Microsoft’s Xbox One has continued to grow as a platform, delivering it’s multimedia all-in-one promise, as well as giving gamers plenty of reasons spend countless hours vegging out on the sofa, including that excellent-looking Elite controller. The next year will be no different, and there’s a lot of major releases and promising titles on the horizon to look forward to. Here’s our top 25.
25. Assassin’s Creed Syndicate
We’re putting Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate here as it’s a title we’re very much looking forward to, but it’s also one we’re keeping a little more guarded about on behalf of gamers out there. We may not have had the same amount of problems with Unity as many of you, but Ubisoft’s credibility has dropped some over the last few months, so we’re going to wait and see if bridges can be unburned.
Still, even though we’re prepared for bugs and some possible let downs, there’s no denying Syndicate is one of the most intriguing Assassin’s Creed releases of recent years. With the goal of modernising the franchise, the time period is one of the most interesting yet, set in 1868 Victorian London, and it’ll feature two protagonists, each of whom has a different approach to combat and stealth.
New gadgets such as the grappling hook will make scaling the verticality of London a breeze, and we’ll also be able to raise hell by driving horses and carriages through the murky streets in various chases and fights. It’s a promising game, and as long as Ubisoft can nail down the quality control this time, Assassin’s Creed will be back on form.
It’s certainly not going to be a title for everyone, being a classic style platformer at heart, but Unravel, coming from EA, is a very interesting little platformer that stars a simple, but very cute hero.
Channelling Sackboy, Unravel stars Yarnie, a woollen hero who starts each level attached to the starting point. As he wanders deeper into the level, he unravels, and becomes thinner and thinner. He can find yarn balls spread around, which he can wind into himself, thus extending the distance he can travel. This yarn mechanic continues to Yarnie’s powers, and he can use his yarn to attach onto hooks and other objects to traverse and manipulate the environment. All of this is covered with gorgeous visuals.
Unravel is an odd title to come from EA, a company that usually focuses on sports and shooters, but it’s no less welcome, and we look forward to seeing more of Yarnie in the coming months.
23. Mass Effect Andromeda
We know very little about it at the moment, hence its lower spot on the list, but if there’s one title to get us excited, it’s Mass Effect. We know that the new game will be a totally new story, set after the events of the Shepard trilogy, and that it’ll take place in the galaxy of Andromeda, our closest galactic neighbour.
There’s a new Mako, the return of the N7 commando forces, and the teaser shows what looked to be a very frontier-style aesthetic, hinting that mankind, and possibly the rest of the familiar Mass Effect races, are only just stepping foot into new territory.
We’ll no doubt find out a lot more as the months tick over, but the game is still some way off, so we’ll have to wait a lot longer yet.
22. Call Of Duty: Black Ops 3
Despite Sony claiming that the PlayStation is the new home of Call Of Duty, the Xbox has always been the home of the series for most, and the next Black Ops will be no different, even if Sony has snaffled some exclusivity from under Microsoft’s Nose.
Seen as one of the most solid sub-series in the Call Of Duty franchise, Black Ops is held with very high regard by fans, and the third title will hopefully continue this trend. It’s one again set in the future, in 2065, forty years after Black Ops II. Robotics have advanced to the point where soldiers are now more machine than man, and this has changed the face of war considerably.
The game will feature a campaign that can be played solo, or with up to four players in co-op, with a fully customisable protagonist. Multiplayer will expand upon customisation options, allowing users to customise their weapons, and the zombies mode returns, complete with a new, standalone story.
With Advanced Warfare already doing the robotic augmentation in the form of power suits, it’ll be interesting to see how Treyarch sets Black Ops III apart from the last release. Regardless, Call of Duty fans the world over are ready for more.
21. Minecraft Hololens
Microsoft’s Hololens isn’t a game as such, but we had to include it here because… Well, did you see that Minecraft demo? Yes, we did too, and it was modern day witchcraft that we just can’t wait to try out.
Quite how usable Hololens will actually be with games in practise, and what kind of games will work will on it remains to be seen (we’d love to see some RTS or MOBAs running on it), but the simple idea of being able to play games without a TV, and even being able to slap them onto any object is just great. Add in the impressive voice commands and you’ve got another VR gadget that’ll no doubt raise many eyebrows.
The next game to come from Epic Games is a co-operative sandbox survival title. It’s using Unreal Engine 4, and will rotate around a day and night cycle, much like Techland’s Dying Light. During the day you’ll need to scavenge items and supplies, and at night you’ll need to retreat to your fort in order to defend it against zombie attack, and survive until the morning.
