Gears 6 and unannounced Xbox Game Studios projects outed via NVIDIA GeForce Now database

Gears 5
Gears 5 (Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

What you need to know

  • Contents of an internal NVIDIA database surfaced online on Sept. 13, including references to various upcoming projects from third-party video game publishers.
  • Gears 6 and other forthcoming projects from Microsoft's Xbox Game Studios are among those named, including a project dubbed Oxide.
  • Oxide refers to an upcoming strategy/simulation game published by Xbox Game Studios, internally named "Project Indus," according to sources familiar with the matter.

Update Sept. 13 (8:51 p.m. ET): 343 Industries community director, Brian Jarrard, has stated the studio has no plans to bring Halo 5: Guardians to PC at this time.

Update Sept. 14 (4:15 a.m. ET): NVIDIA has stated it's "aware" of a recent database leak, with contents used for "internal tracking and testing." The company has revoked public access to the database following reports.

Several unannounced Xbox Game Studios projects have surfaced via the NVIDIA GeForce Now database, providing possible insight into upcoming Microsoft-published titles. The database contents, published online following documentation released on Monday, refer to PC games in testing, including some tied to major third-party studios.

The database comes via NVIDIA's GeForce Now cloud gaming service, with developer Ighor July documenting a vulnerability that provided access to a database used for internal testing. The resulting list of titles, compiled by SteamDB creator Pavel Djundik, includes references to some foreseeable projects, plus some unlikely to resemble actual products launching anytime soon. However, the entries also shed light on Xbox's future, aligning information from sources familiar with Microsoft's plans.

Database entries include the first mention of Gears 6, the unannounced next title in Microsoft's Gears of War franchise. Vancouver-based studio and Gears caretaker, The Coalition, is expected to be working on the sixth mainline Gears of War game, following up on its acclaimed 2019 predecessor, Gears 5. Microsoft previously discussed Gears 5 in the context of a larger "saga," with more on The Coalition's next project likely to surface over the year ahead.

Halo 5: Guardians on PC makes an appearance, the last Halo title still to make the transition beyond the Xbox consoles. Halo: The Master Chief Collection currently serves as the closest thing to a complete Halo PC experience, a six-part compilation, spanning Halo: Combat Evolved through Halo 4. While developer 343 Industries has previously ruled out a PC debut for Halo 5: Guardians, its presence possibly implies some consideration from the studio.

Contraband E3 2021 Screenshot

Source: Avalanche Studios | YouTube (Image credit: Source: Avalanche Studios | YouTube)

The database also brings a series of codenames tied to upcoming Xbox Game Studios projects; Project Holland, Project Typhoon, Project Woodstock, and Oxide. Project Holland received an unveiling in 2020 as the Fable reboot, headed by a new team within Forza Horizon developer, Playground Games. Action-packed heist 'em up from Avalanche Studios, Contraband, was once rumored under its "Project Typhoon," while we understand Woodstock relates to the Forza franchise. The "unannounced" title attributed to The Initiative relates to the Perfect Dark reboot teased last December.

It's the first public mention of Microsoft's "Oxide" project, which our sources indicate is in the early stages of development. We understand Oxide is internally known as "Project Indus," a strategy/simulation title, drawing inspiration from the city-building genre.

The referenced projects provide a potential insight into what's ahead for Microsoft and Xbox, although as with any unannounced titles, plans can and will change. However, references to various internal codenames, some unreported, imply a level of legitimacy behind the contents.

We also understand NVIDIA GeForce Now and other cloud streaming services have played a more prominent role in game development throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, providing remote access in work-from-home environments. With such services playing an increasingly crucial role in creating games, we expect multiple entries to reference work unlikely to hit the market – at least, not anytime soon.

Update Sept. 13 (8:51 p.m. ET) — 343 Industries rules out Halo 5: Guardians PC release

343 Industries community director, Brian Jarrard, has stated the studio has no plans to bring Halo 5: Guardians to PC, at this time. "Maybe this was for [Halo 5: Forge] but I can confirm there are no plans to bring [Halo 5] to PC," Jarrard stated in a tweet. "We know there's some demand for it, but as we've stated before, not in the cards as the studio is fully focused on [Halo] Infinite and [Halo: The Master Chief Collection]. Will never say never, but nothing underway currently."

The reaffirmation comes in response to this latest leak, suggesting references to Halo 5 could relate to the Halo 5: Forge project, which brought the title's level-editing toolset to Windows 10 in late 2016. While the same NVIDIA GeForce Now database also names a "Halo 5: Forge Bundle," it appears Halo 5 isn't headed to PC anytime soon.

Update Sept. 14 (4:15 a.m. ET) — NVIDIA responds to GeForce Now database leak

NVIDIA has responded to the latest GeForce Now leak and revoked public access to the reported database. The company has stated it's "aware" of the published list of titles in a statement to Wccftech, claiming the database was used for "internal tracking and testing."

"NVIDIA is aware of an unauthorized published game list, with both released and/or speculative titles, used only for internal tracking and testing. Inclusion on the list is neither confirmation nor an announcement of any game," NVIDIA reportedly stated to Wccftech. "NVIDIA took immediate action to remove access to the list. No confidential game builds or personal information were exposed."

NVIDIA states the database was compiled of "released and/or speculative titles," although we also understand several entries tie back to genuine unannounced projects currently in development. The database includes codenames for internal Microsoft projects, adding credence to at least some of those titles named. However, as an internal database not intended for public consumption, it's safer to take these leaks lightly, until we hear more from the respective publishers.

Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden is a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by tea. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his XB2 Podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!