After a long period of build-up, today's the day that Microsoft takes the stage for another games showcase. Today's Xbox stream is all about both upcoming games for the next-gen Series X and what some various Xbox Game Studios have been up to lately.
The show kicks off at 9 a.m. PT / 12 p.m. ET, and for more regional equivalents, Xbox has posted a handy tweet detailing the various time zone differences. It's expected to run for about an hour, so settle in; this won't be a miniature stream.
There are various streams and re-streams that will be available, including Microsoft's official Xbox Twitch and YouTube. Below we've embedded Geoff Keighley's Summer Game Fest stream, as the Game Awards host says his stream will go live with a pre-show that will have "lots of game content/premieres too."
While similar to the Inside Xbox showcase held back in May, this forthcoming Xbox showcase is notable for a few reasons, greatest of all being Halo Infinite's presence. Microsoft has been hyping up the Halo reveal, and alongside the big green guy himself, Xbox is due to unveil more about its first-party lineup.
Will We See Lockhart?
Rumors have swirled about a second model to run alongside the Xbox Series X, codenamed Lockhart, for some time. While the supposedly discless alternative to the Series X is still believed to be real, Xbox has already said to not expect it during today's showcase. Aaron Greenberg already confirmed no hardware news on Twitter earlier this month.
"Seen some wild expectations so if helpful this show has one focus, games," Greenberg wrote. "No business, devices or similar news, just games. A whole show about hour long focused on games. Hope you enjoy it!"
As for when Lockhart will surface? Expectations of a second model certainly haven't diminished, and reports indicate we'll be seeing the new model in August. Plenty of time to give the shiny second offering its own stage and spotlight.
Halo, Is It Me You're Looking For?
Halo Infinite is the presumptive centerpiece of the showcase. It's been a while since it last appeared during an Xbox stream, especially without an E3 stage to debut it on.
343 Industries says we'll be getting a look at the single-player campaign, diving headfirst into where the Halo narrative is taking Master Chief this time. Odds are, there's another ring involved. But for those holding out hopes for multiplayer news, it sounds like that won't be the focus this time around. There's still plenty of time between now and its launch alongside the Xbox Series X though, so give it time.
Game Studios on Parade
Microsoft spent the better part of the last generation building up a legion of studios under its Xbox Game Studios banner. Development houses like Ninja Theory and Compulsion Games, new studios like The Initiative, and even Double Fine.
What's all that mean? It's safe to expect some games. Xbox head Phil Spencer has promised the "most diverse" collection of first-party games for this showcase, and given the number of developers working under Xbox Games Studios right now, it's worth taking note of that. We already know about a few projects in developments, like Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2, but expect some heavy-hitters to surface. Xbox has studios like Rare and Obsidian in its corner, and those can deliver some big punches.
Perhaps most front-of-mind are the rumors of big-name revivals that could happen at this show. A few different franchises, mostly Rare-related ones, have been brought up in various social media circles for a while now.
Can we expect a Perfect Dark, Banjo-Kazooie, or Fable? The latter seems the most likely, as evidence of Fable's return has circled around a few times. It's certainly been some time since the quiet shutdown of Fable Legends, so maybe the new generation is rife with opportunity for the RPG series.
As for others, those lose a little steam headed into this particular showcase. Microsoft has already apologized for getting fans' hopes up with errant Twitter accounts around Perfect Dark and Fable. It's been a while since Joanna Dark picked up the pistols last, but it would be a genuine surprise to see her during the July showcase. As for Banjo and his bird pal? You know what, dream big and don't let anyone stop you.
No matter what, this July showcase is expected to be a big one for Microsoft. Its May showcase left off on a sour note for Xbox Series X, and it seems like Microsoft is trying to right the ship here. Be sure to check in with USgamer during the show for all the news hits and info, and afterwards for our reactions. Happy Xboxing!