The Xbox Series X is aiming to launch this holiday season, bringing better resolution, higher frame rates, and ray tracing to gamers around the world. These upcoming Xbox Series X games should showcase that.
In May and July, Microsoft held all-digital events to show a slate of new games to the world. Some of these games will take advantage of all specs the Series X has to offer, earning an “Optimized for Series X” badge, while others will not. These games will showcase fast load times, improved graphical fidelity, and frame rates up to 120 frames per second. Some — though not all — will even take advantage of Microsoft’s new Smart Delivery system, which allows you to purchase a game one time and access the best version of that title no matter which console you’re playing on.
If you’re eager to find out what Microsoft has in store for the years ahead, we’ve rounded up every game confirmed so far, including new offerings, franchise installments, and ports of existing titles. Needless to say, Halo Infinite is just the beginning.
Halo Infinite is the next chapter in the Halo franchise and will launch alongside the Xbox Series X. It’s one of the most anticipated Series X releases as of right now, one that continues the story of Halo 5: Guardians. From what we’ve heard thus far, it seems to be even more ambitious than previous games in the series, powered by the 343’s new Slipspace Engine. The Slipspace Engine breathes new life into the Halo universe, as it better conveys the characters’ emotions. We also know that the game is larger than the previous two Halo games combined, at least according to Microsoft’s July 20/20 Series X event.
State of Decay 3
State of Decay 3 exists, and that’s about all we know. A follow-up to Undead Labs’ open-world zombie game a few years ago, State of Decay 3 is launching exclusively on Xbox Series X and PC and will be coming to Game Pass on release day.
A new Forza game is hardly a surprise, but we’re getting another, simply titled Forza Motorsport. We don’t have a release date on this one yet, but we know it’s coming to Xbox Series X and PC exclusively, and that it’ll feature real-time ray tracing at 4K and 60 frames per second.
Avowed is probably still a few years off, especially with The Outer Worlds DLC shipping soon. We know, however, that it’s coming, and it’s coming exclusively to Xbox Series X and PC. It’s a presumably open-world, first-person RPG similar to Skyrim. The game takes place in Eora, the same world as Pillars of Eternity, and features melee combat and spell-casting, at least based off the teaser.
As Dusk Falls
As Dusk Falls is the first game from Interior Night, a U.K.-based studio made up of former Sony and Quantic Dream developers (known for work on Detroit: Become Human and Beyond Two Souls). True to form, As Dusk Falls is a narrative-driven adventure game involving two families over the course of two generations. We haven’t seen any gameplay, but it looks like As Dusk Falls could use hand-painted images to tell its story, like a beautiful graphic novel playing out on screen. We’ll know when the game launches on Xbox Series X, PC, and Xbox One, probably in 2021.
Microsoft didn’t show much on S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 in its latest showcase, but we at least know that the game is making its console debut on Series X. A PC exclusive series for many years, this survival horror shooter will likely stretch the limits of the Series X when it launches. If you need more horsepower, it’s coming to PC, too.
Tetris Effect: Connected
Tetris Effect has been around for a couple of years, though exclusively on PS4 and the Epic Games Store. Microsoft is bringing an enhanced version with deeper multiplayer mechanics in 2020 as a timed exclusive for Xbox One, Series X, and PC. Tetris Effect: Connected will release on other platforms in summer 2021.
Warhammer 40K: Darktide
We still don’t know much about Warhammer 40K: Darktide, but it comes from Vermintide developer Fatshark, so that provides a pretty big clue. It’s a four-player co-op shooter where you take on mobs of enemies, similar to Left 4 Dead. It’s launching as a timed-exclusive on PC and Xbox Series X, though we don’t have a release window yet.
The Gunk is a new action-adventure game from Steamworld developer Image and Form. As the studio’s first foray into the 3D realm, it’ll be interesting to see how The Gunk turns out when it launches as a timed-exclusive on Series X, Xbox One, and PC in September 2021.
The Fable franchise is getting a reboot with Fable, developed by Forza Horizon studio Playground Games. We don’t know much about the game, short of a vague announcement trailer shown during Microsoft’s July Xbox Series X showcase. We don’t have a release date yet, so it’ll likely be many moons before we dive back into the fantasy world Lionhead created years ago. We do know, however, that the game is coming to Xbox Series X and PC, and that it’s launching on Game Pass.
