Last week, Geoff Keighley held the fifth annual Game Awards where games and developers were honored. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice won the "Game of the Year" award (and "Best Action/Adventure Game"), Luigi's Mansion 3 won "Best Family Game" (the co-op is good), and Destiny 2 won "Best Community Support." Amidst all that, there were also some big announcements, including the reveal of the next generation of Xbox.
First, here's a quick round-up of the co-op games that were announced during the show:
- Godfall - here's an interesting one; Gearbox is publishing this third-person "looter-slasher" title from Counterplay Games, who previously developed the free-to-play digital card game, Duelyst. Details are sparse, other than the fact that it will mash up third-person melee combat with some RPG progression mechanics, and it will also support three player, drop-in/drop-out co-op. It's not clear how those players will be supported (i.e., couch co-op, online co-op, combo), but after spending time with Darksiders: Genesis, I'm ready for some co-op hacking-and-slashing. Oh, also, it'll be on PC and PlayStation 5. Yup, that's the first game that's been officially announced for Sony's next console.
- Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance - speaking of Darksiders: Genesis, our own Mike Katsufrakis mentioned something about reviving the Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance games during our recent stream. Lo and behold, it's back! Again, details are sparse, but four player couch co-op and four player online co-op will be supported (don't know if that also means it'll be combo). Players will assume the role of the dark elf Drizzt Do'Urden and his companions the archer Cattie-Brie, dwarf Bruenor, and barbarian Wulfgar. The title is being published by Wizards of the Coast and developed by Tuque Games, who previously developed Livelock.
- Magic: Legends - Magic is moving beyond just collectible cards and stepping into the world of action-RPG MMOs. Cryptic, who has worked on a number of MMOs including Champions Online, Star Trek Online, and Neverwinter, is at the helm of this project, and it looks like it'll be part of Perfect World Entertainment's Arc Games platform. This one has a little more details around it, but still not much. Three player online co-op will be supported, and players will have five different classes of Planeswalkers from which to choose, though they'll be able to change it up. Combat will also involve some of the mechanics of the card game where you'll have a selection of spells to cast, but they'll be offered up to you randomly.
That covers the co-op game announcements, but there was another big one. Microsoft finally revealed their next console, the Xbox. No, I'm not messing that up, I know the Xbox: Series X was revealed and it's what Phil Spencer discussed in the official blog post, but Microsoft is out there saying that "Series X" is just the model and that "Xbox" is the official designation of the next generation console. The messaging on this is a bit of a mess, but it seems like Microsoft is basically treating this as they did with the Xbox One where "S" denoted one version and "X" denoted another. No idea what other versions/models of the new Xbox there will be (Series G? Series LMNO?), however, reading through the blog post from Phil, this all makes sense.
Microsoft is shifting towards making a platform upon which all past and future generations of Xbox-es can be built, and thereby making the line between "console gaming" and "PC gaming" even more blurred. "Backwards compatibility" has always been a major sticking point with the most recent generation of consoles, but in the PC gaming world it's never been an issue. The hardware and OS of your PC change as technology advances, but if you wanted to fire up MechWarrior 2: 31st Century Combat and play it right now, you could (albeit with the help of a DOS emulation environment and a little fiddling). THAT is what Microsoft is trying to achieve here; a console that can play anything that's ever been released on their platform while still being user-friendly and technologically relevant. There will likely be new series of Xbox as years go on and hardware/tech advances, but they are trying to eliminate the idea of there ever being "another generation of Xbox." This is it.