The Game Awards is always a significant event in the gaming calendar, ever ready to surprise with a big reveal.
Arguably, though, Geoff Keighley and co bagged their biggest scoop yet last night by introducing the next Xbox to the world.
The trailer started unusually, with humming music, profound voiceover, and sparkling stars. One could be mistaken for thinking Civ 7 was about to be announced.
But when we saw the stunningly fluid movement of water and the circular halo hovering overhead, trees starting to form, and flowers beginning to bloom it started to feel like something bigger.
Before long, we’re seeing cars zooming past and football stars avoiding tackles, somehow then transitioning into Master Chief running through a battlefield.
And then we got our first glimpse of the box, a vertical, PC tower-like unit, black all over with the small white Xbox logo in the top left. I’ve gotta say, I felt a bit mindblown.
For years now, consoles have stayed horizontal, not least so that they can slot underneath your TV with ease. So this is certainly a move. (Update: Xbox Twitter have since confirmed it can be lay flat)
But the design looks very sleek and slender. USB slot at the bottom right, disc slot running up along the left side. Ventilation at the top of the console with a green light pouring out of it.
Surprisingly, the controller seems practically identical to the Xbox One pad with the main noticeable adjustments being a new share button between the right analog and D-Pad. Xbox have also adapted the D-Pad so it’s more akin to the Xbox Elite Controller.
It’s been confirmed that the shape of the controller has been tweaked to suit more types of gamers. It’s also compatible with Windows 10 PCs and will even be compatible with the Xbox One.
And then there’s the name. Xbox Series X, which is absolutely nothing like any of the leaks and rumours we’ve been hearing the past few months. Interestingly, though, the ‘Series’ tag lends itself to the idea there may be more than one type of Xbox this gen. Rumours of a cloud-only, discless unit have not gone away.
Phil Spencer came on stage to reconfirm it has a Holiday 2020 release and that it is aiming to be the most powerful console on the market. We also know the Xbox Series X will be backwards compatible with all previous Xbox generations and will upscale all games to the highest possible quality. That is massive.
As for launch titles, we know Halo Infinite will be available day one, which is a huge statement of intent from Microsoft in itself. But at the Game Awards they shifted attention to one of their newly acquired studios and a sequel to a beloved game.
Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II was confirmed with a powerful, goosebump inducing trailer – seriously, watch it – that is apparently made out of all in-engine graphics. Which seems inconceivable.
Whether this will be a launch title is difficult to say, but one would have to assume it will be an Xbox exclusive. At least, to begin with.
More Xbox Series X info is expected in the new year, with E3 likely to be a big show for Microsoft and Sony alike.
One things for sure, the next-gen race is hotting up and next year is going to be an incredible time to be a gamer.