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Everything We Saw At Xbox’s January Developer Direct

Indiana Jones draws a circle on a wall.
Indiana Jones draws a circle on a wall.

Xbox just held its January Developer Direct, which showcased a handful of its upcoming first-party games. If you missed out on the 50-minute stream and want to watch the whole thing, you can watch it here on Xbox’s YouTube channel, but if you want a quick rundown of everything they showed, read on.


Avowed

First up was Obsidian Entertainment, which showed off its upcoming fantasy RPG Avowed, which is set in the same universe as the team’s Pillars of Eternity series. The gameplay showcase put a spotlight on the game’s first-person combat, which mixes both sword-swinging melee and wand-based magic. The team at Obsidian put a lot of focus on player choice, both in terms of how you build your character and playstyle, as well as story decisions you’ll make on quests throughout.

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Visions of Mana

A character sits on a giant fox-like mount.
A character sits on a giant fox-like mount.

Square Enix made a surprise appearance to show off Visions of Mana, the latest entry in the long-running fantasy RPG series Mana. The game was initially announced at the 2023 Game Awards, and looks like a return to form for the Mana series after spin-offs and dead mobile games. Square’s presentation included looks at the open world, cute critters, and the series’ return to action RPG combat.

Visions of Mana will launch on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X/S in summer 2024.

Ara: History Untold

A pyramid is shown in the middle of a city.
A pyramid is shown in the middle of a city.

Oxide Games showed off Ara: History Untold next. The studio calls it a “living world” in a strategy game, with their decisions as leaders influencing the world. This extends to the environment, culture, and even scientific advancement. Ara uses procedural generation to react to player decisions, and Oxide wants this to give players a sense of ruling over civilization and nudging history in one direction or another.

Ara: History Untold will launch on PC and through Game Pass in the fall.

Indiana Jones and the Great Circle

Indiana Jones is buried in sand up to his shoulders.
Indiana Jones is buried in sand up to his shoulders.

Closing out the show was the headliner: MachineGames’ Indiana Jones and the Great Circle. Bethesda big boss Todd Howard talks about how he’s had an Indiana Jones game in his head for a long time, down to the period of the adventurer’s life he wanted to write around (between Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Last Crusade), and he believes MachineGames was the right studio in Bethesda’s stable to make it work.

The first footage confirms the game will be a first-person action game, with third-person cutscenes. This isn’t too surprising considering MachineGames’ history as a shooter studio working on the Wolfenstein series. But the actual gameplay looks like it combines Uncharted-style puzzle solving and setpieces, as well as fast-paced shooter combat, complete with hand-to-hand brawls, turret sections, and he even throws around his iconic whip a few times.

As previously reported, Indiana Jones and the Great Circle will be exclusive to Xbox and PC, despite starting as a multiplatform game prior to Xbox’s acquiring Bethesda. It will launch later in 2024 and will be available on Game Pass.

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