The mistletoe is pinned to doorframe, or the belt buckle in Lewis' case, and the Christmas cheer is jolly well in. So what better time is there to celebrate the best the festive season has to offer us gaming Santas? From the best titles of last year, to this year's hottest games and next year's sickly sweet candy-coated treats, here's the third and final part of PSW's take on A Christmas Carol...
Ghosts Of Christmas Future
Next Christmas is still a little hazy, word is God Of War III won't make it. However, these hits in waiting certainly will, so start saving those pennies...
Developer: Naughty Dog
Sequel to one of 2007's most impressive PS3 exclusive games, Uncharted 2 will see the return of Nathan Drake and friends on another treasure hunt into ghoul infested tombs.
Naughty Dog vice president, Christophe Balestra, has confirmed work is well in hand on the sequel to Uncharted Drake's Fortune. The script for the game is finalized by all accounts and takes the series into an unusual new direction. It wouldn't take much to add co-op play into the game, with Sully expected to return as Nathan's partner in crime. That script, which Balestra also made reference to in a recent French interview seems to be causing a lot of fuss inside Sony, it's clearly a direction for the series that Naughty Dog is excited about.
Does this mean Uncharted 2 is taking its inspiration from the tension-filled final third of Uncharted, when the game went all Resi 4 on us? Not a bad thing. Regardless of direction, Uncharted 2 will make it for Christmas 2009.
Call Of Duty 6
Developer: Infinity Ward
Series creator Infinity Ward returns to Call Of Duty following its reinvention with Modern Warfare in 2007. So, where next for the best war shooter?
Word is, Infinity Ward is keen to explore the modern tech introduced in Modern Warfare, but taking the formula into a near-future setting. By all accounts, this will put Call Of Duty in direct conflict with Ubisoft's Tom Clancy games, namely Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter and Rainbow Six (both set for a return in 2009).
You can expect a big fight for sales with these three big hitters going head-to-head. Another rumour sent spinning by the developer is that they're working on a brand-new sci-fi shooter, though this is seen as a tall tale, with Activision keen to keep the series rooted in real world-influenced weapons and conflicts.
Against the odds, Treyarch raised the bar even higher this year with Call Of Duty World At War and Infinity Ward has its work cut out to take the series another step further.
Gran Turismo 5
Developer: Polyphony Digital
The game is the latest in the long running Gran Turismo series that bills itself as a 'real driving simulator' rather than a racing game. As such, real cars, real physics and real tracks drive the action.
In development for four years, (five by its estimated release next December), Gran Turismo 5 has a lot of hype to live up to. Between GT4 and GT5 developer Polyphony Digital has made and dumped a PSP Gran Turismo game, given us GT5 Prologue and made a concept car with French car manufacturer CitroŽn. Gamers meanwhile, are waiting.
The game has had 150 people working on it since the project began in 2004 and it's estimated to have cost a staggering 50 times more than GT4 to make - and it's still not finished. There should be a second GT5 Prologue or expansion to Prologue between now and Christmas 2009, too. But the worrying thing, even at this stage, is a confession from Designer Kazunori Yamauchi that the full game may not see a release until 2010.