There is a predictable rhythm to the gaming year and its events. Like the seasons, E3 follows GDC; Gamescom follows E3; PAX, EGX and the other big regional shows follow Gamescom. By the time we get to September, we've seen and played pretty much everything that's coming out in the last four months of the year, at one of these shows or another.
The Xbox One's year-end lineup – like the PS4's – is mostly dominated by multiplatform games, but there are four exclusives. Microsoft's focus for the past couple of years has been on establishing Windows 10 and Xbox One as twin gaming platforms; from now on every Xbox exclusive will also be playable on PC. This year's flagship Xbox games are some of the first to demonstrate that functionality.
UK release date: September 16th
I tempered my expectations for Recore after seeing it at Gamescom this year, which is just as well, as it's not been... enormously well received. The combat's good, but there's not nearly enough of it and it's spread out pointlessly across a vast, inexplicably gated desert planet, forcing you into tedious trekking and upgrading and collecting.
Forza Horizon 3
UK release date: September 27th
I'm greatly looking forward to this one. Forza Horizon 3 structures its racing around a festival, racing around to draw more fans and money, but really it's all about admiring its extraordinary Australian scenery. The lengths to which Playground Games has gone to capture this landscape are extraordinary: they literally captured the sky for an entire season with three 4K cameras on an elaborate rig. It's easy to sink hours into Forza 3; the progression system keeps you gently motivated while you admire the outback and crash through trees.
Gears of War 4
UK release date: October 11th
The first Gears of War not to be developed by Epic Games, Gears 4 does not stray far from the established path: it's brutal, weighty and grimily violent, starring Marcus Fenix's son and a couple of his pals fighting something called the Swarm, in the aftermath of the Locust invasion.
Dead Rising 4
UK release date: December 6th
Developed by Capcom Vancouver, Dead Rising 4 freaks me out a bit. It is superficially extremely similar to the old Dead Rising games: it has crazy weapons, amusing costumes, and hordes and hordes of zombies to abuse with them. But it's got an older, blander, 54-year-old, exo-suited Frank trapped in the body of a 30-year-old and the tone is considerably less... eccentric. Hmm.
And the multiplatform games:
September: PES 2017 (15th), NBA 2K17 (16th), Bioshock: The Collection (16th), Destiny: Rise of Iron (20th), FIFA 17 (29th)
October: Mafia 3 (7th), WWE 2K17 (11th), Battlefield 1 (21st), Skyrim (28th), Titanfall 2 (28th)
November: Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare (4th), Dishono(u)red 2 (11th), Watch Dogs 2 (15th), Final Fantasy XV (29th)