10 must-have video games this holiday season

It’s GamingGiftGuide2014not just overall industry sales that have rebounded in the video game world this year. Spurred on by new consoles, which are selling faster than their predecessors, game developers have ushered in a new wave of creativity as well.

The good news? That means there are plenty of high quality games if you’re looking for the perfect gift. The bad news? Determining what they are can still be tricky. As you gear up for your holiday shopping, here are the titles most likely to be on the wish lists of friends and family.

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Microsoft’s ‘Halo’ effect: Hunting for the next game hit

In MicrosoftNextHitthe Xbox universe, there’s “Halo” —and there’s everything else. The venerable franchise has sold more than 60 million copies to date and shows no signs of slowing down.

While the Master Chief and his crew cast a big shadow, Microsoft has actually put together a strong catalog of other go-to franchises along the way, including “Gears of War” and “Fable”. In late October, it published its latest effort to build another franchise: “Sunset Overdrive”.

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Billion-dollar ‘Destiny?’ Creators of ‘Halo’ launch new game

The destinycompany that made the Master Chief a household name in the videogame world is introducing players to a new universe.

Bungie’s “Destiny” hits stores Tuesday. And while analysts have high sales expectations for the game—and players have even higher hopes for the quality of play—it is Activision that has the most riding on the title.

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Steven Spielberg producing Halo TV series

Halo halo-spielberg-top630may not have made it to the big screen, but it’s getting its own TV show.

And one helluva producer.

As part of the Xbox One reveal Tuesday, Microsoft unveiled plans for Halo: The Television Series, which will air exclusively on Xbox Live. To assuage any fan fears about the show’s quality, the Redmond-based company has partnered with legendary movie-maker Steven Spielberg to create it.

Read more at Yahoo! Games

The voices behind famous video game characters

“It’s-a mario-martinet-jpg_193403me… Mario!” Admit it: you heard the voice of the Nintendo icon in your head when you read that sentence. But if most people were to walk past Charles Martinet, they wouldn’t give Mario’s voice actor a second glance.

Voice acting isn’t a great career path for fame seekers, but if you’re lucky enough to work the pipes of a major video game star, it can be the role of a lifetime. Curious what Mario or Master Chief look like in their street clothes? Check out the most famous faces you’ve likely never seen.

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‘Halo’ universe feeds fans on multiple platforms

The variety-logoHalo franchise is one of the biggest in the videogame world, but when series creator Bungie Studios walked away from the series after 2010’s “Halo: Reach,” it left Microsoft with a problem.

The series, of course, would continue — but keeping the loyal community fanbase satisfied wouldn’t be easy — and neither would managing a property that had quickly grown into a transmedia giant.

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Hollywood could learn from videogame franchise strategy

The VideoGameReport_callofduty_640videogame industry takes its franchises even more seriously than Hollywood.

New games — or at least digitally downloadable content — are expected every year by a voracious audience, with billions in grosses potentially at stake. One misstep can turn a popular game’s most ardent evangelists into its loudest critics.

Read more at Daily Variety