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Ones To Watch In 2014: Xbox One

Xbox, 2014.

With the Xbox One, Microsoft clearly tried to place themselves as that box through which you do everything in the living room. Whether it’s watching TV, phoning your mum, browsing the web or, funnily enough, playing games, Microsoft wanted to be a part of that.

Of course, it’s that last point that we’re here to talk about today, so this is a quick look at some of the highlights we can expect to see arrive exclusively on the Xbox One next year.

1TW-Titanfall

Where many would bemoan a lack of innovation in the last franchise Jason West and Vince Zampella created, their next effort is nothing but. You can believe the hype.

Titanfall takes inspirations from all sorts of places, but merges them into something utterly unique. You have high-speed free running married to jet packs, allowing for a ridiculous level of mobility that utterly transforms the way that players will move around on the battlefield.

It’s the titans which are the most visual selling point, with regular titanfalls giving each and every player the opportunity to get into a hulking beast of a machine, and go toe-to-toe with rivals. They’ll need to be wary of the ground troops though, as everyone can contribute to taking down a titan…

If this gameplay balance were all the game had to offer, it would still be a highly popular mix, but there are impressive features elsewhere. Backed by The Cloud, each server plays host to a bunch of AI, really helping to flesh out the battlefield with more foes, and keeping players engaged even if they aren’t good enough to compete directly with humans.

However, it’s the blending of multi-player battles with single-player story that sounds the most intriguing, and we expect to see more on that very soon, as the game heads to a release in March for Xbox One, 360 and PC.

1TW-QuantumBreak

Remedy Entertainment’s latest project is a hugely ambitious one, aiming to blend and merge TV with gaming in quite a unique fashion.

The story centres around a trio of characters, involved in a time travel experiment gone wrong. While the world around them suffers from time anomalies, as the very fabric of time twists and tears simple moments into catastrophic events. The experiment imbues each of the three characters with certain abilities to manipulate time, with one now able to see into the future and pick a different timeline, for example. He’s naturally the main antagonist!

By and large, the gameplay appears to be a third person cover shooter with time manipulation mechanics thrown in, but it’s through these powers and player choices that the plot is able branch out and split.

Each section of gameplay unlocks a new live action episode for you to watch, allowing you to play a game that is actively intertwined with a TV series, and at your leisure, blurring those lines between mediums.

1TW-ProjectSpark

While Sony and Media Molecule pioneered the Play, Create, Share genre, it’s good to see that Microsoft are having a shot at this style of game, with Project Spark coming from Team Dakota.

It is essentially a game creator, allowing players to dive in with Xbox controller, keyboard and mouse, Smartglass enabled tablet, and Kinect, to create pretty much any element in the game. These combine to let you animate models, record audio, and just thoroughly customise practically every aspect of the game you’re creating.

Though the best fit for the game will be an Xbox One, this game is also set to appear on 360 and Windows 8, making it more of a Microsoft-wide project.

1TW-FabLegends

If the Fable series went off the rails (ha!) a bit with The Journey, then Fable Legends will hopefully set it back on course, though still heading in a slightly different direction to the original trilogy.

There’s quite little known about the game at the moment, but it promises to take players back to a time before the first Fable game, and see you going on quests as a band of four players, with AI compatriots if you can’t rustle up a few humans to join you. A fifth player can join the action, playing as the villain via Smartglass, and making your life a bit trickier.

Though there’s no firm release date, and the full game may not appear next year, a beta phase has been announced for 2014. Interestingly, this is being pitched as more of a platform, with the regular DLC expanding the game over a 5-10 lifespan.

1TW-PVZGarden

As part of a strategic partnership, EA and Popcap announced that Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare would be coming to the Xbox One, 360 and Windows PC as a timed exclusive. Regardless of exclusivity, this game just looks like good fun, as it liberally steals and borrows influences from elsewhere.

It’s taking the franchise over to being a 24 player online third person shooter, with players taking on the role of both plants and zombies, in a battle for victory. Popcap have not been shy about taking inspiration for the various classes from Team Fortress 2, Battlefield and other class-based multiplayer games, and these are quite apparent in the game.

Even more obvious is the Boss Mode’s inspiration, clearly inspired by Battlefield’s Commander Mode, and seeing Crazy Dave go up against the Zombie Scientist, and dropping supply crates, NPC characters and direct fire. This mode is exclusive to the Xbox One, tying in with Kinect and Smartglass.

PvZ: Garden Warfare looks like a hoot, and it’s coming out in February next year.

1TW-SunsetOverdrive

If you thought it was jarring that Insomniac developed Fuse as a cross-platform game, it’s even more unsettling for PlayStation fans to see them developing Sunset Overdrive as an Xbox One exclusive. Especially when it looks like a delightfully bonkers Fanta advert.

Not much has been revealed since that first showing at Microsoft’s E3 conference, but even just going from that trailer, you can see the fast paced free running navigation of what is an open world environment, the hordes of mutants that you’ll be going up against, the wide variety of nonsensical weapons, and the hefty online co-op integration.

I’m definitely looking forward to seeing more of this one, and it has now been confirmed for a release some time next year.


Come back tomorrow, where our final instalment of Ones To Watch takes a look at some of the PlayStation 4 titles you should be keeping an eye on in 2014.

