After years of E3 conferences that didn’t seem to care for PC gamers (who, after all, game on Windows most of the time), Microsoft has seemingly embraced the platform for real this time. Their E3 2021 conference, which highlighted titles coming to PC from both their Xbox Game Studios publishing arm and Bethesda Game Studios, was full of announcements that were relevant to PC gamers everywhere, instead of hiding everything under “Xbox Exclusive” labels as they have done in the past.
But I’ve spent long enough on introductions, and you came here looking for something a lot more tangible, so here’s a recap of the most interesting PC-related announcements.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chernobyl
Let’s start with what (to me) was one of the biggest announcements of E3. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 finally got a release date (April 28, 2022), and it’s a thing you can actually purchase now. We also got to see some gameplay, which looks a bit too scripted for my taste, but then again, it’s a trailer, and trailers need to sell people on the game they are promoting, which is usually achieved with carefully scripted action showcases.
Chernobyl Exclusion Zone has changed dramatically after the second massive explosion in year 2006. Violent mutants, deadly anomalies, warring factions have made the Zone a very tough place to survive. Nevertheless, artifacts of unbelievable value attracted many people called S.T.A.L.K.E.R.s, who entered the Zone for their own risk striving to make a fortune out of it or even to find the Truth concealed in the Heart of Chernobyl.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chernobyl hits PC and Xbox consoles on April 28, 2022. The game is already available for preorder, but it will also launch on Game Pass day one (both PC and console).
Bethesda Game Studios‘ next big title also got a release date (also 2022, but November 11th). Sadly, we didn’t get a gameplay trailer, and while the teaser is cool, it doesn’t tell us anything new about the game. I guess we’ll have to wait a little bit longer…
Starfield is the first new universe in 25 years from Bethesda Game Studios, the award-winning creators of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Fallout 4. In this next generation role-playing game set amongst the stars, create any character you want and explore with unparalleled freedom as you embark on an epic journey to answer humanity’s greatest mystery.
Starfield should arrive on PC and Xbox consoles on November 11, 2022. A Game Pass day one launch is also expected for this one.
Sea of Thieves: A Pirate’s Life
Rare‘s open world multiplayer pirate ’em up is getting a Pirates of the Caribbean crossover, as Captain Jack Sparrow is set to appear in Sea of Thieves later this month with five new Tall Tales (all available for free). Honestly, I’m amazed this didn’t happen sooner, as it’s the most obvious crossover in the history of crossovers.
Split across five incredible Tall Tales packed with secrets and side-quests, Sea of Thieves: A Pirate’s Life sees Captain Jack Sparrow sailing in from beyond the horizon to sweep players into an epic new adventure!
Free Jack from his prison and witness the power of the world’s greatest Pirate Treasure, which he just so happens to have stolen, before joining him on an unforgettable quest to stop dark forces from dominating this pirate paradise.
Sea of Thieves: A Pirate’s Life is a free update that should be released on June 22nd.
We are back to teaser trailers with this one, I’m afraid. Contraband is a cooperative open world action adventure title set in a fictional 1970’s. The music is great, but I can’t really say I know anything about the game other than that description (liberally lifted from the Xbox website). It’s being made by Avalanche Studios (the creators of Just Cause) so I don’t doubt it’ll be fun to play, at the very least.
From Avalanche Studios and Xbox Game Studios, a co-op smuggler’s paradise set in the fictional world of 1970s Bayan.
This very intriguing adventure about a man who is trapped in a time loop got a release date (August 19th) and it’s coming to Game Pass (PC and console) day one. Big fan of James McAvoy and Willem Dafoe (who co-star along with Daisy Ridley) so I’ll be checking out this one for sure.
An interactive thriller about a man trapped in a time loop. Featuring James McAvoy, Daisy Ridley, and Willem Dafoe.
The new game from Dino Patti (ex-CEO of Playdead) is as atmospheric and hauntingly beautiful as you would have expected from someone who worked on Inside and Limbo. We don’t have a lot of gameplay details, but we got a trailer that will keep you hooked from start to finish, as well as a 2022 release window.
In the wake of catastrophe you must find the means to make your family whole again. Somerville is a Sci-Fi adventure grounded in the intimate repercussions of large scale conflict.
Immerse yourself in a hand-crafted narrative experience set across a vivid rural landscape. Navigate your way through the perilous terrain ahead of you to unravel the mysteries of Earth’s visitors.
