Is Xbox Game Studios Publishing picking up the right games?

TLDR: Xbox Game Studios Publishing games don’t stand out enough to make it an unique label. Xbox has a lot of different programs to fund and help small and big developers to make games and release it on Xbox (Game Pass). I think the XGSP label should be reserved for only the most unique exclusive games that lift up the Xbox platform. And right now it is not doing this.

Yesterday we got the premier of Ara: History Untold, a grand strategy game made by Oxide Games and published by Xbox Game Studios. As someone who doesn’t play grand strategy games I can’t tell if this project is promising something new or not. It looked cool for me only not that different than Humankind, Stellaris, Crusader Kings III and Civilization VI. Humankind, Stellaris and Crusader Kings III are both from partners that embraced Xbox Game Pass. And this is my critique. It is just another gran strategy game that we already have in our Game Pass library!

Contraband. A co-op smugglers (loot) game? What about Sea Of Thieves, Back 4 Blood, RedFall, Warhammer 40K: Darktide etc. And releasing soon As Dusk Falls. Interesting narrative driven game. Just how much different is this from Road 96, Lake, Life Is Strange or Tell me Why? I know, they are far from the same but also not that different.

Xbox embraced indie and it is offering a lot so indie and big projects are being funded and made. From marketing deals to the hundreds of ID@Xbox games and Game Pass deals we all know Xbox is doing everything they can to help fund a vast variety of games. And I love that. For me it just feels like these programs are not that different than the Xbox Game Studios Publishing. What I want is that XGSP is picking up games that are unique and lift up the Xbox platform. Alan Wake, Dead Rising, Ori and the Will of the Wisps and Cuphead did before. Or Beyond Two Souls, Death Stranding and Returnal did for PlayStation. Right now, Are: history Untold, Contraband and As Dusk Falls are not doing this for me.

Just hoping project Dragon and the Hidejo Kojima game are more unique.

So what do you guys and girls think?

Considering we’ve barely seen any of them, it’s too early to make that call

Ara is PC only so it means nothing to me currently but that stuff is big on PC so it makes sense and we havnt even seen Contraband yet and I dont know why you’re comparing it to those other games, other than coop they have pretty much nothing in common

A heist game set in the 70s with a focus on vehicles seems pretty unique to me

They have loads of XGP games in dev both big and small


For me right now Publishing is not where I’d like it to be. None of the games at the show are for me. As dusk Falls doesn’t look at all what I was expecting after I had learned devs from Detroit were on this. Foolish of me to immediately believe it would be visually very impressive too. Do not dig the style they are going for at all. Will play it though it can still be a damn good story with interesting choices.

I miss the Publishing from the Xbox One era, it’s simple as that. I miss the Dead Risings, Ryses, SO, Recore and so on. People always say XGS is where it’s at for the singleplayer games, but the fact is that the wait still remains and quite long too and had Publishing gone for something interesting for the SP fans too, preferably a action adventure such as DR3, SO etc…that would have been really nice.


I think the main problem with a lot of the announcements at the showcase yesterday was none of them were really tied to any IP that anyone gets excited for. I think because Xbox wants to own a lot of the IP and not have to deal with legal issues down the road, a lot of the games are new entries in a series and you can’t get excited about something you have just heard about for the first time the same way you would if they announced a sequel to something. If that ARA game was a Age of Empires spin off, you’d have a good idea what the game would be like but for I’d say 70% of the games shown, they were brand new IP’s that I just have no idea how to react to.

I think we need new IP’s and it’s a good thing but we also need established IP’s which the only one that really comes to mind that were shown was Hollow Knight and Forza.


They pick what they can, and that’s some smaller projects that aren’t of the interest of Sony so they don’t even have to compete for them.

For MS, deals with third parties come with the package of being exclusive AND being on GP day 1, being exclusive is already more expensive for them than it is for Sony on pretty much all cases due to PS being more popular, now imagine adding it being on Gamepass from day one.

Yes many of us would like to see the Silent Hills, KOTOR, FF and other AAA single player projects, but that’s Sony territory now, at least on the short-mid run.

