Here are 5 games that could make 2014 the year of the Xbox One

Xbox One Best Games List

Now that we’ve seen the five games that PlayStation 4 owners can’t wait to get their hands on this year, it’s time to move to the Xbox One. While our list of PS4 games was a pretty even split between huge blockbuster hits and exciting, innovative indies, almost every Xbox One game that appears below is coming from a major, established studio. The only exception is a first-party title being published by Microsoft Studios.

Another interesting pattern — four of the five games we’re most exciting about on the Xbox One are either first- or third-person shooters. Only one standard shooter, The Order: 1886, made the PS4 list. There are still plenty of unannounced games coming to both consoles that are sure to break the mold, but we’ll be anxiously awaiting a little more variety from the Xbox One by the time E3 rolls around.

That said, if you’re a fan of shooters, sit back and prepare for one of the best years the genre has ever seen on any console.

So if you’ve already written off the Xbox One and declared PS4 the winner of the console wars this year, not so fast. We’ve rounded up five of our most anticipated games for the Xbox One below, and plan to do the same with the flailing Wii U later this week.

Now that new game releases are finally in sight, which console is going to have the best year?

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Titanfall

The next-gen consoles launched with two of the biggest FPS franchises in the history of gaming already available, but Call of Duty: Ghosts and Battlefield 4 were built for the PS3 and Xbox 360. Titanfall, on the other hand, is not only the most anticipated next-gen FPS of 2014, it’s also Microsoft’s biggest gamble so far. Microsoft struck a deal with Respawn Entertainment to have Titanfall come exclusively to the Xbox One, and if the reaction from gamers is any indication, it was worth whatever the company paid.

Titanfall is a high priority for Microsoft and gamers alike for a slew of reasons, the most obvious being that Respawn Entertainment is helmed by two of the men responsible for making Call of Duty a household name. It also looks absolutely bonkers, packed with fast-paced action, unprecedented traversal abilities and huge, hulking mechs. Plus, it eschews the standard tacked-on single-player campaign to completely focus on multiplayer.

A handful of lucky gamers had a chance to play Titanfall during a recent alpha test, and based on the leaked footage from the event, Titanfall lives up to the promise of the original trailers. Titanfall will be available for the Xbox One on March 11th.

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Project Spark

It’s difficult to talk about any games that feature this much user-generated content without referring back to Minecraft, but Project Spark is successfully forming its own identity with every new video the development team releases. More so than Minecraft or even LittleBigPlanet, Project Spark is about customization. Players are able to manipulate each and every object in the game, as well as the individual actions the characters perform, down to the specific logic that ties those actions together.

Game-building games with this much customizable content are traditionally PC-only territory, but by giving players a set of simple tools to work with, Team Dakota hopes to bring an equivalent experience in full to the Xbox One without cutting any corners. Based on the community spotlight videos on the team’s YouTube page, players are already finding creative ways to craft their own unique stories, filled with cutscenes, dialogue and epic boss battles.

Project Spark has been in beta testing on Windows 8 and Xbox One for several months now, and players have already built dozens of custom maps, creatures and game types. There is no set date yet, but expect the full release of Project Spark sometime this year.

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Sunset Overdrive

Sunset Overdrive is worth mentioning not just because it looks incredibly slick — Insomniac, the developer of the game, is also switching allegiances to bring the game to the Xbox One. Insomniac is the developer behind some of the most famous PlayStation characters of all time, including the inimitable Spyro the Dragon, Ratchet and his robot pal Clank, and the infected Resistance soldier Nathan Hale. Now a whole new cast of characters are being prepped for the new generation, but they won’t be appearing on the PlayStation 4.

I know you’re getting sick of hearing this, but we don’t know much about Sunset Overdrive yet. What we do know is that it’s a stylish third-person shooter set in an open world overrun with mutants. Players will have plenty of means with which to dispatch the mutants while running, jumping and zip-lining through the huge, evolving city. Insomniac stressed that Sunset Overdrive will also be frequently updated to match the consensus of the player base.

The living world of Sunset Overdrive doesn’t have a release date, but look for it exclusively on the Xbox One later this year.

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Quantum Break

Easily one of the most unexpected announcements at E3, the studio best known for two franchises which plenty of fans would love to see more of are moving on to a brand new property, filled with time travelling protagonists, FMV cutscenes and a full-fledged  tie-in television series that interacts with the game. Quantum Break had plenty of gamers scratching their heads after its initial reveal, but Remedy Entertainment has a track record that should afford them some confidence despite the inherent risk of this bold new direction.

At its core, Quantum Break is a third-person shooter with cover mechanics, but after a science experiment gone wrong, the main characters are granted the ability to manipulate time, allowing for countless engaging encounters with enemies and the world around them. As players progress through the game, their decisions will affect an ongoing episodic TV series that takes place between the action. According to creative director Sam Lake, “TV show episodes will run about 30 minutes in length, and the first season of the show and Quantum Break‘s game content will all ship at once.”

Remedy believes it has combined the best elements from Max Payne and Alan Wake to bring something that is fun to play, slightly familiar and yet entirely unique to the Xbox One. We’ll find out if they managed to tie it all together sometime this year.

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Halo 5

There’s not much to say about the next Halo. The staple series of the Xbox, Halo has continued to break its own sales records with every release, even now that Bungie has moved on to other projects. 343 Industries took over the series for the start of a new trilogy, and to the relief of many concerned fans, the studio released a solid entry in the storied franchise. Less than a year later, 343 took the stage at E3 2013 to show Master Chief wandering in a desert, facing an impossibly large creature that had risen out of the sand.

Other than that short teaser, we don’t have much to go on. 343 says that the footage should not be viewed as a trailer for Halo 5, but rather a promise of a new Halo coming to the next generation. We’ll have to wait and see whether or not that promise develops into a spin-off in the vein of Halo: Reach or a full numbered sequel in the new trilogy. We’re sure to see a whole lot more at E3, so try not to lose your mind speculating until then.

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