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Xbox Developer Direct 2024 Was So Satisfying To Watch

Xbox Developer Direct 2024 Was So Satisfying To Watch

The Xbox Developer Direct 2024 that held on January 18, 2024, was thrilling to watch. For the first time in many years, I was genuinely excited about the games lined up for Xbox this year. Instead of the promised four games, five games were showcased—including release timelines for all the games.

Xbox Developer Direct 2024 Was So Satisfying To Watch

As I already anticipate, the games showcased at the Xbox Developer Direct 2024 will be the media buzz for the rest of today. As the show moved from one studio to another, we saw cinematic scenes and sometimes a bit of the gameplay of the upcoming releases.

What makes Xbox Developer Direct 2024 unique?

Unlike most other showcases where developers just have a few minutes to talk about their games, Xbox Developer Direct 2024 gave developers ample time to express themselves including talking about the setting and plot of their games, including the motivation and how players should experience the games.

For example, MachineGames did not just showcase the upcoming Indiana Jones game. They also talked about the setting—which I will discuss in a bit—and why they chose to design the game in first- and third-person views.

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Developers are often accused of not knowing what players want. Therefore, a showcase like Xbox Developer Direct 2024 should be encouraged because it allows players to get into the heads of developers—and has the potential to create a more harmonious relationship between the two.

Some of the games announced at Xbox Developer Direct 2024 have already been confirmed to come to Xbox Game Pass. Without further chitchats, let me talk about what was showcased at the Xbox Developer Direct 2024.

Avowed by Obsidian Entertainment

Xbox Developer Direct 2024 Was So Satisfying To Watch

Xbox Developer Direct 2024 kicked off with a trip to Irvine, California where the team at Obsidian Entertainment talked about their latest fantasy action RPG, Avowed.

“Avowed is an adventure into the heart of the Living Lands, a frontier at the edge of the known world, where you must put a stop to a mysterious spiritual plague and discover a secret at the heart of the Living Lands,” said Carrie Patel, game director at Obsidian Entertainment.

Avowed is a game where brawn meets magic. Players have broad freedom in how they choose to play the game. While one player may choose to cast spells, another may go all-out guns blazing or hacking and slashing. What is even more interesting is that players can switch from one playstyle to another in combat.

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Avowed is a game where the choices you make affect the outcome of the game. For example, there are times when you will come across the bodies of slain soldiers and you will have to determine who was at fault by listening to witnesses.

Avowed is scheduled for release in Fall 2024 and it will be available on Xbox Series X|S, PC, and Game Pass. By the way, who else noticed that some of the creatures in Avowed looked like they were created with a text-to-image AI tool? 🤷‍♂️

Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 by Ninja Theory

Xbox Developer Direct 2024 Was So Satisfying To Watch

From California, Xbox Developer Direct 2024 took us on a ride to Cambridge, UK to meet the team at Ninja Theory where they talked about their upcoming action-adventure third-person game, Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II.

“Senua returns in a brutal journey of survival through the myth and torment of Viking Iceland,” read the official game blurb. “Intent on saving those who have fallen victim to the horrors of tyranny, Senua faces a battle of overcoming the darkness within and without.”

Melina Juergens who was the character performer for Senua explained how the fierce warrior has “made peace with her past and was no longer in fear of her visions and voices”. During her quest, Senua will encounter new people, some of whom will accept her unique personality. She will make new enemies and allies along the way too.

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“Senua is a warrior who experiences psychosis,” explained Dom Matthews, studio head at Ninja Theory. “Seeing things that other people don’t, hearing voices, and having unique beliefs about the world around her.”

To properly capture her psychotic nature, Ninja Theory had to work with Professor Paul Fletcher at the University of Cambridge. This shows how far developers often have to go to bring players an unforgettable experience—which players often don’t appreciate because they don’t know. Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II was given a May 21, 2024, release date and will be available on Xbox Series X|S, PC, and Game Pass.

Visions of Mana by Square Enix

Xbox Developer Direct 2024 Was So Satisfying To Watch

The surprise entry at the Xbox Developer Direct 2024 was Square Enix’s Visions of Mana which will be coming to Xbox. Visions of Mana is “the first new installment for the console in the mainline Mana titles in over 15 years, and the first to launch on Xbox,” explained Masaru Oyamada, Mana series producer.

The Mana Series started as a Final Fantasy adventure back in 1991 but broke off along the way to become a full series. To date, there are now 17 mana titles. However, most of the titles can only be experienced on Mobile.

Visions of Mana has vast colorful worlds, vibrant environments, memorable characters that scream nature, and a collection of music that makes it easy for the player to get lost in the world. The game is scheduled for release in Summer 2024 and will come to Xbox series X|S and PC.

Ara: History Untold by Oxide Games

Xbox Developer Direct 2024 Was So Satisfying To Watch

The next stop at the Xbox Developer Direct 2024 after the surprise entry from Square Enix was Lutherville-Timonium, Maryland where the team at Oxide Games was waiting to talk about their upcoming strategy game titled Ara: History Untold.

“Build a nation and lead your people throughout history to the pinnacles of human achievement as you explore new lands, develop arts and culture, conduct diplomacy, and go head-to-head with your rivals to prove you are the greatest ruler ever known,” read the official game blurb.

Oxide Games was founded in 2013 by a team with decades of personal experience, said Marc Meyer, president of Oxide Games. Since its founding, Oxide has niched down to making Strategy games and has great titles to its name like Civilization V.

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Ara is a historical grand strategy game that gives players the chance to experiment with their strategy. Most importantly, the game includes landmarks and cultures from real places. Ara: History Untold will come to PC and PC Game Pass when it launches in Fall 2024.

Indiana Jones and the Great Circle by MachineGames

Xbox Developer Direct 2024 Was So Satisfying To Watch

The last stop for Xbox Developer Direct 2024 was Uppsala, Sweden where a team of developers talked us through their vision for Indiana Jones and the Great Circle. The game will be played in both first and third-person POVs. As Jerk Gustafsson, game director at MachineGames, explained,

“In this game, you aren’t just playing as Indy, you are Indiana Jones. You will see through his eyes and experience a journey that we hope lives up to the proud legacy of Indiana Jones.”

Todd Howard, the executive producer explained that he had always wanted to make an Indiana Jones game all his life and found MachineGames as the right studio to bring his ideas to life. The trailer of the game that followed after the formalities revealed that Indiana Jones will have the likeness of Harison Ford who plays the role in the movie. However, the voicing will be done by a different actor.

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I also learned that Indiana Jones and the Great Circle will take place somewhere between the events of Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. While most of the game will be played in first-person view, including the combats, the puzzles, climbing scenes, and cinematics will play out in third-person view.

Xbox Developer Direct 2024 Was So Satisfying To Watch

Indiana Jones and the Great Circle is scheduled for release sometime this year although there is no definite date yet. When it does get released, it will be available on Xbox Series X|S, PC, and Game Pass.

That’s about the summary of everything that happened at Xbox Developer Direct 2024. However, if you have the luxury of time and want to relive the entire experience, I have embedded the video below.