Xbox at Gamescom 2021: The big announcements

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Xbox at Gamescom 2021: The big announcements

Microsoft gave Xbox fans an end-of-summer update at Gamescom 2021 on Tuesday, revealing new details about upcoming games like Forza Horizon 5 and Age of Empires 4, as well as released (or soon-to-be-released) games like Microsoft Flight Simulator and Psychonauts 2. If you didn’t catch the nearly-90-minute stream, we’ve got a quick rundown of what’s new in the world of Xbox and PC gaming.

But before you start scrolling, we’ll set an important expectation: Xbox Game Studios and 343 Industries did not announce a final release date for Halo Infinite at Gamescom. That game is still slated to hit Xbox consoles and PC sometime this holiday season.

Magic: The Gathering’s Lord of the Rings crossover will be a complete, draftable set

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Magic: The Gathering’s Lord of the Rings crossover will be a complete, draftable set

Magic: The Gathering’s upcoming set based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings books will be a complete, Modern-legal set of cards. The official title is now The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth. The announcement was made Tuesday during the Magic Showcase 2021 streaming event.

First revealed to investors in 2020, the Lord of the Rings set won’t be available until some time in 2023. It’s part of the Universes Beyond initiative, which includes daring crossovers with Warhammer 40,000, Fortnite, and Street Fighter. Like the previously released Adventures in the Forgotten Realms which brought iconic characters and locations from Dungeons & Dragons into the original collectible card game for the first time — it will be a full product line. That means players will be able to draft cards for pick-up play, and compete in multiplayer games with one of four preconstructed Commander decks.

Every trebuchet shown at Xbox’s Gamescom 2021 stream

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Every trebuchet shown at Xbox’s Gamescom 2021 stream

Trebuchets — “the ultimate medieval siege weapon,” not the sans-serif typeface created by Microsoft — are coming to Age of Empires 4 and players will be able to learn all about them in the game’s Hands on History” segments, developers World’s Edge and Relic Entertainment announced at Gamescom 2021 on Tuesday. Adam Isgreen, creative director at World’s Edge, offered a (very) deep dive into the fan-favorite, highly memed trebuchet during Xbox’s Gamescom stream, as a way to teach players about medieval history.

Age of Empires 4 will include 28 unlockable Hands on History videos, each of which was “filmed on location with experts around the world.” In the case of ye olde trebuchet, mechanical engineer Dr. Shini Somara explained how the don’t-call-it-a-catapult works at Warwick Castle in England during a three-minute-long segment shown at Tuesday’s livestream.

Destiny 2: Season of the Lost is the biggest patch of the year

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Destiny 2: Season of the Lost is the biggest patch of the year

Destiny 2’s latest season, Season of the Lost, is here, and it’ll need to keep Guardians occupied for the next six months. Season of the Lost is the final season ahead of Destiny 2’s The Witch Queen expansion, which Bungie revealed alongside Season of the Lost on Tuesday.

For players concerned about a content drought, Season of the Lost promises some major changes to Destiny 2. Players will finally get their hands on cross play, anti cheat, a Trials of Osiris rework, and dozens of key balance changes. All of that also comes with the usual salvo of seasonal content.

Forza Horizon 5 gives us a high-speed tour of Mexico at Gamescom

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Forza Horizon 5 gives us a high-speed tour of Mexico at Gamescom

Playground Games revealed Forza Horizon 5’s opening sequence of cinematics and gameplay Tuesday afternoon at Xbox’s Gamescom 2021 showcase, highlighting the varied terrain, weather, and biomes players will encounter on the racing game’s wide-open map of Mexico when it launches in November.

“I think our campaign learns a lot from Horizon 4’s campaign,” Mike Brown, Forza Horizon 5’s creative director, told media in a briefing event last week. The sequence shown at Gamescom bridges the ending of Forza Horizon 4 with the beginning of the latest racing festival. “There are all of these things that you can work towards, but in a way that feels more structured and more directed than it did in Horizon 4, but while maintaining freedom to progress through the game in a ton of different ways.”

The Witch Queen expansion adds the new Glaive weapon type to Destiny 2

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The Witch Queen expansion adds the new Glaive weapon type to Destiny 2

Players finally know what to expect with Destiny 2: The Witch Queen, the game’s fourth expansion, thanks to Bungie’s Destiny Showcase on Tuesday. The studio revealed a host of details around the major update, including the addition of weapon crafting and a new weapon type: the Glaive.

The Glaive is a kind of spear or polearm in Destiny 2, with a long, curved blade on the end. It’s the series second bladed melee weapon, after Bungie added swords in The Taken King, but it’s the first melee weapon that keeps Guardians in first-person. Glaives, like swords, will have melee combos, but unlike swords, they’re energy weapons and don’t sit in the heavy slot. But players can also launch projectiles with them.

Crusader Kings 3 is coming to PS5 and Xbox Series X

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Crusader Kings 3 is coming to PS5 and Xbox Series X

Crusader Kings 3 is bringing kingdom management to PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. The console release of one of 2020’s best games was announced at Gamescom 2021 on Tuesday during Microsoft’s Xbox stream.

The console version of Crusader Kings 3 is being developed by Lab42 in partnership with original developer Paradox Interactive. The new version of the game should look familiar to anyone who’s played the PC version of the game, with a few differences just for consoles.

Into the Pit is coming to Xbox Game Pass, looks like Wizard Doom

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Into the Pit is coming to Xbox Game Pass, looks like Wizard Doom

The Xbox Gamescom presentation on Tuesday showed off indie titles heading to Xbox Games Pass, but one of them stood out from the bunch. Into the Pit is a fast-paced game that pulls off retro graphics and gameplay. It’s Doom, but you’re a wizard casting spells and firing off magical bolts instead of firing a gun.

In Into the Pit, you play a member of a family of mystics. Your cousin has gone missing, and it probably has something to do with the demonic pit she uncovered in her search for occult power. From there, the player has to run through a roguelite dungeon, mixing and matching runes and spells to become better at killing demons.

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate Cloud Gaming comes to Xbox consoles this holiday

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Xbox Game Pass Ultimate Cloud Gaming comes to Xbox consoles this holiday

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers can cloud-stream games on both Xbox Series X and Xbox One this holiday season, Microsoft announced Tuesday during Gamescom 2021. The expansion will mean Xbox One owners can play Xbox Series X games on their console, provided the title is among Game Pass’ streamable library of more than 100 games.

That’s “will mean” because the ability to stream Series X games to Xbox One — a statement from Microsoft used Microsoft Flight Simulator and The Medium as examples — is “coming in the future.” The expansion of cloud gaming to consoles is also undated, although typically Microsoft has rolled out large updates and improvements to its Xbox operating system in November.

Destiny 2 will update Light subclasses to the Stasis model during Year 5

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Destiny 2 will update Light subclasses to the Stasis model during Year 5

Destiny 2’s subclasses are about to start changing a whole lot more often. During the 2021 Destiny 2 Showcase on Tuesday, Bungie announced that one Light subclass will get a Stasis-style rework every season during Destiny 2 Year 5.

Destiny 2’s classes each have three Light subclasses: Void, Solar, and Arc. According to Bungie, it will change a new subclass every season throughout Year 5. These changes will start with Void subclasses with the release of the game’s The Witch Queen expansion.