Well, that took a while. We’re seven months into the year, and Game Pass is only just getting its first first-party offering of 2022: the narrative party game As Dusk Falls. But that’s not the only title en route to Microsoft’s games-on-demand service. Here’s everything coming to Game Pass in the coming weeks:
As Dusk Falls (Cloud, Console, PC)
Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation (PC)
Watch Dogs 2 (Cloud, Console, PC)
Moto GP 22 (Cloud, Console, PC)
Torment: Tides of Numenera (Cloud, Console)
Inside (Cloud, Console, PC)
Meanwhile, the following will be unavailable as of July 31:
Dodgeball Academia (Cloud, Console, PC)
Katamari Damacy Reroll (Cloud, Console, PC)
Lumines Remastered (Cloud, Console, PC)
Omno (Cloud, Console, PC)
Raji: An Ancient Epic (Cloud, Console, PC)
The big selling point of Game Pass isn’t just that you get instant access to a Netflix-style digital library containing hundreds of games. It’s that you get every single first-party Xbox game—from tentpoles like Forza Horizon 5 to smaller fare like Obsidian’s forthcoming Pentiment—on their release day at no extra cost. Here’s the entire list of games published by Xbox Game Studios, Microsoft’s first-party publishing label, so far this year:
Yes, Xbox Game Studios hasn’t published a game since last fall’s Halo Infinite. This dearth of first-party releases has led some Game Pass subscribers to publicly point out how the service isn’t fully living up to its promise. But at its not-E3 press conference in June, Microsoft claimed 50 major games would head to Game Pass over the next year, many of which are set to be published by Xbox Game Studios.
The first of those is As Dusk Falls, developed by the UK-based studio Interior Night. It’s not strictly exclusive in the way, say, Sony’s first-party games are; like all Xbox-published games these days, it’s coming to PC, too, a measure of Microsoft’s eternal quest for cross-platform play. As Dusk Falls will also be available on Steam and the Microsoft Store. But players on PlayStation and Switch won’t get it, so the game is for all intents and purposes exclusive.
I had a chance to play an early chapter of As Dusk Falls at a preview event last month. Though it’s ostensibly a choose-your-own adventure narrative game—a crime mystery set in the late ‘90s—the story isn’t the main draw. As Dusk Falls is really a party game. Up to eight players can play at a time by linking their smartphones to the game. At any narrative junction, the game pauses while players vote on what actions a certain character should take, but every player has a limited number of overrides they can use to dictatorially decide the group’s choice. (My choice, every time? Chaos.) It is riotous.
While it’s a blast and totally worth checking out with a group of friends, As Dusk Falls isn’t the sort of big first-party blockbuster that funnels new subscribers into the folds of Game Pass. But hey, at least it’s something.