Join us for the Xbox Developer Direct

We’re going to get a look at some of Microsoft’s big new Xbox games tonight, in a brand new Xbox Developer Direct. We’ve been promised a look at the new Indiana Jones game, Obsidian’s new RPG Avowed, and Ninja Theory’s Hellblade 2.

We’ll be watching and covering it all live, from the moment it begins at 8pm UK time (GMT), to the moment it ends an hour later. And it’ll be much more fun with your comments and reactions, so please join us in the comments below.

So, what exactly can we expect? Well, Indiana Jones developer MachineGames – the team behind the brilliant Wolfenstein games – will apparently show more than 10 minutes of the game, detailing how it’s played, the story, the setting, and premiering a first trailer.

This will also be the first time we’ve properly delved into Obsidian’s Avowed, the first-person RPG set in the Pillars of Eternity world. I’m fascinated to see what that world looks like from a different perspective – both literal and mechanical – and which familiar landmarks, and potentially characters, we might see.

Hellblade 2 developer Ninja Theory, meanwhile, will show some behind-the-scenes footage about how it is making the game, and I hope we also get a look at it in action. We’re promised a better look at turn-based strategy game Ara: History Untold, too, which has strong Civilization roots.

There won’t be any updates on Activision Blizzard games, by the way, after Microsoft’s monstrous acquisition. Apparently news on those will come later in 2024. And that’s it. Any surprises? We’ll have to wait and see.


Our live coverage of this event has finished.

What are you hoping to see, then? I’m really hoping Indiana Jones lives up to MachineGames’ reputation. It could be brilliant. And as you probably know, I’m a sucker for Obsidian and Pillars of Eternity, although I’m curious about how a first-person RPG in that world will work. I can’t think of another first-person RPG Obsidian has done.

Robert Purchese

TinyKaiju says: I’m guessing everyone talking about Outer Worlds and Fallout New Vegas skipped over the bit saying that Avowed is Obsidian’s first first-person RPG _set in the Pillar’s of Eternity world_.

Haha, you are all quite right! What a plonker I am.

Robert Purchese

Kami says: Soooo… odds on seeing literally anything about a new Fable? (Oh, also WET 2)

I had completely forgotten about Fable!

Also loving all the Heretic and Quake shouts in the comments – yes please!

Robert Purchese


Let’s goooo – oh it’s not started yet. How are you all doing?

Robert Purchese

Kami says: As a crazy, wild, left-field and totally bonkers idea though for a surprise, here’s a thought; hey Spencey-boy, ever considered doing a new Asheron’s Call?

Oh my good god, I remember that game. I didn’t play it intensely like some other MMOs, but I certainaly played it.

Robert Purchese

I forgot to embed the stream video in the article above. I shall do that now!

Robert Purchese

Fin10g says: I definitely expect something to drop tonight. My out there prediction is that Double Fine have a double shadow drop with 2 games from Derek Brand and Lee Petty’s teams (I might be misremembering if they were working on the same team or not).

With how much of a treat Hi-Fi Rush was I really hope the January shadow drop becomes a tradition, although I’m excited to see Avowed, Hellblade and Indy (as long it’s not starring Chris Pratt).

Hi-Fi Rush! Was that dropped at this equivalent Direct this time last year? Gosh. I feel like tonight’s running order is a lot more mapped out, though. Still, there could well be a surprise.

Robert Purchese

SausageWhispers says: Aren’t we long overdue at least a tease of Gears 6

It does seem to have been a long time since we had a Gears. I was, coincidentally, watching the first Gears of War trailers the other day. What memories that brought back. I could scarcely believe a game looked that good at the time. I also remember playing lots of multiplayer with members of the Eurogamer forum. I can’t believe I just mentioned the forum. Way to derail the liveblog, Bertie.

Robert Purchese

I’m making the cardinal mistake of reading the YouTube comments on the official Xbox stream. There’s a lot of excitement out there for this new Indiana Jones game, isn’t there? I am very curious to see what it looks like myself.

I feel like Hellblade 2 is more of a known quantity. But Avowed? That’s also very intriguing. Will it play like Skyrim or will Obsidian manage to make it feel quite different? There’s a lot more humour and charm running through its games – no shade, Bethesda!

