There is a strange rumor, spread by someone who wants 2021 Xbox Game Studios would have weak releases and that at E3 2020 the presentation indicated that we would not have games even soon. Forget it. In fact, the facts tell us that this has been the best year for original Microsoft game developers, with the Forza Horizon 5 just confirming a trend that has been very visible for months. Of course, the first half of the year saw the launch of less exclusives. However, the activity of the Redmond team’s studios has been really fervent. Let’s make a brief summary of all the releases of the year, starting with the main projects.
O Microsoft Flight Simulator for Xbox Series X and S simply confirmed what had already been seen on the PC in 2020, with a very good specific optimization. It remains a niche title, given the genre, but an extremely happy niche, as it is technically wonderful and playful.
Psychonauts 2 is a crazy and creative platform game that only delights those who try it. It probably didn’t sell millions of copies, it’s also true that the game was already financed with premature buyers, but we have a masterpiece that was universally appreciated by the press and the public, so much so that many would like it to be voted GOTY 2021. Double Fine hits the target again. So far, it’s particularly my favorite game of the year.
In addition to receiving very positive reviews, Age of Empires IV was first in Steam sales for days, only defeated by Forza Horizon 5. It is played by tens of thousands of players simultaneously, at any time of day, and is enjoyed by most of those who have purchased it, as shown by user reviews posted on the Valve platform.
Forza Horizon 5 has received raves from virtually every review in the specialized press, and from previous games, we’re sure it won’t fail to thrill gamers too. Many consider it the best arcade racing game on the market, an area where it has virtually no rivals, apart from the previous Forza Horizon. Playground Games hit the mark for the umpteenth time, releasing the most graphically beautiful game of the new generation consoles seen so far, despite being a cross-gen title. What sorcery is this?
Deathloop by Arkane Studios is a team exclusive to PS5 and PC and is also one of the best games of the year among those released for the Sony console. Plus, it’s the only PS5 exclusive weight in the second half of the year. A jewel. Note that the highest weight game for the second part of the year on the Playstation was created by Xbox Game Studios, and this only occurred under a contract signed before Microsoft bought Bethesda with Arkane included.
Diverse and possible: don’t forget about small releases and title updates in Early Access. For example, id Software released version remastered from the first Quake, which was very well received, and released The Ancient Gods – Part Two, a major expansion for the equally great Doom Eternal. Obsidian continues to update its strange survival Grounded, which improves from patch to patch, and released Assassination on Eridanus, a DLC for The Outer Worlds. InXile completed Wasteland 3 with the release of DLC The Battle of Steeltown. Rare has released the acclaimed free update “The Life of a Pirate” featuring the Pirates of the Caribbean in Sea of Thieves. Plus we have more Mojang news related to Minecraft, a title devalued by some players, but which remains among the most disputed in the world.
The only thing left to close the year is Halo Infinite from 343 Industries, which could be the classic icing on an already very rich cake, waiting to see what awaits us for 2022.