Writers: Andy Kelly, Ben Griffin, Joe Hurst, Nathan Irvine, Alex Dale, Tim Weaver, Iain Wilson
So you've read the first part of our giant 2013 preview - now it's time to tuck into the rest. Mega-games like Grand Theft Auto V, The Last of Us, Rome 2: Total War, Arma 3 and Watch Dogs are just the tip of the iceberg...
Format: 360, PS3 | Developer: Rockstar | Publisher: Rockstar | Out: Spring
Grand Theft Auto V is the biggest game of 2013. No question. The first trailer revealed the setting would be Los Santos - a sprawling, beautiful sandbox as big as Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Grand Theft Auto IV and Red Dead Redemption combined - while the second trailer layered things with additional glimpses of the city, as well as confirmation that there would be multiple characters. Oh, and you can fly jet planes too.
With Rockstar at the helm, you be assured of insane technical ambition and quality storytelling, but what's most impressive is their willingness to evolve: this takes the epic scale of San Andreas and GTA IV, but mixes it up with character switching, a series of heists and improved mission diversity. We're so excited about this, we're talking about it every Wednesday at 5pm. TW
METRO: LAST LIGHT
Format: 360, PS3, PC | Developer: 4A Games | Publisher: THQ | Out: Spring
Following on from where Metro 2033 left off, post-apocalyptic Moscow is once again the setting for Metro: Last Light. With the land above-ground still highly contaminated, survivors are forced to remain in the eponymous Metro system where much of the game is based. During a recent hands-off demo we saw two very different types of level.
First up was an underground industrial location, where stealth is the key and enemies must be eliminated silently while hiding in the shadows to avoid full-on armed confrontations. Following that was an outdoor section featuring a pitched battle against groups of mutants, which quickly descended into a frantic struggle for survival. The developers have said there will be a greater number of these external levels this time around, and the stark contrast between the two settings should definitely keep players on their toes.
If you wanted to skirmish online in the subterranean world then you may be disappointed as Metro: Last Light won't feature multiplayer at launch, although the developers haven't ruled out working on this once the game has shipped. The multiplayer component was dropped to allow the team to focus fully on the single player campaign, and if that leads to a better experience during the story then it's a decision we can definitely get behind. IW
ANIMAL CROSSING: NEW LEAF
Format: 3DS | Developer: Nintendo | Publisher: Nintendo | Out: Spring
People play Animal Crossing to live virtual lives. They might go fishing for carp, decorate their modest house, or splash out on a fetching hat. Nintendo evidently has its finger on the pulse, as Animal Crossing: New Leaf boasts more cutesy lifestyle customisation than ever before.
You'll arrive in the village with nothing but a top hat and tent to your name. Apparently, you're the new mayor, but you don't look it. The meat of the game, like before, is a rags-to-riches tale, revolving around collecting items for people (butterflies caught with a net, flowers picked in the forest), reaping rewards, and generally living the life of every grey urbanite's dreams.
Now, though, there's more to interact with. As revealed in this 47-minute demo, you can customise your trousers and shoes in addition to shirt and hat, go swimming, hang objects on walls and even decorate the wider town to the inevitable dismay of everyone else (well, you are mayor). Add to this new 3D effects which gives the world tangible depth, and expanded multiplayer features letting you visit other towns online, and you have what promises to be the most comprehensive Animal Crossing game yet. BG
Format: 360, PS3, PC | Developer: Digital Extremes | Publisher: Namco-Bandai | Out: Spring
This space adventure is set in the world of Star Trek as envisioned by JJ Abrams' recent series reboot, with events taking place between the 2009 film and upcoming sequel Star Trek: Into Darkness. The actors, including Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto, are supplying their voices and likenesses so there will be plenty of familiar faces on the bridge of the Enterprise.
For the first time in a Star Trek game you'll be able to take control of either Kirk or Spock, and the two mismatched characters will have to work together in order to defeat legendary enemy race The Gorn. An immersive co-op experience is promised for two players teaming up, and as each has their own distinct abilities they'll need to help each other out - Kirk may have the superior firepower, but you'll also require Spock's mind control and environment scanning skills to succeed. Oh, and there'll be laser combat and planetary exploration too. IW
Format: 360, PS3, PC | Developer: Codemasters | Publisher: Codemasters | Out: Spring
Two things to remember about Race Driver: GRID 2: it's fast, and it's gorgeous. While other racers have been putting increasing focus on making the cars crash, GRID endeavours to keep you on the track - the series' trademark Flashback function returns, allowing players to rewind collisions and correct the errors leading up to the fatal moment. There'll be some changes to Flashback, but Codemasters are keeping tight-lipped until nearer release. Other, brand new features include LiveRoute, which will dynamically change the route of a track between laps of a race, and the integration of Codemasters' cross-game online service, RaceNet.
GRID 2 is shaping up to be a stunning racer, with the PC version a genuinely next-gen experience. We've loved what we've seen of it so far. JH