Somerville should be out in 2022, and it will be available on Game Pass day one (PC and console).
Release date alert! Psychonauts 2 will hit PC, Xbox One/Series X/S and PlayStation 4/5 on August 25th. It looks as good as I expected, and it’s coming so soon I can already see myself playing it!
Combining quirky missions and mysterious conspiracies, Psychonauts 2 is a platform-adventure game with cinematic style and tons of customizable psychic powers. Psychonauts 2 serves up danger, excitement, and laughs in equal measure as players guide Raz on a journey through the minds of friends and foes on a quest to defeat a murderous psychic villain.
Psychonauts 2 will launch on Game Pass day one for PC and Xbox consoles.
Halo Infinite‘s multiplayer mode will be free to play on both PC and Xbox, which is a pretty neat way of ensuring its playerbase will stay healthy for a good while. We also got confirmation that the game will be released in Holiday 2021. The multiplayer reveal trailer also highlights the work that’s been done since the official gameplay reveal that spawned the “Craig the Brute” meme, and while the Halo art style is still in play (well, it’s Halo!) you can see that stuff like weapon models got a noticeable bump in detail.
Coming Holiday 2021 to the Xbox One family of consoles, Xbox Series X, and Windows 10 through the Microsoft Store and Steam.
The legendary Halo series returns with free-to-play multiplayer service and the most expansive Master Chief campaign yet.
Halo Infinite should launch in Holiday 2021 for PC and Xbox consoles. The game will be available on Steam and the Windows Store for PC, and just like all the other first party Microsoft titles, it’ll hit Game Pass at launch.
A Plague Tale: Requiem
I have to admit I still haven’t played the original A Plague Tale, but I know it was very well received, so the news that a sequel is in the works, and aiming for a 2022 release shouldn’t surprise anyone.
Embark on an emotional and breathtaking journey. Follow Amicia and her brother Hugo on a perilous new quest, doing whatever it takes to survive a brutal, uncaring world.
A Plague Tale: Requiem should hit PC and Xbox Series X|S in 2022. The game will launch on Game Pass for PC and console as well.
Slime Rancher 2
Slime Rancher is getting a sequel, and it’s coming to Game Pass day one! This is another 2022 game, but I’m sure fans of the first one won’t mind the wait.
Continue the adventures of Beatrix LeBeau as she journeys across the Slime Sea to Rainbow Island, a land brimming with ancient mysteries, and bursting with wiggly, new slimes to wrangle in this sequel to the smash-hit, Slime Rancher.
The “Soviet BioShock” is still alive and kicking, and we got a new trailer to prove it. No release date (or even a release window) sadly, but at least we know it’ll launch on Game Pass day one, both for PC and consoles.
Atomic Heart takes place in the Soviet Union in an alternative reality sometime in 1955, where technology like the internet, holograms and robots have already been invented. The main protagonist is a special agent called P-3, who is sent by the government to investigate a manufacturing facility that has fallen silent.
Remember The Last Night? That promising 2.5D cyberpunk title might currently be missing in action, but it seems like Microsoft has found a suitable replacement (sorry not sorry) in REPLACED, a sci-fi retro futuristic title that looks simply gorgeous and hopefully plays just as well. It should be out in 2022 for PC and Xbox consoles (Game Pass day one as well!).
REPLACED is a 2.5D sci-fi retro-futuristic action platformer where you play as R.E.A.C.H. – an artificial intelligence trapped in a human body against its own will. REPLACED combines cinematic platforming, pixel art and free-flow action combat with a deep, engaging dystopian story set in an alternative 1980’s.
The Outer Worlds 2
The Outer Worlds 2 is a thing… and that’s pretty much all we know about it, since the trailer is a satirical takedown of other teaser trailers (Starfield, anyone?). Still, it will be out some day, and it will probably launch on Game Pass day one, since Obsidian is part of Xbox Game Studios now.
New solar system, new crew, same Outer Worlds. The Outer Worlds 2 is coming…and when that day is closer we will show you more…but until then enjoy this.
Forza Horizon 5
I put like 200 hours into Forza Horizon 4 and I still have a lot of cars to acquire. Does that mean I’m not hyped for Forza Horizon 5? On the contrary, I couldn’t be more hyped for it! This time, the Horizon Festival heads out to Mexico, and the game looks frankly stunning. Can’t wait to get my hands on it on November 9th!
