With 23 internal 1st party studios, Microsoft has set up the next generation of Xbox consoles to have one of the biggest and most diverse lineup of games in recent memory. They have studios around the globe working hard to deliver everything from RPGs and racing games to 3rd person action and platformers. Whatever type of games you’re into, chances are they’re making one. And while the initial offerings this fall are no doubt a little light, there are a slew of games announced that we can expect to be playing in the next few years. So many in fact that it was hard to narrow a list down to my 10 most anticipated games. But I hunkered down and went through the catalog, picking the 10 upcoming games that have me the most excited about the future of Xbox.
I admit that I don’t have much experience with the games that Obsidian Entertainment creates, but they have a reputation for creating some incredible, fan favorite RPGs like The Outer Worlds and Fallout: New Vegas. This latest game is light on details so far, but is said to be a 1st person RPG set in the same world as their Pillars of Eternity series. It’s been described as being of a similar scale as Skyrim and those details are enough to have it on my radar. Xbox has already stacked the deck and set themselves up to be the exclusive home of some incredible RPGs such as Fable and The Elder Scrolls, but the thought of a brand new IP is very exciting and I can’t wait to see what this acclaimed studio has in store for us.
It’s been 15 years since the original Psychonauts captured my attention with it’s wonderfully creative world, characters, and sense of humor. This was one of the first games that my wife and I sat down and played together when we were just dating, so I have a sentimental attachment to the series. And while it was originally announced nearly five years ago during The Game Awards, it seems like we’re finally almost ready to see how Raz and his friends are doing. Tim Schafer is the master of creating whimsical and charming worlds, and I’m excited to see what ideas he has and how the series can evolve all these years later. Plus Jack Black plays a singing brain in a jar. So… there’s that.
After the original Fable developer Lionhead Studios was shut down in 2016, most people assumed that the studio’s flagship series would never be seen again. A few years later rumors began circulating that developer Playground Games (Forza Horizon) was branching out and hiring people for an open world RPG project. It didn’t take long for many people to connect the dots and soon the rebirth of Fable was the worst kept secret in the games industry. What made Fable stand out from the rest of the RPG pack was it’s decidedly British sense of humor, and I’m hoping that with new creators at the helm that they’re able to keep that unique tone while evolving the series into something new and innovative.
There aren’t too many games that have had a rockier development than Halo Infinite. It was billed as the game that would bring Halo back to it’s glory days as well as help to launch the Xbox Series X/S consoles. But after a less than stellar gameplay debut and several key studio personnel leaving the project, the game has been delayed until next year and it’s status remains uncertain. With all of the said though, I’m still very curious to see how this game turns out in the end and I’m hopeful that it can rediscover some of that magic that made me fall in love with Halo: Combat Evolved nearly 20 years ago.
Call of the Sea
If you have been following me for awhile, you know that there are some games that we describe as “John Wahl Ass Video Games”, and Call of the Sea seems to be checking all of those boxes. It’s a first person narrative adventure filled with puzzles and a compelling mystery to unravel. Voiced by actress Cissy Jones, you’ll play as a Norah, woman searching for her lost husband on a gorgeous island in the South Pacific in the 1930’s. The trailer gives me a sort of Firewatch meets Uncharted vibe and I am totally down for a unique experience that will give me more to do than just beating up bad guys and blowing stuff up on my Xbox.
Whether you like your racing games arcade style and action packed, or highly detailed and realistic, the Forza series has become the gold standard for racing fans around the world. It’s already been 3 years since developer Turn 10 released their latest entry, Forza Motorsport 7, and they’re taking this extra time to ensure that the newest entry is leaps and bounds beyond what has come before it. The power of the Series X will allow a level of fidelity never before seen in a racing game and some rumors suggest that the new game may serve as more of a platform for the series which could be updated for years to come as opposed to releasing numbered sequels. Either way I cannot wait to see the latest entry in what has become Xbox’s graphical showpiece.
Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II
When Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice was released back in 2017 it seemed to come out of nowhere and surprise everyone with it’s gorgeous visuals and fascinating protagonist. Putting players in control of a character who suffers from mental illness was a risky endeavor, but developer Ninja Theory did it with care and it resulted in an unforgettable experience from a unique perspective. Microsoft recognized the talent the studio had and snapped them up shortly afterwards to make them a first party studio. The sequel looks to be another graphical wonder and hopefully they improve on some of the shortcomings of the original to create something truly special.
Microsoft Flight Simulator
PC gamers got to experience this stunning simulation already this year, but console gamers will have to wait until 2021 to fly the friendly skies. This long running series has always been about recreating the experience of flying anywhere in the world, but Asobo Studios is looking to make a game that appeals to both the diehard sim fanatics as well as those who want a more casual flying experience. With an unprecedented level of detail, you’ll be able to visit almost any location on the planet using Microsoft’s Azure cloud technology. For those of us who have been grounded due to the state of the world in 2020, the thought of being able to take to the skies and go wherever we want is incredibly exciting.
Rare is one of the most interesting developers in Xbox’s stable. After their glory days in the 16 bit era, they were mostly underused after being acquired by Microsoft in 2002. That story changed in 2018 when they released their most successful game in years, Sea of Thieves. While Rare is promising to continue to grow that game for the foreseeable future, they are also introducing a brand new IP for new generation. Details on the gameplay in Everwild are scarce, but based solely on the gorgeous visual style and the fantastic trailers, this game is high on our must play list.
This pick for my number one most anticipated game may surprise some, but if you know the kind of games I love it shouldn’t. Silent Hill 2 is one of my favorite games of all time and The Medium seems to be the spiritual successor to that beloved series. Developer Bloober Team has made waves in recent years with games like Blair Witch and Observer that have delivered big scares and compelling stories. They’re one of the most exciting horror game developers around and now they’re teaming up with acclaimed Silent Hill composer Akira Yamaoka to create a a unique new game that takes full advantage of next gen technology by creating two parallel worlds for players to explore. As Marianne, you’ll move between the real world and the spirit realm, all the while being stalked by the evil Maw (voiced by Troy Baker). The best part? You won’t have long to wait to play, as The Medium is due to launch on December 10th.