes as the deal is undergoing regulatory scrutiny, including with the European Commission.
I completely understand that Jim Ryan, like Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer, has to play the cards he’s dealt. Part of that is saying whatever he can in order to get the best terms possible. Still, it’s certainly odd that PlayStation is choosing this as the route to attack the deal. I’m not a lawyer, but I don’t see hammering home “they could take it away” as the best position for a company to take when its entire brand image is built around exclusivity. I do appreciate corporate drama though, it’s my weakness.
This month also saw one of the worst leaks in gaming history. Rockstar Games was hacked, resulting in 90 videos showing pre-alpha animations and gameplay from GTA 6 being leaked onto the internet. The leaked footage, despite the early state, showed detailed animations and confirmed the presence of a Latina protagonist, which had previously been reported.
Rockstar Games eventually responded, noting that the leak would not affect the development of the game, while noting that the team was disappointed to have early details leaked in such a way.
I’m personally against leaking games without good reason, and that goes triple for details like this. It’s been nice to see developers and others coming to the support of Rockstar Games for this, but I can’t imagine what it’s like to have years of hard work shared in such an early, non-final state like that against your will.
Microsoft introduces a “Core” Elite controller, Design Lab support coming this holiday
If you’ve found yourself wanting a new Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2, but simply don’t want to pay quite that much, then you’ve got some new options to consider. Microsoft has introduced the new Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 – Core in White model, which is themed after an Xbox Series S and available at $130.
It doesn’t come with any of the extra thumbsticks or accessories, which are also now available for purchase separately. On top of this, Microsoft also shared that Xbox Elite controllers will be getting Xbox Design Lab support sometime this holiday, allowing players to customize the colors to make something unique.
While I’m already set on controllers personally, this are great options that make sense for catering to everyone’s needs, especially with how popular the Series 2 controllers are.
Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 – Core in White
A new low price
If you want to pay less for Microsoft’s premium Xbox controller offering, you can do so with the new “Core” option. You can always buy the accessories at a later time.
Cyberpunk 2077 sees a resurgence
Cyberpunk 2077 is marking something of a comeback over the last few weeks. The launch of Cyberpunk: Edgerunners, an anime by Studio Trigger that’s available on Netflix, has seen interest rise in the game, which received Xbox Series X|S and PS5 support earlier in the year. Cyberpunk 2077 has recently reached 20 million copies sold, with over 1 million players per day on PC.
To coincide with this, CD Projekt RED shared the news that an expansion called Phantom Liberty is currently in development, and is slated to launch exclusively on current-generation hardware at some point in 2023.
While I’m very happy to see the developers’ hard work in improving the game rewarded, my happiness is somewhat tinted by caution. I think we need to be very careful about forgetting the actual state of the game at launch and how bad it was. I’m looking forward to Phantom Liberty as well as the next Witcher game, but CD Projekt RED can’t pretend these issues were minor, or were never here at all.
Two new Marvel games are on the way
Not one but two new Marvel games were revealed this month. First up, we learned that Amy Hennig and Skydance New Media’s new Marvel game is set during World War 2, and stars Captain America and Black Panther.
The second game to be revealed is a new Iron Man game being developed by Motive Studio, the same team under Electronic Arts that’s also handling the Dead Space remake. While we don’t know much right now, the team is building a single-player title, and is being led by one of the members of the team that worked on Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy.
Obviously, it’s going to be a while until we learn more, but this is potentially great news. I’m more interested in the Iron Man game right now, especially if the team at Motive can somehow leverage the flying tech that BioWare worked on for Anthem (rest in peace).
Deathloop makes its way to Xbox and Xbox Game Pass
During the last month, Deathloop was announced for and released on Xbox consoles, while also being added to Xbox Game Pass. This immersive sim with roguelike elements from Arkane Lyon was critically acclaimed when it first launched as a timed PS5 console exclusive back in September 2021, and is now available across Xbox consoles with a suite of updates, including the new “Goldenloop” update that adds a new laser weapon, an expanded ending, a new enemy, and more.
I absolutely loved this game when it first launched, and I even reviewed the PS5 version of Deathloop, saying at the time that it was a “…well-crafted, intelligent murder puzzle worth solving, regardless of your experience with immersive sims or roguelikes.”
That’s only more true now with the updated version available on Xbox, so I hope to see more people jump in and try it out.
Stadia is shutting down entirely
A year and a half after Google first shut down its first-party wing of game development, Stadia Games and Entertainment, Google shared the news that Stadia services are entirely ceasing, with a planned shutdown date of Jan. 18, 2023. Google is taking the step of refunding all game purchases, as well as any hardware purchased through the Google store.
While it can be disappointing to see this happen, the reality is that it’s just not surprising. The moment Google killed its internal game development, it was doomed to fail. That’s not to say it absolutely would’ve found success even with exclusive games, but you have to actually ship some first-party titles in order for people to consider your platform! Instead, in typical Google faction, the company killed it off after realizing the kinds of resources it would take to actually invest in an ecosystem.
World of Warcraft: Dragonflight gets a release date
If you’re looking forward to World of Warcraft: Dragonflight, the next big expansion for Blizzard Entertainment’s long-running MMORPG, you’re in luck! World of Warcraft: Dragonflight now has a release date of Nov. 28, 2022, meaning it’ll launch just before the holidays.
While I’m not a massive World of Warcraft fan (that honor has to go to our editor Jez Corden) I’m very curious about how well this launch will be received and if it’ll address some of the criticisms the community has had over the last couple of years.
October bears down on us
With September in the rearview, the drought in high-profile releases is officially over. Several big games are launching in October, and I’m struggling to find how I’m going to play them all. In particular, I’m looking forward to A Plague Tale: Requiem, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and over on my Nintendo Switch, Bayonetta 3. If you missed out on last month’s roundup, be sure to check out the Xbox and PC recap for August 2022.
Outside of games, I’m really enjoying both House of the Dragon and Rings of Power right now. By all accounts, it seems like I need to somehow fit Cyberpunk: Edgerunners in as well. Until next time,
— Samuel Tolbert