5 must-play games featured in the Xbox Developer Direct — from Indiana Jones to Avowed

Indiana Jones and the Great Circle screenshot
(Image credit: MachineGames)

Yesterday (Jan. 18) marked the first major gaming showcase of 2024 as the Xbox Developer Direct spotlighted a small collection of upcoming releases heading to Xbox Series X, Windows PC and Xbox Game Pass. And it was a very impressive show overall. 

The showcase included our first proper look at the previously announced Indiana Jones game from Wolfenstein developer MachineGames, and we also got some proper gameplay from Avowed, the new Elder Scroll-inspired fantasy RPG from Obsidian. There were five games in total showcased, and all of them looked pretty darn exciting.

Even more pleasing is that Microsoft didn’t play coy during this event. Every single game included in the 45-minute presentation was given at least a release window, with one long-awaited Xbox exclusive at long last given a concrete release date. 

If you didn’t manage to catch the show, here are the 5 must-play games that were included in the Xbox Developer Direct and why you should be excited about them. 


Even before the Xbox Developers Direct, there were plenty of reasons to be excited about Avowed. Obsidian is the team behind Fallout: New Vegas, The Outer Worlds and Pillars of Eternity, so they know how to make an epic RPG. With The Elder Scrolls 6 likely more than half a decade away, Avowed could be the perfect game to fill the void as this vast fantasy role-playing title seems inspired by the world of Tamriel.  

The gameplay shown off during this presentation highlighted both Avowed’s diverse world, known as The Living Lands, as well as the game’s focus on player choice. While many RPGs claim to offer quests that change based on your decisions, as anybody who’s played New Vegas will tell you, Obsidian is one of the best devs in the business at creating a branching narrative. There’s no firm date for Avowed yet but we know it lands in Fall 2024. 

Senua’s Saga: Hellbade 2

Senua’s Saga has proved to be quite an apt title for Hellblade 2, as its development has clearly been quite the journey. This sequel to 2017’s Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice was initially announced alongside the Xbox Series X way back in December 2019, and after several years of no-shows, the team at Ninja Theory has at last given us a release date. 

Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 will launch on May 21, and we’re already counting down the days until we can experience this eerie action-adventure game. The footage and interviews during the Xbox Developer Direct mainly focused on the game’s sound, which is no surprise as the first Hellbade offered some of the most immersive audio around. It looks like this sequel will take things up a notch. We can’t watch to be thoroughly unnerved by the voices in Senua’s head once again in just a few months. 

Visions of Mana 

The Xbox Developer Direct was primarily dedicated to games from Microsoft’s own stable of studios, but there was still time for a guest appearance from Square Enix in the form of Visions of Mana. This is the first mainline entry in the beloved franchise for 15 years, and our latest look at the RPG offered vibrant visuals and gameplay that looks respectful of the series' illustrious past while bringing in some fresh modern elements. Visions of Mana is scheduled to launch in the summer, but this one will also be arriving on PS5 and PS4.   

Ara: History Untold 

Strategy fans were treated to our longest look yet at Ara: History Untold, a new historical game that aims to push the boundaries of the genre forward by innovating on the classic structure of a strategy game. The game comes from Oxide Games and looks pretty impressive from what was showcased during the Direct. The diversity of playstyle was highlighted, as was the deep crafting system and the developers also explained its unique approach to campaign progression via the Prestige system.

Ara: History Untold looks like a game that will hook players for hundreds of hours. Although, for now, there is no console version confirmed. Instead, Ara will be heading to PC and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate in Fall 2024. Although this might not be a bad thing, strategy games always play best on PC, so it makes perfect sense that Oxide Games would target that platform as the priority. Plus, there’s always a chance an Xbox version will appear later on. 

Indiana Jones and the Great Circle 

Unsurprisingly, the game that everybody wanted to see was left until the very end. But Indiana Jones and the Great Circle was worth the wait. Offering our first look at gameplay, as well as deeper insight from key members of the development team at MachineGames (alongside executive producer Todd Howard), this looks like the video game that Indiana Jones fans could previously have only dreamed about. 

Telling an original story, set between Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Last Crusade, Indiana Jones and the Great Circle sees the whip-cracking archaeologist embark on a globe-trotting adventure as he seeks to unravel ancient mysteries. The decision to make this a first-person title might seem odd at first, but considering the developer’s pedigree it makes sense, and this perspective really will make you feel like Indy. 

The focus on adventure also seems a wise one. After all, while Indiana Jones was never afraid of a shootout, he’s not an action hero... even if he's often viewed as the action hero. So the inclusion of both mandatory and optional puzzles is a smart one. Plus, it’s been confirmed that combat scenarios can be tackled in multiple ways; you could go in guns blazing, or you might distract enemy soldiers and sneak passed them instead.

Indiana Jones and the Great Circle is no doubt going to be Xbox’s biggest game of the year and is currently scheduled to launch sometime in 2024.  

More from Tom's Guide

Rory Mellon
Entertainment Editor (UK)

Rory is an Entertainment Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on gaming and streaming. When he’s not reviewing the latest games, searching for hidden gems on Netflix, or writing hot takes on new gaming hardware, TV shows and movies, he can be found attending music festivals and getting far too emotionally invested in his favorite football team.