Anybody who says they know exactly when Microsoft will launch the Xbox Series X is a liar. Aside from saying that the brand-new console will become available for purchase around the holiday season of 2020, they’ve remained steadfast in not giving us a date. Perhaps they’re waiting for Sony to announce when they’ll launch the PlayStation 5, or perhaps they just haven’t made their minds up yet. In any event, the holiday season of 2020 is creeping closer with every passing day and week, and we can now consider ourselves to be six months away at the most.
Six months isn’t a long time when it comes to marketing and promotion – especially when the new console will be up against such stiff competition when it eventually does launch. The fifth PlayStation console will be the least of its concerns. It also has to factor in the threat posed by the resurgent Google Stadia platform and Apple Arcade. Both of those platforms – gaming’s new kids on the block – have taken a trick or two from online slots websites when it comes to putting together their offering. In 2020, anyone wanting to play slots games in a-z slots list only has to login once to a website or provider, and they have access to all the games they could ever want. They can play online slots on their laptop if that’s what suits them, or for convenience, they could play them on their mobiles if they preferred. Stadia and Apple Arcade replicate that experience. Sony and Microsoft cannot. To compete, they’re going to need some incredible games.
While Sony is still holding back on solid information, Microsoft has decided that now is the right time to clue us all in on at least a few of the big-names games that early buyers of their new console can expect to play, and there are reasons to get excited. Having digested all the information that they’ve provided during the past few days, here are the highlights you need to know about!
Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla
The name and genre of the next ‘Assassin’s Creed’ game have been among the worst-kept secrets in gaming for months on end, and now we can finally stop pretending that we don’t know what’s coming. We now know for certain that it’s going to be a dark and gritty tale set during the time of Vikings in Europe. Interest in Vikings has been at a high in recent years thanks to the popularity of the ‘Vikings’ television series, which is coming to an end this year. The ‘Assassin’s Creed’ game will see a character called Eivor rising to power in Norway and then traveling to the United Kingdom to go head to head with the legendary King Alfred the Great. We’ve seen some ominous and gloomy-looking shots of Stonehenge in the game, and some truly stunning graphics. While this game will initially be available for the existing Xbox, it will come with something Microsoft is calling ‘smart delivery’ – so it can be upgraded to the Series X version at no additional cost when users buy the new machine.
An Xbox console launch is barely worthy of the name if it doesn’t come with a brand-new version of ‘Halo,’ and so we’re pleased to be able to report that the latest incarnation of the game is officially scheduled for a ‘quarter 4’ release in 2020. Just to reiterate one more time, that means it has the same release schedule as the new Xbox console, and so we would be surprised if it didn’t come packaged in the box. No matter how powerful the new console is – and trust us, it’s very powerful – it will stay on shelves unless it comes with great games. We don’t want to jinx the new ‘Halo’ by praising it before we’ve had the chance to play it, but the ‘Halo’ series is as close to a sure thing as it’s possible to get in the video gaming world. We’ve been promised a much-more ‘human-led’ game than ‘Halo 5,’ with Master Chief at the forefront of the action and the majority of the gameplay set on a Halo ring. Like the new ‘Assassin’s Creed,’ it will be available for the Xbox One but will come with enhancements when played on the newer console.
We’ve been begging for someone to come up with a modern-day game based on the classic ‘Alien’ horror movies for years now. ‘Scorn’ might be as close as we ever get. It isn’t an officially-licensed game based on the films, but there’s a definite look and feel of the first-ever ‘Alien’ movie to the pictures we’ve seen so far. Unlike the other two games we’ve looked at thus far, ‘Scorn’ will be a Series X exclusive developed by Ebb. The player will be dropped straight into a sandbox world with very little in the way of instructions or advice. Your job is to stay alive and find out more about the world around you in the process. Based on the gruesome skinless appearance of the central character alone, we expect this to be a game that comes with an R rating. This has the potential to be the ‘Dead Space’ of its era.
‘Dirt 5’ won’t be the biggest or best racing game released for the Xbox Series X during its existence, but it will be the first to the table and will therefore get the jump on its competition. It’s also the first racing game to show off the new ray-tracing capability of the Series X to its maximum potential. This rally game looks absolutely incredible. Codemasters has been in the business of developing video games for longer than most of us have been alive, so they know how to put a great game together, and the early signs suggest that they haven’t disappointed us here. The way mud and debris splatters everywhere as cars collide with each other reminds us of playing ‘Destruction Derby’ on the original PlayStation – but ‘Destruction Derby’ never looked this good.
The new ‘Assassin’s Creed’ and ‘Halo’ games will be reason enough for most hardcore gamers to buy the new console, and we’ve also already heard that the 2021 versions of the ‘FIFA’ and ‘Madden’ games by EA will be launched as both current and new generation games, so the sports gaming crowd have much to look forward to, too. With this news, we can finally say that the countdown to the end of the current gaming era has officially begun!