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Halo Infinite leads Xbox Series X's lackluster list of launch titles

With the official release date for Xbox Series X still unconfirmed, the current launch title lineup isn't looking so hot. Here are 11 games to expect for the new console.

As we approach the launch of Xbox Series X sometime before the holiday season 2020, a clearer indication begins to emerge of what the launch title lineup will look like for the next-gen console. While it does include some heavy-hitters like Halo Infinite that everyone should be excited for, Microsofts launch titles are looking a bit lackluster in one major way.

So far, there's simply too much crossover between the Xbox Series X launch lineup and games already on (or coming to) the Xbox One, throwing the need for a totally new console into question. Almost every "launch title" will also be available to play on Xbox One, even if the Xbox Series X versions will be more robust in every way possible. Why pay several hundred dollars for a new console right away when most or all of these launch titles will be available on the Xbox One?

This potential issue became more clear than ever before following the reveal of the Xbox Series X's specs on Monday, March 16. The console will boast some impressive hardware, including a 12 teraflop GPU and a 1 TB SSD that will make video games running on Xbox Series X look better than ever before.

Unless Microsoft or third-party studios have some hidden exclusive titles up their sleeves, Xbox One owner may not have much of a reason to upgrade. Many of the confirmed games are merely enhanced Xbox One titles.

And with the advent of Smart Delivery — allowing gamers to play upgraded Xbox One games on the Xbox Series X for free — gamers have nothing to lose by buying games on the last-gen console and waiting for the next-gen price to drop. You only have to buy a game once in the new Xbox ecosystem, and while this is definitely a boon to gamers, will these upgraded last-gen games truly show what Xbox Series X can do?

For now, we can look forward to the following 11 games that are all also going to be available on Xbox One.

11. Halo Infinite

Developer: 343 Industries

The shining beacon in the launch lineup of the Xbox Series X, 343 Industries' Halo Infinite is the most promising game in the entire list of launch titles. The developers have been working on this game for almost five years, and it has been envisioned as a reimagining of the long-running Halo franchise that may even spice up the sci-fi first-person shooter with some light RPG elements.

The downside is that the game will also be available for Xbox One, which might hamper its scope. That being said, its one of the few Microsoft titles we know about that is expressly being created with next-gen in mind, so it will most likely be one of the best Xbox Series X games when the console launches.

10. Gears 5

Gears 5 was the main title Microsoft focused on for its March 16 console specs reveal; It's the latest in one of Microsoft's signature exclusives in which grizzled warriors fight against a demonic invasion in the far-flung future.

The Coalition (the studio in control of the Gears of War franchise currently) confirmed that an enhanced version of the game will be available at the console's launch and will be free for those who have the game on Xbox One thanks to Smart Delivery.

Gears 5 for Xbox Series X will be playable at 4K and 60 FPS normally, though the team is aiming to support 120 FPS in multiplayer modes. It will also feature improved load times as well as contact shadows to add depth to objects and self-shadow lighting on shrubbery with the help of ray-tracing. It's an impressive upgrade, as you can see in the GIF above, but it's still just a slightly improved 2019 game.

9. Minecraft

Developer: Mojang

Minecraft will inevitably show up on Xbox Series X considering that Microsoft owns its developer Mojang. That being said, the March 16 specs announcement used Minecraft to highlight how ray tracing tech can make even a world made of blocks look more realistic.

The beloved survival sandbox game is notorious for its seemingly archaic pixelated style. A screenshot of Minecraft taking advantage of the feature, which you can see above, was released, hinting that work on the Xbox Series X version of Minecraft is already happening. It makes sense that Microsoft would want to make one of the most successful games of all time on its new platform, but Minecraft as a major launch title sounds concerning, to say the least.

8. State of Decay 2

Like Minecraft, an enhanced version of State of Decay 2 was teased in the March 16 announcement and used to demonstrate the improved load times of games on Xbox Series X. We're led to assume that a next-gen enhanced version of the zombie shooter is in development at Undead Labs.

It remains to be seen what other enhancements an Xbox Series X version of State of Decay 2 may have, but an improved version of the game seems like it will be available whenever the new console is released.

