Indie gaming has enjoyed a huge revival over the past couple of years. Games such as Minecraft are out-selling certain 'big' titles as much as 100-to-1, and we're faced with a future in which the next Angry Birds could come from absolutely anywhere.
Of course, the indie landscape is a minefield littered with less memorable titles too, so we've picked out the titles we expect great things from in the next 12 months...
1. The Witness
Dev: Thekla, Inc
A lot of people are comparing the next project from Jonathan 'Braid' Blow to iconic point-'n'-clicker Myst. They're justified in doing so too, although Thekla's island-roaming puzzle game does feature more overt maze-like conundrums to wrap your mind around. If Braid's time-warping puzzles are anything to go by we expect some real head-scratching content in here.
Dev: Chris Hecker
Asymmetrical multiplayer game for two people: one is a solitary sniper, the other a spy. The sniper's job is to kill the spy, while the spy's job is to - quite obviously - stay alive by not beingspotted. But this isn't a case of expert shooting skills up against blind-spot stealthing. Rather, the spy's at a busy party where he or she must complete a set number of tasks. Who's the spy?
Dev: Goldhawk Interactive
If 2K aren't going to bring back 'classic' X-COM, someone else might as well try. That seems to be the philosophy of the Goldhawk Interactive team, whose isometric strategy 'planetary-defence simulator' has been in development since 2009. Set during an alien invasion in the Cold War it combines deep class management with real-time air conflicts and turn-based ground warfare.
Dev: Defiant Development
A modern-warfare first-person-shooter with a twist: while there are plenty of people running around with guns, you're shooting through a lens rather than down a barrel. You play as journalist Jesse DeMarco, who must tail soldiers in order to capture the perfect story on film. More of a violent Pokémon Snap than Call of Duty, then.
5. Retro City Rampage
Dev: Vblank Entertainment
Unlike the majority of PC-only indie games, Retro City Rampage has the distinction of releasing on Xbox Live Arcade and WiiWare come launch day next year. At base level it's a top-down parody of the original Grand Theft Auto with 8-bit graphics, but dig deeper and you'll spy influences from Mario, Zelda, Cannon Fodder and many more...