Xbox Developer Direct: Every major game announcement

Here's everything revealed during the Xbox Developer Direct for January 2024.
xbox developer direct indiana jones

The Xbox Developer Direct has kicked off another massive year in gaming, with grand reveals for titles including MachineGames’ upcoming Indiana Jones adventure game, Avowed, Ara: History Untold, Visions of Mana, and Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2.

While Indiana Jones was the clear highlight of the event, everything had ample time to shine, with new gameplay footage and tantalising reveals paving the way for a strong 2024 for Microsoft and its subsidiaries.

Here’s everything announced during the Xbox Developer Direct for January 2024.

This article has been updated since its original publication.


The first game on show during the Xbox Developer Direct was Avowed, the new action-adventure game from Obsidian Entertainment. In the game, you’re a hero working to stop a mysterious plague, exploring a magical world and perfecting new skills.

This latest showcase for the game highlighted combat, which is described as “flexible” – you’ll be able to wield guns, swords, shields, and other tools to fight enemies, with “real-time decisions” needed, and not just hacking and slashing. Enemies will adapt to your combat techniques, requiring you to switch up your approach.

Following this showcase, Obsidian featured one of the game’s side quests, which requires you to investigate clues, and determine guilt in a particular crime. You’ll be able to make your choice based on your investigation, with a range of outcomes available – from the morally grey, to the pure, to the lightly evil. As you’d expect, each choice has an impact on the game’s world.

Avowed is launching in Autumn 2024 [Northern Hemisphere] for Xbox Series X/S and PC, but does not have a firm release date yet.

Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2

Next up, Ninja Theory popped in to talk about Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2, the upcoming dark fantasy adventure focused on a young warrior dealing with trauma and terror in an ancient world. In this game, which is in the final stages of development, Senua works to save her village from powerful forces, overcoming the fears in her own mind to forge a path ahead.

Hellblade 2 is set in 10th Century Iceland, and balances historical accuracy with a surreal lens. In the adventure, Senua will face off against a range of enemies transformed by her own psychosis. There’s giants and man-beasts, and ghouls and giants, and plenty of opportunities to test your skills as a fighter.

As described by the Ninja Theory team, the game is designed to make players feel like they “just scraped through,” as Senua is not a superhero.

Music and audio play an important part of this journey, with binaural sound allowing players to get into Senua’s headspace, while also understanding her more as a character. Ninja Theory wants players to think and feel while playing the game, and this is part of that experience.

Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 launches for Xbox Series X/S and PC on 21 May 2024.

Visions of Mana

Square Enix made a surprise-appearance next, to talk about the upcoming Visions of Mana, sequel to the long-running fantasy RPG series. The new showcase for this game spotlighted the long history of the series, and also revealed new adventure gameplay.

As detailed, Visions of Mana is heavily inspired by the past, with veteran designers working to create a faithful vision for a modern Mana game. For one thing, a lot of the monsters appearing in the game are based on their original counterparts, taken from designs created for Final Fantasy Adventure – the game that spawned the Mana series. One of the newer creatures in the game is a companion Pikul, a giant wolf-like creature inspired by pangolins.

Beyond the creatures, players will also likely experience a touch of nostalgia in the game’s music, with orchestral arrangements inspired directly by Mana‘s past. Likewise, the game’s combat also takes cues from everything that’s come before, although the team has modernised their approach, with new special attacks and smoother real-time battles.

Visions of Mana launches for Xbox Series X/S and PC in Summer 2024 [Northern Hemisphere].

Ara: History Untold

Next up, Oxide Interactive was up to talk about Ara: History Untold, a new “historical grand strategy” 4X game inspired by the team’s past work on the Civilization series. In the game, players will make choices for their burgeoning civilisations, ensuring success is in their near-future.

According to the Oxide team, gameplay takes place on a living map where choice impacts the scenery, and reshapes how lands grow. As these choices are made and new goals are pursued, players will gather “prestige” points which allow them to further expand their lands.

Those who’ve played a 4X game before will likely be familiar with the ideas backing Ara: History Untold. As detailed, players will be able to build out their civilisations in any way they choose, focussing on technology, armed forces, royal hierarchies, monuments, and other developments.

These developments will be guided by special Leaders, much like in Civilization, with each having traits and personalities that guide a player’s path.

Ara: History Untold launches for PC in Autumn 2024 [Northern Hemisphere].

Indiana Jones and the Great Circle

Finally, MachineGames popped up to share more about Indiana Jones and the Great Circle, a game that aims to “live up to the legacy” of the Indiana Jones film series. Todd Howard, director and executive producer at Bethesda Game Studios, reportedly pitched the project to Lucasfilm, and was a catalyst in its development.

The first trailer for the game was revealed during the Xbox Developer Direct, showing off a new bunch of Nazi bad guys, and a younger Indiana Jones in dire circumstances. As in the film series, he shares a likeness with Harrison Ford, although he’s voiced by Troy Baker.

The game itself plays out in first-person and third-person fashion. Indiana uses his whip in adventuring and combat segments, solves puzzles, and spends time wandering through ancient jungles, ice-capped mountains, and war-torn cities.

As detailed, the game is canon to the film series, and takes place between Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Last Crusade.

When the story kicks off, a seemingly unremarkable ancient relic is stolen from Indiana Jones, and he quickly sets about investigating why this particular relic is of interest to mysterious third parties. He travels to the Vatican at first, and then uncovers a wider story which takes him across the globe. You’ll go to Egypt, the Himalayas, and beyond in this journey, with each environment housing fresh puzzles and new drama.

The music will be a major part of this journey, with a focus on big band orchestra tunes, high-tension strings, and booming drum beats.

As shown off, your wits will also be essential in solving puzzles and defeating goons, with careful stealth combat being a major part of the game – or, when needed, Indiana Jones’ iconic whip can also be deployed. It allows you to attack or distract enemies, and you also use it to climb through environments, and solve puzzles.

As announced, Indiana Jones and the Great Circle launches for Xbox Series X/S and PC later in 2024.

You can catch up with the entire Xbox Developer Direct 2024 via YouTube.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.