The next console generation is now just around the corner, meaning that those who have secured their Xbox Series S|X pre-order will likely be wondering what games will be playable on day one. The truth is that this question is a little trickier than before, as technically all Xbox One games are readily compatible with Microsoft’s forthcoming console and so are a slew of original Xbox and Xbox 360 titles thanks to some impressive functionality with regards to backwards compatibility.
With this in mind, the following list will recount the 30 or so games that have been optimised for the Xbox Series S|X which Microsoft itself is classing as launch titles. We’ll even throw in the best pre-order price below each’s trailer, ensuring that any Xbox Series S or Xbox Series X owner can play the games they want at launch for the lowest possible price. Here’s the definitive list containing every Confirmed Xbox Series S|X launch game.
Note: Smart Deliver notes games that offer a free next-gen upgrade from the Xbox One version
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla (Smart Delivery)
The latest entry into Ubisoft’s wildly popular Assassin’s Creed series transports players way back to the Viking age, where you must build up your own settlement and slowly take over the English lands. Continuing the trend from 2018’s Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, players will once again be able to play as either a male or female protagonist. Valhalla also promises to take full advantage of the Xbox Series X’s unique graphical capabilities, running at 60 FPS in full 4K resolution.
Borderlands 3 (Smart Delivery)
Already one of the best co-operative shooters available in the Xbox eco-system, existing Borderlands 3 players can rest easy knowing that their cell-shaded shooting ventures can continue thanks to a free Xbox Series S|X upgrade. This time, however, Series X owners can look forward to full 4K resolution running at 60 fps in the single-player portion, while local split-screen has been increased from 2 to 4 players. With enhancements like this, the looting and shooting action never need stop.
Bright Memory 1.0
Bright Memory 1.0 is an exceptional-looking single-player shooter that’s been largely developed by a sole developer. It is, in fact, a testing ground for the much more ambitious and experimental Bright Memory Infinite which is scheduled to release in the near future. Bright Memory 1.0 is an Xbox Series S|X exclusive, so you’ll need to get hands on Microsoft’s new console to play it.
Cuisine Royale (Smart Delivery)
You needn’t look far these days for a multiplayer shooter, but Cuisine Royale is hoping to take the cake on Xbox Series S|X by being free-to-play and having characters styled as chefs. Players will be required to get to grips with realistic weaponry, mystic traps and demonic rituals – all in the hopes of being the last player standing. Cuisine Royale has proven to be highly popular with online players so far, and now it’s hoping to continue this trend on the next Xbox eco-system.
Dead by Daylight (Xbox Game Pass + Smart Delivery)
Despite being around for a fair few years now, Dead by Daylight still benefits from regular content updates that makes its asymmetrical multiplayer always a thrill. One player takes on the role of a famous slasher like Ghostface, Jigsaw or pyramid head, tracking down a group of other players trying to work together in order to escape. This 4v1 survival horror will be right there on Xbox Series S|X on day one. Plus, Game Pass subscribers can jump into Dead by Daylight without purchase.
Devil May Cry 5: Special Edition
This special edition of one of 2019’s best action games isn’t a simple Smart Delivery upgrade, but rather a fully remastered version that has been shushed up and improved with extra content. Virgil becomes a playable character for the very first time in Devil May Cry 5: Special Edition, joining the likes of Dante, Nero and V on their demon-slaying adventure. A turbo mode also makes its debut appearance here, firmly putting the performance of Xbox Series X through its paces.
DIRT 5 (Smart Delivery)
Off-road driving doesn’t look or play better than in the Dirt series of racing games. Dirt 5 arrives day and date on Xbox Series S|X as well as Xbox One, bringing with it a huge roster of cars that each handle uniquely. Many players were surprised to learn that a new Forza game was nowhere to be seen in the new console’s line-up, but thankfully DIRT 5 is here to fulfil that racing game gap.
Evergate is a charming 2D puzzle-platformer that touts a luminous art style. You play as a floaty spirit who must navigate their way through the afterlife, overcoming a whopping 85 stages as you gain more powers and further solve the mystery of the ‘Soulflame’. If you’re an Xbox Series S|X player who wants to see how great 2D animated games can look on this new hardware, you needn’t look any further than Evergate.
The Falconeer (Smart Delivery)
Letting Xbox Series S|X players soar high in the sky to take part in open-air combat battles, The Falconeer sees you play as a character who must learn how to control the powerful warbird. You’ll dive from the clouds and over them again while getting to grips with various different Falconeer classes, going at it with other real-life players where the lightning sky is just as brutal as the core dogfighting gameplay. There promises to be nothing else like it at launch on Xbox Series S|X.
