Feature

Our 20 Most Anticipated Xbox One Games For Fall 2017

by Matt Bertz on Jul 14, 2017 at 04:00 PM

This fall is a big one for Microsoft's gaming platform, with the high-powered Xbox One X expected to launch on November 7. The $499 price tag is steep, but it comes with the promise of 40-percent more power than any other console. Developers can put that extra horsepower to work with faster loading times in games, better framerates, and 4K resolutions. With such a big launch planned, you would expect Microsoft to have a Master Chief-sized blockbuster poised to drive adoption, but that's not the case. The first-party exclusivity is hardly a murderer's row, with only Forza Motorsport 7, Crackdown 3, Tacoma, Cuphead, and Super Lucky's Tale due to release this year.

Instead, Microsoft must rely on third-party games to drive excitement for its platform in the second half of 2017. The backside of a year is typically known as sequel season, and 2017 is no different. Major franchises like Destiny, Call of Duty, and Assassin's Creed all have offerings slated. Let's take a look at the 20 games coming to Xbox One the Game Informer staff is most excited about.

20. Sonic Mania
Also On: PS4, Switch, PC
Release: August 15

Every time Sega reveals a new Sonic title, fans cross their fingers and hope that it will be the game to get the blue blur back on track. Sonic Mania states its case by going back to what worked during the Genesis heydays. By focusing on speedy platforming and combining new zones with familiar locations from the past, developers Headcannon and Pagoda West hope to capture lightning in a bottle. Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles all return for this cooperative journey, and players must take advantage of each character's unique abilities to find all the hidden rings in a level. GI editor Brian Shea says that "in all the several acts I've played, I have yet to see a poorly designed stage." This is a promising sign for a series desperately seeking redemption. You can read more about Shea's experience with Sonic Mania here

19. Cuphead
Also On: PC
Release: September 29

Studio MDHR's ode to 1930's cartoons immediately won us over with its unique graphical sensibilities when we first saw Cuphead way back in 2014. The road since then has been bumpy for the developer, with several delays keeping the gorgeous indie darling out of gamer's hands. Clearly unwilling to spoil all the goodwill and hype the game has created, the studio used the extra time to expand the game's scope from its boss-rush-mode origins to a more fleshed-out action game with dedicated levels, an overworld, and cooperative play. We hope the extra development time paid off. 

18. Tacoma
Also On: PC
Release: August 2

Fullbright's follow-up to Gone Home is nearly upon us. Another indie game originally teased back in 2014, we were so intrigued by the idea that we featured Tacoma on our August 2015 cover. Trading the creature comforts of a Portland home for the cold confines of space, Tacoma features the eerie atmosphere of science fiction works like Alien and System Shock. When new operations specialist Amy Ferrier arrives at the space station for assignment, no one is in sight. Interacting with the station A.I. Odin, Ferrier must play back hologram recordings of the crew's activities to discover what happened to her co-workers. We're excited to learn how this all plays out. 

17. Dishonored: Death of the Outsider
Also On: PS4, PC
Release: September 15

Rather than string together a couple of narrative DLC packs like it did with the original game, Arkane instead chose to create one larger expansion for Dishonored 2. Death of the Outsider follows former assassin Billie Lurk as she searches for her mentor Daud and enacts a bold plan to kill the otherworldly character who bestowed Corvo Attano, Emily Kaldwin, Daud, and Delilah Copperspoon with supernatural abilities. Without the Mark of the Outsider to give her an advantage in combat, Billie must instead rely on a hodge-podge of ancient charms and technical gadgets to gain an edge on rivals. Death of the Outsider closes out the Jessamine Kaldwin storyline, so it is a must-play for anyone invested in the Dishonored franchise. You can read more about the game here.

16. Forza Motorsport 7
Also On: PC
Release: October 3

The best sim racing game on the planet returns touting 4K graphics and locked 60 frames per second for Xbox One X owners, making it the premiere technical showcase for the new console. The dynamic weather system and scenic real-world locations make for a great graphical showcase, and then there are the cars. Forza features more than 700 vehicles, including the new Porshe 911 GT2 RT that Microsoft spent so much time talking about during their E3 press conference. A reworked career mode, improved rewards system, and customizable driver avatars all await drivers at the starting line when Turn 10 revs up its engines this October. 

15. FIFA 18
Also On: PS4, PC
Release: September 29

Last year's story-focused mode The Journey didn't have the depth of the single-player offerings seen in the MLB and NBA games, but developing an interesting character with a promising career arc was a good first step. We're excited to see what challenges face young Alex Hunter as he enters his second year of professional football, an experience EA Canada promises is more driven by user choice this time around. Beyond this story mode, the developers have focused on bringing unique personality traits to star players, improving A.I. movement off the ball, and a tighter animation system that improves control responsiveness. 

