If you were eagerly anticipating the Xbox Gamescom 2022 presentation, then your wait is over. Microsoft’s big gaming presentation in Cologne, Germany will took place today (August 25), and Tom's Guide live-blogged the whole proceedings, bringing you the latest news as it happened.
Beforehand, Microsoft was pretty forthcoming about what it planned to show off at Gamescom 2022. As such, we had a complete list of Xbox games to expect — or perhaps “nearly complete,” since there were a few short trailers that the company didn't list on its website.
First and foremost, if you want to watch a recording of the Xbox Gamescom 2022 conference for yourself, it's easy to do. The event was at 5 a.m. PT/8 a.m. ET/1 p.m. BST today, August 25 and we've embedded the official stream of it below. It should also be available on the official Xbox YouTube (opens in new tab), Twitch (opens in new tab) and Facebook (opens in new tab) channels.
Now, for the games. Here’s are the major titles that Microsoft showed off, along with the official Xbox Wire (opens in new tab) blog that listed them:
- Microsoft Flight Simulator (8 a.m. ET)
- A Plague Tale: Requiem (8:40 a.m. ET)
- Sea of Thieves (9:00 a.m. ET)
- Lies of P (9:35 a.m. ET)
- Gunfire Reborn (9:55 a.m. ET)
- High On Life (10:15 a.m. ET)
- Planet of Lana (10:35 a.m. ET)
- Grounded (10:55 a.m. ET)
- Pentiment (11:30 a.m. ET)
- Under the Waves (12:05 p.m. ET)
- Minecraft Legends (12:30 p.m. ET)
- Age of Empires IV (1:05 p.m. ET)
The stream took six hours, and included a lot of in-depth interviews with developers. It’s probably not the kind of thing you’ll want to watch start-to-finish, so use the list above to learn the timecodes for your favorite games.
See below for our full live blog of the event.
The first game that Microsoft intends to show off today is Microsoft Flight Simulator. In our glowing review, Tom's Guide awarded the game 4.5/5 stars and a coveted Editor's Choice award. According to editor-in-chief Mike Prospero:
"Microsoft Flight Simulator [not] only looks fantastic, but also leverages Microsoft’s satellite imagery and live weather data to provide the most realistic experience yet ... As I was writing this Microsoft Flight Simulator review, I would get lost for hours simply admiring everything outside the cockpit."
We don't know exactly what new additions the company will announce for the game today, but Microsoft Flight Simulator has received a steady stream of updates and expansions ever since it debuted in 2020. Another substantial add-on seems like a good bet.
A Plague Tale: Requiem is shaping up to be one of the most anticipated games of 2022.
The game picks up where A Plague Tale: Innocence, the cult hit from 2019, left off. Like its predecessor, A Plague Tale: Requiem will be a stealth/survival game that follows a pair of siblings in medieval France. Equal parts touching and unsettling, A Plague Tale: Innocence won fans over with its unusual premise and unconventional gameplay.
Microsoft will probably show off something new from Requiem today, although gamers will have to wait until October 18 to play the full game for themselves.
Microsoft’s schedule seems pretty set, and the company’s primary focus at Gamescom 2022 will be on the 12 games listed above. However, a few weeks ago, a glitch in the Xbox app suggested an intriguing possibility: the ability to stream Xbox games that you own, even if they’re not on Xbox Game Pass.
We know that Microsoft is working on this technology, and Gamescom would be a good time to announce it. Some fans on Twitter and Reddit suggested that the glitch a few weeks ago was an early peek at a Gamescom announcement. That may just be wishful thinking. But if not, it would arguably be one of the most exciting things to come out of Gamescom this year.
Of all the games on the docket for Xbox at Gamescom 2022, Age of Empires IV has the longest amount of time devoted to it, at a staggering 55 minutes. We’re not sure what Microsoft has in mind, since the company just announced a huge expansion for the game: two new playable civilizations, the Ottomans and the Malians. The civilizations will be free to download, and will debut on October 25.
Perhaps Microsoft will go into more details about the Ottomans and the Malians; perhaps it will discuss the game’s lively multiplayer scene; or perhaps we’re about to get a paid expansion, complete with new campaign content. We’ll know for sure in a few hours.
