7 Xbox exclusives announced at E3 we’re most excited about

by Andrew Kulp

As gamers, we tend to expect a little too much from shows like E3, so they can come as a letdown when they fall flat. That was far from the case for the Xbox and Bethesda Games Showcase on Sunday, however.

For about 1 hour and 20 minutes, Microsoft delivered a tour de force of major announcements, significant gameplay reveals and showed off some 30 games coming to Xbox Series X/S or Xbox One over the next few years. Most impressive of all, nearly half of those showcased were console exclusives.

There was a ton of awesome stuff coming out of the show, but we broke out the best of the best reveals for Xbox exclusives -- the stuff where we either got our first real look at gameplay or an actual announcement. Sorry, Starfield, but that means you didn't make the cut!

Honorable mention: The Outer Worlds 2

Xbox Series X/S

Kudos to Obsidian Entertainment for not BSing the audience. They don't have much of a game to show in The Outer Worlds 2, and they straight up told us that. Still, it felt like a pretty big announcement that the sequel to the popular action RPG will be an Xbox exclusive -- and bonus points for a trailer that revealed zip and managed to make me laugh!

7. Replaced

Xbox Series X/S and Xbox One

In a world where so many Xbox (and PS5) games are increasingly designed in one of two styles -- dark and post-apocalyptic or fun and cartoony -- Replaced stood out.

Yes, Replaced is set in a dystopian alternative to the 1980s, one where a nuclear event occurred 40 years earlier. But graphically, the 2.5D "retro-futuristic" action/platformer uses pixel art and is infused with cyberpunk elements inspired by movies like BladeRunner 2049 and Alien. The debut project from dev Sat Cat Studios, to be published by Coatsink, is due out in 2022.

6. Party Animals

Xbox Series X/S and Xbox One

Apparently, PC gamers got a sneak peak at this cutesy multiplayer fighting/party game last year, and let me tell you how jealous I am, because Party Animals looks delightful!

Developed by Recreate Games, Party Animals pits groups of fuzzy animals such as dogs, cats, sharks and tiny dinosaurs against each other in a variety of comical mini-games. A free-for-all battle and a flag capture mode were playable in the demo, all in interactive environments filled with weapons and fun traps. This one appears destined to be a crowd-pleaser.

Image credit: Microsoft/Xbox

5. Microsoft Flight Simulator

Xbox Series X/S

If you haven't seen the trailer, hear me out on this! This looks INCREDIBLE. The term "lifelike" gets thrown around a lot (in fact, I'm going to use it again later) but you legit can't even tell this is a video game!

It seems you're either a fan of flight simulators or you hate flight simulators, and I definitely fall into the latter camp. I just can't get over the graphics, though, and that alone makes me want to give it a whirl. It's due out for Xbox Series X/S on July 27, but it's already out on PC if you don't want to wait.

4. Redfall

Xbox Series X/S

It's always tough to rate enthusiasm for a brand new game property before so much as a shred of gameplay is revealed. That being said, games like Redfall are why Microsoft paid $7.5 billion to acquire Bethesda/ZeniMax Media, so, yeah, this trailer was a big deal.

Developed by Arkane Studios, the studio behind Dishonored and Prey, this story-driven first-person shooter pits you and some friends against a horde of vampires that seem to be running largely unchecked. Good thing you'll have some interesting weapons and abilities to help dispose of the nasty creatures.

Redfall is over a year away, and who knows what the game will actually play like. Arkane has a decent track record though, the concept is different, and, for how little was revealed, the trailer managed to pique my curiosity.

3. Shredders

Xbox Series X/S

Did anybody else see this trailer and immediately think of SSX? It's been a long time since a truly memorable snowboarding game came out, but Shredders appears poised to put that streak to bed.

Billed as being "for riders, by riders" from publisher FoamPunch and developers I-Illusions and Let It Roll, Shredders combines lifelike graphics and motion with a sense of big air and an attitude. Details are scarce for the newly revealed title, but it appears there will be a photo/video capture mode, with a possible December release date.

Maybe I'm placing Shredders a tad high because I remember the days passing the controller back and forth between friends, trying to one-up each other's runs in games like SSX, 1080 and Tony Hawk. What can I say, though? It looks awesome!

2. Halo Infinite

Xbox Series X/S and Xbox One

The only surprise here is Halo isn't in the top spot!

The good news is after a polarizing reveal last summer coupled with its delay, 343 Industries appears to have Xbox's flagship title back on track. Master Chief looks sharper than ever, now equipped with a handy grappling hook and new AI after learning Cortana is apparently on the loose. And the free-to-play multiplayer? That's going to be an absolute blast.

Still no release date for Halo Infinite, which is a shame, but they're sticking to holiday 2021, at least -- another positive sign things are headed in the right direction.

Image credit: Microsoft/Xbox

1. Forza Horizon 5

Xbox Series X/S and Xbox One

I didn't go into the Xbox showcase expecting Forza to blow me away, let alone steal the show. Sure, it's a great franchise, but it's the 12th installment, plus we knew it was coming.

After seeing the game in action, I understand why Microsoft dedicated nine minutes to Forza -- by far the most time any title was featured. Photo-realistic graphics. An open-world campaign set in the diverse terrain of Mexico. A more socially engaging multiplayer experience with both traditional and original challenges. There's even a create-a-game mode.

Due out on Nov. 9, Forza Horizon 5 looks like it's prepared to give Gran Turismo 7 a run for its money for deepest, most immersive racer on a next-generation console.

Lead image credit: Microsoft/Xbox

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