Xbox at E3 2021: Everything to know about Starfield, Halo Infinite, Forza Horizon 5, Stalker 2 and Xbox fridge

The gaming giant shows off big upcoming games, including the next Halo title, a Disney partnership for Sea of Thieves and more. Oh, and there's a mini-fridge.

Ian Sherr Contributor and Former Editor at Large / News
Ian Sherr (he/him/his) grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, so he's always had a connection to the tech world. As an editor at large at CNET, he wrote about Apple, Microsoft, VR, video games and internet troubles. Aside from writing, he tinkers with tech at home, is a longtime fencer -- the kind with swords -- and began woodworking during the pandemic.
Ian Sherr
4 min read

Last year, Microsoft and Sony released their Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and PlayStation 5 consoles with a handful of "launch day" titles. The following year is typically when we get an avalanche of new games. True to form, Microsoft has some huge titles on tap for 2021, particularly Halo Infinite. The company is even turning a meme about how its Xbox looks like a refrigerator into a real-life product.

All told, Microsoft said it showed 30 games, 27 of which will be available on its Xbox Games Pass subscription service.

The Xbox maker discussed a wide range of new games and initiatives during its press conference at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) on Sunday, which was held remotely on a livestream as the world slowly recovers from the coronavirus pandemic.

Ahead of the event, The Washington Post accidentally leaked the trailer for Starfield, an all-new space RPG made by Bethesda, the game studio Microsoft bought along with ZeniMax Media for $7.5 billion. It's due for release on Nov. 11, 2022.

Make a plan: All the E3 2021 livestreams we'll be following this year


This one image of Halo's hero, Master Chief, was enough to send fans screaming when the new game was announced last summer.


"It's a game we've dreamed of playing, and it wasn't till now that we have the hardware, the technology, and the team is hard at work at home to make that dream a reality," said Bethesda Game Studios head Todd Howard during the event.

The company also showed off its next big racing game, Forza Horizon 5, built to take advantage of next-generation tech built into the newest Xbox consoles.

Many of the titles the company discussed are being made available for the company's $15 per month Xbox Games Pass Ultimate service. The subscription includes access to the Xbox game streaming service, which allows people to stream games over the internet, similar to how they watch Netflix today. 

Watch everything: All the greatest E3 trailers so far

Microsoft also said its Xbox mini-fridge, which started as a joke based on a meme, actually is coming to life and launching this year. We don't know much more than that, but Microsoft promised we'll be able to "Xbox and chill" soon. No information on whether it'll include a case of Microsoft staff-favorite Talking Rain.


Microsoft's plans for Xbox Games Pass this year.


Here's everything we're excited about that Microsoft announced Sunday:


Perhaps the biggest announcement happened just before the event started, when the trailer for Bethesda's next big roleplaying game leaked online.

We didn't learn much, other than the fact that it'll be an Xbox exclusive game launching Nov. 11, 2022. But that's enough to start the hype train into overdrive.

Halo Infinite

Microsoft confirmed its next-generation Halo game, Halo Infinite, will launch this fall as planned. The company showed off some new footage of the game, though didn't offer much detail beyond saying it'll be the "greatest challenge yet," but that's about all we know. Microsoft said the game's multiplayer element will be free to download.

Forza Horizon 5

Microsoft announced its next big Forza racing game, Forza Horizon 5, which will be set in Mexico. Microsoft said game developers captured real-world photos and video of locations in Mexico to ensure it's as realistic looking as possible. The company even said there's a bunch of blink-and-you'll-miss-it street art in the various locations.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2

Zombies are all the rage these days, and Microsoft has a new horror game to offer up. It's called S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2, and it's based in Chernobyl, because the only thing better than a zombie is an irradiated zombie, I suppose. It's due to launch April 28 of 2022.

Back 4 Blood

Microsoft's take on Left 4 Dead, Valve's popular cooperative shooting zombie game, launches Oct. 12.

Sea of Thieves: A Pirate's Life

Microsoft's big multiplayer online pirate game is getting a free update on June 22 with new characters and an original storyline based on Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. There's even Jack Sparrow. Because, why not?

Far Cry 6

We've already seen a bit of Ubisoft's upcoming villain-focused shooting game Far Cry 6, but we got a little more at Microsoft's press conference too. It's due Oct. 7.

Twelve Minutes

Microsoft's unusual story-based game, Twelve Minutes, will launch Aug. 19. It includes performances from James McAvoy, Daisy Ridley, Willem Dafoe and others.

The Outer Worlds 2

Another highly anticipated space adventure game, The Outer Worlds 2 was announced and got a launch date. The title is made by Microsoft-owned Obsidian, which notably worked on Fallout: New Vegas for now-Microsoft-owned Bethesda.


One of the unexpected announcements came from Microsoft-owned Arkane studios, which made the well-received action games Dishonored and Prey. This new title, Redfall, a cooperative shooting game where you fight vampires, is planned for 2022.

Flight Simulator + Top Gun

Microsoft's Flight Simulator, which launched last year, helped to reignite interest in flight simulator games. Later this year, the company plans to add a tie-in with the hit movie Top Gun: Maverick, which is scheduled to hit theaters in November.

The Xbox Fridge

What more is there to say about this? Apparently we'll get to "Xbox and chill" this holiday season. "Yes, it's really happening," Microsoft promised. It's worth noting this mini-fridge is different from the full-size Xbox fridge Microsoft sold as more of a marketing stunt last year.

We'll be there

CNET will be covering the all-digital E3 2021 alongside our sister site, GameSpot. We'll update this page throughout the show as more games are announced.