Forts will need to be built and reinforced to survive attacks, and you’ll need to find all of the materials for doing so out in the world. Bases are customisable too, so you can build your own perfect zombie holocaust shelter. There’ll be various classes of character to choose from, and there’ll be a focus on loot drops and weapon crafting.
19. Fable Legends
The free to play co-op RPG that continues the Fable series could be one of the most ambitious F2P releases we’ve seen for a while, but it’s no less appealing. Changing tack from the usual solo-only Fable experience, Legends will allow up to four hero players and one villain player to have at it in the lush Fable universe. Four heroes can band together to quest through the world, whilst a villain player marshals their army of evil to stop them.
As well as the multiplayer co-op, the game can also be played totally solo, with AI filling in the rest of the roles, and Lionhead has said that there’ll be no limits on player’s obtaining powerful characters or accessing content. It’ll all be open to everyone without any charges or pay to win mechanics. Nice.
DayZ has spawned a ridiculous umber of clones since its debut on Steam, more than we really care to play to be honest, but the next project from one of its creators isn’t another zombie survival MMO, it’s much more ambitious than that.
ION is going to be a huge-scale space MMO where players will build their own space stations in order to survive and explore the uncharted expanses of space. Creator, Dean Hall, said at E3 that the game won’t be just another title where everything is held together by scripts or quests. Instead this will be a world governed by laws of physics, biology, and chemistry, and players will struggle to survive in this harsh environment.
We don’t know a great deal about the game yet, but if the technology behind the game delivers what Hall promises, this could be a very impressive MMO, and if nothing else, at least it’s not another zombie survival game, and that’s a good thing.
17. XCom 2
The reboot of the classic turn-based strategy series, Xcom by Firaxis was a big success, much more so than the FPS remake, which most have totally forgotten by now. It’s good news, then, that Xcom 2 is coming later this year, bringing with more of the same excellent turn-based strategic play we love.
Procedurally generated levels will offer endless replayability to the game, and one-on-one multiplayer will give us the chance to pit our strategic brains against others, as well as against the usual, ruthless AI in the story campaign. There’ll be a host of new weapons and enemies to use them on, and Xcom 2 will also feature faster-paced battles, with an emphasis on hit-and-run tactics for many objectives, helping to vary the gameplay even more.
16. Sea of Thieves
It looks like Rare was a big fan of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, because it’s gone and made another one. Well, maybe not quite. Sea Of Thieves is the next game to come from the studio, and it’s set to be a cartoon-style first person pirate romp, complete with ship-to-ship combat and hunts for treasure on dangerous islands. This is all wrapped up in online multiplayer and the kind of charm we’ve come to expect from the team.
The reveal trailer showed teams of players working together to crew a ship, and even forcing people to walk the plank, and it all appears to take place in a large, open MMO world. We look forward to seeing more in the following months.
15. Need For Speed
As one of the longest-running racing franchises around, Need For Speed has stood the test of time. Although some of its instalment haven’t been classics, the series always delivers some impressive tech and high speed fun, and it’s about to get the reboot treatment.
Titled simply Need For Speed, the next game still retains the underworld street racing theme, but now it’s all ultra shiny, and looks very tasty indeed. It’ll also allow more customisation of your rides than the series has offered before. Once again there’ll be a large open world to race around in, and plenty of support for online competition. Even better, it’s nearly done, and is due for release in November.
14. Forza Motorsport 6
Need For Speed may look nice, but when up against Forza, there’s just no comparison. Microsoft’s next car porn outing is ever the showcase title, and Forza 6 may be the best of the series, and one of the most important exclusives for the Xbox One.
The game is going to run in full 1080p at 60fps, and it’ll feature over 450 cars and 26 locations to test them out in. The same high-end customisation and tuning will be present, and there’ll be support for 24-player online races. It’s due for launch on September 15.
13. Just Cause 3
It’s been a long time coming, but finally the third outing of the Just Cause series is on its way, and each and every stop has been found and pulled this time, with a game that looks totally and unapologetically ridiculous, OTT fun.
Delivering another large and lush sandbox for us to play around in, Just Cause 3 will feature some of the most impressive destructive toolsets ever put into a game. Rico’s new grappling hook is one big reason for this, being useful for traversing the world, hijacking vehicles, and lashing almost anything together for destructive reasons. Couple this with the new wing suit and gameplay designed to facilitate your desire to cause chaos, and you’ve got an open world playground that begs to be explored, and blown up.