Psychonauts is back, and Double Fine Productions is in charge of developing the once-dormant, Xbox-exclusive series. In this installment, Raz must use his power to bring Maligula back from the dead. Although Microsoft showed more of the game during its July showcase, there still isn’t a release date. Psychonauts 2 will launch on Xbox Series X, PS4, Xbox One, PC, Mac, and Linux.
Crossfire X, a PC classic, is making its way to Xbox consoles in 2020. Crossfire is a FPS that pits two private military factions against one another, allowing you to choose a side and complete missions curated for that particular faction. The new campaign, developed by famed Control and Alan Wake developer Remedy Entertainment, is launching on Xbox One and Series X this year, though it doesn’t appear to be coming to Game Pass.
Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II
Hellblade II is the next entry in the Hellblade franchise from developer Ninja Theory. Senua’s Saga is a direct sequel to Hellblade: Senuas Sacrifice, which focused on a broken Celtic warrior who was haunted by visions and voices in her head as she fought for the soul of her lover. The developers of the first game tapped neuroscientists and people who experience psychosis to create the eeriness of the first Hellblade, which we expect to carry on in the second.
The Lord of the Rings: Gollum
The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is a narrative-focused adventure game that focuses on the events that occur between Gollum finding the One Ring and the start of the Lord of the Rings story we all know and love. Deadalic Entertainment inked a deal with Middle-Earth Enterprises to develop this project, meaning the game will be more akin to the books, not the movies.
The Medium is a horror game developed by Bloober Team. In this dual-reality horror title, you play as a medium living in both the real world and a spirit world. Haunted by a vision of a murdered child, you set out to get to the bottom of a tragedy, sifting through puzzles in an eerie world set to the music of Arkadiusz Reikowski and Akira Yamaoka (of Silent Hill fame).
Announced during the XO19 event by Microsoft, Everwild is the new title from Rare Studios. Everwild is an adventure game with a similar art style to that of Rare’s Sea of Thieves. There has not been a confirmed release date or much information about the gameplay. However, check out the trailer for Everwild to get a glimpse of what the game will look like graphically.
Bright Memory Infinite
Bright Memory Infinite is a sci-shooter with an episodic twist. The game, developed by indie Chinese studio FYQD Studio, takes the FPS genre and adds close-quarters combat, delivering fast-paced action as you take on the role of Shelia, an employee of the Science Research Organization tasked with stopping a military organization from acquiring a legendary ancient power that can reawaken the dead.
Early episodes of the game have been available through Steam’s Early Access program since last year and have received positive reviews from critics. The original Bright Memory was developed by a single person, showcasing the power of Unreal Engine for solo developers. There were plenty of bugs and instruction issues — mainly because of poor translation — but we expect those issues to be cleaned up when the game launches for current-gen consoles and Series X later this year.
Call of the Sea
Call of the Sea is a first-person puzzle game developed by Raw Fury. Set in the 1930s, Call of the Sea tells the story of Norah, a woman on the trail of her missing husband’s expedition. Cissy Jones — of Firewatch and Walking Dead fame — voices the main character, and though little is known about the title, we do know it will have you exploring the South Pacific, a locale filled with ample secrets and puzzles to uncover.
Dirt 5, coming in October, is the latest installment in Codemasters’ off-road series. The forthcoming installment adds new features and innovations, allowing players to create highlight reel moments with ease. With the broadest range of cars of any Dirt game, you will be able to drive rally cars, trucks, GT heroes, and a lot more.
Four-player split-screen is another feature that Dirt 5 offers, so get your friends ready to create some fantastic highlight reels. The prestigious voice talents of Troy Baker and Nolan North are also there to help guide you throughout the Career mode.
Gears 5 is getting a free, next-generation upgrade for Xbox Series X via the Smart Delivery system. Gears 5 will be able to take advantage of the improved hardware, offering 60 fps for cutscenes instead of the 30 fps that are available on the Xbox One. If you never experienced Gears 5 on the Xbox One X or PC, the Series X may be the place to experience a staple franchise in the Xbox first-party catalog.
