Microsoft held an Xbox Games Showcase presentation for Xbox Series X today, and while it was was a good showing with heavy hitters like Halo Infinite, Avowed, and Fable, there were plenty of titles both confirmed and rumored, that fans expected to see but didn't.
This mix of six Microsoft-published and third-party titles make up the games that were surprisingly absent from the July 23 Xbox Games Showcase.
6. Call of Duty 2020
Activision has never missed releasing a new Call of Duty game every calendar year since the series debuted, and this far into the year, we'd normally have gotten a title and release date timeframe some time ago. So there were many signs that an announcement during the Xbox Games Showcase could have made for the perfect timing. Venture Beat's Jeff Grubb speculated previously that the game might appear during the showcase, and in mid-July, a mysterious game called The Red Door appeared on Microsoft's store. It was quickly data-mined and apparently outed as an alpha build for Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War.
The Red Door's data-mine also revealed new info on the game's single-player, multiplayer, and zombies modes. Because this massive leak originated on Microsoft's storefront, a Call of Duty reveal seemed that much more likely. That didn't happen, so Activision really needs to reveal Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War in some other fashion, especially after all of the teases and leaks that it's experienced.
5. Perfect Dark
While we don't know for sure that a new Perfect Dark game was in development, it is heavily rumored to be in development at The Initiative, a new studio formed by Microsoft in 2018. As this is a first-party game and a retro revival would garner a lot of goodwill for the presentation, a Perfect Dark reveal seemed plausible.
The presentation came and went with a mention of Perfect Dark — or even The Initiative. The studio's first game, whether it's Perfect Dark or something else, is probably still too early in development to be teased just yet. Hopefully we only have to wait a year or two before we see what this fledgling studio has in store.
Microsoft revealed its Battletoads reboot from Dlala Studios back in 2018 and even had a playable build of the game at E3 2019. While it seemed likely for a 2019 release, the game has since disappeared and was nowhere to be seen during the July 23 showcase or the pre-show, which also seemed like a good fit for the game.
The silence surrounding this game is a bit worrying. Is it being reworked because of backlash, or do the developers simply just need more time on it? Microsoft needs to clarify the status of this game's development soon, as it remains one of the more nebulous titles in Microsoft's lineup.
3. Project: Mara
Last December, Hellbade developer Ninja Theory teased Project: Mara. Outside of a creepy reveal trailer, Ninja Theory referred to it as "a real-world and grounded representation of mental terror based on real lived experience accounts and in-depth research with the aim of recreating the horrors of the mind as accurately and realistically as possible."
Presumably, this title is in development for PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X, so there was a chance that Ninja Theory would show it here alongside Senua's Saga: Hellblade II. Sadly, Project: Mara did not show up so we'll have to wait longer to hear more about it. While Ninja Theory did show up during the presentation, what the studio showed was a bit disappointing...
2. Senua's Saga: Hellblade II gameplay
Senua's Sacrifice: Hellblade II did technically make an appearance during the Xbox Games Showcase, but it was a disappointing one. Ninja Theory simply confirmed that the game will take place in Iceland and pointed viewers to a new developer diary that has since been posted on the studio's YouTube channel.
While the new setting is interesting, we were expecting a bit more of Hellblade 2, especially as it was revealed right alongside the console at The Game Awards last year, which implied that it might be a launch title. Now that's almost certainly not the case. The absence of a more significant Hellblade 2 showing or gameplay was one of the most disappointing things about the July 23 presentation.
1. Elden Ring
Elden Ring, the game collaboration between Dark Souls developer FromSoftware and Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin, was first teased during Microsoft's E3 2019 conference. Nothing else about the game has been shown since then, and it has been one of the frequently requested games in virtually every chat for every digital gaming presentation throughout this summer.
Because the game debuted during a previous Xbox showcase, it seemed possible that Elden Ring could emerge once more during the July 23 presentation even though it will be cross-platform and also be released on Sony consoles. The Xbox Games Showcase, however, focused entirely on Xbox exclusives, so it makes sense why Elden Ring was omitted even if it seemed possible. Now, there's no telling when we might get an update on the game.
Here's the full showcase.
Xbox Series X will be released in time for the 2020 holidays.