While the initial slate of games for the PlayStation 4 is commanding the spotlight right now, things really start to get interesting next year.
Launch titles are often underwhelming. Developers haven't had a chance to get to know the hardware’s capabilities, and often don't receive final specs on the system until just a few months before their games release. But things start to shine with that second round of games.
Sony and its publishing partners are taking pains to ensure there's a steady flow of titles for the PS4 in the months to come. They've all got a ways to go before they're fully baked, but here are a few you might want to keep in mind for next spring and early summer.
inFAMOUS Second Son - Sucker Punch's open world action/adventure game is shaping up to be an entertaining ride. With a variety of powers - such as the ability to turn to smoke and quickly blow from one location to another, or turn to neon and climb walls parkour-style - the game lets you solve problems in a number of different ways. Set seven years after the last inFAMOUS installment, this next-gen title is the beginning of a new generation within the gameworld, too.
Child of Light - Ubisoft's Japanese-influenced RPG is absolutely charming, from its princess protagonist and her firefly companion to the rhyming dialogue. (Developers say it was designed as a living poem.) It's not a kiddie game by any means, but it's one you won't mind playing with your kids. And before you worry about that princess theme, you should know that the lead designer worked extensively on the Assassin's Creed series. It may be cute, but the gameplay’s looking very solid.
Watch Dogs - There were plenty of disappointed players when word of Watch Dogs' last-minute delay was announced last month. That's understandable, as the game was arguably the most highly-anticipated launch title. But the delay lets the team give their game that extra layer of polish, and avoid the blast zone of the big holiday franchises. Expect it to be one of the top sellers next spring.
The Witness - The follow-up to Jonathan Blow's critically-acclaimed Braid has been a long time coming, but puzzle fans couldn't be happier. The puzzles will be challenging, but the nonlinear structure should help prevent frustration. Players can choose to solve the world's puzzles in whichever order they like: if you get stuck on one, just move to a different area and focus your brain on another type of puzzle, then come back to the original mind-teaser later. It won't be for everyone, but Blow has shown a knack for making indie games the mainstream world enjoys as well
Dying Light - A console's not really a console until it gets a good horror game. Dying Light will be one of the first to hit the PS4, and it's shaping up nicely. Part Dead Island, part Mirror's Edge, it shakes up the formula, while keeping a focus on the scares. Survival horror meets open world this time around. You'll explore the world, searching for supplies and crafting weapons as you fight (and evade) the undead. At night, though, they become more dangerous - and the game takes on a whole new dimension.