New year, new games: What to look forward to on the Xbox One

“Garden Warfare” takes the core concept of a tower-defense war between zombies and plants and adds in free movement, unique abilities and more than a few concepts taken from modern action games.<br>
“Garden Warfare” takes the core concept of a tower-defense war between zombies and plants and adds in free movement, unique abilities and more than a few concepts taken from modern action games.

The wrapping paper is in the garbage, the ornaments are packed away and the remaining eggnog sits unwanted in the refrigerator. Christmas is over for another year and the doldrums of a long winter season is upon us. Luckily for you, Santa decided to overlook your behavior and left a shiny new Xbox One or PlayStation 4 under the Christmas tree.

Well, now what? “Knack” on your PS4 or “Assassin’s Creed IV” on your Xbox aren’t going to keep you entertained forever, enjoyable as they may be. So, what is there to look forward to? To answer that question, here’s a look ahead at a few titles on the horizon. First up, games on the way for Xbox One.


The Xbox One has quite a few exclusives to look out for, but none are generating the type of buzz that Respawn’s “Titanfall” has managed to create. Made up of former Infinity Ward developers (the people behind the massively successful “Call of Duty” franchise), Respawn promises they have the chops to pull off the ambitious “Titanfall,” an online-only shooter with its sights set firmly on the hardcore gamer crowd.

Instead of cribbing from previous successes, Respawn is creating “Titanfall” from the ground up to challenge the status quo in first-person shooters. Instead of striving for militaristic realism, “Titanfall” warriors are running up walls, jumping into the titular walking tanks and maneuvering around the battlefield on futuristic jetpacks. Think more of the space Marines from Avatar than the modern soldiers depicted in “Battlefield” and “Call of Duty.” Thanks to this futuristic setting and the tools it brings players, the gameplay looks to be much different than your typical shooter, allowing for more vertical level design and action that comes from all angles.

Project Spark

Taking a page from games like “LittleBigPlanet” and, to a lesser extent, “Minecraft,” “Project Spark” is a game that seeks to put a player’s imagination to the test. However, unlike those title, “Project Spark” is not a game with creation tools built around it, rather the entire experience is built around player creation. It’s more of a set of what looks to be easily used tools that allows you to build your own game, wrapped in a kid-friendly set of visuals.

From the information we have now, it looks like any type of game the player can imagine can be created with the toolsets in “Project Spark.” Social interaction will be a major component. Many games have tried to offer this type of experience for players, but, most have failed to grab any traction due to overly complex features and controls. “Project Spark” looks to be one of those few games that will have the depth to allow players to unleash their inner game designer, while being easy enough so they don’t need to have a degree in coding to make their vision come to life.

Quantum Break

“Quantum Break” is a game that set social media abuzz with its announcement, but since then details from its developers, Remedy Entertainment, have been a bit scarce. Even so, what we do know about the game is reason enough to be on the lookout for what Quantum Break is planning on bringing to the next generation of action-adventure titles.

This game, more so than others at the moment, looks to test the limits of the new Xbox, with its attention to detailed facial animations and the gameplay mechanic revolving around time manipulation to affect the world around you. The previews show a particular attention to detail in the destruction of the game world and using the freezing and rewinding of time to affect changes in how that destruction alters how the player proceeds. It’s ambitious, but if Remedy puts it all together, they’ll have a unique title on their hands that will be an early benchmark for what the Xbox One can accomplish.

Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare

“Plants vs. Zombies” is an interesting franchise. Initially released on PC, the game was soon ported over to every device known to mankind. It was a runaway success for developers PopCap Games, and the sequel in 2013 was one of our favorite games of the year. “Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare” is the game that looks to bring the super-popular franchise into both the new generation and into the third dimension.

“Garden Warfare” takes the core concept of a tower-defense war between zombies and plants and adds in free movement, unique abilities and more than a few concepts taken from modern action games, such as airstrikes and upgradable appearances. Players familiar with games like “Team Fortress 2” will feel right at home with” Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare.” Take a look at some gameplay videos and developer commentaries on their official YouTube page.

Halo 5

“Halo: Combat Evolved” was an Xbox classic. Since then, the series has defined what a console shooter is supposed to be. The next “Halo” missed making the Xbox One launch, but it’s tentatively scheduled for release later in 2014. The secrecy is so thick that nobody is completely sure what the full title will be, what it looks like, or any of the new gameplay mechanics. What we do know is that when the a teaser trailer was shown at E3, it instantly made the number one game to look forward to for the millions of “Halo” fans around the world.


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About the Authors

Brian Bowers is Stars and Stripes’ Assistant Managing Editor for Europe and Mideast and one of its video game reviewers. He joined the newspaper in 1992 in Germany, where he worked on the news desk and the city desk. He has a wife and three children, who are always eager to help him test games.

Sam Laney joined Stars and Stripes in 2007 as a copy/layout editor and slowly convinced upper management to support his video game habit. Since then, he’s added game reviews and previews to his list of duties and moved on to the iPad. When he’s not rocking newbies in “Left4Dead2,” he covers PC and Nintendo systems.

Michael S. Darnell joined Stars and Stripes in 2013 as a reporter and quickly annoyed his bosses into allowing him to write about video games in his spare time. He's a PC gamer at heart whose life goals include building the first gaming PC on Mars.