The Xbox Gamescom 2022 livestream is just about five minutes away, so tune in now if you're interested in Microsoft Flight Simulator. Otherwise, come back at 8:40 AM ET, when coverage on A Plague Tale: Requiem will start.
Xbox head Phil Spencer is introducing the Gamescom livestream. He says thank you to fans around the world, and reiterates that we're going to take a look at games either debuting or getting major updates within the next 12 months.
First up is Microsoft Flight Simulator. There's a new mode called City Update, which helps the game create even more realistic cities based on real-world map data. In a fitting move for Gamescom, the first City Update highlighted here is for Germany, which includes Bonn, Dusseldorf and, of course, Cologne.
The City Update - Germany update is available right now.
Also available today is the Junkers F 13, a famous German airplane developed in 1922. It was the world's first passenger aircraft made entirely from metal. The development team also shared some detail about how they recreate digital replicas of old planes, even if complete, working models no longer exist.
One highly requested feature for Microsoft Flight Simulator was the inclusion of helicopters. However, helicopters are much more difficult to simulate than planes, due to how airflow affects every part of the vehicle. Replicating this airflow was one of the major challenges for the developers.
Another highly requested addition was the "glider" category. These vehicles require a lot of momentum to start, but can glide for hours under ideal conditions. Much like helicopters, recreating realistic airflow conditions is vital to the experience.
Microsoft Flight Simulator: 40th Anniversary Edition will come out on November 11, and include a variety of historical planes, including The Spirit of St. Louis and the Spruce Goose. The update will be free for people who already own Microsoft Flight Simulator.
Now that Flight Simulator is done, we're taking a quick look at a new trailer for The Last Case of Benedict Fox, a stylish Metroidvania that will be out in Spring 2023. After that, it's on to A Plague Tale: Requiem.
If you're at Gamescom, you can play many of these games for yourself, as some of the Xbox hosts have pointed out. The stream will be back online in a few minutes.
Next up is A Plague Tale: Requiem, a sequel to 2019's cult hit A Plague Tale: Innocence. Medieval French siblings Amicia and Lucas will pick up a few months after they left off in the last game, with the threats of war and sickness still looming large.
Amicia will have expanded stealth and item abilities; Hugo will be able to manipulate rats more extensively than before.
The game will come out on October 18, and will be available day one on Xbox Game Pass.
According to the developers, A Plague Tale: Requiem will be much more open than the first game, both in terms of level design, and how many abilities Amicia has at her disposal.
More developer commentary, especially about mocap, voice actors, and the challenge of writing for child characters. No earthshaking revelations here, but if you're A Plague Tale fan, it's an interesting glimpse behind the scenes.
There's a trailer for Disney Dreamlight Valley, an interactive sim that lets you interact with a bunch of classic Disney characters. The game will be out on September 6.
The Xbox stream proper will be back online in a few minutes.
Next up is the Sea of Thieves panel, which will run for about half an hour. So far, the developers are talking generally about what it's like to work on the game, and to be back in the office after working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The developers are especially proud of the recently released Season 7 for Sea of Thieves, which lets you captain your own pirate ship, complete with a customizable name.
The developers are guessing the top 10 ship names in Sea of Thieves. "Sloop Dog" is amusing, as is "Usain Boat."
The next story content in Sea of Thieves will deal with fan-favorite character Merrick, and bring the current arc to a close.
A recent Sea of Thieves story arc involved a "decision point," where the players had to choose how the story would progress. The developers discussed the challenges of developing content for an either/or scenario, where only one route would ultimately make its way into the game.
Now that the Sea of Thieves panel is done, we got a brief trailer for Second Extinction, a first-person shooter where you can hunt dinosaurs. The game will be out on October 20.
The next segment of the Xbox Gamescom 2022 presentation is about Lies of P, and intriguing dark fantasy game based on the Italian fairytale Pinocchio.
The gameplay in Lies of P has a decidedly Souls-like look, with multiple weapons to equip, stamina to manage, and items to consume. Even the interface looks similar. The game will be out in 2023.
