Games: Xbox fights back with trio of new consoles and hot new titles including Call of Duty: Black Ops 6

Neil checks out Microsoft’s plans to revive the fortunes of its ailing Xbox

Call of Duty: Black Ops 6
Call of Duty: Black Ops 6

What’s the point of Xbox these days? Much like Fearne Cotton or the UUP, there doesn’t seem to be any real purpose to Microsoft’s console brand.

With studio closures, dismal sales (PS5 now outsells Xbox by as much as five to one) and the family jewels being released on rival hardware, Microsoft needed to give its long-suffering fans a reason to keep the faith.

And, while last week’s Xbox Game Showcase won’t have coaxed any sweat from Sony, there were enough bangers to keep those Game Pass subscriptions flowing.

A new range of Xboxes is on its way
A new range of Xboxes is on its way

On the hardware front, a trio of new Xbox consoles was unveiled, including the digital-only Series X. But with no price drops for the middle-aged brand and the days of physical discs numbered, it seems Microsoft is looking to the next wee thing, and rumours abound that its next doodad will be a handheld.

This week, though, was all about the games, and after spending years - and billions - gobbling up studios, we finally started to see the fruits of Microsoft’s cash-splash.

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With its oh-so-British banter and potty humour, cult RPG Fable is one of the most beloved Xbox franchises, and its long-awaited reboot finally lands next year. Developed by Forza-mongers Playground Games, the fantasy role-player will star Stephen Fry, Richard Ayoade and Peep Show’s Super Hans, Matt King.

But if you like a little more red meat with your games, Gears of War: E-Day sees the undisputed jock of the shooter world cocking its hammer in a prequel set 14 years before the events of the original.

Spinning the yarn of the first Locust emergence, expect unfeasibly macho battles featuring familiar faces and the return of the series’ trademark cover-based blasting.

In fact, itchy trigger fingers will be scratched to the bone. Doom: The Dark Ages is a prequel to 2016′s handsome reboot telling the origin tale of the Doom Slayer, while the 90s-set Call of Duty: Black Ops 6 promises guns, conspiracies and motorbikes when it lands on October 25.

After years of radio silence it was announced that a reboot of Perfect Dark – Rare’s unofficial Goldeneye sequel – will return on Xbox, while this October sees Casper Van Dien’s Johnny Rico lead a band of roughnecks against Arachnids in Starship Troopers: Extermination, based on Paul Verhoeven’s campy anti-war satire.

Starship Troopers: Extermination
Starship Troopers: Extermination

The highlight, however, was Mixtape. From the developers behind 2022′s brilliant Artful Escape, three high schoolers relive their fondest memories through the power of music in an adventure that draws heavily from classic coming-of-age films and features a killer soundtrack from the likes of Roxy Music, The Smashing Pumpkins, Siouxsie and the Banshees and Joy Division.

Perhaps there is a point to Xbox after all…