14. The Evil Within 2
Also On: PS4, PC
Release: October 13

For a game coming out in October, we know almost nothing about The Evil Within 2. Bethesda showed a trailer for horror master Shinji Mikami's latest title, but we have yet to see gameplay in action. What we know so far is that Sebastian Castellanos' nightmare is far from over. For years he's presumed his daughter Lily died in a house fire, but when he learns she may still be alive he gains a newfound purpose of putting his life back on track. To save her, he steps back into STEM and confronts unspeakable horrors. Evil Within 2 still clings to survival horror staples like limited resources, but we're hoping developer Tango Gameworks also has a few tricks up its sleeve that continue to evolve the genre.

 

13. Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite
Also On: PS4, PC
Release: September 19

Inferior graphics and a flimsy plot left many people disappointed by MvC: Infinite's E3 showing, but our resident fighting expert Suriel Vazquez says the game shows a lot of promise in the competitive arena. He says the flow of the combat feels great, and the easy-to-use combo system creates a lot of opportunities for player expression. The instant tagging system opens up interesting strategic options, as do the various Infinity Stones players can apply before a battle. We'll know for sure how this fighter stands up to the competition in September, but in the meantime, you can read Suriel's thoughts on Infinite here and check out our Q&A with producer Peter "Combofiend" Rosas.

12. Battle Chasers: Nightwar
Also On: PS4, Switch, PC
Release: October 3

After Darksiders developer Vigil Games closed, we wondered if comic-book legend Joe Madureira would turn his focus away from video games to full-time work on graphic novels. We're glad he didn't. Instead he formed Airship Syndicate, a new studio dedicated to bringing his Battle Chasers comics to life. Nightwar is a JPRG-themed experience that carries the comic story forward while also serving as an accommodating point of entry to newcomers. The turn-based combat serves as the centerpiece for this dungeon-delving adventure, allowing players to adjust the initiative order and build up overcharge attacks for use later in each skirmish. Crafting adds an additional layer of depth to a pulp-fantasy experience that may prove to be one of the under-the-radar hits of the season. 

11. Crackdown 3
Also On: PC
Release: November 7

As the only action-oriented exclusive coming to Xbox One this fall, Crackdown 3 has a lot riding on its shoulders. Crackdown started as an unexpected hit early in the Xbox 360 era, but the sequel blew any goodwill the franchise had accumulated. The new entry needs to simultaneously right the ship while at the same time creating a new wave of enthusiasm for the open-world action series that has been surpassed by other over-the-top games like Saints Row. The biggest talking point for the game thus far has been the mass-scale destruction in the multiplayer mode, but at E3 we got our first taste of how the cooperative campaign is evolving as well. Rather than break up the city into discrete districts, the buildings of various criminal factions are interspersed throughout the city, giving players more diversity while dismantling the syndicates. You can read more about Sumo Digital's rebuild here.

Read on to found out which games crack the most anticipated top 10. 

10. South Park: The Fractured But Whole
Also On: PS4, PC
Release: October 17

Guided by the comedic talents of South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, South Park: The Stick of Truth withstood the toll of switching publishers mid-development to become one of the standout RPGs in recent years. After a couple delays, the sequel we featured on our November 2016 cover is slated to debut in October. South Park: The Fractured But Whole turns its attention away from fantasy tropes and toward the unstoppable engine that is Hollywood comic-book movies. When a fight over the rollout of their own superhero movies creates two rival factions of South Park children, the New Kid must navigate the civil war between Coon & Friends and the Freedom Pals. You can read our most recent hands-on impressions of the hilarious hijinks here.

09. Madden NFL 18
Also On: PS4
Release: August 25

Madden NFL 18 debuts the single-player story mode called The Longshot, which has been in development for three years. Starring friend of GI Scott Porter (Friday Night Lights) and Academy Award winner Mahershala Ali (Moonlight), the story follows the unlikely journey to the NFL of former Texas Longhorn quarterback Devin Wade. After being out of football for three years, Wade must go through the grueling gauntlet of player combines and Gruden-style QB camps to realize his dream of donning an NFL uniform. Madden 18 also introduces MUT Squads, a new way to play with friends using some of your Madden Ultimate Team cards you can read about here. As always, Xbox One owners who subscribe to EA Access can play the game a week earlier than anyone else. 

08. Middle-earth: Shadow of War
Also On: PS4, PC
Release: October 10

In 2014, Shadow of Mordor enraptured players with its innovative Nemesis system that gave the enemy A.I. memories of your previous encounters. The emergent narratives that resulted may have been paper thin, but you could see the potential of this approach. Shadow of War doubles down by giving Talion a legion of followers who also figure into the formula. As your ranger races to stymie Sauron's plans to build his Nazgûl army, he can enlist the help of the orcish populations to take down enemy strongholds. You can read our hands-on impressions here.

