Anticipated Header

We’ve talked a lot about 2013 in the video game space, but we’ve not really discussed much of the future. Given that the future is now, it seems prudent to go ahead and get down to business.

This list comprises the most anticipated games of 2014. We, as individuals, have pretty disparate taste in games, so you’ll probably find that this list encompasses most things that you’re looking forward to in 2014, too. Of course, this is no guarantee that the games will be any good, just that they have potential in at least one Escapist staffer’s mind. From A to Z, here’s what we can’t wait to play in 2014.


Alien Isolation

Alien: Isolation

Genre: Survival Horror
Developer: Creative Assembly
Publisher: SEGA
Platform: PS4, PC, Xbox One
Release Date: 2014

Jim says: As perhaps the biggest Alien fan on The Escapist, there’s no doubt about my eagerness to play Alien: Isolation. Yes, we were dealt the bummest of dum deals with Colonial Marines, but if there’s one good thing about a high profile disaster, it’s that it usually makes publishers incredibly careful about the next release. SEGA has demonstrated it’s taken the Colonial Marines debacle to heart – I’ve been personally assured that the company is working hard on distancing Isolation from past failures, and the company is making sure all the footage it shows is genuine, none of this “vertical slice” crap.

Isolation gives us one unarmed protagonist against a single big, tough, smart, scary xenomorph. From the footage so far, it looks like it might be a genuine survival horror game set in the Alien universe, and I am utterly, totally in love with that concept.

Not wanting to make the same mistake twice, I’m working to keep my excitement in check. However, I am wishing this game all the best. If it succeeds, I will be the happiest boy on Earth.


Bayonetta 2

Bayonetta 2

Genre: Action
Developer: Platinum Games
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform: Wii U
Release Date: 2014

Paul Says: Other than its exclusivity to the Wii U, very little has been released on this sequel to 2010’s hack and slasher action game. Which is a major bummer, cause I loved Bayonetta – it was a weird game with all kinds of insane hand to hand combat, memorable characters and insane game play that was really enjoyable -even if the soundtrack with pretty repetitive. I’m not entirely sure how Bayonetta 2 will play on the Wii U, but either way, I’m certainly looking forward to it.

Anticipated Click to Continue

Below

Below

Genre: Adventure
Developer: Capybara Games
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Platform: Xbox One, other platforms to follow
Release Date: 2014

Justin says: Initially shown off at Microsoft’s E3 event last year, Below is an adventure rogue-like from Capybara Games, the same folks behind Superbrothers: Sword and Sorcery EP. Visually striking perhaps doesn’t even do Below justice. The game has a sharp aesthetic and some rather interesting use of scale to emphasis the size of everything around the relatively tiny player character. With another awesome score by Jim Guthrie and promised high difficulty curve and perma-death, Below should be on your radar if you’re a fan of rogue-like or games like Dark Souls.


Bravely Default

Bravely Default

Genre: RPG
Developer: Silicon Studio & Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix& Nintendo
Platform: 3DS
Release Date: February 7

Justin says: Perhaps with its lower barrier to entry, the 3DS has been seeing a lovely little resurgence into genres and niches that are going under represented. Bravely Default will be instantly familiar to fans of games like Final Fantasy V with turn-based combat and emphasis on the job system. One of its new mechanics over other similar titles are the Default and Brave commands. Brave allows you to expend multiple actions at once, but you won’t be able to act again until you make up the deficit. Default stores up actions for later in the battle while also protecting you and learning to balance these two mechanics along with your expanding list of job skills and traits is important to success. The game is already out in other countries, and there is a demo available in the eShop, but the North American release is slated for early February.


Child of Light

Child of Light

Genre: JRPG
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Publisher: Ubisoft
Platform: Wii U, PS4, PS3, PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Release Date: 2014

Greg says: You wouldn’t think that the writer of Assassin’s Creed II and FarCry 3 would make a little girl’s coming of age story with old school JRPG mechanics, but that’s exactly what I got to play at Sony’s big PS4 launch event last year. Child of Light is a delightful-looking game with time-based battle mechanics fans of Chrono Trigger might find familiar. The best part of Child of Light isn’t all that, but that it’s all written in rhyming couplets. An entire game scripted with poetic verse is just the kind of feat that gets my English degree flaring up and I’m excited to pick up Child of Light when it drops this Spring.


