The Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S launched in late 2020 to much praise. However, one universal question mark hangs over the games line-up, which hasn’t exactly been stellar. Still, there are plenty of games worthy of being in our round-up of best Xbox One games and best Xbox Series X, Series S games that launched towards the end of 2020 and in 2021.
When you look at Microsoft’s purchase of Zenimax and the announced games from both first and third parties, the landscape becomes quite impressive and all the more exciting.
If you’re a game developer or publisher and would like to see your game listed here, get in touch with me via email: jez at windowscentral.com!
Mass Effect Legendary Edition (Spring, 2021)
Mass Effect 1, 2, and 3 are getting a big remaster in 2021, targeting a Spring release window.
Mass Effect is an essential space opera third-person shooter, with heavy RPG mechanics and a choice-driven narrative. It was one of, if not, the best series of games on the Xbox 360, and it’s coming back with tweaked visuals and unlocked resolution and frame rates for PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series S and X consoles.
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Outriders (April 1, 2021)
Outriders is an upcoming co-op shooter that blends elements of online looter shooters and action RPGs into a single sci-fi whole.
Built by the team behind Bulletstorm, People Can Fly’s upcoming shooter looks extremely promising, with class-based gameplay in a vibrant alien world.
Rust (May 21, 2021)
Rust is a multiplayer survival sandbox set in a brutal apocalyptic world. The game enjoys a passionate fanbase on PC, and the game is finally making its way to consoles. Scavenge for food, built contraptions and bases, and ultimately survive in what could end up being the biggest survival game for Xbox in 2021.
Source: Facepunch Studios
Biomutant (May 25, 2021)
Biomutant is an open-world action RPG full of giant monsters and mutated flora. In the game, you battle your way across apocalyptic landscapes, using scavenged weapons and martial arts to overcome a variety of dangerous beasties.
Resident Evil Village (May 7, 2021)
Resident Evil Village is effectively Resident Evil 8 and follows Ethan from Resident Evil 7 into a depraved new nightmare. Retaining the first-person perspective, Resident Evil Village features Chris Redfield’s return, as well as all sorts of new biohazards to give you nightmares. RE:V looks like a next-gen exclusive, too, hitting Xbox Series X, PC, and PS5 only.
Microsoft Flight Simulator (Summer, 2021)
Although it made its maiden flight first on PC on Aug. 18, 2020, Flight Simulator is confirmed to be hitting Xbox as well by the summer of 2021.
Microsoft Flight Simulator does precisely what it says on the tin, albeit with some cloud-powered features that quite literally elevate it above similar games. Utilizing real-time map data and AI-generated graphics, Microsoft Flight Simulator is looking to push the genre to all-new heights. I’m riding high on these flight puns.
Elite Dangerous: Odyssey (Autumn 2021)
Elite Dangerous: Odyssey is the next expansion for Elite Dangerous, and while it isn’t a standalone title, the expansion is massive and represents Frontier’s most ambitious project to date. Odyssey will finally give you the ability to exit your starship and take on FPS missions across a variety of environments. Sadly, the game was delayed from early 2021 all the way to Autumn 2021, owing to pressures from the pandemic.
Frontier will release more details in the coming months, but if you’re a fan of Elite Dangerous, keep your eye on this one.
Later in 2021
There is No Light (Fall, 2021)
There is No Light is a Kickstarter success story coming to Xbox and PC later in 2021. This self-proclaimed “brutal” action game sports a gothic retro-pixel art style and looks to have tight (and gory) combat. Escape a deadly cult, and kill hordes of enemies while doing so.
12 Minutes (2021)
12 Minutes is an upcoming thriller that takes place over the course of 12 minutes, in a deadly time loop. Set in a single apartment, you’ll experience a star-studded cast that includes Daisy Ridley and Willem Dafoe, experiencing the same 12 Minutes over and over as a hitman enters your apartment. This intriguing thriller remains shrouded in mystery but looks to be one of the more unique games hitting Xbox in 2021.