07. NBA 2K18
Also On: PS4, PC
Release: September 19

Developer Visual Concepts is notoriously quiet about its revered NBA 2K series until you're almost knocking on the door of the game's release. Last year we didn't get hard info about the basketball franchise until a few weeks before the new version came out. This year looks to be following a similar trajectory, although that doesn't diminish our excitement for the next entry. For the past several years, the NBA 2K series has set the benchmark for presentation, single-player story modes, and sim-focused franchise modes in sports games. We expect the studio to continue challenging the status quo, and we hope that campaign comes with a renewed focus on cleaning up some legacy issues that have outstayed their welcome on the hardcourt. 

06. PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds
Also On: PC
Release: TBA

We don't know when yet, but at E3 Bluehole confirmed that its extremely popular battle-royale game PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds is heading to Xbox One Game Preview before the end of the year. If the team can make some quality of life improvements to make the game infrastructure more hospitable to console players, this could end up being the surprise smash hit of 2017 on consoles as well as PC. Right now gamers can't get enough of the riveting survival gameplay, which tasks players with skydiving into a battle arena, scavenging for resources, and facing off against other contestants in a winner-take-all battle on a shrinking map. To see the mayhem for yourself, watch GI editors Andrew Reiner, Ben Hanson, and Dan Tack try to outlive their opponents

05. Assassin's Creed Origins
Also On: PS4, PC
Release: October 27

After a long run of annual entries with varying quality took its toll on the franchise, Ubisoft wisely gave Assassin's Creed a year off in 2016. Now the next major entry is poised to challenge many preconceptions we may have about the popular series. Gone are the focus on quick-strike assassinations against major targets, counter-focused combat, and cities filled with large buildings to scale. In their place are a new RPG-centric approach to gameplay that stresses player leveling, loot, and exploration of ancient Egypt. The story introduces us to the OG assassin who started it all, Bayek. We hope this sea change sets a strong new course for Assassin's Creed. You can dive deep into Ubisoft's new approach with our cover story hub.

04. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus 
Also On: PS4, PC
Release: October 27

When we first saw the zany trailer for the follow-up to Machine Games' successful Wolfenstein reboot, we weren't sure what to think. But after getting our hands on an early portion of the game where a severely damaged BJ Blazkowicz is restricted to moving in a wheelchair, we feel confident that The New Colossus is on track to build on the success of The New Order. The 20-minute demo featured many familiar faces from the Kreisau Circle resistance group as they fend off a Nazi attack on their base led by the notorious Frau Engel. Tight combat, bloody stealth takedowns, and inventive approach to killer toys balance well against the narrative interludes, giving the game its unique charm. Read our full hands-on impressions of the demo here.

03. Call of Duty: WWII
Also On: PS4, PC
Release: November 3

After three years exploring the frontiers of near-future technology and space combat, Activision's blockbuster military franchise returns to its World War II roots. Turning back time allowed developer Sledgehammer Games the latitude to challenge many Call of Duty conventions, and the result is a shooter that appears quite different from its predecessors. The story returns to legendary battles like the Normandy Invasion, but also takes us to new locations never explored by war games. On the multiplayer front, a new social hub, class system, and teamwork-focused War mode inject fresh ideas into the competitive scene. Dig into the big multiplayer changes in our behind the scenes preview.

02. Star Wars Battlefront II
Also On: PS4, PC
Release: November 17

The first title created under EA's Star Wars licensing deal with Disney, Battlefront felt rushed. The amazing graphics created by the Frostbite engine were gorgeous to look at, but the combat felt flimsy and the lack of game modes failed to impress shooter fans. The sequel looks poised to turn those deniers into believers with a full-fledged single-player campaign following an Empire operative, the reintroduction of space combat, and a fresh new approach to player leveling and unlocks. Letting Star Wars falls battle for the first time on new settings straight from The Force Awakens and Rogue One shouldn't hurt sales, either. To learn more read our hands-on impressions of the single-player campaign and a multiplayer match

01. Destiny 2
Also On: PS4, PC
Release: September 6

If you're a frequent reader of the site, you know that Game Informer has an intense love affair with Bungie's shared world shooter. Some editors just can't get enough of Destiny's complex raids and laborious loot hunts. For those who were put off by the original game's lack of narrative content, Destiny 2 promises major improvements to the world building and lore presentation. No more having to visit an external website to learn about the rich backstory of the Traveler and the various factions warring over what's left of Earth! Bungie also redesigned classes and subclasses to enable play style optimization, built a new social space for player to gather in, and developed a new collection of powerful weaponry for players to acquire. Resident Destiny expert Matt Miller discussed the new approach to storytelling with game director Luke Smith, which you can read here.  

What's your most anticipated Xbox One game of the fall? Share in the comments section below.