The story in Gears 5 takes place right after Gears 4 and focuses on Kait Diaz. Gears 5 is bigger in terms of size and scope than any previous installment of the series, and you can play with up to two other people. You can also play as Jack and support your fellow gear soldiers with crowd controls. Gears 5 introduces Escape as well, a new game mode that puts the pressure on you and your fireteam as you try to destroy a Swarm hive from the inside out. Expect Gears 5 to be stunning at 4K 60 fps.
Read our full Gears 5 review
Rainbow Six Siege
Tactical shooter Rainbow Six Siege, one of Ubisoft’s most successful games on current-gen consoles, will be available on the X Series and have a cross-gen multiplayer. With more than 54 playable characters, the multiplayer shooter stands out from the crowd as a slower-paced, more realistic shooter compared to the Call of Duty series or popular battle royales. In every multiplayer match, one of two five-player teams plays defense while the other attacks, one playing a terrorist group and the other a conglomeration of special forces meant to stop them.
No word yet about if it will utilize Xbox Smart Delivery or will be Xbox Series X optimized.
Read our full Rainbow Six Siege review
First-person horror game Scorn drops players into a nightmarish, puzzle-filled world. The game has been in the works since 2013 and is finally being released as the ultimate horror experience on Xbox. According to developer Ebb Software, the world of Scorn draws visual inspiration from Swiss painter H.R. Giger and Polish painter Zdzislaw Beksinski, and conceptual inspiration has come from works by notable writers Franz Kafka, Thomas Ligotti, and J.G. Ballard, among others. Basically, this is going to be a dreamworld experience like no other.
The Ascent is a cyberpunk action RPG that can be taken on solo or with friends. On the world of Veles, players start off as a worker at The Ascent Group, a dystopian mega-corporation that essentially owns everything — and everyone. One day, however, the corporation shuts down for unknown reasons, and the metropolis you live in plunges into chaos, leaving you and your friends to survive, fight crime syndicates, and stop other corporations from moving in and staking claim to your district.
You’re able to fully customize your character’s appearance, skills, and abilities throughout the game as you work to defeat rival corporations. Shooting and looting are staples, but there are plenty of strategies involved when squaring up against your enemies and finding their weaknesses.
Yakuza: Like a Dragon
Sega and Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio are back again with the next installment in the Yakuza franchise. In Like a Dragon, you play as Ichiban Kasuga, a low-ranking yakuza grunt taking on the underworld of modern-day Japan. Kasuga is asked by the leader of the Tojo Clan’s Arakawa Family to go to prison for a murder he didn’t commit to protect the real killer. After taking the fall and emerging from prison 18 years later, however, Kasuga does not get a welcome back party, and much of the game is spent uncovering the reason for his prison sentence while enacting revenge on various crime bosses. Of course, the mission can’t be complete without bringing together a party of allies. You’re able to customize Kasuga’s role and skills as well — he can become a bodyguard, a musician, or even a chef throughout his journey. Also, it wouldn’t be a Yakuza game if you were not able to take a break from fighting and sing a couple of karaoke gems.
Like a Dragon first launched in January as a Japanese exclusive, but is slated for release on both current-gen consoles and the Series X later this year.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is the next installation in Ubisoft’s popular gaming franchise. The title sees you taking on the role of Eivor, a Viking raider exploring ninth-century Norway and England, as he leads a crew of raiders and launches an attack on Saxon armies and fortresses. Opposing the Vikings is Aelfred the Great, king of Wessex, who led the Anglo-Saxon resistance to the Viking invaders.
Every choice that you make creates an exciting path forward. Vikings are known to be ruthless, and the weapon choices in Valhalla exudes that. You’ll often find yourself dual-wielding axes and swords, for instance, as well as taking up shields against your foes. Plus, it wouldn’t be an Assassin’s Creed game without your hidden blade.
Watch Dogs: Legion
Watch Dogs: Legion is the next installment in Ubisoft’s stealth-hacking series. This time, there isn’t a main character — in this installment, you can play as anyone, with each character having their own story. Throughout the game, you can recruit anyone to join you in the fight against the authoritarian government. Your decisions, when engaging with individuals, will determine if they are for your hacktivist group or in opposition. There are nearly endless possibilities in Watch Dogs: Legion, and now you can play with up to three friends in online co-op missions.