9 Comments
  1. DividSmythe
    Member
    Since: May 2012

    For me the only game that looks interesting here is Project spark. I might get Titanfall if the reviews are good but I can’t see me enjoying it as I don’t like fps.

    Comment posted on 30/12/2013 at 12:20.
    • DividSmythe
      Member
      Since: May 2012

      I forgot to mention online fps I don’t like.

      Comment posted on 30/12/2013 at 12:21.
    • damoxuk
      Member
      Since: May 2011

      Titanfall looks interesting but also like you don’t like online FPS much so won’t make me want to get an Xbone.

      Only a massive RPG exclusive (not boring Fable) would tempt me.

      Or Xcom 2 is exclusive then i’d buy 2 lol.

      Comment posted on 30/12/2013 at 12:31.
      • TwinStripeUK
        Member
        Since: Dec 2013

        I think that people are missing the point of Titanfall quite a bit – it’s not just an online FPS, but a mix of both single and multiplayer. Some of your opponents and comrades are ‘real’ players, some are A.I. and you get different scoring depending on whom you take out. Plus you’ll get higher scores for taking out Titans (and even higher if they are controlled by ‘real’ players). Not quite at the stage of the Forza 5 ‘drivatar’, but pretty close…

        It’s simultaneously a step forward in how we play single and multiplayer games and a step back to the days of Quake 3 when FPS were actually FUN instead of being overly complex, perk filled grinds like they are now.

        Quantum Break is beginning to grow on me – it looked a little vague, but essentially now looks like a third-person action game with live-action ‘unlockable’ TV scenes. Not quite as groundbreaking as it looked at first, but the time manipulation looks fun.

        Already sold on Project Spark, looks great even though the development videos are as dull as dishwater. Can’t wait to start actually getting creative.

        Fable Legends. My first Fable experience was Fable 3 on Games With Gold. Hated it. It was free, and I still wanted my money back. Nuff said…

        Plants Vs Zombies looks loads of fun, and PopCap know a thing or two about fun games (most of my Upload clips are of Peggle2)! And 24 player online looks cool.

        Sunset Overdrive is the big unknown here for me – if they pull it off, it’ll be a great system exclusive; hopefully they won’t mess it up.

        Comment posted on 30/12/2013 at 14:36.
  2. Eldaveo
    Member
    Since: Oct 2013

    Titanfall is the obvious standout title there. Providing it has a decent amount of content (i.e. more than a couple of maps) it should be great as people seem to be loving the gameplay.
    Quantum Break being a TPS is a shame as I was looking forward to playing through it with the Mrs. Can’t see a shooting game like that holding her interest.

    Realistically I can see myself picking up Titanfall, Witcher 3 and Rayman Legends over the next 12 months

    Comment posted on 30/12/2013 at 14:09.
  3. TSBonyman
    Member
    Since: Dec 2009

    Quantum Break was looking promising until the gameplay reveal and i haven’t seen enough of Sunset Overdrive yet to say for sure. Project Spark might be worth a look but it’s lacking the style which made LBP so charming.

    Comment posted on 30/12/2013 at 14:44.
  4. Vallon
    Member
    Since: Sep 2013

    Pretty much decided I’m going to pick up an XBOX One around Easter as I bet they will make a Titanfall bundle. Plus by then they should have sorted some issues like the TV stuttering (50hz) and HDD management etc.

    Quite interested in QB as well because I loved Alan Wake. Other cross platform games I’ll pick up on my PS4 though I expect.

    Comment posted on 30/12/2013 at 14:59.
    • TwinStripeUK
      Member
      Since: Dec 2013

      That TV stuttering? Doesn’t really exist if you have it set up properly (those who’ve experienced have been trying to run a Window at 50Hz inside a container at 60Hz, which is never going to end well)! Set them both up at 50 or 60 – no problem…

      HDD management would be nice, although at the moment I haven’t needed it (I’ve got 9 games installed and loads of temporary Upload clips and it hasn’t whined at me to tidy up yet). It’d be nice to use external storage though.

      Comment posted on 30/12/2013 at 15:39.
      • Vallon
        Member
        Since: Sep 2013

        How can you set a TV feed from the UK up to 60hz as its PAL? My mate who has an XBOX one said that lowering the xbox to 50hz sorts the TV issue, however its an oversight by Microsoft – obviously US customers aren’t affected as their TV signals are 60hz anyway. And I’ve also read that setting the xbox to 50hz can cause some game stutter so its not a perfect solution. Quote is here:

        “Remember that with this method though, a blanket frame rate of 50Hz is applied to ALL content on the Xbox One, meaning that even 30fps or 60fps video games will be displayed at 50Hz, which may look unnatural or even exhibit micro-stutter. Of course, you can manually switch back to 60Hz whenever you want to play games, but this hardly seems like the seamless user experience Microsoft is shooting for. For UK and European owners who are hell-bent on piping live TV broadcast through their Xbox One console, at least this workaround offers a way for them to watch various television programmes without experiencing judder.”

        And the full article here:

        http://www.hdtvtest.co.uk/news/50hz-fix-201311263472.htm

        The fact that Sky/virgin etc isn’t supported either means its just a pass through for UK customers ATM. When all those TV issues are sorted though I can see me definitely using it.

        Comment posted on 30/12/2013 at 17:38.

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