Microsoft hasn’t had the strongest library of exclusives this generation. The Xbox One stumbled out of the gate with a polarizing reputation and only a handful of blockbusters to justify picking one up. This improved somewhat with a few familiar faces such as Gears of War and Halo picking up the slack, but large-scale cancellations left many fans hugely disheartened.
Now, things are starting to change, with Microsoft taking on fan feedback and building up its repertoire of first-party developers to ensure it doesn’t make the same mistakes again. Obsidian Entertainment, Playground Games and Ninja Theory are just a few names now under the Xbox banner, spelling a very bright future for what’s to come.
Trusted Reviews has compiled our list of the best Xbox Series X games, whether they be officially confirmed, potential rumours or little more than a twinkle in our eyes. They’re all here, so read on to find out out.
Developer: The Coalition
Release Date: TBA
The fifth instalment in this ultra-violent shooter series has only just arrived, acting as the middle chapter in a new story set within the Gears universe. However, it once again ends on a biting cliffhanger, throwing the doors open for the inevitable arrival of Gears 6 on Xbox Series X.
Nothing has been confirmed by The Coalition, but a sequel in this series is laughably obvious, and will no doubt make a splash on Microsoft’s new console. Gears 5 introduced a deeper focus on story and a handful of experimental open-world elements that allowed players to explore a huge world completing optional quests.
It was exciting, although could definitely use some refining. If The Coalition can utilise improved technology to continue this brave evolution, we’re in for an absolute treat.
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Developer: CD Projekt Red
Release Date: April 16, 2020
Whenever Cyberpunk 2077 has been showcased to the general public on the world stage, it has been given a helping hand by Xbox. It’s reveal “hacked” a press conference while the legendary announcement of Keanu Reeves as Johnny Silverhands had the Microsoft Theatre audience losing their minds. Trust us, we were there.
It was a wonderful moment, and an indicator of the deep relationship between these two companies. So, chances are, if Cyberpunk 2077 ever comes to Xbox Series X , it will look absolutely gorgeous. CD Projekt Red has already confirmed that its upcoming RPG will scale well with future technology, so perhaps we’ll see an enhanced port or ‘GOTY Edition’ in the coming years. Either way, we cannot wait to finally play it.
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Age of Empires 4
Developer: Relic Entertainment
Release Date: TBA
Relic Entertainment has been unusually quiet on the state of Age of Empires 4 recently, given it was first unveiled several years ago. Fortunately, Microsoft’s Phil Spencer confirmed recently that the next chapter in the beloved RTS series is still in development.
Little else is known about Age of Empires 4 beyond the glimpses we’ve had from the reveal trailer – and that includes races, gameplay mechanics and how exactly it will expand upon the long-running formula. Here’s hoping we’ll see more before the year is up.
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Developer: 343 Industries
Release Date: Winter 2020
It’s been almost four years since the release of Halo 5: Guardians, which is a long absence from Master Chief and company, especially when The Reclaimer Trilogy remains unsolved after a truly epic cliffhanger. Cortana has gone rogue, taking control of UNSC systems across the galaxy. Oh, and she’s found another Halo ring, meaning she could bring the entire universe down with her if Chief, Arbiter and friends don’t stop her before it’s too late.
According to 343 Industries, Halo Infinite will continue this story, despite not being a numbered entry in the franchise. It’s heading in a new direction, aiming to depict wider environments and more ambitious mechanics all made possible by Slipstream Engine. Chances are you’ll be teaming up with friends, taking on missions and finally concluding a narrative we’ve been waiting years to see come to fruition. It’s time to finish the fight.
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Developer: Double Fine
Release Date: 2020
Double Fine is yet another studio which has been picked up by Microsoft in a series of high-profile acquisitions, introducing the creator of Grim Fandango, Brutal Legend and countless other classics into the Xbox family. After a successful crowdfunding campaign, Psychonauts 2 is finally on the horizon with plans to expand on the cult classic original without losing touch with what made it so special in the first place.
Players can expect fun, experimental platforming, well-written characters and a huge, quirky world to explore throughout Psychonauts 2. It’s a sequel we genuinely never thought would emerge, but thanks to the help of dedicated fans and Microsoft, it’s finally coming true. Given it’s set to release in 2020, we wouldn’t be too surprised if Double Fine slyly lips its upcoming sequel onto Xbox Series X for good measure.
