Xbox had a respectable 2021. Though Microsoft’s gaming platform only received two major AAA exclusives in the form of Forza Horizon 5 and Halo Infinite, Xbox Game Pass proved itself as the best deal in gaming. Even without big-time exclusives, Microsoft’s subscription service delivered a large variety of old and new games – some of which landed on Game Pass during their respective launches.
2022 holds a great deal of potential for Xbox. We expect to see a wide range of exclusives both big and small. The most notable game releasing in 2022 is Bethesda’s Starfield. Redfall (another Bethesda game) has the potential to be a major multiplayer title while Replaced looks like a stylish indie title.
While there will be a good number of games coming to Xbox in 2022, there are several with unconfirmed release dates. This includes titles like the next Forza Motorsport and Obsidian’s Avowed. Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 is another flagship title with no confirmed release. Games like The Elder Scrolls VI, The Outer Worlds 2, Everwild and Fable will likely not come out in 2022 (or even 2023). As such, we did not include them on this list.
Below, we’ve rounded up the most anticipated Xbox Series X games for 2022.
Starfield (November 11)
We’re starting things off with what will no doubt be the biggest Xbox exclusive of 2022: Starfield. Despite Bethesda releasing little more than concept art and minor snippets of (presumably) in-game footage, many folks are salivating over this release. There are several reasons why.
The main one is that this is the first brand-new single-player Bethesda Softworks title in years. Though Bethesda-developed titles like Fallout 4 and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim are notorious for being buggy, their open-ended gameplay and narratives are unlike those of similar open-world games. Starfield is effectively Fallout and Skyrim in space, which is something to get excited about.
Then there’s the gritty sci-fi setting. Instead of having the kind of borderline-fantasy gadgetry seen in properties like Star Trek or Mass Effect, Starfield is more akin to The Expanse or the original Alien. Bethesda is delivering a realistic depiction of space where the laws of physics reign supreme. Yes, there will be numerous alien worlds to explore and many distinct civilizations to interact with, but it appears to be more grounded than what you’d see in a standard sci-fi game.
Lastly, Starfield will be the first high-profile Bethesda game released after Microsoft’s Zenimax acquisition. This means Starfield will only be released on Xbox consoles and PC. That point may frustrate PlayStation users but it gives Microsoft a chance to bring those same players into the Xbox ecosystem. Starfield could significantly raise the number of players on Xbox Game Pass… which would justify the $7.5 billion spent on acquiring Zenimax.
Starfield will release on November 11, 2022.
Redfall (summer 2022)
Redfall is the other major Bethesda exclusive on this list. Like Starfield, we don’t know much about this open-world co-op shooter. But the scant details we’re privy to are worth getting excited about.
Redfall has you and up to three other players facing hordes of dangerous vampires. The game’s challenges and item placements change depending on your actions. Based on that, Redfall sounds a lot like Left 4 Dead or Back 4 Blood, only with vampires instead of zombies. The ever-shifting gameplay will certainly keep missions lively and give the title added replayability.
Developer Arkane Studios’ unique aesthetic fingerprint is all over Redfall, with stylish moody environments and striking character designs. Arkane titles like Prey, Dishonored and Deathloop can be hit-or-miss in terms of gameplay and narrative, but no one can deny that they’re visually striking. If nothing else, Redfall will be one of the best-looking Xbox exclusives.
Redfall will release in the summer of 2022.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chernobyl (April 28)
Xbox has long been considered the home for first-person shooters so it’s fitting that S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chernobyl would be coming to the platform as a console exclusive. The game’s first trailer tantalized us with visions of a dark post-apocalyptic world filled with deadly monsters and equally brutal weather phenomena. Now that developer GSC Game World dropped its NFT plans, we have even more reason to pay attention to this title.
On the surface, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 bears many similarities to the Metro franchise. Both are FPS games set in post-apocalyptic Eastern European locales and have a slew of mutated monstrosities to fight. What sets S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 apart from Metro is its focus on horror and survival gameplay. The game’s narrative won’t be linear and will change depending on player choices. That last point is enticing since it potentially means no two players will have the same experience. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 will eventually receive a free multiplayer add-on after launch, which is certainly another selling point.
Expect S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chernobyl on April 28, 2022.
