Microsoft’s 2021 Release Calendar Doesn’t Include Many First-Party Games

Microsoft’s 2021 Release Calendar Doesn’t Include Many First-Party Games
Image: Microsoft

A month into the launch of the Xbox Series X/S, Microsoft has given a rundown of what people can expect to play on the new machines in 2021. There are a lot of games, but very few of them are from Microsoft’s own studios.

A new post over on the Xbox Wire blog outlines some of what’s coming to Xbox One and Series X/S in the months ahead. A lot of it is timed-console exclusives or multiplatform third-party games.

Here’s the current list:


  • Halo Infinite

  • Psychonauts 2

Console exclusive in some way (either timed or permanently)

  • Scorn

  • The Ascent

  • The Medium

  • The Gunk

  • CrossfireX

  • Warhammer 40K: Darktide

  • Exomecha

  • Shredders

  • 12 Minutes

  • Dead Static Drive

  • Echo Generation

Everything else

  • Far Cry 6
  • Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Quarantine
  • Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
  • Chorus
  • Ruined King: A League of Legends Story
  • Scarlet Nexus
  • Balan Wonderworld
  • Resident Evil Village
  • The Artful Escape
  • Songs of Iron
  • Tunic
  • The Good Life
  • Sable
  • Bright Memory Infinite
  • Way to the Woods
  • Outriders
  • Skatebird

Some of these games, like The Medium, Psychonauts 2, and Halo Infinite were supposed to come out this year but were delayed. Another thing that’s notable are the games Microsoft doesn’t mention. During its summer showcase last July it teased State of Decay 3, a new Forza Motorsport, Rare’s Everwild, Obsidian’s Avowed, Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II, and a new Fable game. None of these are on this list.

Everwild was revealed last year, but recently lost its director and isn't on Microsoft's list of 2021 releases.  (Screenshot: Microsoft) Everwild was revealed last year, but recently lost its director and isn’t on Microsoft’s list of 2021 releases. (Screenshot: Microsoft)

One or more of them, and others yet to be announced, might fall under the “some surprises” mentioned in the post. The post also hints that Microsoft will have an announcement or two to make later this week at the Game Awards (though head of Xbox marketing, Aaron Greenberg, told fans on Twitter to dial expectations down). But based on the preliminary list, it looks like the company’s 2021 first-party and console exclusive launch lineup is leaning heavily on games that were supposed to already have come out, as well as Game Pass, which is exclusive and great but not a game.

Sony released a similar preview of its 2021 release calendar in trailer form earlier this week. While it contained significantly fewer games overall, many of the ones it did mention are first-party staples or timed-exclusives, including: Horizon Forbidden West, Gran Turismo 7, Deathloop, Ghostwire Tokyo, Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart, and Destruction All-Stars (another game delayed out of 2020).

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Sony announced Square Enix’s action RPG Project Athia would be a two-year timed exclusive on PS5, but also called it a work in progress and didn’t give a release window. The rest of the games are, for now at least, supposed to come out in 2021. The trailer didn’t include the new God of War, but that’s also been confirmed for 2021.

On paper at least, Microsoft’s creative studio output early into this new console cycle appears to be lagging. Of course, the company is also set to finalise its acquisition of Bethesda next year as well, potentially adding new, as-of-yet unannounced games to Xbox’s 2021 lineup. We’ll see.


  • Man i know he said to dial down expectations for the Game Awards but can they really afford to wait on Halo to swing in and save the day, late next year? I mean what would they have had for Christmas next year if Halo had actually launched when it was meant to? It baffles me that resources weren’t redirected to get another project across the line for Q1 2021 to act as a “launch” title and stem some of the bleeding Halo inflicted.

    • I know car games aren’t ‘system sellers’ that much, but surely MS should have been better prepared with Turn 10 and Forza Motorsport than ‘sometime in the future’. Turn 10 have consistently improved on their previous forza games (3 to 4, 5 to 6, 6 to 7) and they’ve had 2 year development windows.

      It’s already been more than 3 years since Forza 7 and still nothing in sight. Even releasing an ‘exclusive to game pass’ stripped back version with 20-30 cars and only 10 tracks would’ve been something more than the wasteland that Xbox has at the moment..

      • Well they aren’t system sellers but I’d have to say the most fun I’ve ever had in my life with driving games was Project Gotham racing. I’ve tried multiple games but it’s kudos system and what the game was when it came out was unreal. I’m someone who generally can’t be bothered with car games but Microsoft need to do something because currently multi plats are better on PS5 and if they don’t have exclusives, than what are they really going to provide their consumers with this generation?

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