With the potential for two new consoles to arrive just in time for Christmas, 2013 could well be a landmark year in the video game world. But it's also a year full to the brim with AAA releases for current consoles that we hope won't disappoint. Here's our look at 12 through to 6.
12. Bayonetta 2
Who would have thought that gaming's naughtiest character would end up as a Nintendo exclusive? Bayonetta's seductive action sequences helped crown the original as the queen of the genre, and we're optimistic that Platinum's work in the genre since should make for an even greater slice of X-rated combat. And we wouldn't put it past Kamiya to find some 'inspiring' uses for the GamePad's touch screen, either...
11. South Park: The Stick of Truth
If knob jokes, fart gags and near knuckle humour offend you, South Park: The Stick of Truth will be about as appealing as Christmas dinner without the turkey.
But if the thought of Mr Hanky literally whipping up a sh*tstorm to fight off foes, or Slave going goatse on his enemies sounds like your idea of a good time, rest assured; this will likely be the game for you. The Stick of Truth nails the look and feel of South Park: it's side-splittingly funny, appears to make clever uses of characters and themes, and carries off the distinct look of the show superbly. With that said, though, we've yet to see much of the 'game' behind TSoT (what we've seen could mostly class as an episode of South Park), but we trust Obsidian's heritage enough to know that the franchise couldn't be in much better hands.
Oh, and by the way; if you are offended by any of the above, what on Rudolph's red nose are you doing reading VideoGamer.com?
10. Hotline Miami 2
Hotline Miami combined lo-fi graphics, inspired art direction, a superb soundtrack, and ultra-violent top-down gameplay to create one of last year's most talked-about games. The sequel is already on the way, so expect more of that same great mixture, as addictive and difficult as ever. So far there's been no word on any substantial gameplay changes, and in all honesty we don't expect there to be. (After all, if it isn't broken, don't fix it.) But if we're honest, a new soundtrack would be enough to get us to shell out for this.
9. Beyond: Two Souls
Heavy Rain was great. It's a game that goes against almost everything we've come to expect from a video game and goes its own way. Beyond: Two Souls, the follow-up from developer Quantic Dream, looks to be more of the same, albeit with a supernatural bent.
DRM, DRM, DRM. Pronounce that as a series of words rather than abbreviations, and it sounds like a dramatic revelation, like the entrance of a super villain, or the shock reveal of the guy whodunnit.
But don't let DRM issues push you away from SimCity. Maxis' return to city-building is one of our most anticipated PC-exclusives in a very long time (well, at least since Diablo 3), and for very good reason. GlassBox looks to be an incredibly powerful engine capable of running complex simulations, from the effect that polution and other ecological conditions has on the environment, right down to the behaviour of individual vehicles. Building a city has never looked this good, either - SimCity looks gorgeous on a high-end PC. If you've put off registering that Origin account until now, you may be forced to rethink your strategy come March.
7. Dota 2
This year sees the full release of Dota 2, the Valve-developed follow-up to a revered Warcraft 3 mod. Wisely keeping original dev talent on-board while building on what made the original such a hit, the arena-based Dota 2 should boast a ready-made audience. Currently in Beta, the top-down, multiplayer strategy title will be free-to-play (with microtransactions, of course) when it finally launches. Not that people wouldn't have paid for it up front: Dota is massive, with its own pro tournament and dedicated community. Now that Valve is behind it, expect this to be huge.
6. BioShock Infinite
It isn't long now until we finally get our hands on what Ken Levine and company have been up to all these years. After going dark for a while, recent hands-on impressions have been glowing, helping to alleviate fears that Infinite had lost its way. It's not been the smoothest ride to launch for Irrational, but if Infinite can achieve even half of its potential – and it looks like doing that and then some – then it could be an early contender for 2013's GOTY. That boxart still stinks, however, even if it does do its job of drawing in the masses.