Robert Purchese

Rumour has it, of course, that the new Indy game is called Indiana Jones and the Great Circle, which sounds like a rubbish name to me. But who knows?

Robert Purchese

Tick, tock. We’re nearly there. What do you think Microsoft will open with?

I was at an E3 once where it had Usher on stage. I suppose he at least doubles in purpose, in that he can also help clear people out at the end.

Sorry.

Robert Purchese

The show begins

And we’re off!

I think? Are we? Is it working?

Something is happening! There’s a hold screen that looks like it’s been made by a child. This is it.

Robert Purchese

Ironically, we’re starting with an 18-rated trailer.

We’re getting a snapshot of the four studios we’re going to see today. Someone is doing a cartwheel down a corridor, which seems ill advised. There’s Todd Howard! Maybe he just walks up and down corridors all day. It wasn’t him doing the cartwheel, was it?

It seems like maybe we’re going to stick quite rigidly to the running order.

Obsidian first!

I have been to Obsidian’s studio, I’ll have you know. I’ve walked those halls. Twice!

Robert Purchese

Obsidian shows Avowed

So, we’re beginning with Avowed.

You need to put a stop to a plague and discover a secret in the land. We saw a brief clip and it did look as colourful and strange as the lady on screen is telling us. I’m sorry, I didn’t catch her name.

Here’s some combat. There are wands and daggers and they’re leaping around. Gabrieal Paramo is telling us more about it now. It sounds like you’re going to be able to switch quicklky between weaponry – they call them “loadouts”. It sounds like you’re going to be able to mix things out ahead of encouters.

We’re seeing parries and magical attacks.

So yes, there is a wand weapon, and it’s light and fast, and obviously casts spells. There’s sword and shield. There’s two-handed weaponry, there are bows.

Again, on the loadouts theme: you can flip through builds on the fly, while you’re fighting. Double wands looks fun!

The game itself though seems a bit… wooden?

Robert Purchese

We’re having a look at a sidequest now. There’s a fallen soldier. It’s great seeing the races of the world up close. What was the name of the bard character that was in your party in Pillars of Eternity? The character we just saw looked a lot like him.

The characters look pretty good. But the world itself feels a bit still, a bit empty?

Robert Purchese

FTJT says: About as much urgency in combat as Myst

Oof, ouch.

Robert Purchese

World building now. Art director Matt Hansen is talking to us. AND IT WAS HIM! He was the one doing the cartwheel in the trailer. What a legend.

Robert Purchese

We’re seeing desert wastelands and then tropical waters – oases – within them. It’s a varied and interesting-looking place.

And that is apparently it, with a bit more footage at the end.

The enemies do tend to just stand still a bit. Hmm. And it’s coming out this autumn.

Robert Purchese

Ninja Theory shows Hellblade 2

Now we’re off to Ninja Theory and studio head Dom Matthews who’s going to lead us through it.

I met him once at a Gamescom many years ago, when the studio was first showing Hellblade around.

Melina Juergens, the lady who plans Senua in the game, is telling us a bit more about Senua’s journey now.

This is 10th century Iceland that the game is set in. Senua will be fighting giants and the druigar (sp?). She’ll have to help defend the land from them, and she’ll make new allies and enemies to help do this.

Senua is a celtic warrior who experiences psychosis, and the studio is working again with experts in that field, and people with lived experience of it. Ninja Theory did this to great effect in the first game, of course.

Robert Purchese

spookyxelectric says: I’m gonna be honest too, I’ve never understood the Obsidian hype. They started off as Aldi Bioware, then they morphed into Aldi Bethesda.

Oh my god that is the deepest cut I think I’ve ever seen!

For what it’s worth, I disagree. Yes, Obsidian is scruffier, but I feel like they’ve also had a lot more charm in them than BioWare’s.

Robert Purchese

Ninja Theory is talking about the lengths it’s gone to make Hellblade 2 detailed and accurate. There were field trips to Iceland, where the game is set, and there’s a great amount of trouble that’s gone into 3D spatial audio, it sounds like.

Hellblade 2 is definitely a mood. Dom is telling us the studio’s theory is to make life-changing art with game-changing tech. That feels a bit self-important to me, but the studio did have a big win with Hellblade 1.

Robert Purchese

Ainu20 says: I love Heilung! Excellent live band.

