Top 10 Upcoming Xbox One Exclusive Games

A closeup of an Xbox One S.
Xbox One | Microsoft

For console gamers, the most important difference between the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 is the games. Sure, they differ in CPU and graphical power, but none of that matters unless it’s used to fuel awesome gaming experiences. To find out which console is worth your hard-earned cash, first look at the best exclusives on Xbox One. Then take a look at the upcoming Xbox One exclusives are in the works for below.

Bear in mind that Microsoft will also be releasing many of these on Windows 10 PC as part of its Play Anywhere program, so these games aren’t true exclusives. Still, if you don’t want to shell out cash for a gaming PC, these are games you won’t find on any other console.

1. Halo Wars 2

Release Date: February 21, 2017

A real-time strategy game set in the Halo universe, Halo Wars 2 puts you in charge of an army of Spartan soldiers along with futuristic military vehicles like Warthogs and Scorpions that will be familiar to anyone who’s played a Halo game. The idea is to wipe out the threat posed by a “terrifying new enemy.” Whether you’ve played the original or not, this is a safe bet for any RTS fans out there.

2. Cuphead

Release Date: 2017

And the award for most unlikely video game title goes to Cuphead, a game that could also take an award for not looking like a video game at all. Done in the striking art style of 1930s cartoons, Cuphead puts you in the shoes of the title character, who has made a deal with the devil and has to defeat bosses to repay his debt.

Gameplay-wise, you run around and fire off projectiles to defeat enemies. The bosses are huge, with widely varying move sets and abilities. All in all, this promises to be a game unlike any other. If it’s as enjoyable to play as it is to look at, Cuphead is sure to please any action platformer fan.

3. Crackdown 3

Release Date: 2017

The Crackdown series follows a futuristic cop in a corrupt, open-world city overrun by violent gangs. What’s remarkable about it is how you start out as a pretty normal guy, but thanks to incremental upgrades, by the end of the game you can leap up the sides of skyscrapers and wipe out swarms of bad guys single-handedly.

We haven’t seen much of the third installment, but we do know that it will offer a cooperative campaign, destructible environments, and will take advantage of the Xbox One’s cloud computing feature. Watch the trailer above to get an idea of what to expect once the game comes out.

4. Sea of Thieves

Release Date: 2017

Microsoft’s Rare Studio is behind this sea-faring title about being a pirate. You and other players will take to the seas, sailing ships, engaging in cannon battles, fighting fantastical creatures, and looking for treasure. Not much else is known about the game, but it looks promising so far.

5. Scalebound

Release Date: 2017

Developed by Platinum Games, the makers of such excellent action games as Bayonetta 2 and Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Scalebound looks like a fantasy game of epic proportions. You play as an adventurer who travels to a distant world full of enormous monsters. Luckily for you, you soon befriend a dragon who helps you take on these vicious beasts.

6. State of Decay 2

Release Date: 2017

Looking to have some fun by surviving a zombie apocalypse? This is the game for you. State of Decay 2 follows in its predecessor’s footsteps by offering up a grueling survival role-playing game. Since surviving with friends is always more fun than surviving alone, it features up to four-player co-op multiplayer, so your buddies can drop in or out of your game at any time. Check out the trailer above if you could use more zombies in your life.

7. Phantom Dust

Release date: 2017

This game has been on quite a journey. While it was first released on the original Xbox in 2004 to positive reviews, Microsoft announced that a full reboot was in the works for Xbox One. Fans of the original were excited for it, until Microsoft shut down the development team. Apparently, Microsoft has resurrected the project, a game that mixes an action RPG with card collecting.

8. Gigantic

Release date: TBA

The MOBAs just don’t stop coming, do they? Gigantic is the latest in a long line of “multiplayer online battle arenas” that pit two teams of five unique fighters against each other as they vie for control of the map. The idea is to power up your team each match to turn them “gigantic,” which provides a big leg up in battle. The best thing about it is that it will be free-to-play, so you won’t have to spend a time to give it a shot.

9. Below

Release Date: TBA

When it comes to developers, Capybara Games is one of the most creative teams around. Capy is responsible for the fantastic strategy puzzler Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes, the artistic adventure game Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP, and the mind-bending shooter Super Time Force. If the developer’s next title lives up to the company’s high standard, you won’t want to miss it.

The title in question is Below, a top-down action adventure game that stars a tiny hero on an enormous island. Unlike in most games, death is permanent here, meaning you have to start from square one each time you perish. That’s a risky choice that could lose a lot of potential customers. To find out if it pays off, we’ll have to wait for its release.

10. Ashen

Release Date: TBA

Very little is known about this quiet, dark, atmospheric game, but the teaser trailer above sure makes a statement. It’s an action RPG about a group of wanderers in a dark world that’s full of ash and mysterious creatures (including a horned sky whale).

According to developer Aurora44, “At its core, Ashen is about forging relationships. Players can guide those they trust to their camp – together, you might just stand a chance.” I’m not sure what that means, but I’m interested to hear more.