The votes are in. The UK’s most influential games retailers have picked their 12 hottest titles to stock at Christmas 2014. And here they are:
1: Grand Theft Auto V (Rockstar)
Absolutely no surprise to see GTA V top the list. The biggest launch in games industry history was followed by months of consistent sales. It is still in the Top Five at the time of going to press, and since its launch the game has actually got bigger, with the launch of GTA Online. The game was voted for by UK journalists as this year’s greatest title, too.
2: Battlefield 4 (EA)
EA’s No.1 shooter franchise blasted onto consoles in October, and has since been critically well received on next-gen machines. The PS4 version boasts a Metacritic score of 87 and has become one of the leading titles on both next-gen machines.
3: FIFA 14 (EA)
It may not have enjoyed as big a launch as FIFA 13, but the arrival of PS4 and Xbox One has helped EA’s soccer simulator match its predecessor, and is amongst the must-have games on both the new platforms. It is also one of the highest rated sports titles of the year.
4. Call of Duty: Ghosts (Activision)
Activision’s smash hit FPS series suffered a slower than usual launch, but momentum has grown since that time, and it has been a major seller on next-gen machines. The game boasts an entirely new Call of Duty universe, where players are cast as the underdogs for the first time.
5. Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition (Microsoft)
Fresh from dominating digital marketplaces via Xbox Live, Android, iOS and PC, Minecraft made the belated trip to retail earlier this year. And it was one of the best-selling games of the summer and this year’s biggest Xbox 360 hit. Now retailers expect the sandbox construction title to be a big seller with Children over Christmas, too.
6. Animal Crossing: New Leaf (Nintendo)
Another major summer hit was this life sim from Nintendo for 3DS. It mostly sold to Nintendo’s core fanbase at the time, and now the firm is targeting Children and young girls over Christmas, and is the ideal additional product to sell alongside Nintendo’s new 2DS.
7. LEGO Marvel Super Heroes (Warner Bros)
It flew off shelves at launch following positive reviews in November and is already shaping up to be this year’s fastest selling title aimed at kids. Not that Warner is just targeting the youngsters, the inclusion of Avengers characters has made this popular with an older audience, too.
8. Super Mario 3D World (Nintendo)
In what has been a bleak year for Nintendo’s home console, Super Mario 3D World shines brightly. With a Metacritic score of 94, it is one of the highest rated games of the year, and Wii U sales have picked up since the platformer was released. Journalists won’t stop harping on about it.
9. Gran Turismo 6 (Sony)
Sony’s flagship racer suffered a bit having debuted in the wake of PS4’s blockbuster launch. Yet for those yet to upgrade their console, this is the must-have title for Q4 on PlayStation 3. Press reviews have been positive and marketing will continue right up until Christmas.
10. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (Ubisoft)
If last year’s Assassin’s Creed was a bit of slow burner for some fans, then they should be delighted with Black Flag. Billed a return to form from critics, the game has become a hit on next-gen platforms already, particularly on PS4 where the game has an extra 60 minutes of content.
11. Pokémon X and Y (Nintendo)
3DS has had a sensational year, headlined by some of the finest games Nintendo have put out. It was even voted by UK journalists last week as the best platform of the year. The biggest game on those platforms is the latest Pokémon game, which offers vastly improved graphics and a new evolutions.
12. Just Dance 2014 (Ubisoft)
Dancing games may not be quite as big as they were in years gone by, but Just Dance remains the game most likely to get granny, Mum and little sister playing on Christmas day. Just Dance 2014 boasts over 40 tracks and a number of new modes.