7. Cyberpunk 2077

Developer: CD Projekt Red

CD Projekt Red was one of the first third-party developers to confirm that its game would support Xbox Series X via Smart Delivery. When Microsoft unveiled Smart Delivery in February 2020, the official Cyberpunk 2077 Twitter account followed up with the statement: "Gamers should never be forced to purchase the same game twice or pay for upgrades. Owners of Cyberpunk 2077 for Xbox One will receive the Xbox Series X upgrade for free when available." As this is already confirmed, an enhanced version of Cyberpunk 2077 that supports Smart Delivery will essentially be a free Xbox Series X launch title for anyone who purchases the game for Xbox One.

Cyberpunk 2077 is an "open-world, action-adventure story set in Night City, a megalopolis obsessed with power, glamour and body modification. Players assume the role of a mercenary on the hunt for a one-of-a-kind implant that could grant immortality.

6. Rainbow Six Siege

Developer: Ubisoft Montreal

Ubisoft confirmed in February that its popular competitive shooter Rainbow Six Siege would be available on both PS5 and Xbox Series X at launch: "What I can tell you is that we are going to be on [the consoles] from launch," Director Leroy Athanassoff told Windows Central.

This one's another cut-and-dry port, but Ubisoft is looking into crossplay to keep the community going strong for this online tactical shooter.

5. Outriders

Developer: People Can Fly

Outriders, an exciting new shooter from People Can Fly and Square Enix with serious Destiny vibes was confirmed to be launching across PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X back in February. While neither the developer or publisher has delved into the next-gen enhancements yet, Outriders is pegged for a holiday 2020 release when next-gen consoles launch.

This increases the likelihood that this game will be released alongside these new platforms, and that would essentially make this a major new third party game at launch, even if it's also available on the PS5. There's a decent amount of hype surrounding Outriders, so assuming it does launch with both consoles, it comes down to whether or not Microsoft releases its next-gen console before Sony's.

4. Watch Dogs: Legion

Developer: Ubisoft Toronto

Watch Dogs: Legion was originally slated for release late in 2019, but it was delayed after Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Breakpoint flopped alongside the next title on this list. In this action-adventure game that takes place in a fictional version of London as an open world, members of a hacker group work to take down the authoritarian regime.

While the developers are taking the extra months of development to polish the game, Ubisoft has also indicated that Watch Dogs: Legion is now coming to next-gen consoles as well. As such, it is likely that Watch_Dogs Legion will come to Xbox Series X as well as Xbox One. This is probably another game that will take advantage of the Xbox Series X's Smart Delivery.

3. Gods & Monsters

Developer: Ubisoft Quebec

Gods & Monsters is a new IP from Ubisoft and is very much in the same situation as Watch Dogs: Legion: It was supposed to come out in February but was pushed back for more polish and so the developer could also work on a next-gen release.

If Ubisoft wants to come out swinging with a new IP when next-gen consoles roll around, Gods & Monsters will most likely be on Xbox Series X at launch. It's said to be an open-world action-adventure game where the player fighters mythological monsters in a beautiful fantasy realm.

2. A New Forza

Developer: Turn 10 Studios

A new Forza game by Turn 10, likely Forza Motorsport 8, is the only title on this list that remains unconfirmed, but it's inevitable.

This racing series is typically a yearly affair for Microsoft, and it took a year off in 2019. (We can only assume it was to invest extra time into the next-gen entry.) Microsoft likes to show off the power of new consoles with Forza, as it did with Forza Motorsport 7 and the Xbox One X. It is only a matter of time until we learn about the next Forza game, and when we do it will almost certainly be an Xbox Series X launch title that is also available on Xbox One.

1. Senua's Saga: Hellblade II

Microsoft unveiled Ninja Theory's Senua's Saga: Hellblade II during the Game Awards 2019 alongside the Xbox Series X. It's certainly impressive when it comes to visuals, and its developers have teased that the game will "show how madness and suffering shapes myths, gods and religions" in a dark fantasy action-adventure game.

It is worth noting that this game may not be a launch title as Phil Spencer said that Hellblade II was in "early development" when it was revealed. We also don't know if it will come to Xbox One like other Xbox Series X games. It seems totally possible that Senua's Saga: Hellblade II might be the first game that will release only on Xbox Series X and not the Xbox One.

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