Xbox Game Studios Beginning to Show its Strength in 2020

Over the course of the eighth console generation, there’s been a constant narrative revolving around the Xbox One’s game library thus leading to the word “exclusive” becoming a staple throughout the industry. Regardless of your personal opinion on the matter, improving first party output has been a driving focus for the Xbox team. Through the expansion of existing studios and acquisition of new studios, there’s certainly a night and day difference in the amount of resources developing titles for the Xbox ecosystem in 2019 as compared to 2013. Even more exciting is that they are still expanding.

While it’s rightfully expected to take years to see the full benefits of those investments, what’s surprisingly impressive is the lineup that is already confirmed for the Xbox One in 2020. Let’s take a look at what we know is coming over the course of the next twelve months.

To note, not all of these are first party nor exclusive. Rather, they are either developed by an Xbox first party studio or through a partnership with a second party.


Ori and Will of the Wisps

Header.png

  • Developer : Moon Studios
  • Release date : March 11th

The long anticipated follow-up to the critically acclaimed Ori and the Blind Forest arrives in less than two months. There’s little doubt that it will be an incredible title as the original is considered one of the best 2D platformers of this generation. We have played it in multiple preview events and can confirm it’s even more impressive and beautiful in person.


Bleeding Edge

Header.jpg

  • Developer : Ninja Theory
  • Release Date : March 24th

The next title from Ninja Theory (Hellblade 2!) arrives in March. Bleeding Edge surprised everyone with its debut at E3 2019. Developed by a small group within Ninja Theory as a side project, it was already pretty and well polished when we played it back in June. Since then it’s continued to be refined through alpha sessions with Xbox Insiders. With it’s eye-catching art direction, unique characters, and competitive framework, it has broad potential.


Minecraft Dungeons

Dungeons.jpg

  • Developer : Mojang
  • Release Date : April for several platforms including PS4 and Switch

It’s hard to believe that Minecraft has been around for ten years now. In that time, it has transcended gaming and grown into a worldwide phenomenon. It continues to be one of the most played and watched games in the world and is approaching 200 million units sold (in addition to having another 200 million users on a free edition in China). Dungeons however is an entirely new title which takes the Minecraft universe and mixes it with traditional ARPG mechanics. The result is an incredibly charming, 4 player co-op, adventure. And fortunately for Minecraft fans everywhere, Xbox is releasing the game on all platforms.


Wasteland 3

Wasteland 3.png

  • Developer : inExile Entertainment
  • Release Date : May 19th (also on PS4)

Another long anticipated sequel that was originally crowdfunded, Wasteland 3 has continued to be refined since inExile joined Xbox Game Studios. Brian Fargo, CEO of inExile, has been very complimentary of the acquisition by Xbox and noted that it is absolutely contributing to a higher quality title. This is great news for fans of course as all of the original backers see the improvements to the post-apocalyptic RPG as well.


Battletoads

Battletoads.jpg

  • Developer : DLaLa Studios in collaboration with Rare
  • Release Date : 2020

One of Rare’s older IPs and a famously challenging game from my youth, Battletoads returns with hand-drawn, 4K graphics and 3 player co-op in 2020. The game looks gorgeous in motion and we can confirm, it’s just as challenging and funny as you remember.


Cuphead : The Delicious Last Course

last course.jpg

  • Developer : Studio MDHR
  • Release Date : 2020

The indie darling returns in 2020 after becoming a significant name in popular culture and selling over 5 million copies across the Xbox, Switch, and PC. The original is one of my favorite indie titles of the generation due to its gorgeous art style and finely polished shoot-em up mechanics.


Gears Tactics

Tactics.jpg

  • Developer : Splash Damage in collaboration with The Coalition
  • Release Date : April 28th on PC (Xbox may be later in the year)

Originally announced for PC only, Rod Fergusson, Studio Head of The Coalition, recently confirmed the title for Xbox as well. Gears Tactics takes the Gears of War franchise into new territory being an asymmetrical, turn-based strategy game. Given the richness of the Gears universe and development talent at Splash Damage, we expect very good things.