Clockwork Empires

Clockwork Empires

Genre: Simulation
Developer: Gaslamp Games
Publisher: Gaslamp Games
Platform: PC
Release Date: Spring 2014

Paul Says: Okay, so stay with me on this one – Clockwork Empires is a city-builder set in a Victorian Steampunk universe, where you’re put in charge of creating colonies in distant lands and turning them into industrial powerhouses unfettered by the likes of “regulation” and “scientific ethics.” Still with me? Okay, then you get to set about defending your fledging colonies from sky pirates, sinister cultists, malevolent eldritch entities from beyond space and time! What’s not to like?

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Dark Souls 2

Dark Souls 2

Genre: Action RPG
Developer: From Software
Publisher: From Software & Namco Bandai
Platform: PC, PS3, Xbox 360
Release Date: March 11

Justin says: You died, again. Dark Souls 2 might very well be my most anticipated title this year. While some RPGs function better with a feast of dialogue and lore, Dark Souls aims for a more solitary experience with hints of intrigue peaking around corners for some to find. The core of the game is how mechanics constantly play against each other. Newcomers will be able to appreciate a more accessible starting area but also a promise for long-term fans that the challenging gameplay the series is known for will still remain. I’m simply looking forward to a brand-new world to explore. While I’m greatly enjoying a current re-play through, it does loose a little of the charm once you know exactly where to go and what to avoid.


Deep Down

Deep Down

Genre: Action RPG
Developer: Capcom Online Games & SCE Japan Studio
Publisher: Capcom
Platform: PS4
Release Date: TBA

Justin says: Just a few seconds of video during the initial PlayStation 4 reveal was enough to pique my interest. It’s a shame we haven’t heard a ton about Deep Down since that reveal. What we do know is that this dungeon crawler being developed by Capcom and SCE Japan looks to channel a heavy dose of the Dark Souls and Demons Souls series, though combat gameplay may be the extent of the similarities. The game will be free-to-play, it features a story involving players being magically teleported through time and the dungeons will be procedurally generated, so they are never quite the same each time. Up to four players will be able to team together to take down giant monsters, and it’s worth additionally noting that the game looks really gorgeous.


Destiny

Destiny

Genre: FPS
Developer: Bungie
Publisher: Activision
Platform: PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Release Date: September 9, 2014

Greg says: Playing Destiny behind Activision’s closed doors was one of my highlights of E3. It feels decidedly Halo-like in its control scheme, but the world, the characters and the visuals feel wholly original. The online multiplayer nature of the game is intriguing, and I could see myself going along with a group of friends only to be sucked into a random dynamic event. Best part of Destiny so far though? Peter Dinklage is the voice of a disembodied AI. Tyrion Lannister can guide me through a post-apocalyptic sci-fi shooter? Yes, please.


Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls screenshot

Diablo III: Reaper of Souls

Genre: Action RPG
Developer: Blizzard
Publisher: Blizzard
Platform: PC, PS4
Release Date: March 25, 2014

Josh says: Okay, so this opinion might not make me any friends, but I really enjoyed Diablo III from start to finish, from Normal to Inferno, from Monk to Wizard. I slew Diablo dozens to hundreds of times before I moved on, and this was on the PC! When D3 came to consoles, I was dubious, as one should be, given the lack of success with previous Diablo ports, but the experience was surprisingly delightful. I dove back into Sanctuary with a gamepad, and maxed out yet another character, as well as working with Kross to get my first Hardcore character past the first playthrough.

Offering up a new class to play with in addition to a brand new Act to conquer, Reaper of Souls promises a glorious return to Sanctuary. If you were burned by D3‘s launch woes, I’d recommend checking it out on consoles instead. You can play offline, it offers local co-op, and the loot system is amazing. Because equipping legendaries, as you might imagine, is a lot more exciting than salvaging them.

