It may not be all that long until we see the first fruits of Microsoft's deal to buy up Bethesda. Earlier today, the rather meme-happy Xbox Game Pass account on Twitter posted a gag that appears to be hinting at an imminent addition to the service, and upon close inspection, it seems like something from the Doom series may be joining the Game Pass catalog soon.
With tongue planted firmly in cheek, the Game Pass account posted a fake internal email from a "Melissa McGamepass" imploring the social media team not to hint at any forthcoming announcements. People on Twitter figured out that the first letter of each sentence in the email spell out "look below," and sure enough, that hints at a secret message hidden in the image. Just above the email signature, there's a blank space with an off-white phrase that only appears if you adjust the contrast: "the slayer is coming."
In light of Monday's $7.5 billion ZeniMax acquisition, which puts Doom and all other Bethesda-owned franchises in Microsoft's hands, it seems likely that this is a reference to "the Doom Slayer" a.k.a. Doomguy, the series' player character. This year's Doom Eternal would certainly be a big, attention-grabbing addition to the Game Pass lineup, but I could also see the addition of 2016's Doom or even some of the classic Doom games instead. Or, perhaps, Game Pass could get an entire Doom collection all at once.
News Editor Eric Van Allen also suggests another, perhaps more groan-worthy interpretation of the hint. Maybe the "slayer" being referenced is actually a "dragon slayer," pointing to the addition of Skyrim. I think even for the folks who'd be equally excited for either that or a Doom title on Game Pass, though, the fake-out would be a bit too much.
At any rate, we still don't know what the plans for bringing older Bethesda games that aren't already on Game Pass to the service are just yet. Head of Xbox Phil Spencer has confirmed that future Bethesda titles like Starfield will launch on Game Pass, same as every other Microsoft first-party release. Arkane's Deathloop and Tango Gameworks' Ghostwire: Tokyo are two exceptions since both have PlayStation 5 exclusivity arrangements already in place.