Microsoft's Xbox Series X looks undeniably impressive. From its huge 12 Teraflops of power and enormous solid-state drive, to its focus on providing gamers with value thanks to its "smart delivery" service to upgrade your existing Xbox games, Microsoft seem to have gone about marketing its upcoming console the right way.
There have been missteps (in March, a stream advertising "gameplay trailers" showcased very little actual gameplay, but more on that later) but Xbox has largely been running unopposed as very little of its chief rival, the PS5, has been revealed so far. But the most exciting thing about the console is undeniably the games.
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Whether you can't wait to don Master Chief's armour again, you're excited to hit the road in DiRT or you're anticipating sailing to victory in Assassin's Creed: Valhalla, there's plenty to be looking forward to in Xbox Series X's upcoming lineup. The stream below announced and showcased a bundle of third-party games you'll be able to play on the Xbox Series X when it launches later this year.
Among those new Xbox Series X games are entries from established franchises such Assassin's Creed: Valhalla, DiRT 5, Madden 21, Yakuza: Like a Dragon, Vampire: The Masquerade and many more, alongside original Xbox Series X titles such as The Medium, Second Extinction, Scorn, The Ascent and loads more.
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There's a bundle of games we know of already, and more being announced each week. Halo: Infinite, arguably the highest-profile Microsoft first-party title, is the latest in the iconic first-person shooter franchise.
Described as a "spiritual reboot" of the series, we've not yet seen any gameplay, but we did get a cryptic story teaser trailer at E3 2019. We'll be seeing more footage in July.
Another first-party game, this time from Ninja Theory, is Senua's Saga: Hellblade II. A sequel to the smash hit Senua's Sacrifice, the game's trailer (the first in-engine footage from Xbox Series X games we saw) debuted at the 2019 Game Awards alongside the console's announcement.
With stunningly rendered facial movements and nuances, the game follows Senua as she battles demons both within and without. This was our first glimpse at what next-gen consoles were really capable of, and the accuracy of the facial tics blew even die-hard PlayStation fans away.
It looks set to be just as dark and foreboding as the game's predecessor, and was a phenomenal first look at the level of visual quality we can expect from Xbox Series X games.
Moving on to third-party titles, the stealth-actioner series Assassin's Creed: Valhalla is arguably the highest-profile third-party Xbox Series X game to drop so far.
The cinematic first look shows a departure from the game's traditional rooftop-sneaking stealth-led gameplay, as lead character Eivor engages in pitched battles with English soldiers.
However, the trailer advertised as "gameplay" generated some controversy online. Although the in-engine cinematics were undeniably impressive, very little actual playtime was really shown off, and fans felt somewhat cheated by this.
Other games announced during the Inside Xbox third-party live stream include Madden 21. With a foreward by Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes, Madden 21 was introduced as very much a legacy title, paying homage to all the games that came before it.
However, soon we were treated to a bunch of new footage, and what struck almost as much as the visuals were the impressive physics. We were looking at individually-rendered blades of grass blowing in the wind as players collided into each other. We can't wait to experience it for ourselves. The game, not a tackle by an American football player.
More third-party games unveiled for the first time included DiRT 5, the rally-themed racing game. DiRT 5 is set for October to launch alongside both PS5 and Xbox Series X, to really showcase the power of the console while rumbling round tracks and launching yourself over other cars. The game contains the voice talents of video-game royalty, Troy Baker and Nolan North.
A whole load more games were announced, including survival horror game The Medium, in which players cross over into the spirit world, Vampire: The Masquerade sequel Bloodlines 2, and side-scrolling futuristic actioner The Ascent. Full details on all the games can be found on the list below.
Not announced or showcased were some games set to release in 2021, such as Bethesda's Elder Scrolls VI and EA's Battlefield 6. It's worth noting a separate live event will be arranged for first-party games in July, so we'll see more of Halo, Hellblade 2 and other Microsoft-produced titles then.
Excited? You can find more detail about all our most-anticipated Xbox Series X games, whether first or third-party, in the list below.
About Xbox Series X
Microsoft's next-generation console looks set to be a seriously impressive bit of kit. Looking like an archaic tower computer to hark back to Microsoft's gaming PC roots, the console comes with an updated wireless Xbox controller, although you'll still be able to use your existing Xbox One gamepads with the console.
Microsoft is all about making it easy for existing Xbox One gamers to upgrade. "Smart delivery" will allow gamers to buy Xbox One titles and, when they're ready, upgrade to the Xbox Series X versions absolutely free.
We can guarantee they'll look and sound a lot better on next-gen. The Xbox Series X is capable of outputting a massive 12 Teraflops of graphical power (more than its competitor, PS5, which can only manage 10.2 Teraflops) and accurately depict the way light and sound are affected with directions thanks to advanced ray-tracing software.
Next-gen gaming is also set to become very accessible. Rather than booting up one game, playing for a bit, saving, closing it down and booting up another, you'll be able to switch in and out of multiple games on the fly, resuming exactly where you left off with no delay. It will be as easy and accessible as jumping between shows on Netflix.