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Dragon Age: Inquisition

Dragon Age: Inquisition

Genre: RPG
Developer: BioWare
Publisher: EA
Platform: PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Release Date: Q3 2014

Greg says: Everyone knows my love of this series at this point, but everything I’ve seen from Mike Laidlaw about Inquisition looks like it will blow the past two games away. Rather than static quest givers and consistent worlds, Inquisition aims to deliver a dynamic single player RPG in which your choices aren’t telegraphed. How you complete a quest or an objective is just as important as whether you do it or not. Add in the keep management sub-system, and a new dark fantasy story on a next gen console, I’m sold. Of course, I will have to pan it to prove to you guys I’m no shill, but in my heart, Inquisition already has 5 stars.


The Elder Scrolls Online

The Elder Scrolls Online

Genre: MMORPG
Developer: ZeniMax Online Studios
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Release Date: April 4, 2014 (PC) and June, 2014 (PS4, Xbox One)

Greg says: The gravy train might have left MMO station, but The Elder Scrolls Online is still chugging along hoping to make a killing. Many Skyrim fans wanted to take their stories online, and Bethesda decided to double down and give them what they wanted. The MMO still feels very much like the single player experience, but it has a lot more trappings to it. The advanced PVP mechanics might be the thing to push ESO into profitability, but I’m excited to see how it will fare in the MMO market now that WoW‘s sun is waning.


Enemy Starfighter

Enemy Starfighter

Genre: Simulation
Developer: Marauder Interactive
Platform: PC
Release Date: TBA 2014

Paul Says:A cross between Homeworld-style real-time strategy and Wing Commanderspace flight simulator, this indie title puts you into the cockpit of a high-tech interceptor as you battle against enemies of the Empire. Warp in into hostile enemy space, outnumbered and surely outgunned, and command your fleet of Imperial warships as you strive to conquer the galaxy – and purify all who oppose you.


Evolve

Evolve

Genre: Shooter
Developer: Turtle Rock Studios
Publisher: 2K Games
Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Release Date: Q3

Justin says: On the surface, Evolve gives off some strong Left 4 Dead vibes, which makes sense considering this is the same studio that brought us those games, but there appears to be a lot of refinement going into it. The basic gameplay involved a team of four player controlled hunters looking to take down a player controlled monster. Rather than simply voiced characters like in Left 4 Dead, each hunter has a unique suite of skills and abilities and likewise the monster will vary as well. One spin on the situation is that initially the monster is attempting to avoid the players until it can feed and gather its strength, then the hunters become the hunted. We’ll learn more about the game in February, but I’m glad this didn’t fall by the wayside after the THQ bankruptcy.

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Fortnite Screenshot

Fortnite

Genre: Survival Sandbox
Developer: Epic Games
Publisher: Epic Games
Platform: PC
Release Date: 2014

Schuyler says: Fortnite, a game originally announced in 2011 by Epic, is finally going to be coming to consumers this year. Epic is bringing tower defense to the next level with this game about building forts and keeping back the waves upon waves of monsters. It’s about time that the Tower Defense genre gets an overhaul, this genre has been ripe for a reboot from the basic top down battles, and Epic is the team to usher in the future of gaming. To those of you that have been enjoying DayZ and other modern monster games, we suggest you hop onto this bandwagon and prepare for a game that will almost certainly knock your socks off.


Frontiers

Frontiers

Genre: Open World RPG
Developer: AAD Productions
Publisher: AAD Productions
Platform: PC
Release Date: Q2 2014

Justin says: I love exploring in games. I’m the kind of person that will go through the trouble of say always going left until I reach dead ends just so that I can ensure I see every room of a castle, each path through the forest and all the dank corners of some cave. If you see a bit of yourself in that description, then Frontiers is a game practically tailor-made for you. While survival must still be considered, like staying warm and not going hungry, the game promises a more relaxing pace. The goal is to keep you more immersed in the world, even fast traveling is done differently to denote you actually moving across the map itself. While the game has slipped from its expected January release, then again what Kickstarter hasn’t, expect to hopefully see this sometime this spring.