I’d gladly accept Kojima’s project being an AAA spy game with the help of Arkane even if it wasn’t on Gamepass day 1 for example, but many people wouldn’t like it i guess, and the GP might get hurt by doing such move.

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I think that’s another problem as well. I think their goal is to get as many games as possible but they don’t really have a goal of what they want to achieve. It’s like they are going ‘let’s get as many cool games as we can’ but then what constitutes as ‘cool’ to them?

While Sony is going ‘let’s make Final Fantasy synonymous with PlayStation,’ I don’t think Xbox has ever had a similar thought on a game series or genre.

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Many of you seem to be confusing 3rd party moneyhats with publishing partnership.


Yes. Exactly this. And my point is that they can do both. ID@Xbox program exists. Game Pass program exists. The new cloud publishing program launced.

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Agreed about first part, not second. I mean Xbox is the owner of The elder Scrolls, Fallout and Doom now. :slight_smile:


That’s true, but two of the three don’t have a new entry announced for them. Dooms story has wrapped up so it’s good they own it but they’re not going to do much with it.

If they want to go and buy Atlus and get the Persona IP, I’d be ecstatic but I don’t think that automatically makes it synonymous with Xbox. They have to be releasing games in those franchises. At the end of the day, what this thread is really about is that the games shown, a lot of them were nothing to get excited about and we want games to be excited about and the thought ‘at least they own X’ when they don’t show anything with X and probably won’t for years doesn’t solve the problem.

It’s a problem I’m having a hard time articulating because while, yes, they do own those franchises, that does not solve the problem of ‘a lot of what we see isn’t what we want’.

If Xbox wants to succeed in their mission they need a diverse line-up of games. Having multiple strategy titles (be it first party, indie, timed GP deals or publishing deals) will have players subscribe to GP for longer. If someone subscribed to Game Pass to play Age of Empires back in October 2021. They maybe tried Total War: Warhammer, or will try Two Point Campus. Or they’ll play Humankind. But you don’t just want to rely on third party content for that niche.

Again, some games do well and some don’t. MS took a gamble with Ori and it paid off. Maybe their deals for Contraband and Ara will pay off. Maybe they don’t.


Oh I agree with you there.

Aside from Starfield nothing really stood out to me in terms of “this blows me off my chair” when it comes to graphics. We have the “tower of power” with the XSX but not a whole lot was shown aside from Starfield that really showed this off. At least, I don’t think it did.

What’s get the enthusiasts like us talking are graphically impressive games. Not to downplay some of the indie games here of which some looked damn good but what I mean is what you meant as well. Xbox shows used to have reveals of big third parties like Elden Ring, like Rise of the Tomb Raider years ago and such…but it being a Game Pass only show meant those kind of heavy hitters would be excluded since sadly they just can’t seem to get those games in the service. And then also the twelve months thing meant a show light on actual new stuff, or more like already announced stuff two years ago by XGS still not there.

One thing we all really hope they will start doing is have more shows. Have several of them just like the other two are doing, it works, that’s for sure. Plus it especially puts less pressure on those big E3 showcases. We put all our hopes and expectations in the one big show and then when it ends up like this… For some of us it’s a big let down.

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I think it’s the talking point games we want, the games were they’d be blowing up on twitter, and there wasn’t really any apart from Starfield and Diablo 4. I guess to go back to your examples, to get Elder Scrolls, Fallout and Doom shown at the show, Microsoft felt like they had to go out and buy them. So, what, should we not expect to see any sort of established IP from Xbox unless they’ve acquired them or the games have already been out on another platform?

I understand the logic but business sense doesn’t translate to customer satisfaction a lot of the time.

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The problem is that people - at least in online communities like this and me included want

  • cool graphics
  • big third party name
  • same as Playstation

But Game Pass has to cater to everybody. We have mobile and PC market too. And PC market is filled with grand strategies for example and they are popular there. Like Riot Games announcement is bigger than Kojima for various markets, Overwatch 2 is bigger than a lot of IPs that people are drooling over. Nobody cares here about Grounded (and it is bigger than a lot of bigger IP at this point) or Minecraft (no comments).

