With 2013 now very much in the past, and the dust finally beginning to settle on the various "which game was the best of the year?" conversations that typically do the rounds at the end of a given 12-month period / start of the next, it seems appropriate to put what is aside and think instead about what's next.
Investigation into what's on the horizon in terms of high-profile videogame releases reveals that there is, in fact, a hell of a lot of stuff coming up - so much so that narrowing the list down into just the top twenty was seriously difficult (and likely to be quite controversial as a result.)
Thanks to our Facebook-enabled readers, however, we did manage to come up with a list, which is then supported by a "nearly, but not quite" collection of other hotly anticipated games, before being rounded off by games that - while ludicrously high profile, as a rule - are unlikely to make it out this year.
Let's start at the very beginning then, shall we? Games are listed in alphabetical order!
PS3, PS4, XO, 360, PC - Q4
Developed by Creative Assembly (the team behind the Total War games), Isolation is a return in tone to that set by the original movie (rather than the action focus of the follow up films). Playing as Ellen Ripley's daughter Amanda, you'll be stalked by a lone Alien Xenomorph aboard a remote space station. Creepy!
PS3, PS4, XO, 360, PC - ??
A rumoured, and likely - but as yet unannounced - sequel to EA's ongoing, smash-hit first-person shooter franchise. It's almost guaranteed - almost.
PS3, PS4, XO, 360, PC - November
The as yet unannounced sequel to Activision's on-going money-printing franchise that we all know is coming. Look for an announcement in late April / early May, for release between November 7th and 14th. Rumours suggest it will be Modern Warfare 4 (developed by Sledgehammer Games), to be followed by Black Ops III (by Treyarch) in 2015, and Ghosts 2 (by Infinity Ward) in 2016.
PS3, 360, PC - March 14th
Developed by From Software, the sequel to 2011's Dark Souls (itself the spiritual successor to 2009's Demon's Souls) looks to continue the ultra hard action RPG gameplay of its forebears. Punishingly difficult, the series rewards perseverance - beating it will likely be very satisfying indeed, assuming you actually can...
PS3, PS4, XO, 360 - September 9th
The next game from the team that brought us Halo, Destiny has a massive budget, suggesting that both Bungie and Activision are expecting it to be very successful indeed. It's set 700 years into the future and things look pretty grim. An event of some sort has brought mankind to the brink of extinction; it's up to the player, their friends, and random strangers to team up and put things right.
PC - March 25th
In addition to taking the story of Diablo III from the legendary city of Westmarch to the unhallowed halls of the Pandemonium Fortress in Act V and introducing the incorruptible Crusader class, Diablo III: Reaper of Souls increases the game's level cap to 70. Players continuing on with their existing Barbarian, Witch Doctor, Demon Hunter, Wizard, and Monk characters will benefit from an array of fearsome new spells and abilities as they advance in level.
PS4 - ??
Includes the content of the original Diablo III (PC) game, as well as its expansion - Diablo III: Reaper of Souls. It's coming exclusively to the PlayStation 4, and will include support for Remote Play on PlayStation Vita.
PS3, PS4, XO, 360, PC - Q3 2014
Developed once again by BioWare, Inquisition is a significant departure from the earlier games in the series. The more open-world setting is just the beginning; the title also promises a significant redesign of the various combat systems, with a much greater focus on thinking and less need to repeatedly press the same buttons over and over.
PC - March
After a successful Kickstarter campaign, the remake / reboot of the Elite series - helmed by the man who created it, David Braben - is developing well and (according to Braben) still on track for a March release. As with the original, your goal will be to travel the spaceways, trading or fighting your way to the top - only this time around there will be other players to contend with too.
PS3, PS4, XO, 360, PC - ??
The survival horror genre looks set to return to its roots when The Evil Within releases later this year, thanks to the director of the game. Shinji Mikami - best known for creating the Resident Evil franchise - is at the helm, and he's promising to deliver something much more inline with what horror fans have been asking for (than what they've been getting.)
Continue reading on page 2.