Between backwards compatibility, cross-gen play and next-gen optimization, it can be a little hard to keep track of what exactly is a “launch” game for new consoles like Xbox Series X and PS5.
Well, Microsoft has come out with what appears to be a final list of 29 different games that will arrive fully “optimized” on Xbox Series X at launch. This does not mean simply playable or benefitting from base upgrades like faster load times. This means specifically tuned for next-gen. For instance, even though Destiny 2’s Beyond Light expansion is launching on Game Pass on November 10, it’s not in this list because the next-gen upgrade for 4K 60 FPS and an FOV slider isn’t coming for another month after launch.
So, here’s the full list, in alphabetical order, including which games are on Game Pass and which are utilizing Smart Delivery, which means a free upgrade to the next-gen optimized version:
- Assassins Creed Valhalla (Smart Delivery)
- Borderlands 3 (Smart Delivery)
- Cuisine Royale (Smart Delivery)
- Dead by Daylight (Xbox Game Pass + Smart Delivery)
- Devil May Cry 5: Special Edition
- DIRT 5 (Smart Delivery)
- The Falconeer (Smart Delivery)
- Forza Horizon 4 (Xbox Game Pass + Smart Delivery)
- Gears 5 (Xbox Game Pass + Smart Delivery)
- Gears Tactics (Xbox Game Pass + Smart Delivery)
- Grounded (Xbox Game Pass + Smart Delivery)
- King Oddball (Smart Delivery)
- Maneater (Smart Delivery)
- Manifold Garden (Smart Delivery)
- NBA 2K21
- Observer: System Redux
- Ori and the Will of the Wisps (Xbox Game Pass + Smart Delivery)
- Planet Coaster (Smart Delivery)
- Tetris Effect: Connected (Xbox Game Pass + Smart Delivery)
- The Touryst (Xbox Game Pass + Smart Delivery)
- War Thunder (Smart Delivery)
- Warhammer: Chaosbane Slayer Edition
- Watch Dogs: Legion (Smart Delivery)
- WRC 9 FIA World Rally Championship (Smart Delivery)
- Yakuza: Like a Dragon (Smart Delivery)
- Yes, Your Grace (Smart Delivery)
So, you will probably notice that the “biggest” games on this list are either AAA titles that launched some time ago, Borderlands 3 and Gears 5 and Fortnite, or they are fall releases that are also cross-gen like Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Watch Dogs: Legion. Cyberpunk technically comes out nine days after Series X launch on November 19, but again, it wouldn’t qualify for this list. While it will be playable on Xbox Series X, its full next-gen upgrades will not be implemented until next year (probably something to do with the fact that it was supposed to launch at the beginning of this year, not the end).
This list is why many are saying that Sony has the better offerings on PS5 at launch, as that will have Godfall, Spider-Man Miles Morales and Demon’s Souls, while Xbox doesn’t quite have anything to match that. And PS5 will of course also have the big games shown here like Valhalla, Watch Dogs, Borderlands and Fortnite too.
The big gap, of course, is Halo Infinite, which was supposed to launch with the Series X and has instead been delayed to some time in 2021. But we don’t need to go through that whole saga again, so this is your list for launch, it seems.