Scorn is one of the creepiest games coming to Xbox. Initially slated as an Xbox Series X launch title, this H.R. Giger-inspired survival horror title will finally scare the wits out of Xbox owners in 2022.
Despite Scorn being in development since 2014, we know very little about it. You’ll play as a skinless humanoid and explore a strange alien environment in a non-linear fashion. There are creatures to battle and there will presumably be survival elements like the need to scavenge for resources. The developers have stated that Scorn won’t have dialogue and that its story will be told contextually through the environments you visit.
Those same environments and their otherworldly and disturbing design are what we expect to lure players in. I’m as clueless about Scorn as everyone else but I want to play it to feast on the macabre visuals. Not only is Scorn visually similar to H.R. Giger’s works, but it’s also reminiscent of the original Quake in some respects. Even if the gameplay falls flat, Scorn will be one of the most distinct titles of next year.
Scorn will release sometime in 2022.
Warhammer 40,000: Darktide
Warhammer 40,000: Darktide is another Left 4 Dead-style four-player co-op shooter coming exclusively to Xbox Series X. This one distinguishes itself from other games inspired by Valve’s zombie shooter by being set in the Warhammer universe. That same universe is admittedly daunting for newcomers to get into since there’s so much Warhammer content out there. But Warhammer 40,000 seems like a good entry point into the franchise, if nothing else.
All we know about the game’s story so far is that you play as one of four Imperial Guardsmen who must fight hordes of undead creatures within an ancient ruined city. Based on the game’s trailer, it seems Warhammer 40,000: Darktide will have a slightly comedic tone. I’m not familiar enough with Warhammer to know if this is normal for the franchise or not. But considering you’ll be blasting monsters away with friends for hours on end, a little humor shouldn’t hinder the experience.
Co-op shooters like this are almost always enjoyable. As such, Warhammer 40,000: Darktide should be a great one to nab from Xbox Game Pass when it releases next year.
Replaced is a stylish 2.5D platformer that should serve as a nice reprieve from all the big AAA titles coming to Xbox in 2022. We don’t know much about this one, but its 80’s cyberpunk-inspired art style and gorgeous pixel art graphics have us intrigued.
Gameplay-wise, Replaced will have a mix of platforming and action. The trailer shows the main character using hand-to-hand combat and weapons to dispatch enemies. There’s little information about the game’s story. What we know is that you play as an artificial intelligence named R.E.A.C.H. that is trapped inside of a human’s body. This is a title to watch out for if you’re a fan of retro-futuristic science fiction.
Replaced is due sometime in 2022.
CrossfireX is an updated version of the original Crossfire that launched in 2007. Don’t feel bad if you’ve never heard of it as the game was only released in Asia. This Western adaptation of the hit first-person shooter had an open beta in the summer of 2020 but will now finally release in 2022.
One interesting thing about CrossfireX is that it will feature two brand-new campaign missions developed by Remedy Entertainment. This should add some variety to what is an otherwise straight-up multiplayer title similar to Counterstrike: Global Offensive. Like CS:GO, CrossfireX has two enemy factions competing against each other to complete objectives like planting/diffusing bombs or maintaining control of specific areas of a map.
We’ll see if CrossfireX becomes as big in the West as it is in the East when it releases on February 10, 2022.
If Somerville looks like a spiritual successor to Limbo and Inside, that’s because it’s being developed by Playdead co-founder, Dino Patti. Like those two games, Somerville is a moody platformer where players must face harrowing challenges in order to survive.
Instead of controlling one character, you’ll control four: a mother, father, their son and the family dog. Somerville has a quasi-War of the Worlds feel since the planet has been devastated by alien machines. As with many games on this list, we know little about Somerville. If it’s anything like Limbo and Inside, this will be an unforgettable journey.
Somerville arrives on Xbox and PC sometime in 2022.
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Tony is a computing writer at Tom’s Guide covering laptops, tablets, Windows, and iOS. During his off-hours, Tony enjoys reading comic books, playing video games, reading speculative fiction novels, and spending too much time on X/Twitter. His non-nerdy pursuits involve attending Hard Rock/Heavy Metal concerts and going to NYC bars with friends and colleagues. His work has appeared in publications such as Laptop Mag, PC Mag, and various independent gaming sites.