The developers explained that this is their first single-player console RPG. As such, they needed a recognizable hook for the story. Reimagining a classic fairytale, such as Pinocchio, felt like a natural way to get gamers interested. Furthermore, the original Pinocchio has some decidedly dark themes, which should lend themselves well to a violent game.
One interesting feature of Lies of P is that you can combine and customize equipment, letting you create weapons that best suit your playstyle. The devs showed off a few possible combinations here, but the full game will likely have dozens of options.
One memorable aspect of the original Pinocchio story is that lying would make the titular puppet's nose grow. The developers have acknowledged that the concept of lies, and how easily we tell them, will play a central role in the game, and have some kind of effect on gameplay.
The next item on the agenda is a trailer for Atomic Heart: a first-person shooter set in an alternate 1945, where robots and organic monstrosities threaten humanity. The game will be available on PC, Xbox Series X/S and Xbox Game Pass.
The regular Xbox Gamescom 2022 stream will resume in less than a minute.
Next up is Gunfire Reborn, a first-person shooter where you can play as a variety of bizarre creatures in a stylized, cel-shaded world. Co-op multiplayer seems to be the main focus here, with a big focus on weapon variety. The game will be out on October 27 for Xbox platforms, but it's already out on Steam.
Gunfire Reborn is actually an FPS roguelite with RPG elements - although co-op is an optional part of the experience. The single-player mode lets you unlock new characters and level up your profile, which should help prep players for the multiplayer mode.
More granular info on Gunfire Reborn. There's a large online multiplayer community, big boss fights, a steep learning curve, a variety of playable characters - all pretty standard roguelite and multiplayer stuff. The upcoming Xbox launch should open up the community a bit as well.
There's a sizzle reel about Xbox aficionados sharing their feelings on Gamescom. Since Gamescom hasn't had a physical show in the last few years, they all seem pretty excited to get together in person again.
The Xbox Gamescom 2022 stream will resume in about seven minutes.
We're back with High On Life from Squanch Games. This is the latest game from Justin Roiland, co-creator of Rick and Morty.
If you've played Trover Saves the Universe, High On Life seems to have a pretty similar tone. High On Life seems more action-oriented, as you collect a variety of talking weapons. The first one on display is a talking gun, who sounds an awful lot like Morty from Rick and Morty.
We got our first glimpse of the game's combat. Each weapon in the game has three different abilities, one of which is primarily for traversal. Kenny, the game's first gun, has a "Glob Shot," which can knock down certain platforms and open up new areas.
Like Trover Saves the Universe, High On Life seems incredibly dialogue-driven. You have a number of dialogue choices, and each voice actor recorded a lot of extra, improvised lines. If you like the freewheeling nature of Roiland's animated comedies, you'll probably enjoy High On Life, too.
We also got a look at the game's first boss fight against 9-Torg. Kenny dealt out damage by shooting 9-Torg, while Knifey (an equippable talking knife) helped the player leap around the battlefield and dodge toxic sludge. That's all the gameplay we're going to see at Gamescom 2022, though.
Here's a trailer for Warhammer 40,000: Darktide. It's a cooperative FPS, which will be available on November 30.
The regular livestream will recommence in about five minutes.
Next up on the Xbox Gamescom 2022 showcase is Planet of Lana, a peaceful side-scroller with a striking, watercolor art style. You'll also get a catlike companion called Mui, which lets you interact with various parts of the environment.
Planet of Lana is coming to Xbox Game Pass, which the developers hope will open it up to a whole new audience. Finding players for indie games is often a challenge, the development team has received a lot of support from Xbox, and having the game available on Game Pass, day one, should help build the player base early on.
The game will come out in Spring 2023, after a recently announced delay.
More members of the Xbox team are weighing in on Gamescom. After that, we'll learn more about Obsidian's Grounded, which will be in full release this fall.
Phil Spencer himself is weighing in on Grounded, talking one-on-one with Adam Brennecke, the game's director. Brennecke explains that Grounded's full launch will be an opportune time for both new and returning players to check out the title.
Grounded will be out on September 27 for PC, Xbox and Xbox Game Pass. The title has been available in early access for a long time, but this will mark the first time that players can go through the completed game, start to finish.
Developer Shyla Schofield is discussing how the game has evolved since its initial early access launch.