Galactic Civilizations 3

Galactic Civilization 3

Genre: Turn-Based Strategy
Developer: Stardock
Publisher: Stardock
Platform: PC
Release Date: 2014

Paul Says: I loved Galactic Civilizations 2 and all its expansions, so was super stoked to hear that Stardock announced a brand new entry into the series and hopefully another fantastic 4X Strategy game I can sink countless hours into. Featuring overhauled game mechanics and the return of its ever popular and robust ship creator (one aspect of the game I lost so much time playing around with), strategy fans are definitely going to one to keep an eye on this one. As for me, well, it’s pretty much a day one purchase.


Game of Thrones: Telltale

Game of Thrones

Genre: Adventure
Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games
Platform: TBA
Release Date: 2014

Justin says: The developers behind The Walking Dead, Telltale Games, are making a Game of Thrones game. That’s all we know, and let’s face it, that’s all we need to know. I can’t wait to see what they’ll do with the license. Will it follow the characters? It would certainly bring new meaning to “A Lannister never forgets.” when those little reminder messages pop up. Perhaps they’ll take a note from The Walking Deadgame though and look to simply tell another story in the world. A Song of Ice and Fire is almost as rich with detail as it is vast. Would it be too extreme to set the game entirely outside of Westeros? We are eagerly awaiting more details.

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Ghost of a Tale

Ghost of a Tale

Genre: Adventure
Developer: Lionel Gallat
Platform: PC
Release Date: 2014

Paul Says: This indie title being developed by an ex-Dreamworks and Universal Studios animator totally looks like a crossover between Dark Souls and the classic Redwall book series I read when I was younger, and that’s enough to get me interested in playing it. Telling the story of a mouse exploring an abandoned island filled with danger with just a lute at their disposal, Ghost of a Tale might just be one of 2014’s most unique and atmospheric adventure games.


Halo - Xbox One

Halo – Xbox One

Genre: FPS
Developer: 343 Studios
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Platform: Xbox One
Release Date: 2014

Schuyler says: Of course the new Xbox is going to have its own Halo title. Why not? From a series that was the flagship for the Xbox, we need it represented on the new generation and now. The folks at 343 Industries are making all of our headshotting dreams come true with this next game to enter the Halo franchise. Not much is known about this game as of yet, but we do know for sure that this is not Halo 5 and yet not a spin-off, like Halo Wars or Halo: Reach, but this is a legitimate entry into the series but it just so happens to not get a number. It may sound and act like it’s Halo 4.5, but even so, who wouldn’t want to play Halo 4.5?


Hearthstone

Hearthstone

Genre: CCG
Developer: Blizzard
Publisher: Blizzard
Platform: PC, iOS, Android
Release Date: 2014

Josh says: I’ve been playing Hearthstone‘s closed beta for a few months, but that hasn’t stopped me from getting super excited about the release. With open beta upon us, the first crashing wave of new users has hit. While I’ll almost certainly enjoy a few freebie games from the influx, I’m most excited for the anticipated adoption. As a long-time Magic player, the biggest issue has always been finding enough people to play with. I don’t really have that problem with Hearthstone, even in closed beta, but finding people to talk to about it is a different story.

Given the broad appeal of an easy-to-learn digital CCG, I’m excited for the prospect, come launch, of being able to talk to everybody about it. No, not everyone will play, but I expect that, given the free-to-play nature of the game, enough people will try that I won’t have any difficulty finding an interested ear to jabber at.


Hotline Miami 2

Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number

Genre: Action
Developer: Dennaton Games
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Platform: PC, PS4, PS Vita
Release Date: TBA 2014

Paul Says:The original Hotline Miami was a super tough, ridiculously challenging game with one addciting new wave 80’s style soundtrack. Its sequel Wrong Number aims to continue this trend with more crazy ultra-violent action, outlandish characters, trippy retro colored graphics, and a new ultra hard mode for those eager to put their reflexes to the test.

Anticipated Continued

Hyper Light Drifter

Hyper Light Drifter

Genre: Action RPG
Developer: Heart Machine
Platform: PC, PS4, PS Vita, Wii U, Ouya
Release Date: Mid 2014

Paul Says:The one thing I like the most about this successfully kickstarted game is just how slick its retro-graphics look in action. A 2D action RPG that pulls from the likes of Link to the Past and Diablo, Hyper Light Drifter looks to be a colorful and challenging game with a ton of surprises.