12. Rise of the Tomb Raider
Continuing from the success of the Tomb Raider reboot, Rise Of The Tomb Raider will feature the same gritty realism as the first, but this time it’ll feature a new improved crafting system where you can create weapons and gear. Some required materials will need to be taken from animals, which you’ll need to hunt with stealth and skill. This will be affected by a day and night cycle, and the weather will play more of a role.
In a behind closed doors presentation of the game at E3, we saw Lara try to survive after being hit by an avalanche in Siberia. This showcased some excellent blizzard weather effects, and went on to demonstrate the item customisation and makeshift survival abilities Lara has at her disposal, as well as some of her more stealthy abilities, like hiding in trees to avoid patrols, and using items in the environment as weapons and distractions.
It’s looking good, and appears to be much more about stealth and survival this time, depicting a more capable and ruthless Lara than the one we played last time.
11. Star Wars Battlefront
Although the game has already generated a bit of a mixed reaction, with some calling it more of a Battlefield Star Wars mod, I’m still very much excited about this one, and it’s certainly one of the best looking mods I’ve ever seen.
The reboot of the Star Wars Battlefront series is looking very impressive, and has all of the hallmarks of the original trilogy, including appearances of major characters like Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader. Visually it looks the part, and whilst the battle on Hoth has become the overused trope previously reserved for WWII beach landings, it’s never looked quite as authentic as this, or as large scale. The attention to detail is arresting, and if it plays as well as it looks (and as well as Battlefield, which it’s always compared to), then we could have a brilliant Star Wars title to look forward to.
10. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
The Phantom Pain will be the first time we’ll properly get chance to enjoy the stealth gameplay of the Metal Gear Solid series in an open world. After the impressive taster that was Ground Zeroes, which showed us exactly how the new take on the series will play, The Phantom Pain will give us a world around 200 times larger, and with a much more open-ended mission structure.
As well as the addition of the base-building system, where you’ll be able to build and use your very own base (similar to Peace Walker), The Phantom Pain will feature a day and night system that’ll flow in real time, and a multitude of vehicles and modes of transport. The day and night system will affect the gameplay, as enemy patrols and base defences will change during different times of day, allowing the player to carefully plan their attacks.
This will be topped off with the next iteration of Metal Gear Online, which will bring the flexible stealth and gunplay to an online arena.
The new dynamic Hitman sounds like it could take the series in a new direction, and it’ll feature dynamic targets and missions that appear from the online portion of the game every day. What’s more, the missions themselves are going to be far more open, improving on the mission area size and options the recent games have used, and sporting a more open and experimental set up that’ll allow players to come up with their own methods of assassination. Each mission will apparently have over 300 AI routines that can be interacted with on a level never before seen in the series, and this means there’s going to be a whole mass of ways to accomplish each goal, many of which you’ll only ever see by exploring and experimenting.
The user-created contacts will return too, in an upgraded fashion, allowing even more types of missions and challenges to be created and shared with others. We have high hopes for the next Hitman, and hope that it delivers the same class as Absolution, only on a larger scale.
As one of the most important video games ever made, Doom is considered gaming royalty by most veteran players, and it’s been too long since id’s classic has shoved a shotgun in our hands and told us to go kill the demonic spawn of Hell. Now under the watchful gaze of Bethesda, id’s new Doom is looking pretty tasty, and although the E3 presentation may not have been the spectacle we were hoping for, the new game seems to nail the core Doom action, even if it’s a little slower than normal.
Visually decent, the key here is no holds bared combat and meaty weapons, which the game clearly delivers, and it’s good to see Doom‘s familiar line up of foes given a lick of paint. As good as the story gameplay looks, however, it’s the new creation tool, Snapmap, that got my attention. This easy to use content creator looks truly impressive, allowing players to create not only new levels, but entirely new game modes and logic, opening the doors for endless content.
7. The Division
It’s not out until next year, but the online co-op shooter, The Division, is looking like it could be one of the big titles to watch when it does arrive. Although the game itself has been paired down a little, no longer supporting the mobile and tablet device partner apps, the core game still looks the part, with deep team play mechanics and an interesting open world. It’s also quite the looker.
The specific PvP zones in the world that contain some of the best loot was shown off at this year’s E3, along with the ‘rogue’ system that puts a bounty on players who attack other gamers in these zones. Once tagged, you become a juicy target for other players, so have to weigh up the pros and cons of taking another teams loot with force. Gear found in these zones has to be extracted before it can be claimed, meaning its a tense fight to survive until you and your team can make it out alive.
