Microsoft is planning to launch its next-generation Xbox — currently only known as Project Scarlett or Xbox Scarlett — in late 2020. With the release of a new console comes the release of new games made from the ground up to take advantage of its power, and we already know one game that will be releasing on the system: Halo Infinite. The rest of its lineup, however, remains a mystery, and if Microsoft is going to catch back up with Sony and outperform the PlayStation 5, it’s going to have to support plenty of impressive titles. We’ve been doing some thinking about the types of games we want to see on the system, divided into categories based on genre and ports. These are the games we need to see on Xbox Scarlett.
Images for games outside of “Xbox One ports and remasters” category are taken from previous entries in their respective series
Xbox One ports and remasters
Halo: The Master Chief Collection
When it originally launched in 2014, Halo: The Master Chief Collection came with four games: Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2, Halo 3, and Halo 4. Halo 3: ODST was added later, and Halo: Reach is planned for addition in the near future. Combining all of these games with Halo 5: Guardians — all with an 8K coat of paint and HDR — would be the perfect treat for Xbox Scarlett players to enjoy. They wouldn’t have to wait for Halo Infinite, as it’s launching with the console, but those who have never played any Halo games before would be able to do so in the best possible fashion.
Arguably a bigger property for Microsoft than even Halo, Minecraft is available on practically every console imaginable, including competitors like Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4, but Mojang has the opportunity to take things to the next level by putting it on Xbox Scarlett. Better draw distance and lighting, even more detail in objects and environments, and enormous multiplayer sessions would all be possible with the system’s upgraded internals and power of the Azure cloud servers. Minecraft on Xbox Scarlett could be the definitive version of the game, and would undoubtedly still support cross-play with other systems.
Ori and the Blind Forest was a critical darling for the Xbox One at a time when the system desperately needed a win, and everything we’ve seen from Ori and the Will of the Wisps suggests the sequel will follow suit. Bundling them both together with additional content, such as difficulty options and new areas, could help make both games essential for an Xbox Scarlett player. They’re currently available on Xbox One and the system will be backward compatible, but why settle for an older version when a flashier game is possible?
One of the most iconic franchises of all-time, Killer Instinct was released with a peculiar free-to-play model alongside the Xbox One in 2013 and subsequently offered new characters through microtransactions and a seasonal structure. If ported to Xbox Scarlett, Microsoft needs to ditch this and instead offer the game in its entirety for a set price. Having an exclusive fighting game will make the system more appealing, particularly if it’s given hefty technical improvements over the Xbox One version. It wasn’t exactly a looker, and could definitely use the extra attention to add better textures while keeping the action at a smooth 60 frames per second. Who needs Street Fighter V, anyway?
Sunset Overdrive 2
This one is a bit of a crazy dream considering that Sony subsidiary Insomniac Games owns the series rights, but an Xbox Scarlett follow-up to the massively underrated Sunset Overdrive is nonetheless welcome. An action-packed third-person shooter with smooth and wacky traversal mechanics, the original game felt like a blend of Ratchet & Clank and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, and it had plenty of booming tunes and a satirical story that poked fun at video games themselves. The possibilities for a sequel are endless, as are the goofy new weapons that you could use to destroy energy-drink-crazed mutants.
Quantum Break 2
Remedy Entertainment has certainly attracted plenty of praise for its latest third-person action game Control, but it was Quantum Break that really established the studio’s contemporary formula. With a time-traveling plot and several time-manipulating powers for combat, the original game was inventive and even wove in large live-action segments focusing on the villains, but it was brought down by lackluster shooting and an overly brief story. A sequel that incorporates lessons learned from Control could make it one of Xbox Scarlett’s best exclusives, and more Lance Reddick in our video games is never a bad thing.
Darksiders 3 was studio Gunfire Games’ first attempt to make its own entry in the series, having previously ported Darksiders 2 to current-generation consoles. The third game had engaging combat and fun puzzles, but it was extremely short and lacked the scope of the two previous games. We’ve heard that the development team of Darksiders 2 originally planned to have all four horsemen playable in a sequel via cooperative mode, and this vision could still be realized in the fourth game. After introducing Strife in Darksiders Genesis, the series would be able to have him fight alongside his siblings in a more traditional Darksiders adventure.
Grand Theft Auto 6
Grand Theft Auto V continues to place on the monthly top 10 sales charts more than six years after its release, even as hardcore Rockstar Games fans have shifted to playing Red Dead Redemption 2. We have no clue where Rockstar plans on taking the series with a sequel, but it’s undoubtedly in the works and we’re hoping for a setting that we haven’t seen before. Los Santos and Liberty City are certainly nice, but there is an entire fictionalized United States left to carjack, and we’re sure there are plenty of colorful characters to encounter along the way. With the last two games taking place in the modern era, why not shift things decades in the past?
DmC: Devil May Cry 2
Capcom’s return to the original timeline with Devil May Cry 5 was met with critical praise and high sales figures, meaning that a Devil May Cry 6 is certainly on the way. However, the Ninja Theory game DmC: Devil May Cry was an excellent alternate-universe take on the series’ classic characters, and with the studio now under the Microsoft umbrella, it’s possible that a sequel could release as an Xbox Scarlett exclusive. Capcom is no stranger to working this way with Microsoft in the past, having done deals for both Dead Rising 3 and Dead Rising 4.
