next-gen

6 launch titles set to define the Series X vs PS5 console war

For better or for worse, these games will make or break Sony and Microsoft's new hardware.

Choosing between the new Sony PlayStation and Microsoft's Xbox has always been about brand loyalty and first-party exclusives. Are you a Halo and Gears of War fan? Or do you prefer Naughty Dog games like Uncharted and The Last of Us?

While the hardware and specs of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X will influence which one gamers choose, price will also be a key factor, along with backward compatibility and features like smart delivery. Even so, the games will be the most important thing. There's plenty of reason to be excited for titles like Cyberpunk 2077 and Assassin's Creed Valhalla, but as they'll appear on both next-gen consoles, some of the more important games will be those console exclusives.

What games will we be able to play when the PS5 and Xbox Series X launch later this year? Here's a look at six key next-gen launch titles that'll define the upcoming console war.

6. Godfall

This "looter slasher" was the first game announced for PS5, and as a timed exclusive that should eventually also hit Xbox Series X, it feels like a Sony power move. An action-oriented third-person experience set in a high fantasy setting where you play as a member of the Knight's Order, wielding magical Valorplates and Augments to customize the characters, sounds incredible as a next-gen concept.

Though a firm release date has not yet been announced, a "holiday 2020" release window has been the case for quite some time. For most next-gen games, that just means they'll be a launch title. As such, Godfall will probably be one of the very few PS5-exclusive launch titles.

5. Everwild

A beautiful-looking title with a focus on exploration and magic in a naturalistic world, Everwild is a new IP from Rare that's unlike anything else in Microsoft's first-party lineup. As an Xbox-exclusive that'll be available with the launch of the Series X, it'll be a big draw for potential gamers who want a more chill gaming experience than some of the console's other titles.

4. Gran Turismo 7

Now THAT is a car!Sony

Announced in June as part of the PlayStation 5 June 11 reveal event, Gran Turismo 7 — like many of the franchise's entries before it — will showcase the graphical capabilities of Sony's next-gen console like no other game at launch.

Next-gen features like haptic feedback and immersive 3D audio will make the car racing game that much more realistic, and that's to say nothing of how next-gen graphical enhancements like ray tracing will make Gran Turismo 7 look as close to real-life as possible.

3. The Medium

'The Medium' grapples with split realities for some supernatural horror.Xbox

Confirmed as a console launch exclusive for Xbox Series X during the July 23 games showcase, The Medium is a supernatural horror game split between two dimensions in a way that's deeply reminiscent of the Silent Hill series. Created by the developers behind Blair Witch, Bloober Team, The Medium is the survival horror game to look forward to on next-gen consoles.

You play as a medium who experiences the real world and the spirit world. "As a medium with access to both worlds, you have a wider perspective and can see more clearly that there’s no one simple truth to what others perceive," the official description reads. This duality is represented in everything from the visuals to the score.

2. Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales

Miles Morales becomes his own superhero in this spin-off.Insomniac Games / Sony Online Entertainment

Sony's flagship PS5 launch title is a direct follow-up to the critically acclaimed Marvel's Spider-Man from Insomniac Games, a game that's one of the best Sony-exclusives and (debatably) the best superhero game ever. The initial announcement from Sony for Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales was very confusing: Is this a sequel? A spin-off? DLC? Sony has since clarified that this is a brand-new, standalone game compared in scope to Naughty Dog’s Uncharted: Lost Legacy, which featured characters from the franchise in a separate game that was substantially shorter than a mainline Uncharted.

We don't know too much about the story here, but the first game focused on Peter Parker as a veteran Spider-Man. The teenaged Miles Morales was bitten by a different radioactive spider, gaining his own powers in the process. Spider-Man: Miles Morales will be his origin story as a superhero, and we cannot wait.

1. Halo Infinite

Easily the biggest game of all that'll be available when next-gen consoles launch, Halo Infinite promises to be a spiritual reboot for the iconic Xbox franchise that takes place almost 2 years after the events of Halo 5: Guardians. Months after humanity has "lost," Master Chief is awoken from stasis by a frazzled pilot and gets dragged into a conflict against the Banished on a new Halo ring.

So far, Halo Infinite looks like a massive leap forward, giving the Chief new weapons and a refreshing riff on the open-world concept that seems suited to the franchise's biggest strengths. So far, it mostly looks like more of the same Halo, but for one of the most important game series of all time, that's still incredible.

PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X will be released later this year.

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