Mark it in your calendars: Microsoft has officially announced that the Xbox Games Showcase is scheduled for July 23, 2020, at 9 am PT/5 pm BST.
The event proper will be preceded by an hour-long Summer Game Festival pre-show hosted by The Game Awards creator and host-for-hire Geoff Keighley. The pre-show starts at 8 am PT/4 pm BST.
Microsoft stopped short of providing concrete details of what to expect, but per previous communication from the Xbox camp, expect a focus on first-party games from the 15 developer-strong Xbox Game Studios roster. As Microsoft explained back in May:
''In July, we will dedicate time to focus on the incredible games coming from Xbox Game Studios. A number of our studio teams are looking forward to sharing first looks at new gameplay, insights from development teams being optimized for Xbox Series X, and brand-new game announcements. We cannot wait to share this initial look at what some of those teams are working on.''
After May's poorly-received 'gameplay' Inside Xbox that didn't feature all that much in-game action, Xbox will be sure to pull out all the stops to show games running on the upcoming Xbox Series X.
Top of the list is Series X launch title Halo Infinite developed by 343 Industries. As one of Xbox's flagship exclusives, expect Halo Infinite to top the bill. The same goes for Ninja Theory's Senua's Saga: Hellblade II, which effectively kick-started the year-long slog to the next-gen with a spectacular trailer at The Game Awards in December. We've heard little since, and some news is overdue.
Looking to other Xbox Game Studios developers, a new entry in the Forza racing franchise, possibly called Forza Motorsport 8, seems likely given developer Turn 10 revealed back in December that the next Forza Motorsport experience was in a playable state.
Despite conflicting claims from Microsoft and some suspicious Twitter handle creation and trademark filings, Fable 4 may pop up. There's certainly no lack of appetite for a new game in the series from fans. The same goes for a new Perfect Dark game. Head of Xbox marketing, Aaron Greenberg brushed off both newly created Twitter handles as 'standard practice' for securing social handles for IPs, dormant, or not. But, as the idiom goes, there's no smoke without fire.
After last year's excellent The Outer Worlds, Obsidian Entertainment may appear and showcase what they've been up to since then alongside a further look at Honey I Shrunk The Kid-like survival game, Grounded.
Then there's the newly-created The Initiative studio, which we've heard very little about since Microsoft pieced it together from Santa Monica Studio, Insomniac Games, BioWare, Naughty Dog, and Rockstar alumni last summer. Given the pedigree of the talent there, we'd expect an ambitious project, possibly fueled by Microsoft's desire to push out 'strong single-player focused games.'
We can also perhaps expect Microsoft to plug Sea of Thieves and Minecraft in some capacity as the gaming giant tends to advertise updates and the like for two of its most profitable IPs given the opportunity. In the same vein, expect Microsoft to hammer home that all the titles will launch simultaneously on Xbox and PC, and a few mentions of the "Xbox Game Pass" and "Series X Enhanced" for good measure.
Otherwise, we'd wager that Xbox has a few surprises from the Xbox Game Studios roster up its sleeve.