Still remaining the most popular online game worldwide, of course Fortnite was going to be there on your Xbox Series S|X from day one. Any progress you have stored on your existing Xbox account will comfortably carry over, but Fortnite is set to look slightly better and play a bit smoother than perhaps what current console players are used to. The game is still free to play all these years on, though signing up to a Battle Pass to complete limited-time challenges and collect exclusive gear is still a lot of fun.
Forza Horizon 4 (Xbox Game Pass + Smart Delivery)
As one of the Xbox One X’s key showcase titles, Forza Horizon will be free to download for any Game Pass subscribers and promises to look and play even better on the Xbox Series X. You’ll race up and down English roads, competing in events as the seasons naturally change. What’s more, any progress from the Xbox One version has been confirmed to carry over. Forza Horizon 4 is an absolutely gorgeous arcade racer where it’s so easy to jump into the driver’s seat and get lost. If Dirt 5 isn’t your thing, please make sure you install Forza Horizon 4.
Gears 5 (Xbox Game Pass + Smart Delivery)
Gears 5 is the latest and greatest into The Coalition’s gritty series of third-person shooters, swapping Fenix for Kait as its main character. Alongside a rollercoaster single-player campaign that picks up directly after the event of Gears of war 4, Gears 5’s horde mode and competitive multiplayer still enjoys a thriving online player base. The Xbox Series X version doubles the framerate of the Xbox One X iteration to a staggering 60fps in full 4K resolution. Definitely a showpiece title.
Gears Tactics (Xbox Game Pass + Smart Delivery)
Xbox Series S|X launch day will mark the debut of Gears Tactics on console, after having successfully launched already on PC in early 2020. Set before the events of the first mainline Gears of War entry, Tactics is a fully fledged turn-based strategy game, where you play as a new character in Kait’s dad who must recruit and build up a squad of COGs in order to take down a new menace. Developer Splash Damage has developed a specific control set-up for this console version to ensure a smooth gameplay experience all around.
Grounded (Xbox Game Pass + Smart Delivery)
Xbox players have already been enjoying the fun of being shrunk to an ant-sized level in Ground thanks to its ongoing early access version. This will also make its way over to the Xbox Series S|X eco-system on launch day, meaning that the team-based survival fun never needs come to an end. Grounded might not be the most graphical intense experience but it is a riot alongside friends. Fend off spiders, build up your base camp and see how long you can last.
King Oddball (Smart Delivery)
King Oddball is a hilarious 2D indie that sees players attempting to take down and crush as many targets as possible while playing as a sentient boulder. You’ll need to time the release of anything you grab with your tongue accurately, squashing any puny humans or flying helicopters standing in your way. It’s definitely one of the oddest entries on this list of Xbox Series S|X launch games, but hey, the clue is in the name and it certainly stands out.
Maneater (Smart Delivery)
Usually when you see a shark depicted in video games or movies they’re depicted as the villain. Maneater is a Jaws-style take on this concept released in 2020, where you take on the role of the titular maneating shark with an axe to grind. It’s perhaps best described as an open-world RPG, if you can believe it, recounting the journey of a small shark pip who must find the resources he needs to survive and grow, becoming a greater menace in which to easily dispatch human enemies.
Manifold Garden (Smart Delivery)
Xbox players that want to challenge their brain when launch day rolls around will find what they’re after in Manifold Garden, a first-person puzzler where you must navigate a series of abstract (and beautiful) puzzles. It’s the art style here that makes Manifold Garden stand out, depicting levels that seemingly reimagined how physics and space typically work. This 2019 indie darling will be available to play on Xbox Series S|X at launch.
NBA 2K21 is one of the few true next-gen games coming to Xbox Series S|X on day one. Because while existing Xbox One and PS4 players will indeed play a version of the annual basketball simulator, only on next-gen will you find improved ball physics and player animations – alongside the expected updated squad rosters and fresh career mode. It’s one of the few reasons why 2K isn’t supporting Smart Delivery for NBA 2K21, because it literally is a new game built from the ground up for next gen.
Observer: System Redux
Starring Blade Runner’s own Rutger Haur in the titular role, this enhanced version of the 2017 cult classic features improved visuals and all-new game segments that will remain exclusive to this next-gen version. Observer: System Redux takes heavy inspiration from the cyberpunk (no, not that one) genre popularised by books like Neuromancer and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, tasking you to explore a dilapidated dystopia full of neon streets and undiscovered secrets.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps (Xbox Game Pass + Smart Delivery)
Waiting for Xbox Series S|X players on day one is one of 2020’s best games. Ori and the Will of the Wisps improves upon the original metroidvania in many ways, with a greater emphasis on replayability and combat. You’ll control Ori – who is a fox-like forest spirit – through various platforming challenges, gaining new power-ups and learning new moves useful for better traversal and for taking down huge bosses. As with the Xbox One X version, it’ll fun at 60 FPS on next-gen.