When Grounded goes into full release on September 27, the major addition will be a full story mode. Up until now, Schofield said, players have lacked some important context for the game's "shrink down and explore a backyard" premise. That context will be available in about a month.
Obsidian is in the process of ensuring that bases and player progress from Grounded's early access period carry over. However, the devs are also encouraging players to start new save files in order to experience the story mode from start to finish.
The Grounded interview is done, and now we've got a sizzle reel about games available on PC Game Pass.
The Xbox Gamescom 2022 livestream will resume in about five minutes.
One of the most visually striking games on display at Gamescom 2022 is Pentiment, a medieval adventure game from Obsidian. We're taking a look at a trailer right now.
Unlike most Obsidian games, Pentiment casts you as a specific character: Andreas Maler. However, you'll still get an opportunity to customize some aspects of Andreas' background and skills.
The Obsidian team is currently discussing the medieval paintings and woodcuts that inspired the art of Pentiment. We've also seen a few gameplay snippets, in which Andreas can choose dialogue options that will affect the gameplay.
Right now, the Pentiment team is taking a deep dive on the game, which is admittedly a little esoteric. Tom's Guide will check in again toward the end of the interview around 12 PM ET, then focus on major updates from each subsequent studio.
The Pentiment presentation is done, and the livestream will resume in about 10 minutes.
The next game on display is Under the Waves from Quantic Dream, developer of the upcoming Star Wars Eclipse. Under the Waves seems to be an underwater exploration games, with a lot of quiet, scenic moments and an atmospheric soundtrack.
The Surfrider Foundation Europe, which aims to protect ocean ecology, will collaborate with Under the Waves in order to encourage players to explore (and protect) the seas for themselves.
Xbox is currently showing off Xbox Game Pass on the Samsung Gaming Hub, which we covered hands-on a few months back. It's an impressive experience, and essentially lets you play console games while completely bypassing the console.
Minecraft Legends, one of the biggest games of the Xbox Gamescom 2022 conference, is the topic of discussion right now. Touted as an "action strategy game," Minecraft Legends presents a different take on the tried-and-true Minecraft franchise. The game will be out in 2023 for PC and Xbox platforms.
As a strategy game, Minecraft Legends is a little outside of developer Mojang's usual wheelhouse. To facilitate the strategic gameplay in Legends, Mojang teamed up with Blackbird Interactive, a developer with extensive experience in the real-time strategy field.
Like most RTS games, Minecraft Legends will give players access to a variety of units, and let players discover their favorite combinations. Most levels will allow for a wide range of player strategies, depending on how they scope out the situation, and what kind of tactics they want to employ.
The Minecraft Legends presentation is done, and the Xbox hosts are showing off a sizzle reel of Gamescom 2022. Next up is Age of Empires IV, which will finish off this year's Xbox presentation.
The Xbox Gamescom 2022 presentation proper will pick up at 1:05 PM ET.
As Microsoft announced a few days ago, Age of Empires IV is getting two new civilizations: the Malians and the Ottomans. Both civilizations will be free to download on October 25.
First, we have a deep dive on the Ottoman civilization. The Military School will passively generate military units over time, free of charge, while the Janissary unit will provide gunpowder weaponry earlier in the game than other civilizations.
Much like the real-world Mali empire, the Malians in Age of Empires IV focus on acquiring gold. The Malians can mine gold infinitely, without worrying about the resource running out. On the flip side, though, the civilization has almost no archers, focusing primarily on melee combat.
If you're waiting for news about other civilizations coming to Age of Empires IV, you'll have to keep waiting. The Ottomans and the Malians are the big focus right now, and the Age of Empires IV development team doesn't want to comment on any other potential civilizations just yet. However, the game is "alive," and players should probably expect more playable empires in the future.
And that's the end of the Xbox Gamescom 2022 livestream. There weren't any huge announcements. But, as Microsoft promised, there will be some substantial additions for more than a dozen fan-favorite games within the next 12 months. Sometimes, that's all you can ask for.
It's not yet clear when the next major Xbox event will be, but Tom's Guide will keep you posted when it happens. Until then, enjoy the rest of Gamescom 2022.
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