E3 2021: Microsoft shows off Halo Infinite, Starfield and Forza Horizon 5
media captionWatch the BBC’s Marc Cieslak talks to Xbox chief Phil Spencer about what’s in retailer

A Christmas launch date for Halo: Infinite was amongst dozens of bulletins at Microsoft’s E3 present.

It was scheduled for launch final yr alongside the brand new Xbox, however was delayed as a result of pandemic and amid outcry from gamers over its graphics.

A brand new Forza racing recreation and the Xbox launch of Flight Simulator have been additionally among the many 30 titles revealed.

It was the primary E3 since Microsoft acquired Bethesda final yr for $7.5bn (£5.3bn).

Unlike different builders’ conferences, the 90-minute Microsoft present was practically solely back-to-back recreation trailers and bulletins, with few speeches in-between.

Bethesda boss Todd Howard began the occasion with information of a November 2022 launch date for the agency’s first new sequence in 25 years, Starfield.

The space-faring recreation was proven solely with some in-game footage of a ship taking off from the floor of one other world – revealing no new particulars about what its gameplay can be like.

Halo Christmas launch

Halo: Infinite was formally delayed as a result of pandemic.

But a preview launched in July 2020 was broadly criticised by followers of the sport as trying unpolished, with enemy character fashions labelled as crude and harking back to older video games, relatively than a next-gen title. The builders pledged to work onerous on bettering them.

Sunday’s video confirmed off the sequence hero Master Chief assembly a brand new AI character, as the 2 mentioned a thriller across the destiny of Cortana, the sport’s different long-running protagonist.

But it notably didn’t embody the alien enemy fashions which induced a lot controversy final yr.

picture copyrightMicrosoft

picture captionThe Master Chief will return to players’ screens later this yr

Microsoft did, nevertheless, present off the sport’s multiplayer mode for the primary time – the primary attraction for a lot of gamers.

Sticking to plans to make the multiplayer a part of the sport a free-to-play package deal, not requiring a purchase order of the primary product, Microsoft stated it could launch it alongside the sport for the Christmas purchasing season.

The firm’s flagship racing title, Forza Horizon 5, set in Mexico, was additionally revealed for the primary time with a 9 November launch date.

picture copyrightMicrosoft

picture captionDevelopers stated that a few of Mexico’s landmarks have been faithfully recreated for the brand new Forza

Developers stated elements of Mexico’s actual panorama had been faithfully recreated utilizing photogrammetry knowledge – the identical sort of 3D method utilized by Microsoft’s Flight Simulator to map life like cities. But in Forza’s case, it was used for geographic options such because the caldera of a volcano.

A brand new recreation mode would enable gamers to create their very own challenges – corresponding to a “bowling alley” map the place gamers drove by way of bowling pins and over ramps.

Flight Sim will get Top Gun

Another impending launch was the arrival of Flight Simulator for Xbox consoles on 27 July.

The recreation was first launched in August 2020 on PCs, and is infamous for pushing even high-end gaming computer systems to their limits.

picture copyrightMicrosoft

picture captionAlongside an Xbox launch, Flight Simulator will get Top Gun themes fighter jets

A brand new growth was additionally proven off, tied to the Top Gun movie sequence – which is able to deliver official assist for fighter-jet model planes for the primary time. Previously, such planes have solely been accessible by way of participant mods or paid add-ons.

Microsoft’s shock pandemic hit, the pirate-themed Sea of Thieves, can also be getting an growth that includes Pirates of the Caribbean characters – together with Captain Jack Sparrow.

picture copyrightMicrosoft

picture captionA tie-in with Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean was one of many many recreation expansions revealed

Other titles introduced included:

  • Stalker 2: Heart of Chernobyl, a next-gen sequel to the 2007 unique
  • The first gameplay footage of Battlefield 2042, introduced with a cinematic trailer just a few days earlier than
  • Psychonauts 2, a much-anticipated sequel to Double Fine’s beloved platformer, releasing 25 August
  • The Outer Worlds 2, a follow-up to the 2019 unique
  • Redfall, a brand new shooter from Dishonored developer Arkane, that includes a vampire-hunting group of magically-enhanced gun-wielding characters

Of the 30 titles unveiled, 27 are included in Xbox’s subscription service, Game Pass.

‘Constant movement’

Piers Harding-Rolls, video games analyst at Ampere, stated that Microsoft’s technique was to develop the service to tens of hundreds of thousands of customers by accepting a broad vary of recent video games from third get together builders.

“It needs to have a constant flow of fresh and appealing content in the pipeline,” he stated.

“Certain types of new games are particularly suited to Game Pass – generally those that benefit more from a ready-made audience compared to just competing with other premium releases in the store.”

Notably absent from Microsoft’s present was any point out from Bethesda of the Elder Scrolls 6, the sequel to Skyrim introduced at E3 2018.

And in a nod to gamer jokes concerning the Xbox Series X’s boxy upright aesthetic, the agency closed the present with the reveal of an Xbox-shaped mini-fridge which it stated it could promote close to the top of the yr.

Square Enix adopted Microsoft, revealing its new Guardians of the Galaxy title which might be a single-player journey recreation, and an growth for The Avengers which is able to deal with the Black Panther character.

Monday’s conferences embody Resident Evil maker Capcom.

But Microsoft’s prolonged showcase is arguably the largest of the weekend – till Nintendo’s 40-minute presentation on Tuesday.

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