Xbox Series X games: Next-generation Xbox titles we can't wait to see in action
Much like Fortnite and Call of Duty: Warzone, Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege will be making its way over to the next generation of consoles. So, Xbox Series X adopters will be able to continue (or start afresh) their R6S experience on Microsoft's new super-powered hardware. This is a big commitment from Ubisoft in the game, which continues to evolve with every passing year.
The best thing is, this isn't the same game that launched four and a half years ago, with Ubisoft having re-balanced and re-calibrated its meta to support a raft of new operators & their respective skills. So, you're getting the most evolved RGS experience possible, only this time with all the benefits of brand new console hardware.
You can't launch a new Xbox without Halo. The franchise's next-generation entry, Halo: Infinite, was teased during E3 2019. no gameplay was seen: it was simply a gorgeous-looking story trailer titled "Discover Hope".
The FPS looks set to build on everything that made the franchise great, with stunning visuals, a compelling universe, characters you care about and, yes, that iconic score full of solemn choirs. Although Halo: Infinite will also be launching on Xbox One, we can't wait to see that advanced ray tracing and 12 Teraflops of graphical power render this universe like never before.
Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice was a dark action-adventure game following Senua, a Pict warrior with inner demons. If this new trailer for the sequel is anything to go by, Senua still has her work cut out.
For players, Hellblade II represented our first real glimpse at what the Series X could do. launched alongside the Xbox Series X's announcement trailer. The short cinematic showed Senua's chanting alongside scenes of carnage, while we marvelled at the realistic facial movements.
The most impressive thing is it was allegedly made in-engine, which means this is reflective of the quality we'll be seeing on the Series X.
Epic Games has confirmed its massively successful battle royale game Fortnite will have a commanding next-gen presence, arriving on both PS5 and Xbox Series X. Starting on Unreal Engine 4, Fortnite will transition to Unreal Engine 5, which can be seen in Epic's hugely impressive PS5 reveal, in 2021.
This means we can expect film-quality cinematic visuals, next-level dynamic lighting and more realistic physics. Enormous pre-loaded, insanely detailed environments will be the icing on the cake, and you can bet your Neo Versa skin that new next-gen weapons, skins, levels and more are on the way to help you avoid the storm.
Our first look at Assassin's Creed: Valhalla gameplay arrived during today's reveal. The game's launch trailer revealed much of its premise: follow viking warrior Eivor (although the game will allow you to create both male and female characters), the latest in a line of historical assassins. However, the gameplay went into more detail, including our first glimpse of some in-engine environments.
The iconic "A" symbol is there, set into Eivor's axe, as is the famous wrist-blade. But there doesn't look like much stealth or parkour is going on yet. Instead, the gameplay trailer treated us to a pitched battle as Eivor and his raiding party go up against English soldiers. It's a cross-platform game, set to appear on PS4, PS5 and Stadia in addition to both Xbox consoles.
Bright Memory: Episode 1 is currently available to play, downloadable on Steam. Developed by FYQD Personal Studio, with a development team of just one person, Bright Memory: Infinite is an expanded, revised and updated version of the same game as a launch title for Xbox One, PC, PS4 and Xbox Series X.
Mixing hack 'n' slash gameplay with an FPS, you take control of Shelia, a heroine with access to psychic powers, as you cut down enemies with a mixture of swords, guns and psychokinesis. The lightning-fast gameplay has already made Bright Memory a hit, outperforming games with much larger teams and budgets.
It's powered by Unreal Engine 4, which looks terrific, and whets our appetites for Unreal Engine 5, which is set to debut next year. We've already seen a snippet of what it can do on the PS5, and it. Looks. Incredible.
Serbian studio Ebb Software is bringing first person horror back into the limelight (or should that be the darkness?) with Scorn, a non-linear exploration game set in a "dreamlike" Lovecraftian world, said to draw inspiration from writers such as J.G. Ballard, Thomas Ligotti and weird cinema like David Cronenburg.
The in-game render is lovingly detailed despite its disturbing content, with bizarre imagery reminiscent of the Xenomorphs from Alien herald creatures ready to stalk the player. So far, so mysterious.
Kansas City QB Patrick Mahomes unveiled this next step for the NFL franchise. He promises this year's instalment will "focus on feel on the field", and we imagine given the cancellation of games due to the ongoing global health crisis, that feel will be all-important to Madden's sales.
Mahomes also confirmed smart delivery (a free upgrade form Xbox One to XSX) will be available with the game. Touchdown for EA.
An "explosive new entry point" for the series, Yakuza: Like A Dragon follows Ichiban Kazuya as he rises through the ranks of Japan's criminal underworld. Said to have a load of "hilarious" minigames and subplots spread throughout the city, we're expecting a truly free-roaming experience from the Sega mobster game.
It will launch Day One on Xbox Series X (and presumably PS5) and will support smart delivery.
