Microsoft Internal Roadmap Points to Breakout Year for 1st Party and Game Pass

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In an interview with Xbox Expansion Pass’s Luke Lore, Jeff Grubb (currently of Giant Bomb and former games reporter for Venture Beat) speculated that 2023 looks to be the year when things begin to sink up between Microsoft’s strategy and their ability to release one or more big games per quarter. Of course, after this year’s Xbox Bethesda showcase, it’s already been public information that Starfield, Redfall, Forza Motorsport, Minecraft Legends and Ara: History Untold are slated for the 1st half of 2023. With the showcase limiting its focus to the next 12 months, we’ve lacked insight into what would be possible the 2nd half of the year. Jeff attempts to put the pieces together for Xbox fans. According to Jeff:

  • They had a bunch of games on the docket from 2021 through 2022, which they expected in 2023
  • Games included on the list were Avowed, Fable, Perfect Dark, Everwild, Hellblade 2, Contraband, InXile’s next game, Compulsion’s Next game, and Coalition’s next non-Gears project.
  • These games were part of their internal schedule and were subject to change.  He’d then go on to add that some of those games once slated for 2023 no longer pass the smell test with the most obvious example being Everwild.
  • Of that list, he predicts Hellblade 2 as #1 most likely to release back half of 2023 with Compulsion’s next game second most likely.

When asked if he believes Microsoft may intentionally space things out, for example pushing back Avowed in order to avoid releasing too close to Starfield due to being in the same genre, he said “It doesn’t work that way.”

  • Spacing things out made a lot of sense in the old model. It’s all additive in a subscription model.
  • Releasing two big games next to each other makes it easier for someone to pull the trigger.  It’s a lot easier to keep people happy than it is to get someone to subscribe in the first place. 

Of course, this internal schedule doesn’t factor in the Activision Blizzard King deal which could add more Day 1 games such as Diablo 4 and the Overwatch campaign to the mix. Knowing that Microsoft has had so many bullets ready to fire in 2023 and doesn’t appear afraid to release “too many games” at once, is 2023 going to be a tipping point for Game Pass? Visit our forums to tell us what you think and please check out the rest of the interview with Jeff Grubb at the Xbox Expansion Pass podcast in the link below:



Huh, I’ve been saying for a while “hopefully we get to a point where Xbox can start moving releases around to space things out” but I guess I was totally wrong and it does benefit them. Maybe it’d still make sense if they were expecting a big burst of releases then a prolonged gap? But I wonder how many more prolonged gaps we’re likely to get, especially after Activision closes.


I don’t know why gap is that much important

We know it is not gonna happen within couple of months for Starfield and Avowed

Starfield will launch before June… And avowed will most probably be oct-dec of 2023

Enough time to finish one game and move onto next

Grub is right, in the new gamepass model releasing games back to back is much important

I won’t say release in the same month but couple of months gap is sufficient


XboxEra should get Luke Lohr on the podcast as a guest.


If he think inxile, hellblade 2 and compulsion will be in the 2nd half. Avowed should then be given more time and pushed to 2024. It should be a banger.

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It’s Luke Lohr btw. I hate to correct, but proper citation and all.

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Promising news then it would seem. Let’s hope it comes to fruition. Do think 2023 is the year.

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Next year we have Diablo 3, starfield and redfall. For me that alone makes it an awesome year then they have forza and who knows what else 1st party. PLUS everything coming to gamepass. Big games like Hollow knight and wo long. 2023 is going to be amazing


Hindle would have flipped his shit over this.


Starfield and Redfall in the first half of next year, let’s just first get those out, shall we? I have become very skeptical of it all, so let’s just first get those. Then we’ll see what’s next.

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Not if the devs think it’s ready to launch, in this model it doesn’t make much sense to me to delay a game out if a year if it’s ready.


Didn’t Grubb say similar things last year about this year? I get that things change, but we went from a highly promising year to having zero truly big first party titles. I’m not about to get my hopes up at all. Again, Starfield and Redfall and then we shall see. :sunglasses:

And also, as it says, subject to change. Avowed for example. Would they really have a proper reveal at E3 only for it to release a few months later? I get that this can be done for well known names such as TES or Fallout, but a brand new IP? Wouldn’t they want much longer marketing?

InXile for example and Fable, that is in no way 2023.

Now that you mention it, Is he completely gone?

Avowed and Fable in one year would be great. I know some posters believed in what Hindle said that there won’t be two big RPGs in one year, I say that’s nonsense.


I think unless it’s already a huge IP, Microsoft doesn’t really cater to a lot of extra advertising for their games ahead of release.

Whether you find that to be an issue or not is up to you (I would hope they at least heavily advertise for a few weeks before release and a week or two after), but I guess there are a variety of factors to consider.


Hindle got banned for racism a while back.

I agree that every single one of those studios listed should be releasing a game within the next 2 years. Bethesda also has several studios that should as well, IDSoftware, Machine Games.

Publishing should also have more than just Contraband.


Personally they don’t have to market it to hell and back for months on end, but like you said, for a few weeks before release…yes absolutely.

Wtf, shit.

What did he say?

I think Hellblade 2 is late 2023 and Avowed is early 2024, we’ll see both at E3 next year for sure. I think they won’t want to announce games far out like Grubb said because there are too many announced games that haven’t hit yet.

2023 will be Starfield, Redfall, Hellblade 2, Forza Motorsport, Ara: History Untold and Minecraft Legends. All that minus the other titles that could be timed exclusive or other titles MS might publish.

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I don’t think it was anything on this board, but apparently he had racist post on Neogaf or it might’ve been a different board.