Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order and Bethesda Softworks’ Fallout 76 headline games PlayStation Plus Essential subscribers get access to beginning Jan. 2, Sony announced on Wednesday. They’re joined by Axiom Verge 2, the side-scrolling indie Metroidvania that launched in 2021.
Fallen Order needs little introduction; it’s a Star Wars adventure set in the aftermath of the Empire’s hunt for, and elimination of, the Jedi Knights. Although loaded with action and lightsaber combat, the game’s deep exploration and platforming puzzles will appeal to players looking for more cerebral challenges.
Fallout 76 is an interesting selection, as Bethesda Softworks is an Xbox studio, although Microsoft acquired it about two years after Fallout 76 launched in 2018. Still, this is the first PS Plus title published by a Microsoft-owned studio since Fallout 4 was offered in the PlayStation Plus Collection, available to buyers of the PlayStation 5 since its launch in 2020.
Microsoft has also been going back and forth with Sony over the former’s planned acquisition of Activision. Sony has appealed to regulators in the U.S. and Europe to block that deal, saying Microsoft’s ownership of games like Call of Duty and Diablo would give it an unfair marketplace advantage.
Microsoft says it has offered Sony a 10-year agreement to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation; Bloomberg also reported two weeks ago that Microsoft offered to allow Call of Duty to be distributed over the PlayStation Plus network. The United States’ Federal Trade Commission on Dec. 8 formally filed a lawsuit to block the $68.7 billion deal, announced almost one year ago.
Axiom Verge 2 is the third game subscribers may pick up; it’s the sequel to 2015’s Axiom Verge, which was built over a five-year span largely by one developer, Thomas Happ. Happ self-published the game for PlayStation 4 in August 2021, adding a PlayStation 5 version one year later.
PlayStation Plus subscribers can still pick up December’s Essential-level games — Biomutant, Mass Effect Legendary Edition, and Divine Knockout — through Monday, Jan. 1.
Playstation Plus Essential, formerly known as PlayStation Plus, is sold as a monthly, three-month, and annual subscription, for $9.99, $24.99, and $59.99, respectively. The subscription is necessary for online play on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5. For more, see our recent analysis of the 37 games PlayStation Plus offered in 2022.