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What to Expect from Xbox in 2024

The Xbox Series X and S are no longer new. Year 4 has begun, and thus we are officially into the middle portion of what we expect (courtesy of Microsoft’s lawyers
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the company’s own product roadmap) to be an eight-year console generation. So where do we stand? In
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, I wrote, “2023 is a year of serious promise for Xbox, but it comes with an understandable sense of urgency from Xbox owners.” That urgency remains for 2024, following the mixed reception for Starfield, the most important launch for Xbox since, arguably, Halo 3 in 2007. But there’s even more reason to be optimistic coming out of 2023, as Hi-Fi Rush kicked the year off with a unique and award-nominated rhythm-action game that nobody saw coming; Microsoft survived
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from
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regulatory agencies and
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its Activision-Blizzard-King acquisition; and Xbox Game Pass continued to
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and
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. And looking ahead to 2024, that positive momentum looks set to continue and, with any luck, snowball.



Third-Party Exclusive Check-In​


Let’s start with what we know for sure, and that begins with a
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for STALKER 2: Heart of Chornobyl, the Xbox-exclusive AAA FPS sequel whose Ukrainian developers have had to
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with Russia’s invasion into their country. It’s the closest thing to a locked-in release date that Xbox has for 2024 as of now, though perhaps that will change soon if Microsoft holds another
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in January.


Replaced is another
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that’s had development
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by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, as well as
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generated by its impressive showings thus far. The 2.5D cyberpunk-style, pixel-art action-adventure has evoked similarly positive vibes to another Xbox exclusive that’s been in the works for quite some time: The Last Night (which, sadly, still has no release date). Replaced, though, will almost certainly drop straight onto Xbox Game Pass sometime in 2024.


Remember Contraband, the Xbox-exclusive open-world co-op game from Avalanche (the developers of Just Cause) that was
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at the 2021 Xbox Showcase? It hasn’t been seen or heard from since, and probably shouldn’t be counted on for 2024, barring a surprise re-reveal and quick road to launch. The same can be said for the
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Ark 2. Oh, and while it’s not exclusive, it’s worth noting that Square Enix will ship a
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in 2024 that hits Xbox the same day as PlayStation: Visions of Mana, the next in the beloved roleplaying series started decades ago by Secret of Mana.


The Games Are Coming from Inside the House!​


In terms of Microsoft’s internal owned-and-operated studios, Team Xbox has learned the hard way that buying studios isn’t quite the fast-forward button on getting exclusive games to your platform that it had hoped. Still, that faucet is flowing now, with the Xbox Series X’s
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, Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2, finally nearing the finish line and set to release sometime in 2024. It’s powered by Unreal Engine 5, and while it won’t be the first UE5 game to ship on Xbox Series, it could easily end up being the prettiest, most dramatic, and most emotional next-gen showpiece yet.


Avowed is also set to be released in 2024, and Obsidian’s impressive track record suggests it’s going to be quite good. While it isn’t The Elder Scrolls 6 and it
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, it is nevertheless a first-person fantasy RPG from a studio on a serious hot streak. Since Microsoft acquired the Orange County RPG experts, the following bangers have shipped: The Outer Worlds (a multiplatform release under an arrangement made with Take-Two’s Private Division label prior to Microsoft’s acquisition, but the in-development
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will only ship on Xbox platforms), Pentiment, and Grounded. Avowed is set in Obsidian’s own Pillars of Eternity RPG universe, and it guarantees that Xbox fans will get at least one big exclusive role-playing game in 2024.


Finally, Microsoft Flight Simulator 2024 will follow up the highly acclaimed 2021 entry to once again bring your aviation dreams a bit closer to reality.


Ask Again Later​


And while nothing else is confirmed for 2024 as of this writing, a host of exciting possibilities remain. The talented team at MachineGames set Wolfenstein aside to work on an Indiana Jones project, which is being executive-produced by renowned Bethesda game director Todd Howard. It was
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a full three years ago, and it seems like 2024 will be the year we finally
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. Might it also ship in the coming year? It’s definitely possible, particularly when you take into account the fact that MachineGames’s last full-game project, Wolfenstein: The New Colossus, was released way back in 2017. Fingers crossed we’ll be cracking Indy’s whip sometime in the next 12 months.