Source: Annapurna Interactive
The Ascent (2021)
Although there’s no firm launch date, The Ascent should be dropping sometime in 2021. The Ascent is an Xbox Series X and PC title, with a gorgeous cyberpunk aesthetic and solo and co-op action RPG gameplay.
Source: Curve Digital
Moonglow Bay (2021)
Moonglow Bay is an upcoming life sim set in a vibrant 1980s Canadian fishing town. Grow your relationships and community, alongside your fishing, cooking gear, and skills, to rebuild a fractured community.
Song of Iron (2021)
Song of Iron is an upcoming side-scrolling adventure game coming to Xbox via [email protected] This indie game already looks like it punches far above its weight in terms of quality, and you should keep your eye on it.
Pragmata is an upcoming title from Capcom set in an extraordinary futuristic setting. Almost nothing is known about the game, besides the fact it’s coming to next-gen systems and looks incredibly sleek.
Halo Infinite (2021)
We know next to nothing about Halo Infinite besides the fact it’s the next big entry in Microsoft’s flagship shooter saga. Taking place after the events of Halo 5 and Halo Wars 2, Halo Infinite will continue the story that left the galaxy in peril at the hands of the all-powerful Guardians. Halo Infinite was delayed out of 2020 after negative reactions to the game’s visual quality.
Rainbow Six Quarantine (2021)
Rainbow Six Quarantine is an upcoming sci-fi horror take on Rainbow Six Siege, pitting players in a tactical scenario against infected, mutated humans. Besides fragments of leaked info, not a great deal is known about the game, although its planned release date may have slipped to 2021 as per recent earnings call info from Ubisoft.
EA revealed at an investor meeting that a new Battlefield will drop this year, and rumors are rampant about what kind of game it could turn out to be. One recent article reports that the game will be named simply “Battlefield,” and take place in a near-future modern warfare setting, while also borrowing from Call of Duty’s perks system. Beyond rumor and speculation, little is known besides its 2021 target launch window.
Among Us (2021)
Indie smash hit Among Us is coming to Xbox sometime in 2021, alongside an all-new Airship map. Among Us is an asynchronous multiplayer experience where players have to deduce which crewmate is actively murdering other players, and sabotaging the ship’s facilities. A game of subtlety and suspicion, Among Us will hit Xbox with cross-play features when it eventually hits the system, sometime this year.
War Hospital (2022)
War Hospital is an evocative strategy game that puts you in command of a hospital in World War 1. You’ll be tasked with healing the wounded in dire conditions, in a game that seems to draw inspiration from the likes of Frostpunk.
Source: Brave Lamb
Release date TBC
Scorn is an upcoming horror title that leans heavily into H.R. Giger’s art styles to create its grotesque world. Not a huge amount is known about the game besides the fact that it is firmly survival horror, set in a first-person, and is exclusive to Xbox Series X and PC.
Source: Ebb Software
The Last Night
The Last Night is an upcoming “2D open-world” title from Odd Tales Games. The neon-blasted cyberpunk title features action-infiltration-oriented gameplay, complete with a branching narrative and stunning art that combines retro-2D sprites and modern lighting with 3D elements.
There’s no launch date listed at the time of writing, but The Last Night is seeking investment due to some developmental issues.
Source: Odd Tales
Dying Light 2
Dying Light 2 was revealed at E3 2018 and looks set to build upon everything that made the original so awesome.
Set long after the first game’s zombie-apocalyptic events, Dying Light 2 is set in a Mad Max-like world where humanity is trying to rebuild. Undead mutants still lurk in the dark underbelly of the city. But the biggest threat is now violent human factions, which you can work with, or against, in a new dynamic narrative system.
There’s no set launch date as of yet, but according to a recent video. it looks like it’s still aiming for a 2021 release.
The next title from Rare was revealed in late 2019, showing us another gorgeous and colorful world from the British studio. Very little is known about Everwild, but the trailer seems to indicate that it’s some form of multiplayer experience, complete with stealth mechanics and uniquely gorgeous creatures.
