We've put together a list of the most important reveals and announcements from Microsoft's Xbox Showcase during Gamescom this year.
Microsoft debuted some major news during its live stream earlier today, Tuesday, Aug. 24. The company took center stage at 1 p.m. ET to show off its latest projects and features coming to Xbox fans. Those who weren't able to tune in during the hour-and-a-half broadcast don't need to worry—we've taken the liberty of breaking down every important announcement made throughout the show.
Biggest Takeaways From Xbox Gamescom 2021 Showcase
1. Xbox Game Pass Additions
Humble Games is leading the indie charge for Xbox Game Pass. The studio has added 10 new games, alone, including Archvale, Chinatown Detective Agency, Flynn: Son of Crimson, Signalis, and Unpacking.
2. xCloud Coming to Xbox One/Series S|X
Next-generation Xbox console players will soon be able to take advantage of Microsoft's xCloud system. xCloud is essentially Microsoft's take on a cloud gaming server—allowing Xbox Game Pass Ultimate customers to access "100+ games" from their device without the need to install them. This gives titles an even wider audience and players a wider variety of things to play—solo or with friends.
3. Forza Horizon 5 Car and Controller Reveal
Forza Horizon 5 has an impressive line-up of vehicles for players to experience once the game launches on Nov. 9. Of them, the developers showcased the game's "cover cars:" Mercedes-AMG ONE and the 2021 Ford Bronco Badlands. They also debuted the very first clip of pure, unedited gameplay footage, clocking in at around eight minutes.
Dedicated fans can purchase the official Forza Horizon 5 wireless controller. It features a translucent yellow casing splattered with bits of bright pink and soft blue. According to Playground Games, the design is meant to mimic the powder fireworks players can see in the sky in-game.
4. Flight Simulator Gets Racing Multiplayer, Graphics Updates
In celebration of World Update IV and its partnership with the Reno Air Racing Association (RARA), Microsoft is adding its own digital version STIHL National Championship Air Races. World Update IV, itself, is set to add improved aerial graphics and visuals such as 3D cities and more realistic elevation throughout Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Fans will also be able to get behind the controls of Junkers JU-52.
The update releases on Sept. 7.
5. New Titles Coming to Xbox
Crusader Kings III is coming to Xbox "later this year." According to Microsoft, the game is set to feature more decisions on how players can rule their nation. They can take an active part in shaping their digital world and create their dynasty "with an adaptation specifically modified for the strengths of the next-gen console environment."
Stray Blade—a game centered on "hyper-responsive combat scenarios," exploration of ancient ruins, and the battle for freedom in the world of Arcea—will release in 2022. The game supposedly aims to blend elements of Metroidvania with a combat system akin to that of Dark Souls.
The Gunk, a sci-fi exploration game, will release in December of this year.
6. Important Updates and DLCs
Age of Empires IV is set to have a feature known as "Hands on History"—with the sole purpose of providing information and video lessons on historic methods of warfare. As players progress, they'll be able to unlock a collection of 28 videos detailing how different cultures fought their battles.
Dying Light 2 developer, Techland, gave an insider look into how combat and parkour will be implemented in-game. Players will be able to take advantage of a "rich" weapon modification system and exploration tools such as the grappling hook and paraglider.
Wasteland 3 Colorado Collection combines the base game with The Battle of Steeltown and Cult of the Holy Detonation expansions, alongside the Colorado Survival Gear bonus items under one $59.99 purchase. Those who just want the Cult DLC can purchase it separately for $6.99—with an additional 10% discount for Xbox Game Pass holders.
State of Decay 2 is set to receive an update in the form of a return to Trumbull Valley. Franchise fans will remember this map as the place where the game took off. With this update, they'll be able to catch up on the recent developments in the area, meet new characters, and unlock new weapons and cosmetics.
7. Honorable Mentions
Sea of Thieves fans have a new ship cosmetic set to purchase—the "Mayhem." The design stems from a collaboration with Gearbox Software. Players can earn each piece during the Making Mayhem event which is live now through Sept. 7.