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Assassin’s Creed 2020
Release Date: TBA
Following in the footsteps of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, the next entry in Ubisoft’s open-world series is rumoured to take players to the world of the Vikings, a civilization the franchise hasn’t really touched on before. Its existence was first uncovered in The Division 2 as players noticed some in-game art featuring Pieces of Eden, popular objects in the lore of Assassin’s Creed.
Kotaku independently confirmed the tease to be Assassin’s Creed related, providing us with our first glimpse at what could be the next generation of historical parkour stabbing simulators. If The Viking setting rings true, we’ll once again see action taking place across the seas, while also exploring a variety of sprawling islands, settlements and other beautiful landscapes. The big question is – will it be a launch title for Xbox Series X?
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Forza Motorsport 8
Developer: Turn 10 Studios
Release Date: TBA
We’re calling it now – Forza Motorsport 8 will be a flagship launch title for Xbox Series X. Playground Games’ Forza Horizon series and the more traditional motorsport sim normally circulate each year, offering Xbox players a deep, complex experience to sink their teeth into. In 2019, things were a bit different, with Forza Motorsport taking a break, likely in preparation for the next generation of consoles.
There’s nothing better for showing off a new console than a racing title, especially if the vehicle models are shiny, top-of-the-line and poised to take advantage of Xbox Series X’s ray tracing technology. With a diverse range of environments we can picture this being abolutely gorgeous, and the ideal way to christen in a new console from Microsoft. We had some reservations with the last installment, so hopefully Turn 10 Studios will take feedback in its stride and craft something truly special.
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Viva Pinata 3
Release Date: A mystery
I’ve been holding out for a fully-fledged threequel in the Viva Pinata series for over a decade now. The absurdly addictive experience saw you restoring a garden, recruiting a cavalcade of adorable pinatas into the habitat as you went. Developers Rare really struck a chord with this classic, absorbing dozens of hours from the player as they planted grass, bred pinatas and made their mark in its wonderfully colourful world.
Viva Pinata and its surprisingly ambitious sequel still look gorgeous, and I’m gutted they haven’t received a more robust 4K update on Xbox One X. The art design holds up remarkably, so with a small spruce it could look like a modern title. But a complete sequel would be even better, showcasing exactly what Rare does best, especially given the lukewarm reception received by Sea of Thieves.
Elder Scrolls 6
Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
Release Date: TBA
When Bethesda first announced Elder Scrolls 6 it was clear the beloved RPG series’ next chapter was little more than a few ambitious thoughts in the developer’s minds. It was incredibly early in production, being willed into existence by a barebones reveal trailer showcasing a fantasy setting we’ve yet to put our fingers on. But, at the end of the day, we know it’s coming. Eventually…
Platforms are yet to be confirmed for Elder Scrolls 6, but we think it’s a rather safe bet to assume that Xbox Series X will be on that list once release rolls around. We can picture it running on an upgraded version of Bethesda’s current technology boasting a larger, more ambitious world filled with characters and quests to discover. It has big boots to fill after the blockbuster that was Skyrim, but Bethesda more than has the pedigree to meet these expectations.
Developer: Playground Games
Release Date: TBA
After the unfortunate closure of Lionhead Studios and the cancellation of Fable Legends, the franchise has been left to fall away silently, and many fans said farewell to what was once one of the finest examples of western RPGs in the medium. Microsoft made some bad decisions with the series, but it if rumours ring true, it could be set to make amends in some fantastic ways.
While currently unconfirmed with the exception of a few cheeky hints, Fable 4 is said to be in development at Playground Games, who readers might know as the creators of Forza Horizon. For years, the studio has garnered a reputation for absurdly satisfying open-world racing experiences, and now it’s turning its attention to a far more ambitious effort.
Hellblade 2: Senua’s Saga
Developer: Ninja Theory
Release Date: November 2020
Ninja Theory is one of many studios now living under the Microsoft umbrella, developing games exclusively for Xbox platforms and PC. So, it’s no surprise the company has used this newly acquired ownership to develop a sequel to Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. The original was an immensely personal journey which delved into the themes of mental health like few games had, and left a huge impression as a result.
We know little about Senua’s Saga thus far, beyond the fact it will be available on Xbox Series X and will once again star the titular character of Senua. Despite its excellent storytelling, the combat and puzzles of the first were decidedly underbaked, holding it back from greatness for many. If Ninja Theory can create something with more mechanical complexity with the heart-wrenching story intact, it could be something special.