Flight Simulator

Flight Sim2.jpg

  • Developer : Asobo Studio in collaboration with Xbox Game Studios
  • Release Date : 2020

Flight Simulator is a bona fide classic in the PC gaming world. However, those days are long gone now so it was a great surprise to see a new iteration revealed during E3. Utilizing a new engine, Bing Maps data (over two petabytes worth), and Azure AI, Flight Simulator replicates the real world in stunning 4K detail and will include a wide array of aircraft. Traveling the world digitally has never been so beautiful.


Halo Infinite

Infinite2.jpg

  • Developer : 343 Industries
  • Release Date : Holiday 2020 with Xbox Series X

One of the industries’ most influential IPs and notable icons returns in Holiday of 2020 with its first new mainline entry in 5 years. Given the tremendous amount of success seen with Halo Master Chief Collection and Reach’s release recently, there’s little doubt that Halo Infinite will not only be stunning at launch, but will create waves the world over.


Tell Me Why

Tell me why.jpg

  • Developer : Dontnod Entertainment published by Xbox Game Studios
  • Release Date : Summer 2020

Tell Me Why is the next episodic title from Life is Strange developers Dontnod Entertainment. Set in Alaska, Tell Me Why tells the stories of twins who learn of their troubled childhood through their bond.


Psychonauts 2

Raz.png

  • Developer : Double Fine Productions
  • Release Date : Summer 2020 (also on PS4)

The long awaited follow up to the cult classic arrives in 2020. Similar to titles like Wasteland 3, Psychonauts 2 began its life as a crowd-funded title but after Xbox’s acquisition of Double Fine, the team was given more time and funding to further improve the game. We had the closed door demo at E3 and were truly impressed by what we saw.


Forza Motorsport 8 (working title)

RS.jpg

  • Developer : Turn 10 Studios
  • Release Date : Holiday 2020 with Xbox Series X

The Forza franchise has been generally regarded as excellent over the past several years but the Motorsport series has lately taken a back seat to the incredible Horizon series. While Forza Motorsport 7 was a very good game in its own right, Turn 10 has taken an extra year of development to ensure the next Forza Motorsport moves the needle and brings the series back to the pole position. You can also expect for it to be a showcase title for the Xbox Series X.


Grounded

Header.jpg

  • Developer : Obsidian Entertainment
  • Release Date : 2020, Early Access Begins in April

Grounded first debuted at X019 and surprised the crowd with a surprisingly lighthearted looking title from a small team within Obsidian Entertainment. The survival title can be played single player or with up to 4 player co-op in either first or third person. While simple in appearance, there’s a lot going on behind the scenes in the game as a full simulation of the ecosystem occurs outside of the player’s view as well as a full day/night cycle.


Crossfire X

CrossfireX.jpg

  • Developer : Smilegate (Port) and Remedy Entertainment (Campaign)
  • Release Date : 2020 with exclusivity on Xbox consoles

You may not have ever heard of it prior to E3 this year, but Crossfire X has been one of the largest FPS titles in the world for several years. In 2020, the title will land exclusively on Xbox consoles. Even more interesting, is that a single player campaign is in development by Remedy to accompany the title. Color me intrigued.


Session

Session.png

  • Developer : Crea-ture Studios
  • Release Date : 2020 with 3 month exclusivity on Xbox consoles

Fans have been crying for a new simulation skateboarding game for years. Ever since Tony Hawk and Skate disappeared, there’s been a glaring hole in the industry for fans of the sport. Crea-ture Studios is hoping to fill that hole with Session which began development in 2017. It was released in early access on Steam a short while ago and is coming to Xbox Game Preview in 2020 with an exclusivity period on console.


One thing is certain when examining the Xbox’s lineup for 2020; the games are coming. What’s most impressive when looking at the list is that these are titles that were already in development by the majority of these studios. Since then, new projects have been sprung up and many of these studios have continued hiring and growing their team(s). If this is only the start of what we can expect annually from an Xbox first and second party perspective, the future is bright indeed.

Author: Ainsley Bowden (Porshapwr)

Founder of SeasonedGaming.com, avid game collector and enthusiast since the Atari 2600 era. You can find me online or on Twitter as Porshapwr as well. Thanks for checking out Seasoned Gaming!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.