Xbox unveils huge slate of games coming in the next year, including Starfield, High on Life

  • 13/06/2022
Gameplay from Starfield
It follows the release of Xbox Cloud Gaming in Aotearoa last week. Photo credit: Supplied / Microsoft

Xbox Gamers in New Zealand had a first chance on Monday (NZ time) to see the new titles they'll be getting access to over the next 12 months.

The Xbox and Bethesda showcase also gave Microsoft's Game Pass subscribers on PC and Xbox an update on the games that would be added to their libraries in the next year, including those made available on day of release.

Last week the US tech giant announced that Kiwis would be able to play Xbox games streamed directly to their Samsung smart TVs from the end of this month.

It also revealed Xbox Cloud Gaming, which allows games to be played on third-party devices by streaming directly from the internet, was finally available in Aotearoa after being available in some markets since 2019.

Games coming include Overwatch 2, Forza Motorsport, a range of Persona games, High on Life and the much anticipated Starfield.

Overwatch 2 will be available from October 4 this year and will be free to play, Activision Blizzard announced. The original game was a full-price release.

High on Life is a first-person shooter with "A-level comedy" courtesy of Squanch Games co-founder Justin Roilant, who co-created animated television favourite Rick and Morty.

Mike Fridley, the studio director of Squanch Games, said gamers will play as a bounty hunter on a mission to stop an alien invasion on Earth.

"These interstellar cartel creeps aren't just taking over our stuff - they're using humans as drugs. Let that sink in for a few seconds. As drugs! This is where that bounty-hunter part is important," he said.

"Yes, you can acquire an arsenal of sci-fi weapons. Here's the thing: The guns in High On Life are also sentient life forms from another planet.

High on Life screenshot
Photo credit: Supplied / Microsoft

"They have their own cute faces, and they can talk out of those cute faces. It's not just random talking, either. Your companions/guns have distinct personalities, and they'll share their thoughts about what's going on," he said.

One of the biggest reveals was gameplay footage from Bethesda's forthcoming Starfield, the game studios' first new universe in 25 years.

It's an Xbox and PC exclusive, which will be available to Game Pass subscribers on the day of launch.

Set in the year 2330, humanity has ventured beyond the solar system, settling new planets.

Starting as a space miner, players will join Constellation, a group of space explorers seeing rare artefacts through the galaxy.

The role-playing game will allow thousands of planets to be explored with an "unparalleled freedom", the company said.

Xbox's latest announcement is likely to help increase its lead in the market.

Sony has been attempting to catch-up, with its new subscription services PlayStation Plus Extra and Deluxe set to launch in New Zealand on June 23.

However, Kiwis won't get access to streaming games in the near future, leaving PlayStation fans well behind Xbox's legion of loyal subscribers.

PlayStation also said high-profile games wouldn't be made available on their day of launch to Plus subscribers. With Xbox doing the opposite, it seems likely that Microsoft's lead in the market will continue.

Daniel Ahmad, a video game analyst, said the Xbox showcase was a "strong showing".

"Strategy of focusing on gameplay, games in the next 12 months and "day one on Game Pass" makes a compelling argument for people to subscribe to the service," he tweeted.

"Game Pass requires a regular cadence of new titles to keep players subscribed and draw in new subscribers.

"What's quite interesting to me is the experimentation around new experiences and perks for Game Pass subscribers," he continued, "building a service that goes far beyond console gamers."

That includes a new Xbox exclusive game from Hideo Kojima, creator of the popular Metal Gear Solid and Death Stranding games.

The games announced at the Xbox showcase
Photo credit: Supplied / Microsoft

"That's ultimately the long term goal for Xbox here and the combination of everything above will allow them to push Game Pass beyond the 50m Xbox console install base," Ahmad concluded.

Other announcements include the availability of UNSC Pelican, from the Halo games, will be available to fly in Microsoft Flight Simulator from today.

A 40th Anniversary Edition of the popular game was also announced, for release in November of this year.

Developed in partnership with Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, it will include classic aeroplanes, gliders, and helicopters and free for those who own Flight Simulator and Game Pass subscribers.