Turnaround! From Postponing Halo Infinite to Xbox Game Studios’ Big Game Explosion in 2021

What year it’s been for Xbox, huh? While the postponement of Halo Infinite dropped like a bomb at the time, it seems that everything ended well in the end. It so happens that today the year of Xbox Game Studios ended today with Halo Infinite reviews, the vast majority of which were highly positive.

That said, we had to wait until July to get our first big Xbox Game Studios release of 2021, and it wasn’t really a new release per se, with the Microsoft Flight Simulator transitioning from PC to Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S. It later achieved a rating of 90 Metacritic – a little below 91 on the PC.

Then came the Psychonauts 2, and we all know how good Psychonauts 2 is! His average Opencrict score was 89. Xbox boss Phil Spencer also claimed that Double Fine’s last title was his. Game of the Year in 2021 – a great compliment indeed!

If you want to include the Deathloop, we can. This was a temporary exclusive on PlayStation 5 consoles released in September (and remains so for an entire year), but due to Microsoft’s acquisition of Bethesda, it strangely ended up falling under the Xbox Game Studios banner. Xbox can’t take credit for it, but the 88 Metascore looks good on paper! Next year we will meet at Game Pass.

October gave us an exclusive PC in the form of Age of Empires IV, which may have been a little off the radar due to its console absence, but nonetheless garnered critical acclaim, achieving another impressive Metacritic rating of 81. The team is still trying to port it to the consoles, fingers crossed!

Microsoft has undoubtedly saved the two biggest for November and December, with the first giving us the Forza Horizon 5. To no surprise, the new game achieved massively positive review scores – in fact, according to Metacritic, it was the best-rated Xbox Game Studios title of 2021 with an impressive rating of 92 on Series X. In fact, it’s the only new game of 2021 that has surpassed 90+ and already has over 12 million active players!

And that brings us to the Halo Infinite. Master Chief’s latest adventure kicks off this Wednesday (with multiplayer now available in beta), and based on 69 reviews so far, it’s sitting on another impressive 87 Metascore for Xbox Series X. It was a long wait, but 343 Industries definitely rewarded our patience. The multiplayer is amazing, and you have my word that I have fun for days.

What a year for Xbox. what year for the Game Pass. And the best – there’s so much more to look forward to in 2022. Phil Spencer and his team will certainly do everything they can to top this year’s achievements, but for now, we think everyone involved in Xbox Game Studios deserves a big pat on the back this Christmas.

How would you rate Xbox Game Studios production in 2021? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.