What to expect from this summer's big video game shows

Between Summer Game Fest and the Xbox showcase, June is jam-packed.

It’s June, and video game fans across the globe know what that means – it’s not E3. Again. The old, in-person gaming show has been canceled for the third year in a row, but this summer will still be filled with news and virtual events, thanks in large part to Canada’s sweetheart Geoff Keighley.

It all takes place in early June, which is like right now, so let’s take a look at the schedule for Summer Game Fest and break down what to expect from the studios involved.

Summer Game Fest is less a singular event and more a state of mind. It comprises a handful of virtual shows spread over 10 days, starting on June 2nd with the PlayStation State of Play stream. This one already happened, and it was short and sweet, focusing on content for PlayStation VR 2. Capcom kicked things off with a reveal of the Resident Evil 4 remake, the announcement of a VR version of Resident Evil: Village, and a release window of 2023 for Street Fighter 6. Square Enix also showed off the first gameplay trailer for Final Fantasy XVI, complete with a 2023 timeframe for launch. Oddly enough, there’s still no word on when the PSVR2 will actually come out.

Resident Evil 4 remake
Resident Evil 4 (Capcom)

After that, Activision is hosting its own little party for the reveal of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II on June 8th at 1pm ET. The game is a sequel to 2019's Modern Warfare and a reboot of the series. This show literally just wrapped up, and Activision shared its plans to bring Modern Warfare II's technology to the new Warzone, which will land after October this year. No Russian, the controversial airport mission from the original Modern Warfare II, will not be included in the reboot.

Summer Game Fest officially kicks off with a big live-streamed event on June 9th at 2pm ET. Hosted by Keighley, the show is expected to be two hours long and will feature announcements from the usual suspects, including 2K, Atlus, Bloober Team, Capcom, EA, Epic Games, Warner Bros. and Square Enix. The Day of the Devs stream directly after the main show will spotlight indie games specifically, backed by iam8bit and Double Fine.

Not much has been publicly confirmed for the kickoff show, but we’ll definitely get a fresh look at Gotham Knights, an appearance by The Rock, and lots of raw gameplay footage, according to Keighley. Even with State of Play last week, there’s still room for Capcom to drop some details about DLC for Resident Evil: Village, and for Square Enix to showcase Forspoken, which comes out in October. Atlus may show off something in the Persona universe, and rumor has it Bloober Team is working on a Silent Hill game — but it could also be building a new Layers of Fear.

Next on the calendar is indie publisher Devolver Digital, with a Twitch stream on June 9th at 6pm ET, the same night as the main Summer Game Fest event. It’s Devolver, so this show’s gonna be weird. It’s gonna have a lot of f-bombs. It’s gonna leave you with the feeling that Devolver is scrappy and relatable, but also way too cool for you. It’s gonna try really hard to disguise the fact that yes, even Devolver’s show is simply another long ad from a company entrenched in the video game industry’s multibillion dollar corporate system – but most of all, I bet it’ll be funny as hell. Devolver always puts on a good show, and they always have a rich roster of indie developers to choose from. This year should be no different, with Suda51 hosting the stream and recent hits like Death’s Door, Inscryption, Trek to Yomi and Weird West on the publisher’s roster.

Immortality (Half Mermaid)

On June 10th, there’s a Netflix Geeked Week stream followed by a Tribeca Games Spotlight focusing on a curated selection of upcoming indie titles, including Immortality, Thirsty Suitors, As Dusk Falls and Oxenfree II. And then, on June 12th, it’s time for the most E3 event of the summer – the Xbox and Bethesda showcase.

The Xbox and Bethesda stream kicks off at 1pm ET on Sunday, June 12th. There are no confirmed announcements so far, but the show’s cosmic marketing scheme suggests we’ll see something from Starfield, Bethesda’s huge new sci-fi RPG. This will be bittersweet for anyone who’s been following the game’s development – just last month, Bethesda delayed Starfield into the first half of 2023, pushing it back from an initial release date of November 11th, 2022. Aside from a few teaser videos and dev diaries, we haven’t seen much of Starfield, and the Xbox show is the ideal time to break out some actual gameplay and maybe even convince fans that the delay will be worthwhile.

It’s very possible we’ll get a good look at another delayed Bethesda property – Redfall, the open-world, co-op vampire shooter developed by Dishonored studio Arkane. Redfall was originally supposed to come out this summer, but Bethesda pushed it into the first half of 2023 alongside Starfield. It’d be great to see some gameplay from this title, since so far the marketing has consisted of stylized, cinematic videos. And to round out the Bethesda properties, there’s always a chance that Elder Scrolls 6 will make an appearance, considering we haven’t seen anything about it since 2018 – you know, back when E3 was still a thing.

But that’s enough about Bethesda – Xbox owns 23 game studios and it has Game Pass, the company’s subscription game-streaming service that’s sure to be mentioned every other minute during the show. Other potential hits for the Xbox stream include Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II, the next Forza Motorsport, and maybe even something about the new Fable that was announced in 2020. And of course there’s always room for Halo: Infinite updates.

Senua's Saga: Hellblade II
Senua's Saga: Hellblade II (Ninja Theory)

With Sony and Microsoft chugging along in the latest console generation, the focus right now is on software, and both studios have plenty to prove in this space. Sony barely participated in the summer’s events and the company doesn’t seem interested in talking about major in-house projects like God of War: Ragnarok or Insomniac’s Spider-Man 2. Meanwhile, two significant delays from Xbox this year were a big blow to the company’s reputation, especially considering how important first-party exclusives are in a subscription-based ecosystem. Xbox promises to include its blockbuster games in Game Pass subscriptions on day one, at no extra charge, while that isn’t the case with Sony’s new subscription service, PlayStation Plus Premium. This poses a significant consumer-facing advantage for Xbox and I expect to hear a lot about first-party exclusives in Game Pass during the company’s big show.

And with that, it looks like Summer Game Fest is done – but there’s still plenty more gaming news to come this year. Nintendo loves to host digital showcases whenever it damn well pleases and we’re just about due for another one; EA usually has a show of its own at some point; Sony still has plenty of PSVR2 and PS Plus Premium details to share, and Microsoft will never stop talking about Game Pass. In fact, Xbox is hosting a second showcase on June 14th. And when all else fails, there are so many indie games, you guys. Let’s all have some fun.