Hello there, and welcome to the Xbox and PC May 2022 recap. We had a lot happen this month, and whether games got new details or were pushed back, you're going to be hearing the phrase "release date" quite a bit. Even with E3 2022 cancelled, events are shaping up for a summer of gaming fun.
Oh, and if you're tired of hearing about acquisitions, that's just too bad. We've got another one on the slate this month. In a bright spot of news, we've got another interesting first in how the North American gaming industry has its first union. Let's dive in.
Embracer Group grabs Square Enix West for cheap
In a stunning bit of news that opened up the month, Embracer Group, the organization behind numerous publishers including — but most certainly not limited to — THQ Nordic, Gearbox Software, Saber Interactive, and Dark Horse, announced that it had agreed to acquire Square Enix Europe, grabbing the studios and IP for a mere $300 million.
This means that for less than one-tenth of what Sony is paying for Bungie, Embracer Group will command Crystal Dynamics, Eidos Montreal, Square Enix Montreal — with the three studios composed of 1,000 developers — as well as the Tomb Raider, Deux Ex, and Legacy of Kain IP, alongside other smaller titles.
In a world where multi-billion-dollar gaming deals are being announced at breakneck pace, this price tag caught attention for just how low it is. Even with Square Enix repeatedly emphasizing how disappointed it was with the sales of games like Marvel's Avengers, letting all that go for so little feels ... odd. And frankly, indicates how little the publisher cared for its Western studios and IP.
We already knew Crystal Dynamics was working on the next Tomb Raider game, and that won't change with this acquisition. We'll have to see how things pan out, but I think the chances of a new Deux Ex game just shot up.
Gotham Knights drops last-gen, The Callisto Protocol gains it
As the generation continues, we're seeing the platforms for certain titles flip, giving us a particular amusing contrast earlier in the month.
Gotham Knights, the upcoming co-op adventure from WB Montreal, is slated to arrive on Oct. 25, 2022, with a variety of editions now available for preorder. Alongside the preorder announcement, the developers shared that Gotham Knights is dropping its last-generation support, meaning it'll only be available on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, PC, and PS5.
I'm all for this. I understand consoles are still somewhat difficult to buy, particularly if you want either of two higher-end models. But if a developer wants to drop support for older systems to provide a more polished experience, it makes sense.
On the complete other end of things, horror game The Callisto Protocol, which is being developed by Striking Distance Studios and published by Krafton, was originally announced as a current-generation-only game. Now, according to a recent Game Informer article, The Callisto Protocol will be coming to Xbox One and PS4.
It's a little disappointing to see the game no longer exclusive to current hardware, as there will undoubtedly have to be some cuts to get it working on the older machines. That said, the rest of the information makes it sound like this will be an incredible horror game, so I'm still really interested.
Dread it, run from it, Geoff Keighley arrives all the same
While we already knew that E3 2022 was canceled and Summer Game Fest was on the way, things are now locked in. Geoff Keighley confirmed on May 5 that Summer Game Fest 2022 is being held on June 9, 2022, at 11 a.m. ET / 2 p.m. PT. The showcase, one of a handful in the list of 2022 gaming events confirmed so far, is said to include game announcements, reveals, and more. Not content to stop there, Keighley is also helping to host Netflix Geeked Week.
Who knows what we'll see? In 2021, Geoff ended his summer show with a look at Bandai Namco and FromSoftware's Elden Ring. While I have no evidence to base this on, I personally think it'd be great to see The Callisto Protocol get a gameplay demonstration at the show. That ambitious horror game is still slated for 2022, and the developers have been teasing news for a while now. No matter what, I'm looking forward to the show. This is one of the big shows of the summer, next to the Xbox and Bethesda Games Showcase. And speaking of which ...
Microsoft's 2022 lineup is now Microsoft's 2023 lineup
Bethesda Softworks shared the stunning news this month that Starfield and Redfall, from Bethesda Game Studios and Arkane Austin, respectively, are both being delayed into the first half of 2023. Starfield was previously slated to arrive on Nov. 11, 2022, while Redfall had a more nebulous "Summer 2022" release window.
This is a double-edged sword. Obviously, having more time for polishing these games is important, and I applaud Phil Spencer and other Xbox leadership for allowing these games to be delayed. At the same time, these two games were carrying Microsoft's first-party output for 2022. At the time this is being written, there's not a single first-party game officially slated to launch in 2022 outside of the 1.0 version of Grounded.
With the Xbox and Bethesda Games Showcase coming up on June 12, Microsoft will have a lot to prove. They can't replace these games being delayed, but will Xbox players at least get some big titles on Xbox Game Pass, and are there any first-party games coming in the second half of the year?
Remedy rescinds on showing more of Alan Wake 2 ... for now
When Remedy Entertainment shared at the Game Awards 2021 that Alan Wake 2 was really happening, the studio said it would be providing a new look at the game sometime over summer 2022. Now, it appears that won't be the case.
In a studio update that also confirmed AMC has picked up an Alan Wake TV show, Remedy revealed that while we're getting some Alan Wake 2 concept art, the studio has decided to focus on making the game, and doesn't want to spare any resources to try to get a demo to show off right now.
