Shack Chat: What did you think of the July Xbox Games Showcase?

The Shack Staff gathers 'round to discuss their thoughts on the newest Xbox Games Showcase, from Halo to Fable and everything in between.


Shack Chat is back once again, our weekly feature where each Friday where we’ll ask the Shacknews staff to give their opinion on a particular topic, then open the floor to our dedicated Chatty community to provide a diverse mixture of thoughts on the subject. It’s a great way for us to get to know one another better while inspiring healthy debates with all of you passionate gamers out there. 

This week's question finds a befuddled Shack Staff commenting on the EA Play Live stream that we witnessed on Thursday. Was it good? Was it bad? Was it a mess of tired indie games and one blockbuster to try and carry the rest? Oh yeah, there's a new Skate happening, but somehow even that development wasn't very interesting. Here's what we thought of this week's question. 

Question: What did you think of the July Xbox Games Showcase?

OMG TETRIS EFFECT MULTIPLAYER - Asif Khan, Best in the universe

Tetris Effect was almost a 10/10 at Shacknews. My only gripe was that the game lacked a multiplayer mode of any kind. Well, Enhance just blew everyone’s minds today with the reveal of Tetris Effect Connected. The game will be released this Holiday 2020, and will be available on Xbox Game Pass. Tetris Effect Connected will be supported by current Xbox Ones, Xbox Series X, and PC. Halo, Shmalo. This announcement made the rest of the Xbox Games Showcase almost irrelevant to me. But seriously, Tetris Effect Multiplayer, U Guise! 

Obsidian rules the Xbox space - Ozzie Mejia, Senior Editor

As many games as Xbox showed off during its hour of reveals, I couldn't help but notice that the best ones came from recent acquisition Obsidian Entertainment. Obsidian's stock rising to the stratosphere has been something special to watch and good on them for hitting their peak. I'm stoked for more from The Outer Worlds, I'm excited to get a look at Grounded, and yes, I'm very curious to see their Skyrim-esque adventure, Avowed.

Right now, Xbox isn't blowing anybody out of the water with their first-party games, but they have some amazing first-party studios that are hard at work right now and Obsidian, arguably, is leading the pack.

Jack Black ain’t Bugsnax - Blake Morse, Bugsnax

I liked just about everything I saw during the Xbox showcase. The new IP’s look great and Master Chief has a grappling hook! What a time to be alive and a gamer! However, it did feel like they shoe-horned in the song from Psychonauts 2 featuring Jack Black to try and get what I’m calling a “Bugsnax” moment in. Let’s face it: Kero Kero Bonito’s Bugsnax theme has been everywhere since the PlayStation showcase and for good reason. It’s a cute, catchy, quirky little tune with a chorus that gets stuck in your head almost immediately. And while the Jack Black song (he just sings on it, he didn’t compose it) was nice, it didn’t have the same impact. I’m more excited for everything else that MS showed off. 

Next-gen is coming (to my PC) - Chris Jarrard, Ray-traced butts

As a whole, I enjoyed the Xbox reveals we saw today. Most of the intriguing stuff appears to be arriving in 2021 or later, but Microsoft made a great show of selling Game Pass. While nothing was as impressive as the gameplay footage Sony showed of Ratchet and Clank, I felt the Microsoft lineup was more interesting overall. I don’t think we saw any title that wasn’t also headed for PC, but that is fine by me.

Give me Avowed right now - Donovan Erskine, Contributing Editor

I’m a sucker for open world fantasy RPGs. Skyrim completely transformed my love for gaming, and very few games have given me an experience that rivals how I felt playing Skyrim for the first time. Obsidian Entertainment just released an RPG styled very similar to Bethesda’s Fallout series with The Outer Worlds, my 2019 Game of the Year. Knowing that this same team is going back to the RPG world, with something more in line with The Elder Scrolls, has me giddy with excitement. I have all the trust in the world in Obsidian Entertainment, and I’ll spend every day moving forward crossing my fingers for new Avowed details.