Your ultimate Horizon adventure awaits! Explore the vibrant and ever-evolving open world landscapes of Mexico with limitless, fun driving action in hundreds of the world’s greatest cars.
Forza Horizon 5 should hit PC and Xbox consoles on November 9, 2021. The game will be a day one Game Pass launch as well.
Age of Empires IV
Age of Empires IV got a release date! It will be out on October 28th for PC (Steam, Windows Store and Game Pass). Preorders are already live, and Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition owners will get the Dawn of the Dukes expansion for free with their Age of Empires IV pre-purchase. I am tempted, but the regional pricing isn’t exactly generous, so I think I’ll be playing this one via Game Pass.
One of the most beloved real-time strategy games returns to glory with Age of Empires IV on Xbox Game Pass for PC, Windows Store, and Steam, putting you at the center of epic historical battles that shaped the world. Featuring both familiar and innovative new ways to expand your empire in vast landscapes with stunning 4K visual fidelity, Age of Empires IV brings an evolved real-time strategy game to a new generation.
Choose your path to greatness with 8 diverse civilizations, 4 distinct campaigns with 35 missions that include legendary historical figures, user generated content tools for custom games, 8 player multiplayer modes, and a tutorial system and story mode designed for first time players to help achieve easy setup and success.
If history was in your hands, what would you do? Make history your story.
Diablo II: Resurrected
We also got a release date for Blizzard’s Diablo II remaster/remake. It’ll launch on September 23rd, so that’s actually pretty close. Everything points to a great remaster instead of whatever Warcraft III: Reforged was, so I’m cautiously optimistic about this one. No Game Pass here, sadly.
Diablo® II: Resurrected breathes new life into Blizzard Entertainment’s acclaimed ARPG and its expansion, Diablo® II: Lord of Destruction®, from beginning to end. Return to fight for Sanctuary and discover the fate of the mysterious Dark Wanderer rebuilt in all-new 3D graphics, brand-new cinematics, remastered audio… and the same classic Diablo® II gameplay you remember.
Arkane is working on an open world co-op/single player first person action title where a ragtag band of survivors must try to survive in an island overrun by vampires. Sadly we only got to see a CGI trailer so it’s hard to guess how it plays (everyone got Left 4 Dead vibes from the reveal, but according to the game’s official website it’s a lot closer to Arkane’s previous games, just with co-op and an open world). I’m personally very interested in it, as Arkane are second to none when it comes to crafting systems-driven first person action titles.
Redfall should be out in Summer 2022 for PC and Xbox consoles. The game will hit Game Pass on day one as well.
Wasn’t this already revealed earlier? Yeah, but we only got to see gameplay footage at the Microsoft conference. It looks nuts (in a very positive way) and I couldn’t be more hyped for it. This seems to be going more towards Battlefield 2 than previous titles (Conquest co-op returns, baby!) and the idea of weapons not being tied to classes intrigues me.
With support for 128 players (on PC and Xbox Series X/S/PlayStation 5), Battlefield 2042 brings unprecedented scale on vast environments across the globe. Players will take on several massive experiences, from updated multiplayer modes like Conquest and Breakthrough to the all-new Hazard Zone.
Fight to define the future in a world transformed by disorder. For the first time in Battlefield’s history, 128 players can join the all-out war at the same time – giving you the chance to take part in massive-scale battles where anything can happen. Get an even greater sense of spectacular, large-scale war on seven massive maps where you’ll experience ever-changing battle conditions and gameplay challenges.
Unleash your combat creativity through a full roster of cutting-edge weapons, vehicles, jets, helis, and all-new equipment inspired by the near-future of 2042. Choose your role on the battlefield and form hand-tailored squads through the new Specialist system. Based on Battlefield’s four Classes, Specialists have one unique gadget and trait – but the rest of the loadout is fully customizable.
You and the community will progress in Battlefield 2042 through a Season system, which will continuously bring fresh updates to the game. Themed around new narratives, Seasons will bring content like Specialist soldiers, locations, weapons, and vehicles.
Battlefield 2042 should be out on October 22nd for PC and consoles (PlayStation and Xbox, both current and last gen).
Phew, that was a long list of games and trailers! Overall, I think this might have been my favorite E3 conference, considering everything that was shown on it is coming to PC, and we finally got to see S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 and Battlefield 2042 gameplay. What about you?