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Little Nightmares headlines Januarys Xbox Games With Gold lineup.

Credit: Bandai Namco

Microsoft has revealed the next batch of free Xbox Games With Gold landing in January, 2021.

That’s a fun thing to write: 2021. 2020 has been such a ridiculously awful year for pretty much everyone, it’ll be nice to at least begin a new year with a little bit of hope.

Rebellions are built on hope.

In any case, there’s two Xbox One games, an Xbox 360 game and an OG Xbox game (the former are both backward compatible on Xbox One and everything will play on your Xbox Series X).

Here’s what’s on offer next month:

Xbox One

  • Little Nightmares ($19.99 ERP): Available January 1 to 31
  • Dead Rising ($19.99 ERP): Available January 16 to February 15

Xbox 360

  • The King of Fighters XIII ($29.99 ERP): Available January 1 to 15


  • Breakdown ($9.99 ERP): Available January 16 to 31

I’m looking forward to Little Nightmares, a game I’ve somehow still managed to not play after all these years despite the rave reviews and cool creepy/cute vibe it gives off.

Here are the descriptions of each of these games, courtesy of Microsoft:

Little Nightmares

Help your character, Six, survive The Maw: a massive and mysterious vessel inhabited by corrupted souls looking to make you their next meal. Reconnect with your inner childhood and unleash your imagination to escape the horrors within and find salvation.

Dead Rising

In this remastered version of the original game, survive the flesh-hungry undead mob in the Willamette shopping center using a range of weapons at your disposal. As photojournalist Frank West, you’ll have 72 hours to fight off the zombie horde and discover the reason behind the outbreak.

The King of Fighters XIII

An upgraded version of the original arcade classic, utilize your Hyper Drive power gauge to let loose devastating strikes and combinations. Don’t miss out on this final chapter of the “Ash Saga,” full of anger and betrayal, which ends here.


Trapped inside a mysterious lab and unable to remember his past, Derrick Cole must fight his way out using his newfound extraordinary powers. Combining hand-to-hand combat, state-of-the-art weapons, and an intense story line, embark on a thrilling and suspenseful search for the truth in this first-person action-adventure title.

The interesting thing about this lineup, of course, is that there are no Xbox Series X games whatsoever. That’s because there just . . . aren’t really any Xbox Series X games. But there isn’t even a cross-platform title on this list.

That’s in stark contrast with Sony. In December they’re giving away Worms Rumble, a PS4/PS5 cross-platform title. In November they dished out Bugsnax which, while not very good, is at least a PS5 game.

The question becomes, when will we see an actual Xbox Series X game released as a freebie for Xbox Games With Gold? But that question rests on a larger one: When will Microsoft start actually releasing next-gen content?

My hope is that they change course drastically on Halo Infinite and just release that game on Xbox Series X|S and PC instead of wasting resources on last-gen and finding themselves in a Cyberpunk 2077 situation. I’d rather have an awesome, graphically spectacular Halo than something like the game they showed off in the reveal trailer, even if it means more delays.

See you in 2021, folks.

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Erik Kain writes a widely read and respected blog about video games, entertainment and culture at Forbes. He is a Shorty Award-nominated journalist and critic whose work


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