"We want to make sure that we are creating the best possible experience, the best, first survival-horror game from Remedy. We don't want to pivot the team away from that focus to work on a demo right now," said creative director Sam Lake.
This is completely fair. I'm still riding high from the news that Alan Wake 2 is even happening at all, and it's a proper horror game. Take your time Remedy, I'll be waiting for when the game is ready to be shown. Fingers crossed it still makes 2023.
The Ishimura is inbound for January 2023
A couple of big games have gotten release dates in the past month, and one of them is a title I'm very excited for. After diving deep into the game's art direction, Motive Studios and Electronic Arts shared that the Dead Space remake has a release date of Jan. 27, 2023.
I can't wait. The original Dead Space is an excellent horror game (you can play the entire trilogy through Xbox backward compatibility, by the way) and the updates Motive Studios has shown seem smart, like adding flight and giving Isaac Clarke a voice where appropriate. Between this and The Callisto Protocol, it's a good time to be a fan of big-budget horror.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 brings back Task Force 141 in October
The next Call of Duty game is on the way this fall, and the next installment in the still-annual (for now) franchise is again being led by Infinity Ward. We've also got a release date! Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is slated to launch on Oct. 28, 2022. A reveal of some kind is being teased for June 8, so hopefully we'll be getting a look at gameplay then.
For Xbox players, it's important to note that Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard hasn't finalized yet, and even if it closes this year, PlayStation already has a deal in place similar to past games (including early beta access), meaning we won't see Modern Warfare 2 added to Xbox Game Pass for at least a while post-launch.
Personally, I'm in. I really enjoyed Modern Warfare 2019, and I'm all for a return to Soap, Price, Ghost, and the other members of Task Force 141 reborn.
Raven Software QA workers have officially unionized
In a move that'll have major repercussions for the rest of the gaming industry, the long-embattled quality assurance (QA) workers of Raven Software have emerged victorious in their fight for a union. On May 23, the vote for a union passed, and the Game Workers Alliance is now the first official union of game developers under a North American gaming publisher.
While Activision Blizzard leadership doesn't seem too happy about this development, the same can't be said of Phil Spencer, head of Xbox and CEO of Microsoft Gaming. In comments made at an all-hands meeting for Xbox Game Studios, Spencer indicated Microsoft will recognize the union once the deal to acquire Activision Blizzard is finalized, and that employees have the right to unionize.
These are bold comments coming from Spencer, and I'm excited to see how things play out. Microsoft's deal to acquire Activision Blizzard hasn't gone through yet, but is supposedly progressing at a fast rate. If additional groups at not just Activision Blizzard but the rest of Xbox are allowed to unionize, it'll set massive new precedent for the gaming industry. Making games is difficult, and I'm all for giving workers more power and defending their rights.
Cal Kestis returns in 2023
Star Wars fans, we are doing well right now. Even as the Obi-Wan Kenobi series rolls out and myriad other shows are being scheduled, a surprise announcement (not for anyone that follows GamesBeat reporter Jeff Grubb on Twitter) revealed that Respawn Entertainment's sequel to Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is on the way.
Titled Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, this game stars a slightly older Cal Kestis, as he's forced to navigate a dark world and survive no matter what. It's being built only for current-generation consoles, meaning it can use features like ray-traced lighting, as well as take full advantage of the SSDs in the newest consoles.
I'm extremely excited for this. While I really enjoyed Fallen Order, there's no question that it was held back technologically due to being designed for the aging Xbox One and PS4. With experience under their belt, I have full confidence that Respawn Entertainment can deliver an even-better sequel.
Now, who is that in the tank?
PlayStation continues to invest in PC
This month's recap ends will a somewhat smaller but still interesting update. Sony has ported some of its games to PC over the last couple of years, and the company isn't slowing down. Indeed, in a new presentation to investors that also discussed expanding PlayStation to mobile and live-service games, Sony outlined that it expects PlayStation on PC to massively grow.
Shortly after this news, a Steam listing for PS5 exclusive Returnal was spotted, indicating that Housemarque's dark science-fiction roguelike will be headed to PC in the not-too-distant future.
The question here is what other games will be ported. While God of War arrived on PC earlier in the year, and Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection is slated to hit at some point in 2022, these games and Returnal aren't enough to make up the growth Sony expects.
Maybe Horizon Forbidden West is hitting PC faster than its predecessor? Maybe we could see a live service game such as the long-rumored Factions 2 hit PC alongside console at launch? Or maybe Sony is finally shattering the emergency glass and remastering Bloodborne. The possibilities are exciting.
Summer of fun
That was a lot. Next month is likely to be even more packed, as we've got a lot of gaming events to look forward to. Hopefully, we'll see some big release dates and get an idea of what to expect from Xbox first-party over the next several months. If you missed it before, be sure to check out my Xbox and PC recap for April 2022.
Before events kick off, I'm going to try to finish Stranger Things Season 4. Should be nice and calming compared to the whirlwind of news we're about to get. Until next time,
— Samuel Tolbert
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