Xbox Solidifies Its First-Party Holiday Lineup

Microsoft’s holiday season is upon us and Microsoft has consolidated its first-party release list. In a blog this morning, Xbox Game Studios head Matt Booty shared what he’s calling “three epic months of back-to-back blockbuster game launches in Game Pass.”

First on Booty’s list is the impending release of Age of Empires 4, the long-awaited new installment to the historical real-time strategy franchise. That’s due out on PC Game Pass and Steam on October 28. In continuation of the PC news: Minecraft will be added to PC Game Pass on November 2nd. You read that right, Minecraft hasn’t been a part of Game Pass outside of consoles yet, but those who don’t own the adventure/creation juggernaut can download it in a few short weeks. Further Minecraft Dungeons content and the Caves and Cliff II update will follow later in the year.

Next is Xbox’s flagship release for the month of November, Forza Horizon 5. This new Forza Horizon Festival will allow players to race in an open-world setting in Mexico. Look out for fast cars and beautiful scenery. Check out our recent preview of the game to see how it’s shaping up before release. Forza Horizon 5, will become available November 9th, but Premium Edition or Premium Add-On Bundles purchasers get access early on November 5th.

November 18 brings an update to Microsoft’s high flying simulation series, Microsoft Flight Simulator: Game of the Year Edition. This GOTY package is a free update for the existing game and includes “five new aircraft, eight new airports, new Discovery Flights and tutorials, and highly requested community features like DX12 support.” There’s also Reno Air Races, an aerial motorsport coming to the game with this update.

Finally, Microsoft’s holiday releases will cap off with the king of Xbox shooters returning to its throne. Of course, we’re talking about the December 9 release of Halo: Infinite. Both the free-to-play campaign and multiplayer modes, which have been delayed for years due to retooling or polishing, will finally see daylight after many years. There’s not much else to say about Halo: Infinite other than we can’t wait to get our hands on it.

Just to recap, here are the dates for the Xbox Game Studio’s holiday lineup, all included in Xbox Game Pass or Game Pass for PC:

Age of Empires 4 – PC on October 28

Minecraft on PC Game Pass – PC on November 2 (Caves and Cliffs: Part II later this year)

Forza Horizon 5 – Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC on November 9 (early access on November 5)

Microsoft Flight Simulator: Game of the Year Edition – PC on November 18

Halo: Infinite – Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC on December 8

Matt Booty talks also about the 20th anniversary for Xbox and Halo in 2021. There will be “a fun, digital broadcast for fans around the globe” on November 15 to celebrate the occasion, but do notAny new announcements regarding games are expected.

Let us know your thoughts on the Microsoft first-party lineup that Microsoft plans to release through the end. Do you think Halo or Forza will keep you entertained for the near future, or is there something missing? Please share your views with us in the comments.

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