This console generation, Ubisoft’s Tom Clancy franchises have seen a resurgence in popularity, with Rainbow Six Siege and the recent two Ghost Recon games attracting huge attention, and The Division and its sequels blending role-playing elements with tactical combat. One game series we haven’t seen return yet is Splinter Cell, and with recent signs pointing to a game in the early stages of development, we have our fingers crossed for it to hit Xbox Scarlett. Unlike some of Ubisoft’s other properties, it doesn’t need to reinvent the wheel, as the formula established by Splinter Cell Blacklist offered stealth-action for a variety of playstyles. What it does need, however, is Michael Ironside back as Sam Fisher.
Lara Croft arguably ended her origin story and become the true Tomb Raider during the events of 2018’s Shadow of the Tomb Raider, but why stop her when she’s reached peak badass? Crystal Dynamics and Eidos Montreal have created excellent action-adventure games that take the right elements from classic Tomb Raider titles and mix them with a dose of Uncharted, and they can give Nathan Drake’s own games a run for their money. Rise of the Tomb Raider was originally an Xbox exclusive, and if Microsoft were to buy the rights from Square Enix, future games could stay that way for good.
Sea of Thieves 2
Rare had been tasked with creating Kinect adventures and other fairly uninteresting content for years after being purchased by Microsoft, but it was given a chance to show its old-school charm with Sea of Thieves. The online pirate game certainly had plenty of character and terrific naval combat, but its skeleton didn’t hold that much meat and it was easy to bounce off the game after just a few hours. A potential sequel would have to offer a more structured story and progression system so that players feel like they have a reason to keep completing quests and discovering buried treasure.
State of Decay 3
Another inventive game that fell short of its potential, State of Decay 2 combined open-world zombie action with a strategic system for building up bases and delegating responsibilities to survivors. It felt like Dead Rising by way of The Sims, and the ability to shape your own story based on who lived and died made it unique, at the very least. Bugs and a general lack of polish, however, could make it frustrating to play, and it was clearly not intended as a full-scale AAA release. Now that developer Undead Labs is part of the Microsoft family, a third game could get the resources it needs to stand toe-to-toe with other open-world zombie games.
While 343 Industries has struggle dto match the very high-quality standards of Bungie with its two Halo games, The Coalition has been having no such issue with the Gears of War series. Gears 5 was particularly successful, with psychological horror elements, vehicle-based traversal, and plenty of villains to despise. Should Gears 6 be in development, The Coalition needs only to build on what made its predecessor great, albeit perhaps with a less pervasive microtransaction system and better single-player options for the new Escape mode.
4A Games has released three excellent Metro games thus far, and the studio shows no signs of slowing down. Its adaptations of Dmitry Glukhovsky’s novels have been some of the best post-apocalyptic games of all time, ditching the satire and humor of Fallout in favor of something much grittier, grimmer, and darker. Being able to customize your weapons with scavenged components, repair your gas mask on the fly, and venture into open areas made Metro Exodus the best game in the series, and we fully expect a fourth game to be just as impressive.
Sure, Respawn Entertainment’s biggest hit thus far has been the spinoff game Apex Legends, but did we forget just how incredible Titanfall 2 was? Across both its campaign and competitive multiplayer, the mix of first-person shooting and mech combat made every moment exhilarating and reminded us of Infinity Ward during Call of Duty’s golden years. The original Titanfall only released on Xbox and PC, and if Electronic Arts isn’t willing to fund the third game on its own, then Microsoft should step in and bring Titanfall 3 to Xbox Scarlett.
Originally only announced for PC before The Coalition opted to also bring it to Xbox, our bets are on Gears Tactics releasing for the Xbox Scarlett rather than Xbox One. We’ve seen how turn-based tactical games can struggle to run at solid framerates with aging hardware — look at XCOM: Enemy Unknown on mobile devices — and Microsoft won’t compromise by cutting down the visuals to make it run on Xbox One. If it hits Xbox Scarlett by launch, Gears Tactics can help to keep the franchise’s fans happy while they wait for Gears 6 to release.
Halo Wars 3
Halo Wars and its sequel focus on entirely different characters than those in the main Halo series, but they add a ton of context and fleshed-out lore that make the universe feel even more real. This is on top of being fully-functional real-time strategy games on consoles, complete with tons of different vehicle and troop options, intriguing campaign stories, and several competitive multiplayer options. If Microsoft wants Halo to remain the king of its franchises, then it needs to bring Halo Wars 3 to Xbox Scarlett.
After the demise of Lionhead Studios, it seemed like the Fable franchise was gone for good, but rumors have been swirling for the last few years that Playground Games is creating a new entry with a new second development team. Given the lukewarm response to Fable 3 and the failed Fable: The Journey, the series should only come back when it can absolutely impress role-playing game fans, and the extra power of Xbox Scarlett should help its development make good on the promises series creator Peter Molyneux made so many years ago.
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