In November 2020, the next-generation of video gaming began. The release of the Xbox Series X and Series S geared Microsoft for the next steps in the gaming industry, with the two consoles offering different options for each type of gamer.
The Series X boasts the most impressive specifications seen yet on a console and provides the true experience when it comes to gaming in the next-generation. The Series S does improve on the last-generation specs while offering a cheaper alternative, at the loss of a disc drive and certain more elusive features.
Microsoft's aim has been straightforward since the launch of these consoles, to get as many people playing games under the Xbox banner as possible. Given the success of Xbox Game Pass in recent years, it's clear to see why Microsoft is continuing its focus on the subscription service, with games added to the library on a regular basis.
Xbox has now turned its attention on to 2021, and has revealed its lineup of games for the coming year, with some interesting omissions.
In a post on Xbox Wire, Microsoft confirmed a full list of the currently announced console-exclusives, coming to Xbox Series X/S in 2021. In the post, Xbox Wire Editor-in-Chief Will Tuttle stated that “2021 will be a fantastic year to be an Xbox fan”, as well as believing this year will allow “creators around the world will tap deeper into the power of Xbox Series X/S and bring a massive variety of content to Xbox players”.
One notable exclusion is the lack of Bethesda titles within the list, which comes as a surprise following Microsoft's recent purchase of ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda Softworks. Microsoft has already teased the possibility of an exclusivity deal between themselves and the developer, so announcements regarding future releases may come later in the year.
You can check out the full list of Xbox exclusives coming in 2021 below.
Adios – 2021
The Artful Escape – 2021
The Ascent – 2021
The Big Con – 2021
CrossfireX – 2021
Dead Static Drive – 2021
Echo Generation – 2021
ExoMecha – 2021
Exo One – 2021
The Gunk – 2021
Halo Infinite – 2021
The Last Stop – 2021
Lake – 2021
Little Witch in the Woods – 2021
The Medium – January 28
Microsoft Flight Simulator – Summer 2021
Psychonauts 2 – 2021 (Also available on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5)
RPG Time – 2021
Sable – 2021
Scorn – 2021
She Dreams Elsewhere – 2021
Shredders – 2021
Song of Iron – 2021
Tunic – 2021
Twelve Minutes – 2021
Unexplored 2: The Wayfarer’s Legacy – 2021
Warhammer 40K: Darktide – 2021'
Way to the Woods – 2021
The Wild at Heart – 2021
The Yakuza Remastered Collection – January 28 / Yakuza 6: The Song of Life – March 25
WHAT THIS MEANS
While it's great to see Microsoft and Xbox outline their plans for 2021, there's a number of interesting takes from this published list.
First, we already know a number of Microsoft Studios games which have been announced, including Fable 4 and Avowed, neither of which are present on this list after their announcement back in July. This could be down to a release date being unavailable for these titles yet, therefore Microsoft may be reluctant to inform of a prospective launch day at this moment. The other possibility is these games being available on more than one platform, with Xbox potentially toying with the idea of offering their in-house developed games to their competitors, however far-fetched this may seem.
Another interesting take is the omission of any Bethesda title. The publishers only confirmed title for this year as of now is DEATHLOOP, a PlayStation exclusive at launch. Set to release in May, the first-person shooter had its launch pushed forward from 2020. Following the purchase of ZeniMax, Microsoft did state that changes would not be made to releases of already announced deals between Sony and Bethesda, however, it's likely we will see the game on an Xbox platform at some point down the line.
Bethesda also recently announced that work had begun with Machine Games on developing a new Indiana Jones title, however, it's unlikely that a release for this will be set for the next few years, so its emission is not all that surprising. It will be interesting to see how 'final' this list is from Microsoft, and whether they plan to update this throughout the year, given the notable titles missing.