DiRT 5 looks awesome. There. We said it. UK developer Codemasters looks like it's knocked this one out of the park, with promises to use the "intimidating power" of next-gen to create incredible off-road rally-style experiences.
A launch title set to be released this autumn, DiRT 5 is said to reawrd players who think outside the box, and "for being creative, stylish, and sometimes for being a straight-up lunatic". We can't wait.
"Evil mutant dinosaurs have taken over the Earth." That's the very simple premise of Second Extinction, a co-op shooter from Swedish developers Systemic Reaction. You load out with futuristic guns and gear and go on missions with friends, before navigating a dangerous extraction.
"As we were working with melee vs. ranged (aka claws vs bullets), we found blending the systemic features of an open world with more traditional level design elements made the combat more interesting and strategic," says lead producer Brymley Gibson. Can this game recapture the magic of dino-shooter Turok? You bet Jurassican.
After wading through the blood of aliens, vikings, Covenant mooks, mutant dinosaurs and... whatever the hell Scorn is, it's nice to get back to a classic, escapist 1930s-style adventure. Call Of The Sea takes place after lead character Norah's husband, Harry, goes missing on an expedition, and Norah sets out on a voyage of her own to bring him home.
"Games like Firewatch, Subnautica, Red Matter, Myst, Soma, and Obduction were definitely sources of inspiration for us. You might say that Call of the Sea is our love letter to the genre," says Tatiana Delgado, game director. A blend of adventure game and puzzler, Call Of The Sea looks set to be a breath of fresh air.
One of many co-op games coming to Xbox Series X, it seems this generation will be defined by social gaming. In The Ascent, players will explore The Ascent Group, a new series of worlds inspired by the sci-fi media the developers grew up on.
A top-down angle RPG actioner in the style of Baldur's Gate, players will explore districts, loot enemies and customise their own bodies with cannibalised upgrades. Sounds like Cyberpunk 2077 just got itself some serious competition.
The Medium's protagonist, Marianne, can hop between our world and the spirit world. Exploring an abandoned Krakow, she must use her power to uncover a terrible tragedy hidden by time. The Medium is apparently a game that needs the Xbox's huge SSD drive to really work its magic: with no loading times, the player can hop between the material plane and a fully-rendered spirit world instantly, creatinga "seamless cinematic experience".
This is compounded by a score composed by Akira Yamaoka, of Silent Hill and Bloober Team’s own Arkadiusz Reikowski. This is going to put the heebie-jeebies into us, and we can't wait.
Based on the tabletop roleplaying game, Vampire The Masquerade returns for another go-round on Xbox consoles. Set to launch this year and supporting smart delivery, for the first time ever you'll be able to port your saves on Xbox One across to Xbox Series X.
This means you can set about exploring a twisted version of Seattle when the game arrives later this year. Then, once you've upgraded to Series X, you can port your game over and carry on playing the same campaign just as intended. It's like taking a pen-and-paper character sheet with you when you move house.
Also appearing on PS5, Outriders is an ambitious-looking RPG from People Can Fly and Square Enix. Any RPG property from Square (the creators of the incredible Final Fantasy series) is sure to at least turn heads, but how the co-op, action-orientated gameplay is going to work remains a mystery.
Set on a world called Enoch, humanity has attempted to colonise the world, but unleashed something terrible in the process. Naturally, a trio of heroes combine superpowers with sci-fi weaponry to fight humanity's corner.
Taking on Fortnite on its own turf, Call of Duty: Warzone is a free-to-play battle royale hosting up to 150 players at a time. We could play through all the engaging single-player stories coming to Xbox Series X, but sometimes... sometimes we just want to go online and blow stuff up.
Activision says Warzone is to be the franchise's "one constant" going forward. We read that to mean no matter what form the franchise takes (Modern Warfare, Black Ops, WWII) the games will arrive with Warzone tie-ins, be they skins, weapons, arenas or otherwise. It's a smart move by Activision, and one sure to create a global community of COD players on next-gen consoles.
FIFA 21 has been confirmed by EA sports to launch in 2020. We do have a small indication of what's coming, thanks to a sliver of football sim footage in the Xbox Series X launch trailer.
As the most famous, successful football SIM in the world and a strong presence on both PlayStation and Xbox consoles, FIFA 21 looks poised to conquer holiday 2020. The fact there's been very little in the way of sports this year means FIFA fans are champing at the bit for some crowd-pleasing football action. It's practically an open goal.
Everyone's favourite creepy, creeping hobbit-like creature is coming to next gen. A cross-platform third-party stealth game, German developers Daedelic are creating a new version of Middle-Earth and one of its most famous inhabitants to land on next-gen consoles. Expect level design made possible by lightning-fast loading speeds to allow you to interact with the environment like never before.
Daedelic also claim your actions will affect the voices in Gollum's head, giving you different prompts during gameplay based on your existing playstyle. Be nice, and the Smeagol side will get stronger. Be nasssty, and the evil Gollum will have the louder voice. Due sometime in 2021.