Is 22nd November the end of the road for Xbox 360? It's a question we've asked/been asked before, and the answer remains a firm and Lancelot-esque "nay!" A fair few next generation games will also show up on current generation consoles, minus a sparkly texture or two, and there's a modest selection of current gen-only releases on the cards for next year, including the exclusive Fable Anniversary.
Here's a round-up of the most appealing titles, which we'll hopefully be able to add to a few months from now. The popularity of digital distribution - coupled with Microsoft's recent removal of the various fees and checks that have aggravated XBLA developers over the years - should ensure that Xbox 360 enjoys a healthy twilight period. The manufacturer has boasted that there are over 100 new games on the way to the platform, which will theoretically live to see the dawn of 2016. Fingers crossed that a significant proportion are for Xbox 360 and Xbox 360 alone.
Tekken X Street Fighter
Let's get the wobbliest prospect out of the way first. Namco and Capcom's cross-over fighter is teetering on the brink of vapourware status - announced in 2010, it was described as a mere "10 per cent" complete in April 2012, and may ultimately roll over onto next generation platforms. There aren't even any real screenshots, yet. It's possible a change of business model is in order, given that the preceding Street Fighter X Tekken didn't sell brilliantly, and that Namco is now experimenting with free-to-play fighters in the shape of Tekken Revolution for PS3. The latter may yet appear on Xbox, incidentally. "It seems [Microsoft] has opened up to that model," Tekken producer Katsuhiro Harada mused last month.
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2
Release: 28th February 2014
I finally had the chance to play this the other week, and it's everything you could hope for, providing all you're really hoping for is more Lords of Shadow. A sprawling fantasy open-world hack and slasher that transpires in two timeframes, Lords of Shadow 2 casts you once again as Gabriel Belmont - or as he'd prefer to be known at present, Dracula. Bit of a lifestyle refresh, there. In place of the old Combat Cross you're armed with the decidedly less righteous Blood Whip, though it handles identically. Gabriel can also emit a health-replenishing Void Sword or a heavy-hitting set of Chaos Claws from his palms at will, switching between these weapons mid-combo. The aesthetic is once again a mixture of Pan's Labyrinth and Lord of the Rings, and for all Xbox 360's age, the graphics tech scrubs up very nicely indeed. Here's Log with a mighty overview.
Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII
Release: 14th February 2014
Those who love fantasy but despise gothic hairdos might be more convinced by the latest Final Fantasy XIII spin-off, which sees the eternally morose Lightning trying to save the world in 13 days - warping back to the beginning every time she fails while keeping any knowledge, experience and abilities she's acquired in the process. Square Enix has devoted quite a lot of the game's publicity drive to Lightning's clothing (and boobs, because apparently Square Enix has been playing Dead or Alive recently), but there does appear to be a decent action role-player lurking beneath all those accessories. Over to Log, once again, for a more detailed look.