Now we know what the next generation of console gaming looks like. Microsoft just revealed 13 third-party games heading to the Xbox Series X during the console’s launch window this fall, offering the industry’s first look at ninth-generation gameplay.
With the Xbox Series X, Microsoft is targeting 4K resolution, up to 120 frames per second, hardware-driven DirectX raytracing, and ultra-fast load times. A handful of games have already been confirmed for the Series X, including Cyberpunk 2077, Halo Infinite and Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2. Each of these games will support Smart Delivery, a feature that allows players to access their Xbox One games on Series X, and vice versa. Every title out of Xbox Game Studios will do the same.
Each game that Microsoft revealed today is Xbox Series X Optimized (yes, all capitalized), which means they’re built specifically for the new console. However, not all of the games announced today will support Smart Delivery — 10 of the 13 will. Here’s the full list, with Smart Delivery titles bolded and consolidated at the top:
Yakuza: Like a Dragon (Sega)
Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla (Ubisoft)
Vampire: The Masquerade -- Bloodlines 2 (Paradox Interactive)
Madden NFL 21 (Electronic Arts)
DiRT 5 (Codemasters)
Call of the Sea (Raw Fury)
Scarlet Nexus (Bandai Namco)
The Ascent (Curve Digital)
Second Extinction (Systemic Reaction)
Chorus (Deep Silver)
Bright Memory Infinite (Playism)
Scorn (Ebb Software)
The Medium (Bloober Team)
There are some heavy hitters on this list. Yakuza: Like a Dragon has been available in Japan since January, teasing longtime series fans everywhere else around the world. Like a Dragon will be an Xbox Series X launch title, complete with Smart Delivery and cross-save between Xbox One and Series X.
And there’s Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla. This is the 12th installment in Ubisoft’s tentpole open-world franchise, this time starring a Viking warrior in England’s Dark Ages. On top of Xbox Series X and Xbox One versions, Valhalla is also coming to PS5, PS4, Google Stadia and PC.
Or maybe you’re in the mood for an underground classic? Vampire: The Masquerade -- Bloodlines 2 is a sequel to the 2004 RPG about supernatural vampire politics, but this time around the game is set in Seattle, rather than LA.
As for the games without Smart Delivery, there may be a logical reason behind the omission. The Medium from Bloober Team, for instance, is targeting a release on Xbox Series X and PC, skipping the current generation altogether. The Medium comes from the studio that made Layers of Fear and Blair Witch, so you know it’s gonna have jump scares and plenty of psychological terror. Plus, Silent Hill composer Akira Yamaoka is collaborating on the soundtrack.
Today’s episode of Inside Xbox marked the beginning of Xbox 20/20, a digital event that Microsoft will host each month to keep players updated on what’s next for the company and its consoles. In July Microsoft plans to showcase Xbox Game Studios titles, which should include a closer look at Halo Infinite.
Xbox 20/20 is a necessary move in a time of mass conference cancellations and global self-isolation. The industry’s most high-profile show, E3, usually takes place in the summer, and Xbox is the headlining company, since PlayStation started skipping it in recent years. We’d usually expect Microsoft to reveal its new console’s price and release date at E3, but amid the global pandemic, these announcements will have to take place digitally. Xbox 20/20 provides a predictable, controllable space for Microsoft to spread the word. So, as always, stay tuned.