Microsoft shows off 13 “launch window” games for Xbox Series X

Microsoft kicked off a months-long promotional blitz for the upcoming Xbox Series X today with footage from 13 titles coming to the system “in the launch window.” That’s ahead of a promised “hundreds” of games from dozens of developers coming through 2021.

All the titles discussed today will run at full 4K resolutions and “up to 120 frames per second” on the Xbox Series X, Microsoft said, with support for “hardware-accelerated DirectX raytracing” to boot. Microsoft is also touting the Series X’s high-speed SSD storage and high-bandwidth DirectStorage API as enabling a “super-fast load time” in these titles. The majority of the games will be available through Microsoft’s previously announced Smart Delivery program, which lets players buy a game once and play it across multiple generations of Xbox consoles. That means some of these titles may release for the Xbox One before the Series X launches, then provide free Series X upgrades if and when customers purchase the new console.

Cyberpunk 2077 was the first game to confirm it would use Smart Delivery earlier in the year, and the Viking-themed Assassin’s Creed Valhalla announced compatibility earlier this month. All titles developed by Microsoft’s internal Xbox Game Studios will also make use of Smart Delivery—and today’s presentation teased a “July” reveal for first-party XSX fare such as Halo Infinite.

New Smart Delivery titles announced today include:

  • Call of the Sea (Raw Fury): A first-person puzzle-based adventure set in the waters of the South Pacific, set for late 2020.
  • Chorus (Deep Silver): A space shooter that follows the story of an ace pilot and her sentient starfighter, who are described as “dual protagonists.” Coming in 2021.
  • Dirt 5 (Codemasters): The next chapter in the long-running off-road racing series. This one will feature the vocal talents of Troy Baker and Nolan North in the story-based Career Mode.
  • Scarlet Nexus (Bandai Namco): In the far future, Yuito Sumeragi and his team’s psychokinetic powers are the only thing that can stop “deranged mutants” known as “the others” in this third-person melee action game.
  • Second Extinction (Systemic Reaction): A co-op shooter for up to three players with dinosaur targets in the vein of Ark: Survival Evolved.
  • The Ascent (Neon Giant/Curve Digital): A cyberpunk third-person RPG/shooter set amid the collapse of a world-spanning mega-corporation.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines 2 (Paradox): A sequel to the 2004 gothic action RPG, now set in Seattle.
  • Yakuza: Like a Dragon (Sega): The next game in the popular Japanese organized crime drama will be available on Xbox Series X on launch day, according to Sega. Also coming to Windows 10.

Microsoft also showcased a handful of Series X “launch window” games that won’t be available with Smart Delivery. These include:

  • Bright Memory Infinite (Playism): An action-focused first-person shooter set in a sprawling urban center in the near future. It includes wall-running and driving sections and was apparently created by a single developer at FYQD.
  • Madden NFL 21 (EA Sports): An American football title. Though it’s not being sold as part of the “Smart Delivery” program, EA says if you buy the game on Xbox One, you’ll get it free on Series X.
  • Scorn (Ebb): A first-person horror game with a focus on surreal environments and non-linear exploration. The game has apparently been in development since 2014.
  • The Medium (Bloober Team): A psychological horror game set in an abandoned hotel resort where the spirit world aids in your quest to solve a murder.

Sam Machkovech contributed to this report.

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Gaming & Culture – Ars Technica

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