Xbox has had a pretty hectic generation so far with the Bethesda acquisition, multiple exclusivity deals, and an ever-growing library of Xbox Game Pass titles. Xbox has also taken a very different approach to the games it makes for this generation, who it targets and how it makes those games available to the consumer. While there are many plausible explanations for Xbox’s drastically different approach for this generation, three of its highly anticipated games – Declared, Fable, and The Elder Scrolls 6 – answer much of what Xbox is looking for in the ninth generation of video game consoles.
While Fable and The Elder Scrolls 6 are new entries in two of the most beloved RPG franchises, Declared is a brand new IP address with endless possibilities and high expectations. What is common between them is that they are all Western AAA RPGs currently in development at some of the most reputable game development studios in the world, all under the Xbox banner. While it’s too early to predict how these games will turn out, their eventual releases could change the image of the Xbox brand fans are now familiar with.
The original Xbox housed classic Western RPGs like Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic 2, Fable, and The Elder Scrolls 3 Morrowind, developed by Obsidian Entertainment, Big Blue Box Studios / Lionhead Studios and Bethesda Game Studios respectively. Two decades later, with the exception of Big Blue Box and Lionhead studios, these RPG studios are once again crowning the Xbox collaboration, but this time as part of Xbox’s proprietary programming.
The fact that Obsidian Entertainment, Playground Games, and Bethesda Game Studios are now part of Xbox Game Studios may not be a coincidence. Xbox’s goal of reinvigorating classic Western RPGs while paving the way for whole new IPs for its latest generation of consoles may have a lot to do with replicating the success and popularity of the original Xbox.
This is one aspect where PlayStation and Xbox are taking different paths this generation. While PlayStation remains primarily focused on creating successful single-player action-adventure titles, like the ones that made the PS4 so successful, Xbox is looking to once again become the home of Western RPGs. That doesn’t mean RPGs are Xbox’s only focus this generation, but the fact that so many of its currently announced projects are RPGs speaks volumes about the direction the Xbox seems to be going.
Declared, Fable, and The Elder Scrolls 6 These aren’t just three of the most anticipated Xbox Exclusive Western RPGs, but they’re three completely unique RPGs that presumably deliver hundreds of hours of gameplay. DeclaredThe reveal trailer may have made it seem like this is Obsidian’s version of Skyrim, although Xbox director Phil Spencer has since confirmed that Declared is very different from Ancient scrolls. Since Xbox also owns Bethesda now, which owns Ancient scrolls, it would be absurd for both Declared and The Elder Scrolls 6 offer too similar gameplay and story experiences.
While Declared could be a more hardcore RPG with a plethora of choices and branching narratives, Fable could be a leaner, more accessible RPG experience. The Fable reboot is Playground Games’ first adventure in the RPG genre, but the studio’s past experiences with open-world games are a sign that Fable is in good hands. Fable uses the ForzaTech engine, and if Forza Horizon 5 is an indication, Fable might be the prettiest game on Xbox Series X when it finally arrives. There are chances that Declared and The Elder Scrolls 6 will be traditional solo experiences, while Fable could shake things up with the addition of co-op and other online features. Playground Games experience with seamless multiplayer integration should not make the addition of online modes in Fable that surprising.
The Elder Scrolls 6 is one of the most anticipated video games currently in development. The sixth main installment in Bethesda’s fantasy RPG series is still years away from its release and could be the perfect way to wrap up the Xbox Series X / S generation. While the last two Old scrolls games are on PlayStation systems, chances are Elder Scrolls 6 will be an Xbox exclusive, at least if the latest report from famed gaming journalist Jeff Grubb is any indication. As Morrowind, Oversight, and Skyrim before that, The Elder Scrolls 6 could be the next evolution in the western RPG space. With the resources of Xbox and the advantage of delivery on exclusive platforms, The Elder Scrolls 6 could meet its unprecedented expectations.
While Declared, Fable and The Elder Scrolls 6 could be the ultimate role-playing experience on Xbox this generation, there are many more games in store to solidify the Xbox as the home of western RPGs. Starfield, Bethesda Game Studio’s first new IP address in 25 years, is a sci-fi RPG released exclusively to Xbox Series X / S and PC in 2022. Bethesda claims Starfield is Skyrim in space, which only increased fan expectations. On the other hand, Obsidian turns out to be the PlayStation insomniac, simultaneously working on Based, The Outer Worlds 2, and an unannounced project outside of Declared.
While all of this seems to indicate that an overwhelming number of Western AAA budget RPGs are heading into this generation’s Xbox ecosystem, it seems the company has no plans to stop there. According to famous game journalist Jez Corden, IO Interactive is working on a AAA fantasy RPG for Xbox, codenamed Dragon Project. Keeping in mind previous IO projects, Dragon Project could be an RPG based on sandbox type gameplay, similar to the canceled title of PlatinumGames Ladder.
Another big rumor suggests that FromSoftware is working on a sci-fi RPG exclusively for Xbox. FromSoftware has created Xbox exclusive titles like Chromehounds and Ninja Blade in the past, so this rumored collaboration doesn’t seem too far-fetched. With Declared, Fable, and The Elder Scrolls 6 leading the charge, and other intriguing projects reportedly in the works, the Xbox line of low-budget AAA RPGs looks too good to be true. While most of these titles might not be out anytime soon, the fact that they are happening should keep Xbox fans excited at the moment.
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