In a surprise announcement, Bethesda revealed today that Starfield and Redfall have been delayed from 2022 to 2023. Starfield, in particular, was poised to be a big seller and a significant driver for Xbox Game Pass. With both Starfield and Redfall now out of the picture until the first half of 2023, Xbox fans might be wondering what they can look forward to for 2022.
In short, not much–at least not much that we know about so far. As far as confirmed first-party new releases for the remainder of 2022, Xbox has none.
It is expected that the next Forza Motorsport game will launch this year, but that is not confirmed. The series had been on every-two-years release schedule since the franchise debuted in 2005. Microsoft gave Turn 10 more time with the next game, but it’s been five years since Forza Motorsport 7, so it’s about time for the next brand-new entry, we would imagine.
Looking at other first-party studios, Obsidian is working on a pair of new RPGs, including The Outer Worlds 2 and Avowed, but neither has an official release date yet. Obsidian’s Honey, I Shrunk the Kids-meets Rust game, Grounded, could leave beta and officially launch in 2022.
Then there is Gears of War studio The Coalition, which is expected to be working on Gears of War 6, but whether or not it’s real and ready for launch in 2022 is unknown. The Coalition is also developing a second project, but all we know is that it is not a Star Wars game.
One of Microsoft’s newest studios, The Initiative, is making a new Perfect Dark reboot with the help of Crystal Dynamics. However, its development was reportedly “heavily affected” by recent turnover, and the title is not expected to launch this year.
Looking to the UK, developer Rare is making a new IP called Everwild (on top of its ongoing support for Sea of Thieves), but this project has reportedly undergone significant upheaval and thus is not expected to be released soon. Microsoft’s Playground Games, meanwhile, is making a new Fable game, but it does not have a confirmed release date yet. All we’ve seen so far is a brief CG teaser trailer and no real gameplay or concrete details. Playground is likely also making the next Forza Horizon game now, but we wouldn’t expect it until 2023 or 2024.
Then there is Ninja Theory’s Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2, another high-profile first-party Xbox game that also does not have a release date or a release window. Some behind-the-scenes footage has been released, and it looks impressive, though.
Another first-party studio, Wolfenstein developer Machine Games, is making an Indiana Jones game with Bethesda’s Todd Howard producing, but it is not expected to launch anytime soon.
Looking to third-party studios, Microsoft has a partnership in place with Just Cause studio Avalanche for its new game, Contraband, but that title doesn’t have a release date yet. Then there is Ark: Survival Evolved 2, starring Vin Diesel, which is coming to Xbox as a console launch exclusive–and this one is actually on the books for 2022.
In June 2021, Microsoft committed to releasing a new first-party Xbox game every three months. However, whether or not that was more of a soft ambition than a concrete commitment is unknown, and as always, any plan in place one day can change the next for any reason. After all, Todd Howard said he was sure Starfield would launch in November 2022, and now it isn’t. So far in 2022, Microsoft has not released a new first-party game.
Microsoft is expected to provide clarity on its upcoming release schedule during the Xbox and Bethesda games showcase on June 12. For its part, Bethesda said it is preparing “deep dive” gameplay showcases for Starfield and Redfall “soon,” but whether or not that’s at the showcase or sometime sooner (or later) remains to be seen. The Xbox and Bethesda showcase could also deliver surprises, including potentially new 2022 releases (like Halo Infinite’s rumored new mode), so Microsoft’s 2022 lineup as it looks now might not be telling the whole story.
Looking at the competition, there are a number of Switch exclusives coming this year, including Bayonetta 3, Mario Strikers: Battle League, Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, Splatoon 3, Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes, and Xenoblade Chronicles 3, among others. PlayStation, meanwhile, has God of War: Ragnarok on tap for 2022, as well as Forspoken, and potentially the long-rumored Last of Us remake for PS5.
Another factor at play here is Xbox Game Pass. The service currently boasts 25 million subscribers, which creates an ongoing revenue stream for Xbox regardless of when Starfield and Redfall are released. The service isn’t expected to slow down in 2022, even without those games. Some are speculating that Microsoft could cut new deals with third-party publishers to make up for any potential impact of Starfield and Redfall slipping, but that’s just conjecture for now.
That said, we have seen some big-name third-party games launch for Game Pass on Day One, including Outriders, MLB The Show 22 and 21, and more. So it’s not inconceivable to think that Microsoft could attempt to target some of 2022’s releases to fill in the Game Pass holes left by Redfall and Starfield.
In any event, Microsoft plans to grow Game Pass with a streaming stick option and by working with TV manufacturers to put an Xbox App directly into connected TVs. According to a VentureBeat story, Microsoft might roll these offerings in the next year, and those moves could be a big deal to help grow Xbox Game Pass and further increase the subscriber base.