Hyrule Warriors

Hyrule Warriors

Genre: Hack and Slash
Developer: Omega Force
Publisher: Tecmo Koei
Platform: Wii U
Release Date: 2014

Jim says: YES. YES. YES.

Nintendo and Koei have always had a close relationship. So close, in fact, that there once existed the nucleus of an idea to make a Dynasty Warriors game with Pokemon. As brilliant as that idea is, it was apparently shelved due to the desire by Nintendo to keep its Pocket Monsters away from hands-on violent combat. No, the simple idea of animals that are forced to fight for money is good enough.

In any case, I’ve been waiting for a Nintendo/Koei crossover for years, but even though Hyrule Warriors is exactly the kind of thing I’ve hoped for, I still barely believe it’s real. It is, though, and nobody … NOBODY … is going to take that away from me. Big maps, hundreds of enemies, and me getting to kill everything by mashing buttons … in the Zelda universe? YES. YES YES BLOODY YES!

My only hope is that we get a ton of characters. Warriors games tend to have dozens of characters in them, and the Zelda series has a huge amount to pilfer. From warriors like Ganondorf, Impa, and Zelda/Shiek, to more exotic folks like Tingle, Skull Kid, or even the Bug Princess, there’s no limit to what can be made playable. I hope that’s capitalized on.


inFamous Second Son

Infamous: Second Son

Genre: Action Adventure
Developer: Sucker Punch
Publisher: Sony
Platform: PS4
Release Date: March 21, 2014

Greg says: 2012’s Infamous 2 was a great open world action game, and it seemed like Sony’s Sucker Punch studio had found its stride in producing a game with fun brawling mechanics, a comics-inspired story, and a city eminently enjoyable to skate around. Second Son abandons Cole McGrath for a new hero who is much moe comfortable with his powers, and set the game in Seattle. I got to play through an action sequence, and the new powers are tons of fun to experiment with while feeling somewhat familiar for fans of the series. With the PS4’s new hardware chugging behind it, Second Son looks and feels truly next-gen, and if the storytelling stays consistently solid, will be a system seller for Sony.


Kingdom Hearts 3

Kingdom Hearts 3

Genre: Action Role-Playing
Developer: Square Enix 1st Production Department
Publisher: Square Enix
Platform: PS4, Xbox One
Release Date: Likely 2014

Jon says: The unrepentantly nostalgia-baiting Kingdom Hearts is set to return after years of half-sequels, mobile ports, HD re-re-re-releases and ‘remixes’ since Kingdom Hearts II. It has been an eternal tease, but with Disney now owning both Marvel and Lucasfilm since the last official game in the main series, we’ve all got our eyes piercingly trained on whether or not Donald Duck and Spider-Man will be able to team up with Luke Skywalker in beating the snot out of angry little shadow monsters with no hearts. And, honestly, that sentence is ridiculous but we want it so bad. Stop judging us.

Anticipated Continued

Kirby Triple Deluxe

Kirby Triple Deluxe

Genre: Platform
Developer: HAL
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform: 3DS
Release Date: 2014

Jim says: Kirby games will always have a special place in my heart. It’s one of those series that seem to be about pure, unpretentious joy. They’re not especially challenging, no, but they’re bright, happy, and invoke a childish glee in me that no other series can manage.

Triple Deluxe is the latest game in the series, an upcoming 3DS platformer, one that sticks to the series’ roots in a manner similar to the excellent Return to Dream Land. Kirby returns to float, suck, and turn his enemies into unique copy abilities. It’s gruesome when you think about it, but it’s all in good fun.

I’m a big fan of portable gaming, and portable gaming is where Kirby’s most at home. This is looking set to be one of my top handheld picks of 2014. I certainly hope it lives up to my lofty expectations.


