Microsoft’s newest gaming consoles—the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S—are arriving on November 10, 2020. The new systems are launching with thousands of games, including enhanced versions of Xbox One favourites plus titles built from the ground up for Xbox Series X and S.
If you or someone in your family is planning on buying a Series X or S console this holiday, you might be wondering what games to get with it. To help you decide, we’ve rounded up the best games expected to come to Xbox this year and next—and chose our 25 favourites.
[Editor’s note: The below release windows are subject to change by the game publishers at any time.]
Publisher: Xbox Game Studios | Developer: 343 Industries | Release Date: 2021
Xbox’s flagship mascot, Master Chief, makes his long-awaited 2021 return in Halo Infinite on Xbox Series X and S. This ambitious next entry is the launching point for the next 10 years of Halo, making it a must-have game for Xbox fans (and one they can enjoy playing until at least 2031!). Not only does the game offer a full story campaign with a huge open world to explore, but it also has a robust online multiplayer mode so the Xbox fan in your home can jump in and play with friends anytime.
Publisher: CD Projekt | Developer: CD Projekt Red | Release Date: 2021
Speaking of big open worlds, Cyberpunk 2077 sets you in the vast megalopolis Night City in—you guessed it—the year 2077. CD Projekt Red developed the game in addition to the popular The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt that even spawned its own Netflix original series. Cyperpunk 2077 gives you the choice of three unique life paths to choose from: Street Kid, Nomad or Corpo (i.e. a corporate stooge)—and each offers a dramatically different story. Need another reason to dive in? How about Keanu Reeves (who’s Canadian!) playing a starring role as Johnny Silverhand.
Publisher: Square Enix | Developer: Balan Company | Release Date: 2021
If you have Sega fans in the house, then you’ll want to keep Balan Wonderworld on your radar. This gorgeous 3D action platformer is directed by Yuji Naka with art direction by Naoto Ohshima, the co-creators of Sonic the Hedgehog and Nights into Dreams. It looks like a cartoon come to life and its symphonic soundtrack adds a wonderful musical flair. There are over 80 different costumes to collect—including an octopus, spider, flower and bat—and each one bestows your character (the boy Leo Craig or girl Emma Cole—your choice) with magical new abilities.
Far Cry 6
Publisher: Ubisoft Toronto | Developer: Ubisoft | Release Date: Feb 18, 2021
Hollywood celebrities can’t get enough of starring in video games these days, and Ubisoft’s Far Cry 6 is the latest example. The game takes place on Yara, a fictional Caribbean island ruled by “El Presidente” Antón Castillo (portrayed by Giancarlo Esposito of Breaking Bad fame), who is teaching his son Diego (Anthony Gonzalez from Disney Pixar’s Coco) how to become the next leader. If you’ve played any of the previous Far Cry games, you’ll know what to expect: a picturesque open world, a detailed story and enough firepower to burn a tyrannical regime to the ground. Far Cry 6 also supports Smart Delivery, which means if you buy the game once you can play on Xbox One or Xbox Series X—double the value!
Publisher: Ebb Software | Developer: Ebb Software | Release Date: TBA
It wouldn’t be a new generation of consoles without a terrifying first-person horror game to push graphics (and frights) to their limit. Not much is known about Scorn other than you play a skinless humanoid trapped in a nightmarish universe and use firearms (like a pistol and shotgun) made from organic matter. Yeah, we’re entirely creeped out, too.
Publisher: Bloober Team | Developer: Bloober Team | Release Date: Holiday 2020
The horror theme continues with The Medium from Bloober Team featuring “dual” soundtrack by Akira Yamaoka (Silent Hill composer) and Arkadiusz Reikowski (Blair Witch composer). What do we mean by dual? Well, The Medium is practically two games in one because you play as Marianne, a medium who can travel between two realities: the spirit realm and the real world. Each setting has completely different music, art styles, enemies and puzzles to solve.
Publisher: Systemic Reaction | Developer: Systemic Reaction | Release Date: TBA
Move over Jurassic Park! It’s time to let the dinosaurs out of the theme park. Second Extinction for Xbox Series X is a heart-pounding three-player co-operative shooter game where you have to eliminate mutated dinosaurs that have taken over the entire planet. Velociraptors, pterodactyls and Tyrannosaurus rexes (of course, right?) are just some of the horrors you’ll face as you attempt to reclaim the Earth.
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Yakuza: Like a Dragon
Publisher: Sega | Developer: Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio | Release Date: November 2020
Sayonara, Kazuma Kiryu! Yes, the high-ranking Yakuza leader who had the starring role in the previous six Yakuza games is stepping aside to let a new protagonist, Ichiban Kasuga (a low-level Yakuza grunt), step into the spotlight. Would-be Japan travellers take note: Yakuza: Like a Dragon lets you (virtually) visit Japan’s Yokohama district of Isezaki Ijincho (based on Yokohama’s real-life Isezakichou district) as well as Tokyo’s Kamurocho and the Osaka district of Sotenbori. The Yakuza series is notorious for its comedy, and this entry dials it up to 10 with combat where you can weaponize anything not nailed down (umbrellas, street signs, you name it), plus spend leisure time visiting Sega arcades, competing in no-holds-barred go-kart races or belting out tunes in the karaoke bar.
Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios | Developer: Ninja Theory | Release Date: TBA
Announced during The Game Awards 2019, Hellblade 2 is a flagship title published by Microsoft for the Xbox Series X. This follow-up to the 2017 smash hit Hellblade once again places you in the role of Senua, a warrior suffering from a curse that makes her hear voices in her head. This time, Senua visits Iceland (which looks stunning in the trailer!) and traverses the new land accompanied by music from experimental folk band Heilung.
Publisher: Square Enix | Developer: People Can Fly | Release Date: Holiday 2020
From the developer People Can Fly (best known for Gears of War and Bulletstorm) comes a new three-player co-op RPG shooter set in an original dark sci-fi universe. Outriders is the game for those who love teamwork, since you must choose from four character classes (each with different abilities) and support your allies on tense missions where the future of humanity is at stake. What really sets this game apart is the special moves you can perform like manipulating time, unleashing seismic attacks or controlling fire. Now that’s what we call bringing the heat!
Publisher: Fishlabs | Developer: Deep Silver | Release Date: 2021
Here’s one for the outer space fan in your family. In Chorus, arriving next year on Xbox Series X, you’ll play as dual protagonists: Nara, an ace pilot with a dark past, and Forsaken, a sentient A.I. starfighter who’s Nara’s closest friend. While a lot of games on Xbox are multiplayer-focused, Chorus bucks the trend with a deep story-driven single-player campaign that takes you across the galaxy on an epic voyage to stop the Circle, an oppressive cult seeking to subjugate all lifeforms.
Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2
Publisher: Paradox Interactive | Developer: Hardsuit Labs | Release Date: 2021
Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 is an action role-playing game perfect for those who love the supernatural (looking at you, True Blood fans!). In Bloodlines 2, you’ll enter a 21st-century Seattle with a thriving vampire society at war with other factions. Hunting prey (i.e. humans), plotting schemes and entering into uneasy alliances are just some of the skills you’ll need to shift the power balance in your favour. This game is aimed squarely at those who have an “appetite” for dominance!
The Lord of the Rings: Gollum
Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment | Developer: Daedalic Entertainment | Release Date: 2021
Gollum. Is he good, bad or somewhere in between? We just don’t know. But we do know we can’t wait to revisit Tolkien’s Middle-earth in The Lord of the Rings: Gollum. Sure to please The Lord of the Rings fans in your family, this game lets you become Sméagol (a.k.a. Gollum) and experience a story that expands upon Tolkien’s original fiction. You’ll need to use stealth as you travel through Mordor, while at the same time making narrative choices as the combative personalities of Sméagol and Gollum fight for control.
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Publisher: Bandai Namco Studios | Developer: Bandai Namco | Release Date: TBA
What’s a new Xbox console without a new anime game to go along with it? Scarlet Nexus by Bandai Namco has a super-stylized presentation and even flashier combat with full-screen special effects. As Yuito Sumeragi, a new recruit to the OSF (Other Suppression Force), you’re tasked with ridding the Earth of a deranged mutant known as—you guessed it—the Other. What’s cool about this game is Yuito has psycho-kinetic abilities that enable him to use any object in his environment as a weapon—including vehicles like a taxi. We can’t wait to take this game for a spin!
Publisher: Smilegate | Developer: Smilegate, Remedy Entertainment| Release Date: Holiday 2020
Crossfire released on PC wayyy back in 2007 (OK, it’s not really that long ago) and now an exclusive new version is coming to Xbox Series X this holiday. This fast-paced first-person shooter has a cinematic, single-player campaign developed by Remedy (makers of last year’s hit game Control) and a multiplayer experience where two private military factions wage war. If you have a Call of Duty fan in the house (and it’s likely you do!) then CrossfireX is the game you’ll want to enlist for.
Bright Memory: Infinite
Publisher: AGM Playism | Developer: FYQD Personal Studio | Release Date: 2021
How one person can develop a game that looks as great as Bright Memory: Infinite is beyond us. It’s currently being made by Zeng “FYQD” Xiancheng “in his spare time” (his own words) but you’d never be able to tell given the hyper-fast gameplay, mind-blowing graphics and wind effects that look truly next-gen. If you have a fan of fast-paced shooters (like Crysis or Rage) at home, this could be the next game worth picking up.