6. Dishonored 2
Dishonored‘s take on stealth and assassination resonated with new and old gamers alike when it arrived on last gen consoles. New gamers found a very stylish and playable romp through a strange, steampunk dystopia, and old hands found a game that perfectly embraced classics like System Shock and Thief. It was an instant classic, and its set to return with a sequel (and a remaster).
The sequel will see the return of previous protagonist, Corvo, along with new playable character Emily Kaldwin. The same style of open stealth gameplay is promised, with more powers and options open to us, not least thanks to Emily’s new range of skills. We’ve not seen actual gameplay as yet, but this is one we’re very keen to see more of.
5. Gears of War 4
It’s been quite some time since a new Gears of War title arrived, but that’s set to change with a brand new Gears of War release for Xbox One. Due for release next year, Gears 4 will be a sequel to the third game, and based on the E3 reveal trailer it looks like it’s going to feature new heroes and a slightly more realistic visual approach (less tree trunk neck and more proportion).
The combat would appear to remain very similar to the original games, with plenty of cover and active reloads, but the enemy could be a totally new foe, with not a Locust in sight during the reveal. Then again, it’s early days.
Gears Of War has been an Xbox flagship title since its release on the Xbox 360, and there’s no reason Gears 4 can’t do the same for the Xbox One when it arrives.
4. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
A new Deus Ex game is always going to get gamers excited, such is the legacy of the series (no matter how hard The Fall tried to ruin it) and Mankind Divided looks like it’s going to be every bit the sequel the superb Human Revolution deserves, and more.
Adam Jensen returns in a direct sequel to Human Revolution, and the friction between normal and augmented people has escalated greatly, to the point of all out segregation mirroring the racial tensions of our own yesteryear.
It’s into this struggle that Adam is thrown as a member of a special anti-terrorist unit. Not trusting the motives of his commanders, Jensen acts as a double agent, investigating the possible control of his organisation by the mysterious Illuminati, a reoccurring conspiracy theme in the Deus Ex universe.
Mankind Divided will once again feature the balanced gameplay of social, stealth, and combat, but this time more attention has been paid to the actual combat mechanics, and everything is even more open, with more scope for experimentation, including more complex boss fights that allow more use of stealth tactics.
3. Halo 5: Guardians
I’ve no doubt many hardcore Xbox fans would put this at number one, but if you’ve already glanced at the top two, you’ll see how hard the decision has been here. Still, although it may only be at number three on our list, Halo 5: Guardians will undoubtedly be a big hitter for the Xbox One. There’s simply no underestimating the impact a Halo game can have on the Microsoft platform, and Halo 5 is arguably the most important release in the series thus far.
It’s been built up by the Halo TV series and plenty of pre-release hype, and the footage we’ve seen of the game so far has left us wanting more, not just of the action, but also the intriguing story of the Master Chief being hunted down by his own. Make no mistake, this will probably be the biggest game on Xbox One next year.
2. Dark Souls 3
Xbox owners may have missed out on the superb Bloodborne, but fear not, as the next Dark Souls game is coming next year, and it could well be the best yet. Not much has been publically shown of the new title, but it’s widely known that the combat system has been refined, with various weapon stances and a new, faster speed. The game world will also be the largest yet, with huge areas containing the usual assortment of twisted and terrifying foes we’ve come to expect, foes that change form depending on world status. Online multiplayer is being reworked too.
From what we’ve seen so far, it appears as though Dark Souls 3 will sit somewhere between Dark Souls and Bloodborne in terms of speed and combat, retaining the usual defensive combat, more tactical pace, and even this early on, we’re ready to die all over again.
1. Fallout 4
As the game many people went to E3 to see, Fallout 4 had a lot of high expectations to meet, which it had no trouble doing. The E3 reveal of the game and some of its new features wowed everyone, and it’s clear that Bethesda has been hard at work bringing the next journey through the wasteland alive.
Fallout 4 is set to be the biggest game in the series to date, with a intro sequence that finally shows us a pre-war Fallout universe, and an impressive creation suite that allows players to build their very own settlement right in the wasteland. And by build, we mean build. This is no prefab system, here you can build everything, right down to each sheet of metal. There’s even a simple electrical power system that needs to be set up in order to power your buildings and defences, and you can craft and create your own weapons and power armour.
These are only optional additions to the game, which will, of course, deliver the same large-scale story and world the series is known for, this time with a much better combat system and more colour, as the wasteland looks a little less grey brown this time.
And there you have it, our top 25 games coming to Xbox One. Of course, we’ve probably omitted some titles you’re looking forward too a little more, so please share your own highlights in the comments. We will, too, keep this list up to date.