Lego The Hobbit

Lego: The Hobbit

Genre: Action Adventure
Developer: Traveller’s Tale
Publisher: WB
Platform: PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii U, 3DS, PS Vita
Release Date: 2014

Greg says: I love me some Tolkien, and I love the Lego series, so this game will be a no brainer for me. It may technically be a movie tie in game, but the delight and wonder Traveller;s Tales bring to all of its licensed material is also sublime and The Hobbit will likely follow on the footsteps of the excellent Lord of the Rings game which used actors’ voices for the first time in a Lego game. I’m excited!


Mad Max

Mad Max

Genre: Action Adventure
Developer: Avalanche Studios
Publisher: WB
Platform: PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Release Date: 2014

Josh says: If you haven’t seen Mad Max, you’re definitely missing out. With the first film debuting in 1979, it brought the post-apocalypse to the mainstream, or at least some semblance of mainstream. It was financially successful enough to hold the Guinness World Record for highest profit-to-cost ratio of a motion picture for two decades. There was a sequel, Road Warrior, and then there was the immortal Beyond Thunderdome. If you’ve ever wondered what in the world the phrase “Who run Bartertown?” meant, or where “Two men enter, one man leaves,” comes from, you should probably just spend a couple hours and watch it. It’s amazing.

Suffice to say, I’m cautiously optimistic about Mad Max, in the works by Swedish developer Avalanche Studios. Like any crossover title, it could be terrible. But it could also be amazing. Just look at Arkham Asylum. Unlike it’s Multiplayer-only brethren, Mad Max is also a single-player affair, which is exactly what I want in my post-apocalypse. Who wants to see hundreds of other Maxes running around, anyway?


Mario Kart 8

Mario Kart 8

Genre: Driving
Developer: Nintendo EAD Group No. 1
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform: Wii U
Release Date: Spring 2014

Greg says: My fondest memories from college have nothing to do with drinking or sports, but sitting around a screen split into 4 quadrants and playing Mario Kart. The latest Wii version kept up with the series excellent mechanics, and while I skipped the 3DS Mario Kart 7, I have high hopes for 8 on the Wii U. As long as I can nail Toad with a green shell from long D, I will be a happy man, but I imagine the Nintendo’s game pad will come into play to push the series forward. Nintendo could use some good news.

Anticipated Continued

Massive Chalice

Massive Chalice

Genre: Tactical RPG
Developer: Double Fine Productions
Publisher: Double Fine Productions
Platform: PC
Release Date: September

Justin says: While there was perhaps a bit of backlash over Double Fine not having not yet delivered on their first Kickstarted game, just putting Double Fine and tactical strategy in vein of X-COM and Fire Emblem was still enough to get fans to push funding through. In addition to the tactically gameplay, Massive Chalice‘s other core mechanics are the permadeath and lineage of your heroes, and you’ll need to balance between keeping your most powerful characters on the field or retiring them to sire the next generation of heroes. Look forward to this one in September.


Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

Genre: Stealth
Developer: Kojima Productions
Publisher: Konami
Platform: PS4, Xbox One
Release Date: 2014

Jim says: I adore the Metal Gear Solid series, so I’m naturally looking forward to The Phantom Pain, the fifth official installment of the series. Okay, so David Hayter has been replaced as Snake (booooo) but I’m still holding out hope that some elaborate Kojima trolling is occurring there. In any case, MGS in an open world sounds damn interesting, and I am yet to be let down by a Metal Gear game.

As always, I expect an utterly demented game with a senselessly contrived plot, one that carries itself with such conviction that it somehow works. I’m excited to find all the odd easter eggs, fourth-wall breaking ideas, and assorted eccentricities that come with an MGS game. Above all, I look forward to The Pantom Pain infecting my brain and capturing my undivided attention. Kojima’s got a damn fine track record in that department.


Murdered Soul Suspect

Murdered Soul Suspect

Genre: Action-adventure
Developer: Airtight Games
Publisher: Square Enix
Platforms: PC, PS3, Xbox 360
Release Date: 2014

Schuyler says: Murdered: Soul Suspect, from Airtight Games and Square Enix, casts you as a murdered policeman. Don’t worry – that’s not a spoiler, that’s the premise. You play as Detective Ronan O’Connor, you’ve been murdered but you’re on the track of the killer. While using your ghost powers to find your murderer you are also challenged by demonic creatures, you’re a ghost after all, so it only makes sense that you be confronted with other supernatural powers. So much from a game that hasn’t had a traditional roll-out, the release was teased on Twitter and a teaser trailer was released without the normal fanfare for AAA games. It’s a refreshing take on marketing by Square Enix for what looks like a refreshing take on a genre.


