Yesterday, Bethesda announced it was postponing its two biggest games for 2022, Redfall and Starfield, to 2023. Delays are certainly the norm for big games these days, but Starfield had promised a hyper-specific date that Bethesda was most confident in (11.11.22) . ) but more importantly now, they are a Microsoft studio. And these are Xbox exclusives that aren’t coming this year.
Now that both games have been delayed to 2023, the current landscape of Xbox exclusive games certainly reminds me of what we saw during the Xbox One era. No, not in terms of hardware like the Kinect, and certainly the Series X/S launched with better technology and Xbox Game Pass is doing great.
But in terms of first party releases? What did Xbox struggle with compared to PlayStation for the entire generation? Yeah, that part feels a little familiar.
Let’s go in reverse here, shall we?
In 2022, the delay of Redfall and Starfield means that Xbox won’t actually have any major exclusive releases this entire year. Not to say there aren’t good games like Tunic, and maybe we’ll see something like Scorn come out before the end of the year, but these aren’t on the same scale. And even if Sony postpones God of War Ragnarok to 2023 (which seems inevitable at this point), PlayStation has at least still released the excellent Horizon Forbidden West this year.
In 2021, this was the time when, yes, Xbox managed to release some of its most notable games. As always, Forza Horizon 5 was excellent, although you’ll remember that series was also the pinnacle of the Xbox One era. Halo Infinite launched after a year-long delay to relatively solid reviews, but things have since unraveled with the game’s transition to a live multiplayer title, delivering six months of seasons and an eternally cumbersome progression system. Players are constantly unhappy and 343 often apologize for this or that thing they did wrong. Sony meanwhile had a lot of hits, Ratchet and Clank, Returnal and Deathloop, just to name a few.
And way back in 2020, Xbox essentially handed over the entire launch window to PlayStation because it delayed Halo Infinite, which was no longer released with the Series X/S. Sony meanwhile had Demon’s Souls and Miles Morales for the PS5.
Today we are in a really bizarre situation where PlayStation has published more Bethesda games than Xbox (with Deathloop) in its first two years. Even the ever-positive Phil Spencer sounded a little annoyed when he commented on the double-delay announcement:
In short, while the hardware and services may be better, Xbox is in the exact same position when it comes to first party releases that it was in the early Xbox One era, and Microsoft isn’t delivering on its hit first promise. party games released every three months. While yes, we have many, many potentially big hits along the way, between delays and vague timelines and questionable production reports, it’s a mystery when most of them will arrive and what condition they’ll be in. Hopefully the second half of this generation will come with some fantastic Xbox mega-hits, but two years later we’ve barely realized any of that potential, despite Microsoft saying they wanted to make it the focus of this generation.
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