Meanwhile, it seems that Bethesda didn’t just make a deal with Disney for one game. Arkane’s Lyon division will be following up 2021’s outstanding Deathloop with Marvel’s Blade, which was
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at this year’s Game Awards. It’s an unexpected studio-to-license pairing, for sure, and let’s hope it enjoys a better fate than the
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Marvel’s Midnight Suns from Firaxis.

Fingers crossed we’ll be cracking Indiana Jones’ whip sometime in the next 12 months.

I think we’re unlikely to hear anything from inXile’s steampunk RPG Clockwork Revolution and Compulsion Games’s bayou-based action-adventure South of Midnight, seeing as how both were
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at Xbox’s
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. Same for Hideo Kojima’s OD project, which was
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at The Game Awards. And while Fable feels like the biggest game in Xbox’s first-party portfolio not named The Elder Scrolls 6, it too still seems like we’re going to have to wait a while to play it.


And then there are three announced Xbox exclusives that have each reportedly suffered significant speed bumps in the course of development: Rare’s Everwild, Undead Labs’ State of Decay 3, and
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Perfect Dark. None are remotely likely to see the light of day in 2024, but perhaps we’ll get a new trailer or gameplay video from at least one of them this year.


More optimistically, we stand a very good chance of at least three major first-party Xbox games getting announced between now and 2025: Gears of War 6, the rumored Doom: Year Zero, and the next game from Psychonauts 2 developer Double Fine. After 2019’s
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Gears 5 (which has a key story point that needs resolving), The Coalition
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in 2021 that they were moving over to Unreal Engine 5 (unsurprisingly) and that they wouldn’t be making any announcements for quite some time. It’s been three years since then; it’s time for Gears 6 to become official, and I think it’ll happen at the 2024 Xbox Summer Showcase.


The next first-person shooter from id Software, meanwhile (note: while we don’t know a thing about id’s next game, I will print out this article and eat it if it’s anything but an FPS), looks like it might be a Doom prequel, given the
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Doom: Year Zero title. This is to say nothing of some of the other projects from that apparently old document, such as a remaster of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, a third Dishonored game, and more.


As for Double Fine, they earned
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for Psychonauts 2, and given when that game came out – August of 2021 – there’s a reasonable chance that Tim Schafer and the talented team at the San Francisco-based studio tell us what they’ve been up to since.


Hardware and Services in 2024​


Here’s a fun reminder: every single game mentioned above will be released on Xbox Game Pass at launch. Microsoft’s game subscription service continues to be an incredible value for gamers, and 2024 should do nothing to change that – particularly if and (more likely) when Activision and Blizzard games start going into Game Pass. Diablo 4 on Game Pass? Likely to happen in 2024. Pre-Modern Warfare 3 (2023) Call of Duty games on Game Pass? Fair chance it happens in 2024. The next major Call of Duty entry, likely called Call of Duty: Black Ops Gulf War if the leaks are accurate, day one on Game Pass next Fall? It’s possible! More certainly, we can expect Sony’s own outstanding baseball sim, MLB The Show 24, to once again hit Xbox Game Pass on day one. So too does Microsoft have a number of other third-party games teed up to debut on the service, such as Flintlock: Siege of Dawn, Persona 3 Reload, 33 Immortals, Dungeons of Hinterberg, Hollow Knight: Silksong, and others.


As for the aforementioned Xbox product roadmap leak, if it holds true, we can expect an Xbox Series X refresh in the Fall, codenamed Brooklin. This will include not just a smaller, rounder Series X – one with 2TB of built-in storage but without an optical disc drive, at that – but it will also include a new Xbox controller that includes haptic feedback and a rechargeable battery. A Series S refresh, codenamed Ellewood, may also be on the way, and if so it will launch first in the Summer, followed by the Brooklin in the Fall.

Buckle Up​


With a ton of new studios and franchises in the fold courtesy of the Activision-Blizzard acquisition, a steady stream of first- and third-party games firing from the Game Pass cannons, and a ton more big games still further out on the horizon, the future remains brighter than ever for Xbox gamers. This year, though, more of that promising future should start to become the fantastic present. Onward and upward, my friends.


Ryan McCaffrey is IGN's executive editor of previews and host of both IGN's weekly Xbox show,
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, as well as our monthly(-ish) interview show,
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. He's a North Jersey guy, so it's "Taylor ham," not "pork roll." Debate it with him on Twitter at
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.

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