Persona 5

Persona 5

Genre: RPG
Developer: Atlus
Publisher: Atlus
Platform: PS3
Release Date: Q4

Justin says: Mix one part dungeon delver, equal part RPG and add a dash of social relationship simulation, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for a Persona game. The games manage to strike a careful balance of charm, complexity and challenge all while dealing with some heavier issues than most RPGs. Details are pretty scarce on Persona 5other than the game will take place in a school like its predecessors and that the game appears to deal with freeing yourself from some form of metaphorical slavery. Look for this one towards the end of the year and either dust off your PS3 or it might be time to buy one on the cheap since it’s not been announced for any other platform.

Anticipated Continued

Phantasy Star Online 2

Phantasy Star Online 2

Genre: MMO Action RPG
Developer: Sega
Publisher: Sega
Platform: PC, Vita, iOS, Android
Release Date: 2014

Justin says: Poor Dreamcast, you had such promise. If I was pressed to come up with a short list of necessary Dreamcast title for every gamer to play, Phantasy Star Online would be on it (right next to Jet Set Radio, Shenmue and Skies of Arcadia). Sure it’s been released on other platforms, but I fondly remember playing it on the Dreamcast first. The big draw is the melding on fantasy and sci-fi, chopping away at monstrous beasts with a fancy laser sword instead of some rusted and pitted longsword. The game has been out in Japan since 2012 and is expanding into other Asian markets early this year, but I’m still holding out some hope that we’ll see release some time this year.


Pillars of Eternity

Pillars of Eternity

Genre: RPG
Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
Publisher: Obsidian Entertainment
Platform: PC
Release Date: Q4 2014

Justin says: Spiritual successor to Baldur’s Gate. Yep, we’re done here. Where can I post “take my money” memes? One of the most successfully funded games on Kickstater, surpassed only by another isometric RPG in Torment: Tides of Numenera, it warms my jaded RPG heart that so many folks are also not ready to let this genre go away. Six races, 10 classes, attribute scores, roll-to-hit and all the other little fiddly RPG mechanics that keep my replaying Baldur’s Gate. Here’s hoping the exploration, combat and narrative can all come together because I’m eagerly anticipating this one towards the end of the year.


Planetary Annihilation

Planetary Annihilation

Genre: Real-Time Strategy
Developer: Uber Entertainment
Publisher: Uber Entertainment
Platform: PC
Release Date: Q1 2014

Justin says: Another successor title from Kickstarter, Planetary Annihilation hones in on the feel of games like Total Annihilation and Supreme Commander. Made by the same folks behind Monday Night Combat, Planetary Annihilation features a really interesting take on RTS maps. Rather than being a flat 2D plane, Planetary Annihilation‘s maps are spherical planets – think of it almost being the intersection of Mario Galaxy and StarCraft. The potential for fighting amongst multiple planets with up to 40 players is even more intriguing. Like many of these titles, the game has being available in early access. I haven’t gotten a chance to play it yet, but if the developers can deliver on even half of what they promised they will have made something really awesome.


Project Awakened

Project Awakened

Genre: Action
Developer: Phosphor Games
Publisher:
Platform: PC
Release Date: 2014

Schuyler says: Project Awakened has already dealt with its fair share of complications. It first caught our eye on Kickstarter but then our dreams were dashed when it wasn’t able to reach its goal. Things have come around for the creators, Phosphor Games, as they’ve successfully been picked for Steam’s Greenlight program. Project Awakened has been described by its creators as “… a very innovative 3rd person action-adventure title for PC,” and, from the looks of the screenshots, they’re telling the truth. This game makes it possible for you to decide who you want to be and how you want to play by taking character creation to the next level, allowing you to design your character with abilities and weapons. Keep your eyes out for this beautifully made game.

