Microsoft's next generation console is finally here, already loaded with exclusive titles such as Forza 5, Killer Instinct and Dead Rising 3. But this system is built to last a decade, and just a glimpse into the promising titles lined up for 2014 shows that the future for Xbox gamers is already showing amazing potential. Let's take a look at some of the standout titles set for release next year...
Built from scratch by the famed co-creators of Call of Duty, Titanfall is a next-generation multiplayer FPS that is already hailed by critics as an immensely promising game. Exclusive to Xbox and Windows, Titanfall pits platoons of highly agile advanced soldiers against awe-inspiring titans. Whether you're taking control of the lithe and lethal jetpack-wearing soldiers, or the 20-foot tall Titans armed with monstrously destructive cannons, it results in a gripping game of multiplayer. This debut title from new studio Respawn Entertainment is considered by many as the one to watch in 2014.
All it took was a short teaser video at E3 this year to ignite a frenzy of interest among Xbox and Halo fans the world over. Not surprising, considering that Microsoft's flagship game series is one of the biggest entertainment properties in the world. Little is known of the next title (even its "Halo 5" name hasn't been confirmed yet), but what's understood is the blockbuster FPS will commence the Reclaimer story that began with the critically acclaimed Halo 4, but this time it will be a "darker title" in the series. Developed by 343 Industries and penciled in for a 2014 release date, expect the next Halo to be the first game ever in the franchise to run at 60 frames per second and harness the full potential of the Xbox One's hardware and cloud services.
Built from scratch by former Halo custodians Bungie Entertainment, Destiny is a staggeringly ambitious sci-fi opus. This game is built to take advantage of Xbox's industry-leading cloud servers by plunging the player into an always-online first-person shooter that will incorporate massively multiplayer elements (gamers will, at times, share the same world). The pedigree of Bungie will entice gamers, as will the sheer ambition to build an evolving online shooter, but perhaps most captivating are the gorgeous and exotic locations set hundreds of years in the future, resplendent with a familiar soundtrack scored by Halo composer Martin O'Donnell.
Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes
It hardly gets any bigger than Hideo Kojima's seminal espionage action series, and Ground Zeroes is already promising to be the most non-linear and frankly gorgeous game in the 25 year history of Metal Gear. This digital download title will be a precursor to the highly anticipated Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, which is also scheduled for release on Xbox One. Players take the role of Solid Snake's biological father, Big Boss, tasked with infiltrating an American black site on Cuban soil called Camp Omega. What's unique to Ground Zeroes is the number of open-ended possibilities in doing so, giving players far more choice and scope for strategy. Like with recent instalments in the series, Ground Zeroes will allow players to develop weapons and items from their virtual motherbase. It also comes with additional content exclusive to Xbox One.
Project Spark is a flexible and simple creation tool that allows players to become game developers. From a blank canvas, users can sculpt virtually any kind of landscape they can imagine, from snaking rivers to marshy grasslands to peaceful mountain ranges. Your imagination can take your ideas anywhere - you can build lifelike towns populating otherworldly planets, or gargantuan dark caves with walls shimmering from the reflections of luminous swamps. Then players can, if they wish, add in AI characters, storylines and set-pieces to create what could be the next gaming masterpiece.
The game that was on everyone's lips at E3 2012 was again the main talking point in October when publisher Ubisoft decided to delay its ambitious open-world action adventure into 2014. But the wait will likely be worth it, with developers at Ubisoft Montreal looking to add extra polish and quality to ensure this Xbox One title will be a standout GTA-style action experience. Set in a futuristic Chicago, players will be free to not only cause havoc with an arsenal of weapons and vehicles, but also equipped with tools to hack into the city's communications network.
If The Division is anything to go by, the future of action games is a unique hybrid of story-driven campaigns played online with teammates and friends. Fortunate, then, that Xbox has an unrivalled heritage in online console gaming, along with a next-generation network infrastructure for Xbox One, meaning that experiences such as these can be handled effortlessly through Microsoft's servers. This third-person tactical action game, set in a post-apocalyptic US metropolis, tasks players with forming groups and progressing through fallen and lawless cities in order to survive. Stay sharp: The next gang, formed of other teams assembled online, could be just around the corner.
The Xbox 360 was the platform that turned indie games like Braid and Castle Crashers into breakthrough hits overnight, and Microsoft is passionate about bringing the same kind of unique experiences to Xbox One. Enter Below, an idiosyncratic rogue-like adventure that already showcases tremendous artistic ambition. The top-down adventure puts players in a mysterious world blanketed with secrets and mystery, but little else is known of the title, aside from its tagline "explore, survive, discover". The title, developed by Capybara Games with music from Jim Guthrie, is a timed console exclusive on Xbox One.