The launch of Starfield on Xbox in September represents something of a watershed moment for Microsoft.
The company had arguably been struggling for bona fide exclusives, and although Starfield is playable on PC as well, if you’re a console gamer, you can only enter the world of Bethesda’s newest RPG on Xbox Series X/S.
Could this be the beginning of a revival for Microsoft’s fortunes? In the long run, that remains to be seen, but October is looking like another great month for the Xbox ecosystem. Let’s take a look at the best Xbox Series X/S games heading your way in October 2023.
Warhammer 40,000: Darktide (October 4th)
Fatshark’s first-person shooter set in the grim darkness of the 41st millennium has already been available on PC Game Pass for some time, but it’s finally hitting console in October.
Essentially, Darktide transposes the relentless horde-based shooting of Vermintide to the 40k setting, so expect lots of crunchy melee combat, plenty of gunplay, and a ton of equipment and perks to unlock.
The Darktide experience has been criticised for a lack of content and predatory monetisation, but Fatshark seems adamant on supporting the game, so let’s hope the console version heralds a new dawn. For the Emperor!
Assassin’s Creed Mirage (October 5th)
The Assassin’s Creed franchise has become rather bogged-down in recent years. With Odyssey and Valhalla arguably offering hugely bloated experiences without much in the way of focus, Mirage is promising a rather appealing back-to-basics approach.
The game will take the series back to its roots, focusing on 9th-century assassin Basim and his attempts to foil the Templar Order in his home city of Baghdad.
That means lots of Arabic Golden Age architecture to stealth your way around, plus much less emphasis on gear and levels rather than pure skill-based gameplay (we hope, at least).
Forza Motorsport (October 10th)
Forza Horizon is all well and good, but it’s not going to sate your hunger if you’re in the mood for a more traditional, less arcade-style racer. That’s where Forza Motorsport comes in.
Pitching itself as a rival to games like Sony’s Gran Turismo 7, Forza Motorsport promises a huge degree of customisation when it comes to upgrading your car, allowing you to assemble your very own dream machine.
You can race more than 500 real-life cars in 20 environments, each of which sports multiple different track layouts. In short, this is shaping up to be a racing game fan’s dream, and it’ll be on Game Pass on day one to boot.
Lords of the Fallen (October 13th)
The original Lords of the Fallen was a somewhat admirable but dour and unsatisfying attempt to capture the Dark Souls lightning in a bottle. It was a failure, but it was a noble one.
Thankfully, the new one looks far more promising. Atmospherically, it’s got much more in common with the original Dark Souls than its predecessor, and gruff, boring protagonist Harkyn is nowhere to be seen, mercifully.
If Elden Ring proved too overwhelming for you and you want a more focused experience akin to Dark Souls, this looks like it’ll be a must-play.
Sonic Superstars (October 17th)
Sonic Team’s track record isn’t exactly spotless when it comes to Sonic games, but this one takes things back to basics with a side-scrolling approach that recalls Sonic Generations.
Sonic and three of his friends must team up to foil Eggman’s latest scheme, and in an appealing gameplay twist, each character has different abilities, meaning they can explore different parts of the multi-layered levels.
It looks like Sonic Superstars will be best enjoyed in multiplayer, so hopefully, you’ve got some friends who haven’t yet grown tired of the franchise (and nobody could blame them if they had).
Cities: Skylines 2 (October 24th)
Another Xbox Game Pass day one release, Cities: Skylines 2 promises a deeper, more complex, and more realistic city-building sim than the first game, and that’s saying something.
In the run-up to release, Colossal Order and Paradox have been releasing weekly developer diaries spotlighting different elements of Cities: Skylines 2’s development process, including pedestrian AI, traffic, and power.
The studios make the game look deep but not alienating, so even if you’re a newbie to city-builders, this should be a great way to spend far more hours than you originally intended to.
Ghostrunner 2 (October 26th)
We told you October was looking like a pretty packed month. Ghostrunner 2 is the followup to cyberpunk masocore actioner Ghostrunner, and it’s bringing a whole bunch of new features to the party as well.
Chief among those new features are motorcycle sections that will no doubt brutally punish you for making a slight mistake, so if you love being whacked across the knuckles for stepping out of line, Ghostrunner 2 will almost certainly oblige.
Expect lots of over-the-top cyberpunk storytelling too, as well as beautiful visuals and some truly astonishing gameplay montages as players figure out what they’re doing.
Alan Wake 2 (October 27th)
It feels like we’ve been waiting for Alan Wake 2 for an absolute age, but it’s finally almost here, and we’re excited to continue a story that’s been in the telling for 13 years.
Alan Wake 2 will move between the stories of Wake himself and FBI agent Saga Anderson, who you might even remember from an oft-overlooked Quantum Break Easter egg.
Anderson arrives in the town of Bright Falls to investigate a spate of murders linked to Wake, who’s missing after the events of the first game. If you love psychological horror and the works of Stephen King, make sure to check this one out.