Following its launch shambles, Phil Spencer managed to turn the Xbox One around last year. Tough decisions were made, screaming U-turns were pulled and the result is that Microsoft's console is fighting fit with a cracking games library to enjoy.
But the real work starts now. Increased sales are all well and good, but it's all about the games, and Microsoft is set to release a much more varied slate of big-budget titans, anticipated sequels, new IP and boutique titles this year.
The Xbox One has everything to prove in 2015, and these are the games to do it.
Quantum Break is still one of the Xbox One's biggest wildcards. Promising to transcend the boundaries between games and television, Remedy's latest creation promises to be a handsome shooter with some nifty slow-motion mechanics backed up by an innovative time-travelling storyline and epilogue sequences that let you appreciate the perspective of the main villain.
There's a lot riding on this one, but Remedy has yet to disappoint.
We're always keen for more RPGs on home consoles, but in all honesty, we're still not sure why the Fable franchise made it past two games. Albion was a vaguely amusing parody in the first title, but the joke wore thin in the admittedly addictive Fable 2 and is now a shuffling embarrassment with the worst voice acting in the business.
Can Fable Legends make the Albion parody-verse a place worth caring about? Will any of the voice actors put in a shift? We're not sure, but either way, we have to include this for completeness' sake. With any luck the result will surprise us in a good way, and Lionhead can prove that the Fable franchise is back with a vengeance.
We're not sure what to make of Screamride. The creator of Elite is working on a bonkers physics-driven roller coaster simulator where we can design our own insane rides, enjoy them for ourselves, torment their punters or then destroy everything while cackling insanely. A bit like a darker Rollercoaster Tycoon, perhaps.
I think we're going to get along famously.
Cuphead plans to bring hectic run & gun boss attack action to the Xbox One and Steam, which is exciting in and of itself, but the art design really makes Cuphead stand out. It's based on 1930s cartoons, meaning that it looks and sounds like nothing else out there while granting us access to surreal abilities and inexplicable shenanigans.
This has been [email protected]'s darling for some time now, and we can't wait to play it. More to the point, we love that Microsoft are making a real effort to add depth and breadth to their software library beyond the shooters it's so often famed for.
Speaking of [email protected], there are plenty more boutique titles to look forward to. Below chief amongst them. Capy Games, the irrepressible indie studio behind Swords & Sworcery EP, Super Time Force and Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes, are working on a unique action roguelike with haunting visuals and another life-enhancing score from Jim Guthrie.
What lurks below? We'll find out this year, so long as it doesn't suffer from the same delay woes as Super time Force.
SMITE is a very different kind of free-to-play MOBA. Though the basics are present and correct, streamlined controls and an intimate camera angle makes the action feel more like a traditional third-person hack & slasher, opening up the genre to an entirely new audience and making the combat feel even more satisfying. The economy is fair, the graphics are impressive, the art design is surprisingly authentic... and it's coming to Xbox One this year following a massively successful world tournament.
I'm delighted to report that progress, purchases and unlocks can be carried over from the PC version.
Dungeon Of The Endless
Don't call it a Roguelike. Dungeon Of The Endless may feature permadeath and dungeon crawling, but one word can't do justice to this extraordinary genre-defying beast. To take a stab at pigeonholing it, I suppose that 'Real-Time Turn-Based Strategic 4X Tower Defence Roguelike RPG hybrid' is probably the closest I can get.
So the first thing you need to know is that Dungeon Of The Endless uses traditional Roguelike genre staples as a launchpad for a totally fresh and unique Sci-Fi experience that continually switches up the pace and challenge in exciting new ways. The second and most important thing you need to know, however, is that it's absolutely bloody fantastic. We're thrilled that an entirely new audience will get to enjoy it on Xbox One.
Halo 5: Guardians
Story details may be thin on the ground, but the Halo 5 multiplayer beta has shed some light on what to expect from the anticipated sequel's mechanics. Namely a focus on verticality, speed and manoeuvrability that we haven't seen from the legendary series, while still keeping the addictive combat loop that makes Halo such a timeless gameplay experience.
We'll play the campaign both from the perspective of the Master Chief and new character Agent Locke, who's tracking Spartan-117 for reasons unknown. Our guess is that he'll team up with Halsey to rebuild or remake Cortana, probably breaking the law or committing treason in the process, meaning that Locke will have to track him down. Though it's as good as yours.
Hopefully the matchmaking will work this time.
Platinum Games are one of our favourite developers on the planet. They're the masters of incredible combat systems, engaging gameplay, sumptuous art direction and sheer satisfying fun, with the likes of Okami, Viewtiful Joe, Bayonetta, The Wonderful 101, Anarchy Reigns, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance and the glorious Vanquish acting as testament to their craft.
Now they're creating a game with Devil May Cry-esque combat and massive dragon companions. We. Can't. Wait.
Please be good. Please.
What Xbox One games are you looking forward to in 2015? Let us know in the comments!