The Xbox One had one of the most controversial and much-discussed unveilings in the history of video games. Microsoft's third home video game console was revealed this past spring with an unfortunate focus on sports and television (not the games!), which provoked quite a backlash. The system was then put through the ringer by journalists and fans alike when its restrictive DRM and always-on Internet policies were made public. But Microsoft went on to reverse these policies, so we're all good now, right? Now we can kick back and look forward to a treasure trove of new game releases which will astound us in 2014...
Indeed, as we head into the new year, many industry observers believe that 2014 is when the Xbox One will find its legs, as developers will have had more time with the finalised Microsoft hardware. A weak or ho-hum launch window is typical for video game consoles (only the late, great, Sega Dreamcast managed to wow with multiple top titles right out of the gate).
If you're looking to pick up an Xbox One console soon – or indeed if you’ve got one already – and you’re curious about what's in the pipeline for 2014, then keep reading. These are the titles that you should keep an eye out for.
Are you planning to pick up any of these Xbox One games? Do you have other titles in mind? Share them with the rest of the class in the comments section below.
Bungie may have left its mega-popular Halo series in the hands of 343 Industries, but that doesn't mean that the company is done with the sci-fi shooter genre. Destiny, which is coming to the Xbox One next autumn (as well as PS3, Xbox 360, and PS4), is a first-person shooter that will incorporate MMO elements to create a living dynamic world.
As with any good MMO, you can select a race (Human, Exo, Awoken) and classes (Hunters, Warlocks, Titans) before heading into the fray.
Final Fantasy XV
Square Enix's Final Fantasy XV is one of the most eagerly awaited video games in the industry's history, but that's not due to it being yet another entry in the long-running Final Fantasy franchise. No, Final Fantasy XV began life as Final Fantasy Versus XIII, a game that was announced in 2006 at the beginning of the current console generation. Not much is known about Final Fantasy other than it will feature a dark and more realistic world, but it's coming. It's coming.
Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number
The Dennaton Games-developed Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number concludes the hyper-violent, pixelated tale that its predecessor weaved in the critically acclaimed Hotline Miami. Gamers play as several characters in an intersecting story filled with blood and 80s-era neon that takes place both before and after the events of the first game. Packing 20 chapters and hundreds of new animations, Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number looks to capture the original's sinister magic when it arrives in 2014.
Kingdom Hearts III
Kingdom Hearts fans, we have confirmation that, yes, developer Square Enix can count to three. After years of teasing fans with side stories and remakes, Square Enix plans to finally deliver Kingdom Hearts III... but when? Square Enix has announced that the action-RPG is in the works, but there’s no exact release date yet.
Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes
Kojima Production's upcoming stealth-action title once again focuses on the war-weary Big Boss as he infiltrates a remote Cuban prison camp on a rescue mission. Gamers can expect the same twists, turns, and triple-crosses that have become one of the series' defining elements. The new Fox Engine enables day and night cycles, and weather conditions that will all dynamically affect gameplay. You can expect Ground Zeroes to touch down in spring 2014.
Minecraft: Xbox One Edition
Minecraft, the insanely popular world-building sandbox indie game, is bringing its blocks to Microsoft's console. Minecraft: Xbox One Edition uses Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition as a base, but adds larger worlds, expanded multiplayer, and yet to be announced Xbox One features. Minecraft: Xbox One Edition will be available sometime during 2014, hopefully pretty early on.
Consider Project Spark Microsoft's answer to LittleBigPlanet and Minecraft. It leverages Kinect and SmartGlass (as well as the standard Xbox One controller) to let players create items, elaborate worlds, and game types that they can share with others via Xbox Live. Project Spark differentiates itself from the competition by giving you hyper-granular control over your creations.
Armed-to-the-teeth soldiers? Check. Free running? Check. Mechs? BIG CHECK. Respawn Entertainment's Titanfall takes several popular video game elements and combines them into a first-person shooter that looks to breathe new life into the genre. It places an emphasis on movement and speed – even the game's towering mechanical war machines are quite agile. Titanfall is slated to appear on Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PC in early 2014.
Watch Dogs a game that hits a little close to real world events. Gamers assume the role of Aiden Pierce, a vigilante who uses his “l33t haxor skillz” to access cell phones, computers, and other electronics in a world suffering an information war. But Watch Dogs isn't just about hacking; combat utilises stealth attacks, gunplay, and parkour. Watch Dogs will also infiltrate the PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, PC, and Wii U, and is expected to arrive in the summer of 2014.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
CD Projekt RED's The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings is the best game that no one talks for the previous console generation. Its sequel, Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, looks to expand on The Witcher 2's gorgeous visuals and deep RPG gameplay with an open world that may put Skyrim's expanse to shame. If you're looking to get your hands on protagonist Geralt's latest fantasy adventure, you may have to wait a while, though. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has a vague "2014" release date.
You might also want to check out our article on why the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One's homogeneity bodes ill for the future of the game console.