Disco Elysium is an award-winning isometric RPG where you play as a detective.
Disco Elysium hinges primarily on player choice, with gameplay that revolves largely around dialogue choices, skill checks, and exploration. Your decisions ultimately decide what kind of cop you’ll turn out to be and all the consequences that come along with it.
The game is already available on PC and will hit Xbox sometime in 2021.
Tales of Arise
This upcoming action game was announced at E3 2019 and looks like one to watch for fans of JRPGs.
Part of the famed Tales series, Arise is being built by a team of series veterans and newcomers to revitalize the franchise and attempt to appeal to new audiences with a darker aesthetic.
Not a great deal is known about what you do in Weird West, but the developer pedigree and slick trailer alone makes it quite interesting.
Built by the co-developers of Prey and Dishonored, Weird West is self-described as an action RPG fantasy western where werewolves, cultists, and other occult beings lurk in the shadows of the frontiers. It has no known launch window yet, but it seems well worth keeping an eye on.
Announced at Blizzcon 2019, Overwatch 2 finally adds a story mode to the colorful hero shooter, filling in some of the gaps in the game’s lore.
While Overwatch 2 will be a separate game with its own content, Blizzard won’t be splitting up the player base between the first and second games, instead of uniting both in the same multiplayer pool with the same heroes. There’s no known launch window at this point, but we’ll be sure to update you when there is.
Psychonauts 2 is an upcoming 3D puzzle platformer from Double Fine, set in Tim Burton-esque nightmarish mindscapes.
Players control Raz, a psychonaut who’s job is to navigate the minds of various deranged (and not so deranged?) characters. Raz has a variety of psychic powers that he can use to manipulate the environment to help players progress. The game is slated to launch sometime in 2021.
Diablo 4 was revealed at Blizzcon 2019, and what a reveal it was.
Ditching the previous game’s cartoony, colorful aesthetic, Diablo 4 goes all-in on a haunting, gothic realism and brutal violence. Blizzard notes that Diablo II has been the template for the franchise’s fourth installment, both in tone and in the game’s more methodical pacing.
There’s no known launch window as of yet. We’ll probably be waiting a long time for this one.
Tunic is an upcoming old-school dungeon crawler in the vein of the OG Zelda games.
Taking control of a cutesy fox warrior, it’s on you to brave ancient ruins, battle swarms of spooky dudes, and get piles of loot. There’s no known launch date for Tunic as of yet, but it looks rather intriguing.
Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II
Another huge surprise announcement recently was that of Hellblade II, built from the ground up for the next-gen Xbox Series X. The in-engine trailer showcases the insane visuals Ninja Theory will achieve when the game hits the Xbox Series X.
Little is known about the game, but Senua is a Pict warrior who navigates the horrors of Helheim to rescue the soul of a loved one. The game pushed extremely incredible visuals for its time, with stunning atmospherics, but was a bit limited in scope due to the studio’s independent nature. Now, as part of Microsoft, Hellblade II may push further into more action-oriented territory.
Source: Ninja Theory
Echo Generation is a nostalgic horror strategy game with vibrant, unique 3D-pixel-style art and turn-based combat. Set in the early 90s, you and a group of kids embark on an adventure to hunt down and investigate a mysterious series of supernatural events. Echo Generation should launch sometime in 2021 for Xbox One, Series X, and Steam.
Avowed was revealed at Microsoft’s July Xbox showcase and is a next-gen Xbox Series X RPG experience from Obsidian, set in the Pillars of Eternity universe. Not a huge amount is known about the game, save for the fact it will have first-person gameplay Elder Scrolls-style and has a slick cinematic trailer to keep us appetized.
Microsoft and Turn 10 are rebuilding the Forza engine from the ground up, aiming to launch as an Xbox Series X exclusive in the future. Forza Motorsport 8 may be something of a reboot of sorts, dropping the numbered entries. Not a huge amount is known about the game, but we may be waiting until 2022 before we get our steering wheels on this one.