Ah! I don’t know them, I’m afraid. I’m glad someone does.

One more note on Hellblade 2: it’ll be out 21st May, and on Game Pass too.

Robert Purchese

Oh hang on, is this a surprise that’s coming in. Square Enix takeover time!

Robert Purchese

Square Enix shows new Mana game

We’re getting a sneak peak of the new Mana game, Visions of Mana. Oh be still my beating heart!

Robert Purchese

I LOVED Secret of Mana. It’s one of those foundational games for me. Very fond memories of being holed up at a friends’ house all summer playing it.

Now for the new game. It’s obviously 3D, and note pixelated, but it’s got the same bright colours, and the same action combat system, with those slight hit pauses.

Koichi Ishii is here now, the series’ creator. He’s talking about mosnter design. You’ll recognise them: there are the chompy plants, the bouncing rabbits.

There’s no radial spell system that I can see. But there are giant wolf-like mounts to help you explore what is presumably an open world quicker.

Robert Purchese

spookyxelectric says: Mana creator looks like a DMC character.

Hahaha. Brilliant. He does.

Robert Purchese

Kami says: Wow I got Pokémon vibes there.

Yes!

Robert Purchese

That mount is called a pikul by the way.

We’re hearing about how music dynamically and seamlessly changes as you move in and out of combat. We’re also now hearing about aerial combat. You can pause in the air and cast spells, or perform attacks.

We’re coming to the end of the presentation. This is the first thime a Mana game has released on Xbox, apparently. And it’s coming out this summer.

Robert Purchese

Oxide shows Civ-alike Ara

Now we’re going over to Oxide games to see more of Ara: History Untold. A Civilization-like, although those battles look a lot more in depth than Civ.

The studio is talking about how they want to push the formula forward, so they bought loads of instruments. It’ll sound nice then.

This looks nice. Also hearing nice things about having different civilisations from around the world represented here, rather than just the usual ones.

Buzz word: living world. It looks like you can take a civilisation right through from taming a wilderness through to building skyscrapers.

Win conditions! Build the most influential, impressive and important civilisation the world has ever known. You do this by earning prestige. And as in Civ, there are military goals, science goals, and culture goals all fill your prestige pool. But there aren’t specific military/science/cultural victory conditions.

Robert Purchese

There’s crafting in the game, which we don’t often see, and it sounds quite fundamental to you success.

Ara has a simultaneous turn-based system too. So I get the sense there are still rounds, it’s just that you’re all in motion during them.

Robert Purchese

Rogueywon says: This looks a bit like Humankind. That’s not a good thing.

Oof!

Robert Purchese

perfect_organism says: I’ve sat in all-hands that have felt less corporate than this

Yowch!

Robert Purchese

Bennyjj81 says: How much longer till Indy? Chris Packhams talking about insect sperm and I’ve got to be honest, it’s grabbing my attention more than this.

Hahaha, wow.

Robert Purchese

Ara: History Untold is coming out this autumn.

Robert Purchese

Our first look at Indiana Jones

Finally! MachineGames and Indiana Jones.

Robert Purchese

In this game we aren’t just playing as Indy, we are going to be Indy. Isn’t that… the same thing?

So Todd Howard pitched it to MachineGames, did he? And now we cut to Todd. It’s Todd time. Todd tells us he remembers pitching Lucasfilm about it, and how nervous he was, but apparently Lucasfilm was really trusting and easy to work with, which I bet it wasn’t.

And we’re getting our first look!

Robert Purchese

Back of the head. Does it look like Harrison? We can’t see! His fist is obscuring his face! And there, finally it is: Ford’s face! It’s totally him. But does it sounds like him?

FYI, he punched the Nazi.

Robert Purchese

I think it’s probably someone doing a Harrison Ford impression with the voice over, which is fine by me – it sounds energetic and good enough.

Robert Purchese

We’re seeing Indy in Egypt, we’re hearing the rousing music. We’re seeing him lasso things and swing with his whip. We’re seeing him punch people in time to the music. We’re seeing traps. We’re seeing first person brawling. We’re seeing Indy jump between aeroplanes.

Robert Purchese

Shut the front door, it is called Indiana Jones and the Great Circle!

