Microsoft fans may recall Crytek‘s Kinect-infused hack and slash action title, Ryse, from when it was shown off all the way back at E3 2011 (view the trailer above). Despite enthusiasm Crytek has since gone silent on the game, perhaps taking the time to focus more on their next “spectacular” secret project. Apparently, that’s not the case.

Rather than being cancelled or postponed, the latest rumors claim that both Ryse and Forza Motorsport 5 will be released as launch titles for Microsoft’s Xbox 720/Durango.

Whether these reports – communicated to TheVerge from sources close to Microsoft – are accurate is impossible to know, but they aren’t the most shocking ones we have heard thus far. What is a bit unexpected is that sources’ claim that Ryse is being positioned as the next Halo or Gears of War level “mega” launch title. A bit surprising given its previous showing as a motion-control, seemingly ‘on-rails’ hack and slash; but then again, we’re not ‘sources.’

Ryse Xbox 720 Launch Title Rumor

Gamers immediately concerned that Microsoft will be anchoring their next console around an integrated Kinect may want to hold off on online petitions, though. Kinect integration is expected by analysts, but the developers of Ryse have begun backing off of the assumption that the game would be a hardcore Kinect title. At E3 2012 Crytek explained that Kinect would be “a part of” the experience, not a core feature.

Since then, the game has apparently been shifted to make the most of the Xbox 720’s hardware; what that means for the motion controls seen on display, or even the basic gameplay witnessed is a complete mystery. But how Microsoft decides to reshape the project for their next console could speak volumes.

While we wait and see what Crytek has in store with Ryse (it may simply be a first-person classical warrior simulator), the inclusion of Forza 5 as a launch title has us excited for reasons that should be obvious to anyone who has followed the racing series from Turn 10 Studios. Namely, because their Forza Motorsport series can’t get much better.

Forza Motorsport 4 Porsche Expansion 2010 Porsche Sport Classic Boxster

After delivering one of the best racing simulation titles to date with Forza 4 (read our review), Turn 10 took a bit of a sidestep in developing the open-world, more arcade-infused Forza Horizon. It was assumed at the time that the side project was being developed in tandem with Forza 5, but surprising everyone, Horizon turned out to be fantastic in its own right. What the two projects’ success means for the direction of the franchise going forward (Forza Horizon 2?) is an interesting question, but exactly how turn 10 will improve the experience could be groundbreaking.

Better visuals, more customizable simulation, and more dynamic weather and road detail is a given, but if there’s one game that’s going to show the massive potential of online integration, it will likely be Forza 5. Again, this is all just rumor at this point, but racing fans will have plenty of reasons to get excited for the next generation of consoles, whether Forza fans or not.

The same sources also tell of a zombie title and Pixar-esque family adventure that will round out the Xbox 720’s launch selection. Hopefully official word concerning these, and other potential launch titles for Microsoft’s next console will be provided at the rumored announcement next month. Until then, we only have speculation to go on.

Which of these titles has you most excited for the Xbox 720/Durango? A stunning simulation racer, a visually staggering Roman action title, or something entirely different? Sound off in the comments.

Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.

Source: The Verge