Halo All The Way - Brittany Vincent, Senior Editor

It was never a question whether I was going to purchase an Xbox Series X. I'm getting a PlayStation 5 too, because I cover games, and that's my job. I also collect them and want to play everything I can get my hands on. But my excitement for the Xbox Series X did ramp up when I finally got to see Halo Infinite in action. As a fan ever since the original, this is a series I've grown up with, and the new entry looks like a serious throwback to Combat Evolved in the best way. Coupled with Halo Infinite, I also got a Fable reveal! One of my favorite games of all time is Fable 3, and I can't imagine what this reboot might look like. I'm hyped for these games, and ready to get my hands on an Xbox Series X.

Avowed - Bill Lavoy, Dredgen

I was late to the Obsidian party since I didn’t get into Fallout until Fallout 4 and Pillars of Eternity never really appealed to me. I probably would have loved those games, but at the time it just wasn’t my jam. However, The Outer Worlds was my jam, and that has me very excited to get my hands on Avowed. Bonus points for it having connections to Pillars of Eternity, meaning I’ll get some exposure to that universe but with gameaply mechanics that are more in my wheelhouse. Probably. We really don’t know much about Avowed yet, but it’s definitely the standout for me from the Xbox Games Showcase.

Give me everything - Josh Hawkins, Guides Guy

Honestly, the Xbox Games Showcase was absolutely amazing. Everything about the upcoming generation of games looks fantastic. From titles like Halo Infinite to the revival of long-beloved series like Fable and S.T.A.L.K.E.R. I just want it all. Right now. 

If Microsoft was trying to convince me to buy an Xbox Series X, then they succeeded.

Give me more Everwild, Rare - TJ Denzer, Evermild News Editor

Occasionally there’s a game so good looking to me that even if I didn’t know it was a game, I’d want to know more about it. In this case, that was Everwild. This is the second time we’ve seen this game, the first being at X019 back in November, and we still didn’t get a single moment of gameplay footage, but it doesn’t matter. Everwild looks colorful, beautiful, and all-around whimsical. The people’s garb is so neat, the beasts are so curious (even the vomit-y amphibian that yarks babies into the pond, and the implications of magical and supernatural elements in this world looks absolutely mysterious and fun. I don’t know what kind of game Everwild will be, but everything I’ve seen of it makes me want to be part of that world. Give me more, Rare. I need it.

Not disappointed - Greg Burke, Head of Video

I’m probably one of the few on staff that has really never played the Halo franchise. Sure, I’ve seen it around, even watch a lot of my friends play it from time to time, but I didn't have good internet at my parents house, in fact I didn't really have internet until I moved out to LA in 2007. So I was really impressed with Xbox’s lineup without having rose tinted glasses of Halo on. Everything looked interesting and fun. Really looking forward to seeing what the price of the Xbox Series X is when I go to buy it in November, because at this point that seems to look like the only way we’ll find out what this thing cost. 

Game Pass - David L. Craddock, long reads editor

I like to call Fable the Zelda of the Xbox platform, but with armpit farts and STDs. Exploration is my favorite (admittedly broadly defined) “system” in game development, and some of my favorite experiences on Xbox and 360 were wandering colorful worlds guarded by talking doors and NPCs versed in dry British wit. So, yeah, a fourth proper Fable, and a reboot to… uh, boot? I’m down.

Avowed impressed me just as much. While I enjoy Bethesda’s high-fantasy worlds, nobody crafts that sort of experience better than Obsidian. We didn’t see much of Avowed, but I didn’t need to. Obsidian’s resume speaks for itself, and it’ll be on Game Pass, so there’s no reason not to immerse myself in the studio’s next great RPG when it’s ready.

Here’s the kicker: I don’t plan on playing either of these games on an Xbox Series X console, and I don’t think Microsoft cares. Xbox has been slowly transitioning away from its traditional box format to more of a brand for years--and I’ll explore the history of the brand in a massive Shacknews long read this fall--but today’s panoply of games, all or most of which will debut on Game Pass day and detail with digital and boxed retail editions, changed my mind: Xbox Game Pass, not just Xbox, is the brand.

