You’ve heard it a billion times. Xbox Game Pass is the Netflix of video games, it’s a tired adage that might finally be outdated as I’d make the argument that there’s far more value in Microsoft’s cloud-capable, streaming service than ever before.
No matter which way you shake it, subscribers ate heartily in 2021.
Not only was the third-party support there at launch for titles like Outriders, MLB The Show 21, and Back 4 Blood, but Microsoft’s first-party cannons, after so much prepping, began to fire toward at the year’s tail end with titles like Psychonauts 2, Forza Horizon 5, and Halo Infinite all dominating the conversation in a fourth-quarter where the competition was uncharacteristically quiet.
It’d be foolish to expect Microsoft to throw down their anchor now with so much momentum behind the service and its millions of users, and it does appear there’s already a lot on the calendar for Xbox Game Pass as we enter this new year.
But bear in mind, it’s only January. We expect there’s still plenty to be announced, and plenty of deals still being brokered in what is a perpetual third-party power grab between Xbox and PlayStation. If this past week is any indicator, there’ll be a heap of support as we’ve had confirmation of Rainbow Six: Extraction, Hitman Trilogy, Mass Effect: Legendary Edition and The Outer Wilds both coming this month alone.
Here are the games confirmed as coming to Xbox Game Pass this year:
Release Date: Just dropped
The Anacrusis is an ultra-stylish four-player co-op shooter set in outer space where everyone is dressed in 60s chic. It’s got style, it’s got flair, it’s there. It’s the Anny.
Do you love dogs? Do you love ‘Paparazzi’ by Lady Gaga? Then this is the game for you. I assume.
Release Date: January 20
I’ve seen Windjammers described as a mix of Pong and Street Fighter so we’re absolutely there for this sequel that’s decades in the making. It has Dodgeball Academia vibes and that game was an unappreciated gem.
Release Date: February
Shredders looks like it’ll be to Amped what Session was to Skate. Time to hit the powder.
A Memoir Blue
Release Date: February 10
Get the tissues ready for this interactive poem about the all-encompassing love between a mother and her daughter. Annapurna are proving to be the Pixar of this industry.
Edge of Eternity
Release Date: February 10
This strategy-based JRPG looks to bridge that gap in the Game Pass market.
Total War: Warhammer 3
Release Date: February 17
As a real-time tactics and strategy game, Total War is set to fill another hole traditionally found in the console market.
There’s war with hammers (and guns) and heavy armour, and it certainly looks tonally grim. Looks like a genuine blast.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chernobyl
Release Date: December
Heart of Chernobyl promises to be the technical showpiece of the first half of the year, as everything we’ve seen so far looks jaw-droppingly gorgeous.
Midnight Fight Express
Release Date: Q3
While referencing Hotline Miami, Modern Warfare 2, and Manhunt, Midnight Fight Express emerges as one of the coolest looking games on this list. A real pugilist’s delight.
Release Date: Q2/Q3
Redfall is the first Arkane game to release exclusively under the Xbox banner, and it looks like another creative pivot from a developer that never rests on its laurels. This co-op open-world vampire-slaying shooter is sure to sink its teeth in.