Robert Purchese

This game will tell a new story, in case that wasn’t clear. MachineGames is telling us it does stories best in first person. Being up close and personal to the adventure is key.

We see, in first person, Indy carrying a torch, lifting cog-like puzzle pieces, and whipping out at people. However, when you’re climbing up drain pipes, for instance, or in cinematics, it’ll be third-person.

The game is set between Raiders of the Lost Ark and the Last Crusade.

Robert Purchese

A relic is stolen from a university, I think, which prompts Indy to go to the Vatican to find out what’s going on. I guess the Pope knows?

Robert Purchese

The most authentic Indiana Jones experience MachineGames could make is one that makes us think first, apparently – so it’s puzzle-centric. Indy is a professor, lest we forget. Although there obviously is action, and there are guns, and you can shoot.

Stealth will naturally feature. You’ll be creeping around a lot, in that quite clumsy and rugged way Indy does.

We’re going to go to forgotten temples in jungles, pyramids in Egypt, to frozen landscapes, and beyond. It’s a globe-trotting adventure, it looks like.

Robert Purchese

It looks like quite a lot of stunt people were hurt making this.

Gina is Indy’s ally in this story. And Emeric Voss – the Nazi with the round glasses – will be your enemy. He’s the guy we saw interrogating Indy at the beginning.

Robert Purchese

So combat is a mix of melee combat, stealth, whip and shooting. The whip can be a distraction, a tool for traversal, and a tool in combat, for hurting enemies and pulling them over.

Puzzles are a key thing in the game. Apparently a lot of the puzzles will be optional and not on the main path, though it doesn’t sound like it’s an open world thing, just that there will be some extra things you can find. Secrets, in other words, which seems fitting.

Robert Purchese

MachineGames has done a really good job capturing the essence of Ford and Indiana Jones. The vibe is right, and the adventure looks spectacular. I’m up for that.

Indiana Jones and the Great Circle will be coming later this year.

Robert Purchese

FTJT says: Tomb Raider meets Dishonored meets Deus Ex is a good elevator pitch for an Indy game

It sure is!

Robert Purchese

Show closes

So is that it?

We’re getting a recap, it looks like. Ah, we’re seeing outtakes from the reels.

Robert Purchese

And that really is it.

So what do you all think? It seems like you’re all quite sold on Indiana Jones. And maybe Mana as well.

What about Avowed and Hellblade 2?

Robert Purchese

I’d like to actually play Avowed and see what’s going on there. It looked a bit wooden, but I loved the world.

Ara: History Untold it’s hard to get a read on. I didn’t really get a sense of what it was doing that was exciting or new.

Indy looked like everything I want from an Indy game. And Mana – I’ll take it. I’ll still always think of that series as pixelated, but it seemed to have the right essence to it nonetheless.

Robert Purchese

Rahmus says: I think that was fine. People seem down on everything in these comments but I’d prefer more time given to each title than the trailer carrousel we get elsewhere.

Yeah, I quite like the deeper-look approach.

Robert Purchese

Kami says: Hellblade 2 is fine but I think they push the psychosis thing a bit too hard. Avowed I was excited for until I saw the combat and thought hmm, Legend of Grimrock just dropped on Switch. That has smoother combat! XD

Legend of Grimrock just dropped on Switch?!

Robert Purchese

TinyKaiju says: For a first party showcase what really struck me is how dated everything other than Hellblade 2 looked. I’m so used to first party being technical showcases and it’s kind of jarring.

I’m not sure Indy looked dated, but I think I know what you mean. That could be a good sign, though. To me, it suggests there’s an actual playable game behind it all, not just target renders.

Robert Purchese

Hang on, hasn’t Traitors just started. What are we all doing here?!

Robert Purchese


Well guess what? Apparently Troy Baker is playing Indiana Jones in the Great Circle.

Robert Purchese

Kami says: His Harrison Ford impersonation isn’t half bad though.

I know right! I was impressed. I am impressed. I also just binged the Dota anime on Netflix over Christmas and he has a key role in that, and he’s great. Very different to what I normally hear him do, too. Begrudging respect.

Robert Purchese

perfect_organism says: It’s time to go murder some faithfuls, lads.

I’m 100% faithful!

Right, off I go. Thank you everyone for keeping me entertained this evening. See you soon!

Robert Purchese


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