It may only be May, but with the latest Call of Duty and Battlefield trailers having both dropped last week, gamers are already salivating over just what games they'll be playing on their consoles over Christmas. Yes, you're not going mad, we are already talking about Christmas.
This is nothing unusual, of course. Like a fat guy at an all you can eat buffet (and I speak with experience here), the games industry tends to pile all of it's meatiest dishes onto one plate.
While PS4 owners may be splashing out on Uncharted 4 this week, and Xbox One players still tucking into Quantum Break, most of the biggest games this year will launch in the last few months of the year. Yes, right in the middle of the aforementioned Call of Duty vs Battlefield tussle at the tills. Nope, it doesn't make much sense to us, either.
Nevertheless, we figured now was as good a time as any to look at the runners and riders taking each other on for the title of biggest game of 2016. I, of course, will probably end up buying all of them, but that's because I have an especially hollow life with no significant emotional connections or lasting relationships to fall back on. Plus, shooting shit is cool.
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare (PS4/Xbox One/PC)
Now, the Infinite Warfare trailer may not have impressed in the way Activision hoped, with 'dislikes' on YouTube currently running through the roof, but few would bet against Call of Duty breaking sales records come the end of the year. Why? The carrot on a stick that is the Modern Warfare remaster. Though players will need to spend a whopping £79.99 to get it, the buzz around a rehash of Call of Duty 4 on the latest consoles has been far bigger than the hype for Infinite Warfare itself, meaning there's every chance Activision and developer Infinity Ward will be celebrating come Christmas Day.
Chances: Could be the biggest selling Call of Duty yet, thanks to Modern Warfare.
Credit: Infinity Ward
Battlefield 1 (PS4/Xbox One/PC)
Battlefield has been attempting to topple Call of Duty from the top of the tree for some time now, but this year looks like its best chance to do it. EA's killer franchise is back in the hands of DICE after a somewhat mixed reception to Battlefield: Hardline by Visceral Games last year and, thanks to a stellar trailer (which is now the most liked ever on YouTube), Battlefield 1 has even garnered praise from Infinity Ward.
In short, Battlefield 1 is guaranteed to shift some serious units this winter, even if it doesn't quite chase down Call of Duty this time out.
Chances: Bold new step for a franchise eager to be top dog.
Gears of War 4 (Xbox One)
Last Christmas, Microsoft bet the farm on the then exclusive Rise of the Tomb Raider to boost Xbox One sales, but in the end, PS4 still came out on top. Turns out gamers are less keen on Lara Croft since she became a more believable heroine, rather than a wilting wank fantasy.
This year, however, Gears of War 4 is coming to town and, though Epic Games is no longer in control, big things are expected given this is the first major release in the franchise since 2011. Expect this to top Xbox only sales charts, even if it doesn't quite overhaul Call of Duty and Battlefield 1 in the main rundown.
Chances: Xbox One will do some big business with this in its arsenal.
Horizon Zero Dawn (PS4)
Due: Sometime in 2016
Talking of platform exclusive shooters, do any of you remember Killzone? Yes, we do too, though we kind of wish we didn't.
Constantly billed as PlayStation's answer to Halo, Killzone never quite became the big IP Sony desperately wanted it to be, namely because it was a bit pants. Strange, then, that we should all be getting excited about a game being made by the exact same people.
Horizon Zero Dawn, however, is an action RPG rather than a shooter, and is billed as being part Assassin's Creed, part Skyrim. The only problem is, it doesn't yet have a fixed release date, meaning this is one big release that could slip into 2017.
Chances: Could be a big PS4 exclusive... If it, you know, actually launches.
Credit: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (PS4/Xbox One/PC)
Just before the world and it's wife gets wrapped up in the Call of Duty-Battlefield clash towards the end of the year, the return of Deus Ex at the end of the summer could be an especially well timed one.
Mankind Divided - a follow up to 2011's Human Evolution, which pretty much swept the board with praise from all the clever critics at the time - has much to live up to, but there's every chance the team at Eidos Montreal could have one of the year's sleeper hits on its hands.
Chances: Five years since the last major Deus Ex outing means demand will be high.
Credit: Square Enix
Crackdown 3 (Xbox One)
As anyone who caught our round up of Xbox 360's defining moments will know, we're unashamedly fans of Crackdown. Seriously, you get to jump around on the rooftops, crashing back down on the ground without smashing your legs to smithereens, and you have a whole host of super powers in your back pocket to boost. That beats my nights out in the city in the real world, which tend to end with me queuing in the rain outside of a kebab shop.
Also, with no GTA on the radar in 2016, Crackdown 3 could be the open world adventure to have this year.
Chances: Unlikely to top the main charts, but could be Xbox One's best game this year.
FIFA 17 (PS4/Xbox One/PC)
Ah, see, we left the big one 'till last. We're sneaky like that.
It may not be the most exciting franchise out there, but when 2016 comes to a close, the smart money is on FIFA 17 being the biggest seller. Why? EA's greatest has a canny ability of spreading its sales over several months, with the kind of lengthy tail that'd make even Ron Jeremy blush.
So, while we can expect to see Call of Duty steal the headlines come November, it's likely FIFA will slip a few goals into Activision's net when no one's looking.
Chances: A dead cert to finish in a European spot, if not on top of the pile altogether.
Credit: EA Sports
Words by Keith Andrew
Topics: video games, Games, Gaming