With the pandemic rewriting how society operates, everyone had to adjust how they live, work, and connect with other people. One of the major impacts was the cancellation of large-scale live in-person events — an industry that was growing exponentially due to the popularity of the experience economy. Businesses, from insurance marketing companies to consumer product start-ups, had to transition their planned activities online to heed the call for social distancing and lessening risks for infection.
The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), an annual institutional video gaming event, was also not exempted from being called off. Suddenly, many game developers, hardware manufacturers, and indie creators were left to their own devices on how to showcase their products to investors and the public. Digital showcases became an alternative to E3, with Ubisoft, a French video game company famous for the Assassin’s Creed series, leading the way with their livestream held last July 12.
Other companies followed, with the latest being Microsoft’s Xbox, to reveal exclusive titles for their next-generation console, the Xbox Series X. Xbox delivered its promise of showing straight gameplay of anticipated games instead of filling the one-hour event with talking heads and speakathons. Here are some new titles gamers can expect from Xbox:
Considered as one of Microsoft’s successful franchises, the Halo series will continue the story of the protagonist Master Chief to save humanity in Halo Infinite. While the game’s announcement trailer was teased last 2018, Microsoft exhibited the first look of the gameplay, which featured new mechanics, challenging battles, and gorgeous visual effects. According to the company, the game will run at 60 frames per second to utilize the full processing power of the Xbox Series X. The demo also reintroduced the Banished, an enemy mercenary group, who first appeared in Halo Wars 2.
The creators of the award-winning post-apocalyptic SteamWorld series comes out with a new concept called The Gunk. Players will learn the story of two friends running a scavenging business in search of resources they can gather and sell in the market. On one of their adventures, they discover a slimy parasite called gunk, which is slowly corrupting the once-thriving wildlife. Both friends are torn with their find because they know they have to fight the gunk to save the planet, but they also don’t have the time and funds to embark on a rescue. Difficult enemies and brain-twisting puzzles await gamers who are interested in immersing themselves in The Gunk.
The game’s full title (Scavengers, Trespassers, Adventurers, Loners, Killers, Explorers and Robbers) might be on the nose. But it doesn’t stop the S.T.A.L.K.E.R franchise from selling over 4 million copies. Loosely based on a novel by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky called Roadside Picnic, the games center on an alternative version of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone filled with mutated creatures and individuals. Players, in the role of bounty hunters, roam the Zone to hunt for treasures and solve mysteries. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 differentiates from its previous installments because of its immersive nature, with players experiencing unique playthroughs.
As the future of live in-person events continues to be up in the air, gamers can expect more publishers and creators to come up with their own digital showcases. In the meantime, they can appreciate the latest offerings of Microsoft’s Xbox.