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Just Cause devs’ Xbox exclusive Contraband reportedly faces huge delay

The long-awaited co-op heist game Contraband could stare down a massive delay on Xbox, following recent layoffs at Avalanche Studios.

Contraband xbox delay: An image of Rico Rodriguez in Just Cause 3 and an image of Contraband trailer.

The wait for Avalanche Studios’ heist title Contraband already feels like a long one, especially since it has been six years since the developer released Just Cause 4 on consoles. Now, the studios’ forthcoming Xbox exclusive may see it extensively delayed, as a string of layoffs have hit Avalanche recently.

In a new episode of the Xbox News Cast podcast, reporter ‘Middleagegamegy’ claims that Contraband won’t be joining the roster of new Xbox games, like Indiana Jones and the Great Circle, set to release for later this year. “I have been told that it’s been delayed, and that it’s going to be delayed well into 2025, [it] could be the end of 2025 for all we know,” alleges the Xbox leaker. Additionally, he purports that people who have played the open world game early believe that the “game was fun, it was great, it was a very early build.”

Earlier this year, Middleagegamegy also suggested that Contraband’s gameplay was similar to that of underrated FPS game Battlefield Hardline – a very surprising comparison to you, I’m sure. He also claimed that the heavily rumored Gear of Wars Collection was in a testing phase.

With Contraband focusing on all things larceny in another fictional paradise akin to the Just Cause franchise, we wouldn’t be surprised if you could bend both sides of the law to your will. Hardline’s campaign was presented in a cinematic format to emulated prestige TV shows, and I reckon that same level of cheesy cop procedural drama is perfect for Contraband’s co-op game fun.

The Just Cause games revel in paying tribute to 80s action movies like Commando, and that kind of love is surely going to transfer over to pulling off the perfect heist. Whether it does or not, the leaker’s claims may have some credibility, as Avalanche has recently laid off an estimated 50 staff members. It has also closed down its Montreal and New York City branches, the former of which was opened last March after its acquisition of Monster Closet – a studio headed up by former Ubisoft talent. Avalanche’s New York City team is known for helming Just Cause 3, while the studios’ Stockholm branch worked on the Mad Max tie-in game.

Word on Contraband has been exceptionally slim since its initial reveal at the Xbox Showcase in June 2021. We hoped it would appear at the Xbox Developer Direct earlier this year, but it wasn’t to be. There’s a chance it will make a sneaky appearance at the upcoming Xbox Showcase on Sunday, June 9, 2024. You can prepare for that with our predictions here.

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In other gaming news, Xbox’s huge Call of Duty sale is set to end very soon, and this foul-mouthed Game Pass record breaker is leaving Xbox players soon.