State of Decay 3
State of Decay 3 is also a bit of an enigma, offering us a cinematic trailer and not much else. Set in a more wintry environment, there are possibilities that you’ll have to manage your internal temperature in addition to other survival needs, as the plague seems to have now spread to animals and not just humans.
Microsoft finally revealed Fable after years of rumors and speculation. Fable is being built for Xbox Series X and PC and will showcase the talents of Playground Games, who have grown into a huge studio over the past few years.
The Gunk is an upcoming action-adventure puzzle game with sci-fi leanings and unique mechanics. In The Gunk, you arrive on an alien world ensnared in oil-like slime, known as the titular Gunk. Armed with a vacuum gauntlet, you’ll navigate a colorful alien landscape while battling encrusted mutants while solving gunk-laden puzzles.
Death’s Door is an upcoming action RPG with a gorgeous art style and tight-looking combat. As a minion of Death, one of your quarries has fled, and it’s on you to retrieve the wayward spirit from a realm filled with giant beasts and strange monsters.
Microsoft also unveiled STALKER 2 at their July showcase as a timed exclusive for Xbox Series X and PC. STALKER is an open-world shooter with survival elements, tasking players to navigate a radiated Chernobyl filled with physics anomalies and other threats lurking in the dark.
Source: GSC Game World
Microsoft grabbed Starfield with its ground-shaking purchase of Bethesda in 2020. Starfield is a single-player sci-fi RPG set in space, although almost nothing is known about the game so far.
Elder Scrolls VI
Like Starfield, Elder Scrolls VI is now part of Microsoft’s Xbox Game Studios, alongside Bethesda’s acquisition. And just like Starfield, almost nothing is known about the game. It will be single-player and a traditional Elder Scrolls-style open RPG, but we may be waiting a long while to see this game materialize.
Warhammer 40K: Darktide
From the developers of Vermintide, Warhammer 40,000: Darktide is an upcoming 4-player co-op shooter that shares familiarity with the likes of Left4Dead. Set in the harrowing universe of Warhammer 40K, players battle a heretical cult known as the Admonition, hellbent on taking over the planet Atoma Prime. Battle all sorts of Chaos monstrosities in this class-based evolving shooter, which also arrives first on Xbox Series X/S consoles as a timed exclusive.
At the 2020 Game Awards, Microsoft unveiled the long-rumored project of The Initiative — a full reboot of Rare’s classic sci-fi spy adventure Perfect Dark. Details are scant on exactly how Perfect Dark will look and play, but we’ve heard it will take cues from the gadgetry of Perfect Dark Zero and may draw comparisons to the likes of Splinter Cell: Conviction for stylish stealth-action gameplay.
Randomly and out of the blue, Microsoft and Zenimax’s Machine Games revealed that the studio known for Wolfenstein’s popular reboot is building an Indiana Jones games, in partnership with Disney’s revived LucasFilms Games division. There are practically no details about this whatsoever so far, but we’re already hyped. I wouldn’t expect to see this game any time soon, though.
Ubisoft Massive’s Star Wars game
At the same time Machine Games dropped Indiana Jones, Ubisoft revealed that its Massive studio, known for The Division, is working on an open-world game set in the Star Wars universe. Similar to Indiana Jones, very little is known about this one, and I wouldn’t expect to see it emerge any time soon. It’s easy to speculate, though, given Massive Games’ previous efforts, that this could be similar to The Division, albeit set in the Star Wars universe. We’ll have to wait and see.
What are you hyped for?
We’ve already seen reams of great games recently hit Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and Series S, and the backlog looks as though it’ll just keep growing. The future of Xbox definitely looks stunning, particularly when you factor in what developers will be able to achieve with new-gen systems like the Xbox Series X. But what games are you looking forward to the most? Let us know in the comments, and maybe we’ll add them here in a future update.