5 predictions for an Xbox Developer Direct curveball

From Contraband to Perfect Dark, here are some potential wildcard surprises that could appear at this month's Xbox Developer Direct.

Xbox Developer Direct January 2024 predictions: an image of sarah morgan from starfield and jack joyce from quantum break

There isn’t much that beats a surprise announcement during a gaming showcase, and Xbox is no stranger to catching its fans off guard with a wildcard announcement – y’all remember that Hi-Fi Rush stealth drop, right? For this month’s Xbox Developer Direct, Microsoft has seemingly already set out its stall, but that’s not to see we won’t be blindsided by something. So, we’ve put our thinking caps on and come up with five left field predictions for the Direct.

Last year was a big year for Xbox with heavy hitters like Starfield and Forza Motorsport, and now 2024 is looking to be equally important for Microsoft’s current-gen console. We’ll soon see what new Xbox games are on the horizon, including the first gameplay trailer for Machine Games’ Indiana Jones. Anything can happen during these showcases, though, and in that spirit, here are some Xbox Developer Direct predictions we want to see come true.

5. Contraband gameplay reveal

Avalanche Studios, not to be confused with the Hogwarts Legacy developer Avalanche Games, has been quietly working on this heist caper since its announcement in 2021. Contraband is billed as “a co-op smuggler’s paradise set in the fictional world of 1970s Bayan”, shifting the tone away from the explosive euphoria of the Just Cause games. While we know Contraband is an open-world title, there isn’t much to be gleaned from its debut trailer. In fact, its trailer is almost beat-for-beat like the Indiana Jones game trailer in terms of style. Is this the new precedent for Xbox game reveals?

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Either way, we’re looking forward to seeing how Avalanche Studios handles a multiplayer game, following years of experience primarily in the single-player space. There’s some pressure on Contraband’s shoulders too, as the studio’s last major release, Just Cause 4, didn’t exactly meet the standard set by previous entries. However, we also got the excellent Mad Max game from Avalanche, so all is forgiven. 

4. Perfect Dark remake update

There’s an age-old debate about whether Perfect Dark or Goldeneye is the better FPS title from RARE (spoilers, it’s still Goldeneye). No matter which way you lean, they are both two of the best FPS games ever made, and a Perfect Dark remake could be excellent with current-gen hardware. It won’t be coming from RARE, though, as Crystal Dynamics and The Initiative are teaming up to bring it to life. Perfect Dark will serve as the former’s first major release, as the studio was formed back in 2018. 

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The Initiative consists of some serious talent: Red Dead Redemption writer Christian Cantamessa, God of War (2018) producer Brian Westergaard, and other devs formerly of Bioware, Rockstar Games, Naughty Dog, and Blizzard Entertainment. Rumors claim it could take on an episodic form, but what we know for sure is that it’ll have the power of Unreal Engine 5 behind it. Fingers crossed it can capture the magic of the original.

3. Starfield DLC gets a release date

The future is still as bright as the star’s surrounding all the Starfield planets. While Starfield’s reputation has taken a hit recently, with review bombing plaguing its online presence, there is a chance that the upcoming Shattered Space DLC could win players back over. It may not fix the game’s general jank and dated mechanics in comparison to other best RPG game candidates like Baldur’s Gate 3, but a solid story can do wonders if told correctly. 

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We were surprised to see that Todd Howard didn’t announce this during The Game Awards last month, but the Xbox Developer Direct is a prime place for Bethesda to show its cards.

2. Baldur’s Gate games comes to Xbox Game Pass

Could Larian Studios really put Baldur’s Gate 3 on Xbox Game Pass this soon? It does sound like a tall order, but given the game’s astronomical success, we wouldn’t be surprised if Microsoft has offered an equally big check as a result. We previously reported that Larian Studios itself isn’t interested in bringing BG3 to Xbox Game Pass right now, but perhaps the studio has had a change of heart. 

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Even if BG3 doesn’t make a huge splash on the service, fresh rumors indicate that the first two Baldur’s Gate games will be joining the ranks of the best Xbox Game Pass games around, which indicates to us that Larian isn’t completely against the idea. So, there’s maybe a 0.1% chance of a colossal announcement that BG3 is joining Game Pass, but it’s far more likely that it’ll just be the first two games – potentially, as a shadow drop on the day.

1. Quantum Break 2 announcement

We’re really shooting for the stars with this one. Remedy Entertainment is still celebrating the success of Alan Wake 2, which delivered an experience unlike any other – and one of the best horror games you’ll ever play. Though the studio is working on Alan Wake 2 DLC, Control 2, and its multiplayer spin-off, there is always the possibility that Microsoft is considering just how impactful the Remedy Connected Universe is becoming. It is clear that Sam Lake is still eager to tell more stories in the Quantum Break realm, too. 

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It doesn’t get more in-your-face than having Quantum Break’s lead actor Shawn Ashmore portray a sheriff with a very subtle name. We’re looking at you, Tim(e) Breaker. Quantum Break was also the Xbox One’s best new IP for Microsoft following the console’s launch, which persisted until the arrival of Sea of Thieves. Microsoft still owns the IP for Quantum Break at present, making it tough for Remedy Entertainment to jumpstart a sequel on its own. We keep on praising the Champion of Light in the meantime. 

So those are our (extremely bold) predictions for the upcoming Xbox Developer Direct. Even if none of these happen, we know that we’ll get to see some of the best Xbox games on the agenda for 2024 and beyond.