Gods and Monsters
From the team that developed Assassin’s Creed Odyssey comes Gods and Monsters, an open-world adventure that fans believe will hit similar notes to Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The storybook-esque game will see players embark on a trek to the historical Isle of the Blessed, which is overrun by mythical creatures. This game is all about restoring the powers of the gods that have fallen victim to Typhon, one of the most deadly creatures in Greek mythology. The gameplay is filled with puzzles, magical dungeons, and plenty of combat, the latter of which allows you to hone your God-given abilities against a litany of dangerous beasts.
Observer: System Redux
Blooper Team’s Observer: System Redux — first released in 2017 — is a dark, cyberpunk horror experience like no other. Players take on the role of Daniel Lazarski, an investigator who can view the memories and thoughts of suspects, and explore a world filled with mind-altering drugs and neural implants. The upcoming Observer: System Redux is more than a typical remaster, however, as it will feature new gameplay and story content, as well as graphics and gameplay improvements.
From Square Enix and People Can Fly comes Outriders, a spacey co-op shooter set in a dark and desperate universe. The title uses the same kind of third-person mechanics found in games like Bulletstorm and Gears of War: Judgement and takes place on an alien planet called Enoch, one humanity once attempted to colonize before discovering a massive energy storm known as the Anomaly. Needless to say, Outriders looks to be a combination of rich storytelling, coercive powers, and massive weaponry, whether you intend to tackle the hostile planet solo or with friends.
Chorus is a modern take on the classic space shooters developed by Deep Silver. The title is expected to be a fast-paced, single-player experience, one that pits you against hordes of enemy starfighters, large battleships, and unknown Void entities. You can play as one of two characters: An ace pilot and ex-cultist named Nara or Forsaken, a sentient AI starfighter. Throughout the game, you will be able to unlock devastating weapons, mind-bending abilities, and engage in zero-g combat.
Madden NFL 21 (TBA)
Madden NFL 21 is the next installment in the popular football franchise and will feature Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson on the cover. EA is using a system similar to Microsoft’s Smart Delivery, though EA stipulates that players will have a limited window to upgrade to the Series X version of the game. As of right now, gamers will have until March 31, 2021, to upgrade a current version of Madden 21 to a next-gen version.
EA has not revealed much about Battlefield 6, a high-action FPS, except for it being released during the company’s fiscal year of 2022 (which means April 2021 to March 2022). We do know that it is in development for next-gen consoles, though. Battlefield games are known for lots of destruction, so it is likely going to take full advantage of the hardware specs that the Xbox Series X has to offer.
In the aptly titled Microman, you play as a janitor shrunk to the size of an ant. The premise is pretty basic — you fight for your life against ants, spiders, frogs, and rats as you attempt to return to normal — but some mechanics might push the simulator a bit further. You can utilize butterflies as transportation, for instance, or make use of various utensils as weapons. Developer Glob Games claims the concept to be reminiscent of Marvel’s Ant-Man or Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, which, on the surface, seems fair.
Rainbow Six Quarantine
Ubisoft hasn’t revealed much about Rainbow Six Quarantine, a tactical co-op FPS, since the teaser trailer debuted at E3 2019. We do know that the tactical shooter will feature various operators from Rainbow Six Siege and that they’ll face off against the mutated, alien parasite. A new, distinct team is developing Rainbow Six Quarantine at Ubisoft, so, while its a member of the Rainbow Six lineup, we’re expecting a different vibe.
Scarlet Nexus is an action JRPG from the minds behind Tales of Vesperia. It’s set in a distant future, one where people showcase extrasensory powers thanks to a psionic hormone found in the human brain. As humanity grapples with this step in human evolution, the world is attacked by mutants, known as Others, who are hungry for human brains. The deranged mutants cannot be stopped with traditional weapons, however, leaving gifted psionics as the world’s only defense.
As Other Suppression Force recruit Yuito Sumeragi, you explore the advanced city of New Himuka and uncover the mysteries of a Brain Punk, fighting off mutants with your extrasensory powers.
The Second Extinction
The Second Extinction is a FPS developed by Systemic Reaction. Teamwork is vital in this co-op title, and you must use a unique set of weapons, abilities, and skills as you work to eradicate mutated dinosaurs and reclaim Earth through a series of short guerilla missions. While details remain slim, initial trailers and news have compared the forthcoming title to the Left 4 Dead series.