Tetris Effect: Connected
Publisher: Enhance Games | Developer: Monstars and Resonair | Release Date: November 10, 2020
At over 150 million copies sold, Tetris is (perhaps surprisingly!) the world’s most popular video game. Now, the hit franchise is coming to Xbox Series X on launch day with Tetris Effect: Connected. If the game’s name sounds familiar, it’s because an updated version of Tetris Effect released last year on PS4 and PlayStation VR. Details are still falling into place, but what we do know is this version has all the content of the original and adds three-player competitive online and local multiplayer tile-matching into the mix.
LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
Publisher: Traveller’s Tales | Developer: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment | Release Date: Spring 2021
On an Xbox console not so far, far away (just two months until Series X releases!) comes LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga. This game has incredible value because it lets you play through all nine Star Wars saga films with the fun graphics and whimsical humour we’ve come to expect from the Lego video game franchise. Star Wars fans will have an intergalactic field day here with the game featuring space battles (hello, Millennium Falcon!), high-speed podracing and fan-favourite planets to explore including Tatooine, Naboo, Dagobah, Endor and Jakku.
Little Nightmares 2
Publisher: Tarsier Studios | Developer: Bandai Namco Entertainment | Release Date: February 11, 2021
Tarsier Studios knows how to bring the dark and dreary settings, yet somehow make them a joy to explore. Little Nightmares 2, the sequel to the 2017 indie hit, is bringing its unique puzzle-platforming gameplay to Xbox Series X. Once again you play as Mono, a young boy trapped in a haunting world full of nasty residents that want to keep you in captivity. If you have an older gamer in the house that enjoys platformers like Super Mario or Limbo, this could be their next adventure.
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Publisher: Anapurna Interactive | Developer: Luis Antonio | Release Date: 2020
Twelve Minutes’ E3 2019 reveal impressed us with its impactful Stanley Kubrick-esque writing, but it was the recent cast reveal that really made us pay attention. The game stars James McAvoy (State of Play), Daisy Ridley (Star Wars) and Willem Dafoe (Spider-Man), a triple-whammy of top acting talent that sounds almost too good to be true. Like the game’s title implies, the entire experience takes place over 12 minutes and during this time you’ll need to uncover why your wife is a criminal suspect and act fast to prevent her death. Don’t worry if you fail though—Twelve Minutes automatically rewinds the clock so you can try again, armed with the knowledge you gained from the previous session.
Immortals Fenyx Rising
Publisher: Ubisoft | Developer: Ubisoft Quebec | Release Date: 2020
Previously named Gods and Monsters, Ubisoft’s Greek gods adventure is now known as Immortals Fenyx Rising. While the game may be new, it’s got the veteran team from Assassin’s Creed Odyssey behind it—so we’ve got Olympus-high hopes it’ll be amazing. The vibrant graphics that boldly use the entire colour spectrum are quite stunning, but it’s the detailed mythological creatures and architecture that really seals the deal.
Publisher: DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment | Developer: WB Games Montreal | Release Date: 2021
Can a Batman game really exist without the caped crusader himself? That’s the question we’re asking ourselves with Gotham Knights, an upcoming Warner Bros. game starring Batman’s best buds Nightwing, Batgirl, Red Hood and Robin. The story goes that the Court of Owls (an organized crime group) has capitalized on the death of Batman with a plot to take over Gotham City. Superhero fans in your family can save the city solo or go online for two-player co-op with a friend.
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment | Developer: Rocksteady Studios | Release Date: 2022
From Rocksteady Studios, creators of the Batman Arkham series, comes their next game—this one featuring the infamous supervillain team Suicide Squad. Fans of the Suicide Squad or Birds of Prey films will definitely want to check this game out as it lets you become Harley Quinn, Deadshot, Captain Boomerang or King Shark. Suicide Squad flips the script by making the Justice League (who are controlled by Brianiac) the villains—including Superman, who attacks Metropolis. You can play the game solo or go online with friends or family for exciting co-operative multiplayer action.
Publisher: Codemasters | Developer: Codemasters | Release Date: Holiday 2020
Racing fans in your family can put the pedal to the metal this holiday with Dirt 5 on Xbox Series X. This off-road racing game from Codemasters delivers souped-up cars and stunning real-world locations for you to race and nab that checkered flag. Featuring a lengthy story mode where you can create a driver and compete in racing seasons, this game also has an online multiplayer mode so you can challenge your friends to see who can achieve the fastest lap times.
Assassin's Creed Valhalla
Publisher: Ubisoft | Developer: Ubisoft Montreal | Release Date: TBD
Assassin’s Creed is coming to Xbox Series X and for this adventure, Ubisoft Montreal is taking us to 873 AD to experience the Viking expansion to England. You play as the Viking raider Eivor (with a male or female voice) and need to establish settlements for your clan and expand your control. Assassin’s Creed fans in your family will feel right at home with the game’s deep RPG systems and an arsenal of weapons including greatswords, flails, shields and your signature hidden blade.
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