Well, it finally happened. After widespread fan backlash following Microsoft’s most recent Xbox Games Showcase – where in-engine gameplay for it was finally shown – 343 Industries has made the tough decision to delay Halo Infinite to 2021. This marks a major blow for PC players looking to jump into the Chief’s latest adventure later this year, as well as those planning to pick up an Xbox Series X at launch. Delaying a game can of course only be a good thing, but it leaves Microsoft in a tricky position.
Infinite’s delay will lead many players to question what exactly they’ll be able to play in the launch window of Xbox Series X’s release. Games are undoubtedly the most important way to entice players over onto your new platform. And while Halo Infinite no longer being a part of that is sure to deter some, there’s still plenty of titles either planned to release on launch day or thereabouts.
Most of the following games haven’t been given a hard release date, but are expected to launch within close proximity of the Xbox Series X:
Xbox Game Pass
It’s cliché to say it by this point, but Xbox Game Pass really is what will continue getting people through the door and into the Xbox eco-system. In many ways, Halo Infinite getting delayed isn’t the worst thing to happen because Xbox Series X will have a library of over 100 games to play at launch thanks to Xbox Game Pass. It’s confirmed to be launching day-and-date alongside Microsoft’s console.
Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla
While Assassin’s Creed Valhalla will also be coming to current-gen consoles, Xbox Series X players will be able to upgrade their version for free and can expect a much smoother experience. It’s scheduled to release November 17th so puts it right in line with the Series X’s launch window, functioning similarly to how Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag was cross-platform when the Xbox One first launched. Valhalla easily gives you 60+ hours of game to play at launch.
Call of the Sea
This beautiful-looking adventure game instantly caught our attention when it was unveiled back in June, centring on a woman called Nora who is in search of her missing husband. Call of the Sea echoes other story-driven first-person games like Firewatch and Gone Home, being set amidst a stunning rendition of the 1930s and featuring an enticing mystery to solve. It’s expected to release during the Xbox Series X’s launch window.
Chrous aims to breathe new life into the cult classic genre of space combat shooters, releasing close to the Xbox Series X’s launch in an experience described as “mature and dark”. Players take on the role of the pilot Nara, defending her ship and taking charge in a very intriguing single-player experience with an immersive twist.
While it was disheartening to learn that Forza Motorsport wouldn’t quite make the Xbox Series X’s launch, Codemasters have thankfully stepped in to offer players a premiere racing experience right away. Dirt 5 will be available across console generations but is expected to release before the launch of Series X and will be available on there soon after. Off-road racing doesn’t look or feel as good as in the Dirt series – and this fifth entry shifts the series up a gear.
Fans of all things anime and hyper will find their fix in Scarlett Nexus, a new super stylised third-person action game from Bandai Namco. Armed with the power of psycho-kinesis, you’ll be able to roam the futuristic city of New Himuka to uncover all of its mysteries. Scarlet Nexus will release close to the launch of Xbox Series X.
Taking direct inspiration from the creature designs of HR. Giger, Scorn is an Xbox-exclusive horror game that sees you traverse an unsettling world. It places an overt emphasis on “atmospheric first-person horror” to help you stay engrossed and should release close to when the Xbox Series X is scheduled to launch. It might not be one for the fearful, but Scorn is definitely putting out some creepy vibes for players that like getting scared.
Dinosaurs in video games are never not cool, let’s be honest. Second Extinction is an upcoming shooter that looks to prove this, allowing teams of four to take down different kinds of mutant dinosaurs while trying to survive. Action takes place entirely in third-person, with your squad acquiring more weapons and abilities as time goes on. Lock and load for when Second Extinction releases on Xbox Series X.
This evocative twin-stick shooter is set a cyberpunk world and sees you attempt to ascend a corporation’s mega tower, fighting your way to the top. This involves taking on gangs and hostile squads that pose a threat, leading to various explosive shootouts set in a sci-fi world. Think of it like a playable version of the movie Dredd. The Ascent merges substance with a vibrant art style and will release close to the Xbox Series X.
Described by its developer as a “next-gen psychological horror game”, The Medium will launch first on Xbox Series X and comes from the team behind Observer, Layers of Fear and Blair Witch. The difference this time, though, is that you play as a Medium able to experience the world on two planes, resulting in a unique style of split-screen gameplay that plays out as you hunt for a young child’s murderer.
Watch Dogs: Legion
The original Watch Dogs played a big role in touting the potential power of next-gen ahead of the Xbox One’s release. It seems fitting, then, that Ubisoft’s forthcoming third entry play best on Xbox Series X. Watch Dogs: Legion sees you explore a futuristic and oppressive rendition of London, with you able to recruit anyone into your cause. It will release right around the same time as Xbox Series X.
Yakuza: Like a Dragon
The Xbox eco-system was only recently introduced to SEGA’s Yakuza series, but that doesn’t mean that the Xbox Series X won’t be treated to the latest entry right around launch. Yakuza: Like a Dragon does away with the real-time combat of previous games to instead be a turn-based RPG. Characters and scenarios, however, are just as zany and expressive, ensuring that this overtly Japanese series doesn’t lose its edge. It’s already been released in Japan but will arrive in the West soon.