They do have to rename the showcase though. Rather than Xbox Showcase, they should call it either Microsoft Gaming Showcase or Game Pass Showcase (and make multiple of them). Even on PC they call it PC Game Pass these days. Microsoft leans into Xbox label - as they don’t have popular consumer product - but Xbox is too deeply associated with consoles, where people want “Playstation but with Microsoft’s money”.

That’s not true anymore. Microsoft just does not like making time exclusives - even those they do are on a smaller side and 6 months at best.

They literally bought publishers :roll_eyes: TES, Doom, COD, Overwatch, Diablo are Microsoft’s franchises now. Granted on Xbox side nobody cares about Diablo, Starcraft or Warcraft - but they are huge. Microsoft has to cater to PC/mobile/Xbox market, while Playstation has to cater to only one - which is PS. And even then they now pivot to more GaaS games.

They will literally start to announce Activisions & Blizzards & Bethesda’s games on their shows…But then suddenly people will start to discount them because they won’t be the third party :roll_eyes:

Yeah, they have to make multiple shows.

Games like Grounded, Overwatch, League of Legends, Minecraft had more players than a lot of legendary IP titles, but core community does not consider those games real games so…


I don’t think it was your intention but this reads very much like well they aren’t making games I like so are they really choosing the right games? And like I said i don’t think that was your intention but its definitely how it feels and sounds.

As far as your questions the oxide games ara game. I would say yes that is a good get. As all of those strategy games you mentioned are vastly different. The only ones that are kind of in a similar wheelhouse are humankind and civilization but thats only in that they are turn based strategy. The moment to moment gameplay is different. stellaris is a 4x strategy game. Crusader kings is more empire management strategy game. Saying do we need another strategy game is like asking do we need another over the shoulder 3rd person action narrative game with light rpg mechanics/progression?

As far as your contraband once again all those games you mentioned play so vastly different. Sea of thieves your sailing a boat and navigating a world. so much of that is wrapped around the moments with your crew and adventures you have with them. Back 4 blood is pretty much a reskinned modernized left 4 dead. I mean thats not like contraband at all other then you are playing with other people. Red fall seems more in the vein of a borderlands than a contraband. Road 96, lake, life is strange, tell me why are all heavy narrative adventures, choice based games, walking sim elements. I don’t see how that correlates to contraband at all.

I think the point you’re missing is that what elevated PlayStation is different for everyone. You say you want xbox publishing to pick titles that elevated the platform like beyond two souls, death stranding, and returnal. Well to me I didn’t like returnal, didn’t like death stranding and beyond two souls i would rate the worst quantic dreams game. So none. of those titles are what elevated PlayStation to me. if they are for you that’s great. But the point I’m making is that what elevates a platform is different for everyone.

There are people out there very excited to play high on life, or flintlock, or Ara, etc. Each of those titles are the game someone has been waiting for. You lift a platform by making a series of correct moves and good games. However, what game is “the one” is different for everyone.


Great Post


Ah, a list wars thread.

Yea, you are misunderstanding me. I see Xbox offers different programs. My point is I want XGSP make unique games. And Contraband, As Dusk Falls and Ara Histroy Untold just feel not that unique to me and Game Pass offers me the same kind of experiences.

Maybe I am totally wrong and Contraband is a different game then I expected. Truth be told we really havent that much information. But for me it just sounds like another coop loot game. And those narrative games where an (Game Pass) example for As Dusk Falls ^^.

Can I ask you a question in return. Have you ever played a game like Death Stranding, Alan Wake, Dead Rising, Returnal or Cuphead before? I haven’t played Alan Wake (remake is on the list boys) but for the rest it gave me something unique. And I do play those narrative and coop games. It is a genre I am familiar with. Grand Strategy games are for me new.

I honestly don’t think it gets more unique than the collection of games you just listed.

I recommend you visit the Xbox Projects thread and see all of the rumored games XGSP has in the works.


I still havent seen probably the two biggest games thry picked up with Project Dragon and Project Suerte. Those could be huge.

The areas that I think they are lacking is funding that big narrative action adventure. Theyve historically done this partnering with Remedy a lot. Id like them to do something similar again.

Id also really like to see them go out and fund something uber ambitious like how Mass Effect and Titanfall were. Take that big swing.

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