Xbox Series X exclusives to look forward to in 2021

2021 could very well prove to be the most important year in the history of Xbox. Though the Xbox Series X and its more affordable Series S counterpart released last year in 2020, this year is where the consoles will truly need to come into their own. Microsoft has a lot to prove this year to avoid the lack of exclusives from the previous generation’s start.

Fortunately, it looks like there is hope for the future. 2021 is currently stacked with Xbox Series X exclusives for players to anticipate. These games can’t be played on a competitor’s hardware, at least for now, and you’ll need an Xbox to check them out. From first-person shooters to sims to indie experiences to even horror games, here are the 10 Xbox Series X exclusives you can look forward to in 2021.

Senua's Saga: Hellblade II

The original Hellblade was an experience unlike any other. It was a third-person action-adventure game that focused on Senua, a girl on a journey through the literal and figurative depths of hell to rescue the one she loves. Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II looks to expand that experience into something deeper and more expansive.

While little is known about the sequel at this time, we expect it to continue the deeply immersive, haunting, and psychologically-focused gameplay from Senua’s Sacrifice. Now that developer Ninja Theory is a Microsoft studio, this could be the exclusive narrative experience Xbox Series X needs in 2021.

Bright Memory: Infinite

Microsoft carefully chose to debut its first Xbox Series X exclusive gameplay trailer with Bright Memory: Infinite during the third-party presentation in May 2020. The cyberpunk-esque world of this tech demo-turned-full game is stunning on next-gen hardware and the gameplay looks equally intriguing.

Players can run around, slicing and dicing enemies to pieces with swords one moment and then blast them down with guns the next in this fast-paced first-person action title.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. is a beloved PC game with first-person horror-themed open-world gameplay that fans have wanted a sequel to for years. 2021 looks to be the year where we finally get this long-awaited new entry in the series and it promises to be one of the largest open worlds ever made with a branching story with multiple endings. This sequel to the PC classic will only be playable for console fans on Xbox.

The Medium

Speaking of horror experiences, one of the first Xbox Series X exclusives to release this year will be The Medium. January 28, 2021 is the release of this spiritual successor to the Silent Hill series. Players take on the role of a medium who is capable of traversing across two different worlds: our world and the spiritual one.

Through this, players will encounter psychological horrors that will hunt you down as you explore the unique dual-realities system where you seamlessly play across both worlds.

Scorn

If you like horrifying games that will have you unsettled and unable to sleep at night, Scorn might be for you. The bizarre body horror game has been in development for the better part of the last decade and is supposedly going to finally release in 2021.

Scorn features a disgustingly detailed world where everything around you looks alive and ready to kill you. From the gameplay we’ve seen from this Xbox Series X exclusive, even the act of reloading your gun can be disturbing. First-person horror fans should keep an eye out for this one.

Everwild

Everwild looks to be a major departure for the Sea of Thieves developer Rare. Players embark on a journey to a colorful and magical world full of creatures and interesting places to explore. Little is known about the game at this time, despite being announced in 2019, but it looks to incorporate elements of online cooperative multiplayer and possibly befriending beautiful animals.

The stunning world of Everwild will not only be an Xbox Series X exclusive when it releases possibly this year, but it will also be available on day one for Xbox Game Pass subscribers.

Microsoft Flight Simulator

One of the award-winning games from 2020 is coming to Xbox as a console exclusive with Microsoft Flight Simulator. Announced during The Game Awards 2020, players will have to wait until summer 2021 to play this unbelievably deep sim where you pilot planes around the world.

While we hope and wait for a time in which we can safely travel around the world again, Microsoft Flight Simulator looks to be a solid replacement with its impressive recreation of, well, the entire planet.

12 Minutes

What if you had just 12 minutes to solve a mystery and find out what is going wrong with your life? That is exactly what the game 12 Minutes asks players to do. The Xbox exclusive indie title from lone developer Luis Antonio and published by Annapurna Interactive is a top-down cinematic adventure where time is of the essence.

With an all-star cast including well-known actors like Daisy Ridley, James McAvoy, and Willem Dafoe, players have to relive the same period of time over and over. Players need to learn from past playthroughs to find out more about what’s going on in this mysterious thriller and, hopefully, break the tragic cycle.

The Gunk

Image & Form is renowned for its Steamworld games but The Gunk represents a vast shift from that series. Starring two scavengers who travel the stars, the pair find themselves in an unfortunate situation when they stumble upon a planet where the titular Gunk has taken control of the world and is killing it off.

The player has to work to free the planet from the gross Gunk and restore it to its former glory through the third-person action-adventure gameplay that is unlike anything else that the indie developer has done before.

Halo Infinite

For many Xbox Series X players, there is no game more anticipated for the console than Halo Infinite. Originally supposed to release last year as a launch title for the new consoles, it is now set for some time in 2021. This game is at the core of Microsoft’s attempt to not repeat past mistakes and, hopefully, usher in a more impressive console generation.

Halo Infinite sees the long-awaited return of Master Chief to the forefront of the open-world campaign in a gameplay and visual style that harkens back to the original Halo: Combat Evolved. Couple this return-to-form campaign with a free-to-play online multiplayer experience and this could end up being 343 Industries’ best game yet.