Vampire: The Masquerade — Bloodlines 2
Set in a dark and reimagined Seattle, Bloodlines 2 is the sequel to a 2004 cult classic. In this action RPG, you play as a human who is killed and revived as a thinblood — aka a relatively weak vampire. You can customize your character via a handful of upgradable disciplines and even pledge your allegiance to a vampire clan and navigate the World of Darkness, an alternative earth where vampires, werewolves, demons, and other creatures shape human history. Vampires must stay hidden from the human race as much as they can, but rogue vampires have been publicly attacking the population of Seattle and causing tension between the city’s clans. Your decisions will change the balance of power in the city.
Epic Games has confirmed that battle royale king Fortnite is headed to the Xbox Series X and will take advantage of the newest hardware. In an announcement from Epic Games, the company revealed that this would not be a new Fortnite, but an enhanced version, and that the game will also migrate to Unreal Engine 5 in mid-2021. Don’t worry about your skin collection, though: Epic Games has confirmed that any progress and purchases will carry over to your account on Xbox Series X when the time comes. Fortnite will also continue to support cross-platform play and continue updating the game on the previous console generation.
Free-to-play shooter Warframe has been around on most platforms for seven years, and it looks like it’ll be making the jump to the next generation. Leyou Technology confirmed in an earnings report that Warframe will be coming to next-gen consoles.
In Warframe, you play as warriors called Tenno, each of which is equipped with blades, guns, and high-tech armor. Tennos need to defeat the Grineer armies that are spreading throughout the solar system. Warframe can be played solo or with up to three other people.
Cyberpunk 2077 is an open-world, action-adventure title developed by CD Projekt Red, the famed developer of the Witcher series. In it, you play as V, an urban mercenary equipped with cybernetic enhancements. Cyberpunk 2077 features an in-depth character creation system that allows you to customize your cyberware, skillset, and playstyle. Choices are essential here, as they shape both the story and the world of Night City.
The game — inspired by the 1990 pen and paper RPG Cyberpunk 2020 — will feature high-end weapons and unique cybernetic alterations. Night City is all about futuristic tech, yet the city’s underbelly will show how harsh conditions persist despite technological achievements. Players will encounter citizens addicted to drugs, controlling corporations, and people obsessed with body modifications. Cyberpunk is CD Projekt Red’s most anticipated game since The Witcher 3. The title is currently slated for release on November 19 on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Unconfirmed, but likely games
Starfield is Bethesda’s first original RPG in 25 years. Bethesda has not revealed much outside of a teaser shown at E3 2018 and confirmation that the game would be a single-player experience. It’s been two years since the reveal of Starfield, but the sheer lack of news hasn’t kept fans from clamoring for even the smallest bit of information. A potential space-Skyrim? Yes, please.
The Elder Scrolls VI
Just like Starfield, Elder Scrolls VI was announced at E3 2018 and is still years away from release. In fact, Pete Hines of Bethesda recently revealed on Twitter that the Elder Scrolls VI wouldn’t launch until after Starfield. With the Xbox Series X, we can expect more expansive maps and faster loading times, though there is no definitive date as to when we might set foot once again on the continent of Tamriel.
Elden Ring, a forthcoming game from Hidetaka Miyazaki and George R. R. Martin (Game of Thrones), is a title still shrouded in mystery. Although little is known about the forthcoming fantasy epic, Elden Ring is FromSoftware’s largest game to date, one that promises Dark Souls-like combat and vibrant storytelling. Elden Ring has been in development since the final DLC of Dark Souls 3, yet there’s no word on when we will see gameplay. It’s currently slated for current-gen systems, potentially in the latter half of 2020.
Microsoft Flight Simulator
The next iteration of everyone’s favorite flight simulator is supposedly going to launch later this year. For the unfamiliar, Microsoft Flight Simulator puts you in the cockpit of everything from light planes to wide-body jets, allowing you to fly across lifelike scenery from the comfort of your living room. Flights will not always be relaxing, though, as realistic weather conditions will show up and affect your flights. Needless to say, few simulators offer this level of realism.
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