April 2024 ID @ Xbox Showcase Roundup: Jackbox Naughty Pack, Times & Galaxy, and more

Spoiler Alert: No "Hollow Knight Silksong" Here

2024 is already exceeding my wildest expectations in terms of what to expect from the video game industry. After the phenomenal games from 2023 including Star Wars: Jedi Survivor, Starfield, and Baldur’s Gate III, I anticipated that this year would be somewhat calm with game releases. I am ecstatic to say that I was vastly mistaken and that 2024 is shaping up to be yet another amazing year for gaming. 

The ID @ Xbox Showcase on April 29th, 2024 highlighted a trove of indie games coming to the Xbox ecosystem this year. If you have read any of my other pieces, it should come as no surprise that I get more excited about indie games than games from bigger developers. While a good number of the games shown did not particularly appeal to me, there were a handful that I am excited for. Namely, I want to briefly talk about Lost Records: Bloom & Rage, Keylocker | Turn Based Cyberpunk Action, Jackbox Naughty Pack, and Times & Galaxy

Lost Records: Bloom & Rage is a new narrative adventure from DON’T NOD, the original developer of the Life is Strange series. In the same vein as their elder series, this new game utilizes a “choices matter” system where the actions you take will influence how the story plays out. On the developer’s website, the provided description of the game points towards a story that seems to combine that of Unpacking and the first Life is Strange game, saying the following:

Rewind back to 1995 in Lost Records: Bloom & Rage, a brand-new narrative adventure from the creative minds behind the critically acclaimed series, Life is Strange.  Film your last summer in Velvet Cove playing as Swann, a quirky introvert who loves capturing reality through the lens of her trusty camcorder. The magical summer of 1995 is one of self-discovery and forging unbreakable bonds for high school friends Swann, Nora, Autumn, and Kat. 27 years of no contact later, fate reunites them to confront the long-buried secret that made them promise to never speak again. What really happened that summer?

The game is set to release in late 2024 on Xbox, Steam, and PS5, and is available to wishlist on your platform of choice now. If this ends up having even a third of the narrative power that DON’T NOD’s other titles have then we are in for an emotional rollercoaster of a game.

Keylocker | Turn Based Cyberpunk Action started as a Kickstarter campaign in the Fall of 2021 and quickly surpassed its initial goals, reaching over $58,000 in funding from nearly 1,200 supporters. Developed by Moonana, this rhythm-based JRPG takes inspiration from the critically acclaimed Mario & Luigi RPG series and Chrono Trigger. The cyberpunk aesthetic combined with carefully thought-out systems including combat structure, dating/relationship building, and uniquely interesting characters has me hopeful that this may be a holiday season day-one pickup for many gamers. Keylocker is set to release on all consoles and PCs with a demo on Steam available to download now. 

After years of providing endless laughs for family game nights, Jackbox Games is going M-rated with their newest party game, Jackbox Naughty Pack. It is no secret that more “mature” fans of the Jackbox games have been implementing their own NSFW content into the party games thanks to the freeform nature of the games that allow players to write in, or in some cases draw in their own ideas. Developer Jackbox Games has decided to lean into this subsect of fans and create an adult-centric party pack. The trailer shown at the ID @ Xbox Showcase opened with quotes from “Carol from Rhode Island” so, whoever you are Carol, thank you for helping party game fans get the game that they have been craving. There is no release date set for this game yet, but it does promise to come out sometime in 2024. 

Finally, Times & Galaxy is probably the most unique of the games that I have talked about in this article. As with many of the games shown in this presentation, there was not a lot of clear information as to what this game will entail. However, the Steam page for Times & Galaxy describes how the game will center around the idea of players building their own stories as a journalist working to uncover the latest news across the galaxy. In between working on your robotic journalistic future, you will have the opportunity to explore the galaxy, seemingly at your leisure, and meet a plethora of other characters. The titular theme song played during the trailer shown at ID @ Xbox immediately had me humming along as if I were watching one of my favorite TV show openings. Once again, there is no solid release date beyond the promise of coming out sometime in 2024, but there is a demo available for download on Steam, which I plan to jump into sooner rather than later. 

The games that I have talked about barely scratch the surface of everything that was presented at the ID @ Xbox Showcase, so if you find any of this interesting then you should check out the full presentation that is up on IGN’s YouTube page. Which games are you excited for? Are there any games that were not shown that you were hoping for? Let me know, and as always, game on friends!