Microsoft aren't messing about when it comes to Xbox One exclusives, and they've got an early foot in the door. Following a strong start last Christmas, they've secured a fearsome suite of big games from shooters to racers, platformers, dancing games, Kinect showcases, insane open worlds and even a radical new editing suite powered by user-generated content.
Though we'll have to wait and see whether they actually live up to the hype, here are the hottest exclusives slated for 2014 along with the European release dates for your calendar.
Forza Horizon 2 | September 30th
"Gone are the artificial walls and fences of the first game, with barriers placed far more realistically this time around. If you want to fashion yourself a shortcut in a race, the chances are that you can. If you want to veer off the beaten track and tear up a vineyard, you absolutely can. Wooden fences are there to be smashed in the name of curiosity, the European countryside a canvas on which you can paint a petrol masterpiece. But the roads themselves real natural rather than purposefully crafted , and it's clear that Playground have done their research." - Forza Horizon 2 hands-on preview
Dance Central Spotlight | September TBA
Microsoft's Kinect U-Turn arguably makes Dance Central Spotlight feel like an afterthought, but considering how much fun the brilliant originals were on last-gen hardware, we're still rather excited for Harmonix' latest workout. Xbox One's Kinect sensor should finally have a chance to show off in the motion control department. It's downloadable, too, so we should be able to boogie without breaking the bank.
Project Spark | October 10th
Project Spark is a real wildcard in the 2014 release slate. This revolutionary project is half editor, half game, which allows you to create your own games using a sensational suite of design tools, choose your own adventure in RPGs and mess around with a whole mess of user generated content. However, its long-term appeal will rest on its content packs being generously-priced, frequently-added and capable of supporting more varieties of genre.
Either way, the potential is absolutely amazing, and you can try out the beta right now! I certainly did, and emerged impressed. Remember that a physical copy will be available containing all the starter packs.
Fantasia: Music Evolved | October 21st
Here it is: the music game that literally no-one in the world asked for.
Looks fun, though, and interprets the classic conducting scene from the legendary film in some surprising motion-controlled ways. One for audiophiles and the young at heart, I suspect.
Sunset Overdrive | October 28th
"Sunset Overdrive is a mish-mash of Crackdown, Jet Set Radio, and Scott Pilgrim in many ways," writes Matt in his hands-on preview. Promising an arsenal of outrageous weapons and slick rail-grinding traversal, this anticipated open-world exclusive seems to be dead-set on delivering cathartic fun in ludicrously large amounts.
Definitely one of our highlights, so here's hoping that Insomniac delivers where it counts.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection | November 11th
All the Halo. All of it. Not to mention extra secret campaign terminals, cutscenes, live action series and Halo 5 beta.
The sheer value of this compilation is absolutely insane, though whether we'll have anywhere near enough time to blast through its four campaigns and 100+ multiplayer maps is still up for debate!
Ori And The Blind Forest | "Fall" 2014
We've got plenty of shooting, grinding and driving to look forward to on Xbox One this year, but Ori And The Blind Forest should give us an opportunity to slow down and relax. This gorgeous-looking platformer seems to channel Studio Ghibli in all the right ways, though naturally we'll have to see if the gameplay can match the soulful visuals and soundtrack. Definitely one to watch.