Microsoft and Sony are playing a game of chicken, each waiting for the other to announce their price and launch date first. But by prioritizing Game Pass for PC and Xbox consoles, and bearing in mind that “Xboss” Phil Spencer recently announced that all Xbox exclusives will play on Xbox One X and Xbox Series X (terrible branding; did they learn nothing from Wii and Wii U?) for the next two years, Microsoft sent a powerful message: Hardware is incidental; software is king.

 Heavy hitters rule the day - Steve Tyminski, Contributing Editor

During the Pandemic more and more companies are having software showcases to show off their up-and-coming games. Microsoft brought some heavy hitters with them to show off during theirs. Halo Infinite, Fable, Warhammer, Fantasy Star 2 and Tetris just to name a few of the games announced. I’m not that much of a Microsoft guy but the likes of Psychonauts 2, Balan Wonderworld and Hello Neighbor 2 caught my eye. I think Balan Wonderworld might have been my favorite game shown since it feels like a simple adventure game with simplistic controls.  It was also interesting to see Dragon Quest 11 S coming to Xbox Game Pass as the storied franchise hasn’t been on an Xbox platform before.

Disagree with our picks? Think we're a bunch of clowns? Let us know in the Chatty below.

Shack Staff stories are a collective effort with multiple staff members contributing. Many of our lists often involve entires from several editors, and our weekly Shack Chat is something we all contribute to as a group. 

From The Chatty
  • reply
    July 24, 2020 2:00 PM

    Shack Staff posted a new article, Shack Chat: What did you think of the July Xbox Games Showcase?

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      July 24, 2020 10:24 PM


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      July 24, 2020 11:35 PM

      I'm really looking forward to The Series X. There are a lot of games on PC I would like to perform better on console Elder Scrolls Online, Vermintide 2 etc.

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      July 25, 2020 12:19 AM

      I was 'whelmed'

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      July 25, 2020 3:51 AM

      About what I expected. I’m gonna buy one but there’s nothing amazing coming out at launch. Halo is super boring.

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      July 25, 2020 3:52 AM

      If all the games will also be on PC, meh?

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        July 25, 2020 4:53 AM

        Why should I watch movies in my living room when I can watch them on my PC?

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          July 25, 2020 5:55 AM

          Because my office chair is just that much better than the couch. :(

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          July 25, 2020 6:03 AM

          Why should I hook my PC up to my living room TV when I could play the same games on a console?

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            July 25, 2020 6:12 AM

            You shouldn't get a console and it'll be quieter, cheaper and quicker.

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              July 25, 2020 6:22 AM

              It's even quieter, cheaper and quicker to just not have anything.

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                July 25, 2020 6:43 AM

                So don't get any console, I don't get the quandary.

                But if I do enjoy living room gaming then the fact I have the same games on my PC doesn't stop me wanting to play games in the living room.

                The fact I have a large HDR 120 hz TV and a nice comfy sofa means I do want to play games in my living room sometimes.

                Having the same games on my PC is actually a bonus for me as if I want to play the same game I was enjoying in the living room but instead in my bedroom I can carry on the game on my PC from where I left off on the Xbox.

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                  July 25, 2020 7:25 AM

                  It also doesn't stop you from hooking your PC up to the TV. Not seeing the mutual exclusivity that PC cannot be played from the couch.

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                    July 25, 2020 7:34 AM

                    We've already done this, for 99% people you'd be much better off getting an XSX than a PC plugged into your TV.

                    A XSX will be cheaper, quieter, more powerful for price and much better usability.

                    People seem obsessed with the idea that somehow because you get the game on your Xbox AND PC that it's worthless. Yet other people would go crazy if you could do PC game streaming to Playstation.

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                      July 25, 2020 7:42 AM

                      Well, I'm just one person here and I haven't already done this and I'm not obsessed or going crazy and I already have a PC that's fast and quiet, upgradeable, and dare I say more usable than a console despite your claim to the contrary. I can use it both at the desk or on the couch. I'm not saying consoles are worthless; I'm questioning the assertion that living rooms aren't for PCs.

