Call of Duty: Black Ops 6 and other Summer Game Fest highlights


The lines of console exclusivity are becoming increasingly blurred, but no showcase season would be complete without debating who “won” the match after match.

And most agreed that Microsoft put in a strong performance.

It was needed. So far, Xbox’s 2024 has been dominated by headlines about mass layoffs and criticism over the closure of its four in-house studios.

While Microsoft’s showcase didn’t touch on any of that, it did take the opportunity to remind us all that the company owns a big chunk of the AAA games industry, thanks to its $65 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

This year, with the deal finally sealed and the merger’s powers free to be showcased, the event kicked off with a montage of the upcoming Call of Duty: Black Ops 6, which had its own dedicated preview immediately following the main event.

From there, an action-packed trailer for Doom: The Dark Ages played, and the rest of the hour-long session was devoted to Warcraft, Diablo, Elder Scrolls Online, and Recently revived Fallout 76.

At times it felt like a greatest hits collection, and Microsoft seemed to drive that point home by concluding the main preview with footage from the new Gears of War game, featuring Gary Jules’ Mad World soundtrack – the same music used in the seminal trailer for the original 2006 game in the series – a true full-circle moment.

Fans were also given a glimpse at Indiana Jones: The Great Circle, Fable, the Perfect Dark reboot, and the Ukrainian-developed STALKER 2.

Critics will say the showcase could have been more diverse — it boiled down to open-world action games, RPGs, and first-person shooters — but fans will point out that these are the genres Xbox has built its brand on.

The exhibition was also praised for its diversity, with many of the works on display featuring female protagonists and people belonging to ethnic minorities.

Microsoft’s gaming division has been criticized recently for losing direction, leaving questions about where to take the Xbox brand in the future and whether all of its studios will survive.

But for one night, at least, he managed to bring the conversation back to gaming.

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