Planet Coaster (Smart Delivery)
Fancy yourself to be an amusement park mogul? Planet Coaster is the simulation game to prove it, where players can construct their very own thrill ride venture and share it with the world. Authentic piece-by-piece construction educates you into being a true designer, offering up the tools for you to create your favourite real-life rides authentically or invent new ones from scratch. Then, when your park is up and running, it’s up to you to manage it effectively.
Sea of Thieves (Xbox Game Pass + Smart Delivery)
Sea of Thieves has cultivated one of the most vibrant online communities in the years since its original 2016 launch, so it’s a good thing these pirates will be able to carry their progress over to Xbox Series S|X on launch day. Complete with all expansions and updates released via later patches, this enhanced version of Sea of Thieves is still the best pirate simulator around. Battle skeletons, hunt for buried treasure and do it all alongside a squad of friends.
Tetris Effect: Connected (Xbox Game Pass + Smart Delivery)
Tetris Effect has already arrived on other platforms. However, unique to this Xbox Series S|X version is the new online multiplayer mode – hence with its called Tetris Effect Connected. What makes this iteration of the classic puzzler so celebrated is its insistence on keeping the classic core gameplay intact, all while enhancing in with stunning visuals and an emotionally charged soundtrack. You can experience it all now alongside others thanks to Tetris Effect: Connected.
The Touryst (Xbox Game Pass + Smart Delivery)
2D puzzle adventures rarely get more colourful or animated than The Touryst, which touts a blocky visual style that should look great in 4K on the Xbox Series S|X. What makes The Touryst a fan-favourite indie title is in how it encourages you to try everything present in its uniquely voxel world, such as surfing, paying a visit to the local arcade or having a boogie down at the beach party. Play it on day one when Xbox Series S|X arrives.
War Thunder (Smart Delivery)
The second combat game on this list that takes place entirely in the air, War Thunder is a popular free-to-play dogfighting experience that sets you firmly in the pilot’s seat. It’s come along way with additional updates, planes and gameplay elements in the 8 years since its initial release, being the premiere way to enjoy authentic flight battles set against the background of historical events. Xbox Series S|X players can join over 10 million existing players in November.
Warhammer: Chaosbane Slayer Edition
This top-down hack-and-slasher drops you right into a ravaged fantasy land set in the Warhammer universe, where you must face off against legions of underling enemies in either local or online co-op. There are 5 unique character classes to try out right from the very off, with over 180 powers to collect and deploy as you take part in epic battles. It might not be the most visually demanding launch game coming to Xbox Series S|X on day one, but Warhammer: Chaosbane Slayer Edition is a solid Diablo-esque action game brimming with detail.
Watch Dogs: Legion (Smart Delivery)
Watch Dogs: Legion is the third entry into Ubisoft’s sprawling series of open-world hack-a-thons, setting players off within a fully explorable version of a dystopian London. The gimmick this time around is that you hack into anything and anyone, with the core hook being the ability to recruit any existing NPC into your DeadSec crew. It’s also arriving on Xbox One but the Series S|X version will feature extensive visual enhancements – and current-gen purchasers can look forward to a next-gen upgrade.
WRC 9 FIA World Rally Championship (Smart Delivery)
Petrolheads seeking an authentic driving simulation experience should have their tastes satiated by WRC 9 FIA World Rally Championship. Already released in September of 2020, it serves as the leading off-road racing series, returning to Xbox Series S|X with even more realistic gameplay, 3 more rallies and 35 new special stages. WRC 9 FIA World Rally Championship looks to be a visual treat running on the next-gen hardware.
Yakuza: Like a Dragon (Smart Delivery)
Yakuza: Like a Dragon being a true Xbox Series S|X console exclusive was a big surprise seeing as the series had been a PlayStation mainstay up until this point. That’s not the only change this classic JRPG series is making, though, as Like a Dragon serves as a soft reboot with a new lead character and a switch from real-time to turn-based action. Fighting your way through the Japanese gangland is still as quirky as ever, and you can jump right in on day one.
Yes, Your Grace (Smart Delivery)
Managing a small medieval kingdom is no easy task, as 2D simulation game Yes, Your Grace proved earlier this year when it released on Xbox One. This pixelated adventure sees you make important decisions to keep your civilisation afloat, hiring generals and hunters to aid your efforts as needed and preparing for battle when outside forces become a threat. Yes, Your Grace comes to Xbox Series S|X on day one.