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                        July 25, 2020 8:01 AM

                        But it will be significantly more expensive or slower than an XSX. If that's what you want fine, but I've had a PC hooked up to my TV and I must admit I found it a bit of a pain after a while.

                        I'm not saying you shouldn't do it, but if you JUST want gaming in the living room than in 99% of circumstances a XSX will be better.

                        Fast switching / resuming games, no windows update issues, less heat / noise issue, no need for mouse and keyboard. For me and I believe most people having a good gaming PC and a console is a great combination.

                        You're getting a 4k 60fps RTX capable machine with DDR 6 memory, super fast SSD in a custom case that is not a cheap bit of a kit.

                        And I totally don't get why someone presents having a more pro-consumer move as having the games on both is any kind of negative.

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                          July 25, 2020 8:21 AM

                          Yes, it's what I want and what I already have. I like it and don't find it painful in any way. I can use either mouse/keyboard (which I generally prefer for the games I play) or a controller. I can customize and upgrade it down the line. I like the flexibility. And I also do more than just gaming so it works well for me. Heat and noise are non-issues for me. I'm all for having the games available on both though - options are good!

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      July 25, 2020 4:52 AM

      I learned console wars are alive and well. Xbox fans watched the event in terms of how it made their box look better than Sonys and Sony fans did the same.

      There was lots there that looked promising and we know the console is going to be powerful so I can't wait. I think also both Sony and MS showing showed we're going to be quite lean on first party games for the first year.

      But that's fine for me, Halo, Cyberpunk and Assassins Creed will be more than enough for me.

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      July 25, 2020 5:38 AM

      I think the defining point of this new console generation, is the fact that you will have many games that you can play on launch day. Last gen you were limited to a few titles. This fact along with game pass and playstation now should make this a more complete launch than ever before. Its almost like a new graphic card, vs. a new generation. This is great for everyone. We all know most launch games are pretty poor as far as gameplay goes they look pretty but lack gameplay. Microsoft is being super smart launching Halo since the gameplay is already excellent. Everyone is complaining about the graphics. I think we will be pleasantly surprised when we see the final product. Not sure a buy into all of the controller stuff Sony is doing it just makes it eat batteries and most devs won't use the functions. Seems like a mistake like the touchpad and light bar hope you can turn it all off.

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      July 25, 2020 5:44 AM

      They showed new IPs which is what they desperately need. Not sure I am excited for any of them outside of Avowed. But this and Sony were solid reminders that we won't see any exciting AAA titles on these new consoles until 2022. Anyone remember 2014? That's what we're in for. Maybe a bit less so with MS since they have such a strong commitment to backwards and forwards compatibility.

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      July 25, 2020 5:47 AM

      Some welcome surprises, CrossFireX, Darktide looks good.

      State Of Decay 3 while I didn't think would come out so soon has a predictable snow and of course zombie wildlife. Hope it's better than 2.

      Halo looks boring, Fable needed some gameplay footage.

      I guess I could buy a series X, it seems to be positioned as a play all devices, hopefully they'd announce Mouse and Keyboard compatibility

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      July 25, 2020 6:08 AM

      Frankly it was a great PC gaming showcase if you think about it.

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        July 25, 2020 6:16 AM

        Yup and nothing is wrong with that, it was a great game pass showing as well.

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      July 25, 2020 6:12 AM

      Both the XBox and PS5 reveal events have continued the trend of each new next-gen console release being incrementally less exciting than the previous one. The games look fine and a little better than the previous gen, but nothing here is particularly mind-blowing or noteworthy in terms of visual fidelity or creativity. It just looks like...more games. More of the same old we old stuff we've already been playing for the last decade, but a little prettier.

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        July 25, 2020 7:45 AM

        Well I think at least for this reveal a lot of the games were are cross generation or at least developed for the current gen and adapted to the new consoles.

        The same was said for the last reveal at launch stuff didn't look mind blowingly better than the previous generation. But after a year or two games started coming out that were a huge leap over last gen.

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