Anticipated Continued

Project Spark

Project Spark

Genre: Construction/RPG
Developer: Team Dakota
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Platform: Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: 2014

Greg says: Project Spark is more of a toolset than a true game, but I’m excited at the prospect. Players will be able to manipulate non-intrusive menus to game worlds, stories, and mechanics from the myriad of building blocks the designers will provide. Think Disney Infinity‘s sandbox but with a decidedly fantasy RPG feel in the objects, and you have kind of what Project Spark offers. You can even manipulate a character or objects behavior with an AI system. Like the Aurora toolset from Neverwinter Nights, Project Spark will allow the community to build some truly glorious creations. It’s going to be awesome.


Quadrilateral Cowboy

Quadrilateral Cowboy

Genre: Puzzle
Developer: Blendo Games
Platform: PC
Release Date: 2014

Paul Says: Watch Dogs isn’t the only game coming out this year to feature intense computer hacking. This indie puzzler from Blendo Games (of Atom Zombie Smasher and Thirty Flights of Loving fame) is a cyberpunk game set in the 20th century. I’m not entirely sure what this means, but I’m looking forward to some retro-style hacking with my top of the line 56.6k modem, and maybe learning some basic programming skills while I’m at it.


Rimworld

Rimworld

Genre: Simulation
Developer: Luceon Studios
Publisher: Luceon Studios
Platform: PC
Release Date: TBA, alpha

Justin says: Inspired by games like Dwarf Fortress and FTL, Rimworld features a bunch of survivors getting shipwrecked on a planet and their tiny plight for survival. The player serves as an overseer, setting task priorities for the survivors and dictating what to gather and build. As your colony settles and thrives the AI Storyteller will seed the world with events, and you have control over how “nice” the storyteller is. It’s a bit like watching an ant farm, and the story isn’t so much the narrative as it is the interesting little moments the sand-box allows for. Alpha access is available now on the game’s website and look for it on Steam sometime in 2014.


Satellite Reign

Satellite Reign

Genre: Tactical RPG
Developer: 5 Lives Studios
Publisher: 5 Lives Studios
Platform: PC
Release Date: December 2014

Justin says: Spiritual successors and filling niche genres are the stuff successful Kickstarters are made from. So it’s no surprise that after the tepid response to the recent Syndicatefirst-person shooter reboot someone would come along to do the series from justice. Satellite Reign will be a class based real time strategy titled developed by some of the original folks behind Syndicate Wars. It’s still a little light on the details this far out, but the game promises an open mega-cooperate run cyberpunk city to conquer through propaganda, espionage or the good-old fashioned method of sending a team of cybernetically enhanced agents with loose morals to deal with the problem.

Anticipated Continued

Sims 4

The Sims 4

Genre: Simulation
Developer: Maxis Games
Publisher: EA
Platform: PC
Release Date: Q3/Q4 2014

Greg says: You know, I really should be wary of Maxis and EA at this point, but I am genuinely looking forward to The Sims 4. I skipped the third in the series, but had a great time with the mission-based play of The Sims: Medieval and its subtle commentary on the existence of a god-like Watcher, i.e. the player. The Sims is a cash cow, yes, but the core gameplay pushes my buttons of balancing efficiency. I’m rooting for Maxis to bounce back and deliver a game I can get lost in without frustrations of SimCity.


Smite

Smite

Genre: MOBA
Developer: Hi-Rez Studios
Publisher: Hi-Rez Studios
Platform: PC
Release Date: March 25, 2014

Justin says: Whether you call them action real-time strategy (ARTS), multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) or simply DotA-clones, this specific genre of gaming has exploded in popularity. Smite puts itself apart by featuring a third person camera rather than the typical isometric view, however most of the other gameplay will be familiar to fans of the genre. Players are pitted against another team of players, in Smite‘s case the characters area pantheon of gods from various mythologies. The gods will slowly accrue gold and experience for completing objectives and killing the rival gods and their minions. Like most games in the genre, there is an emphasis on min-maxing what items you purchase and working together as a team. The game has been in open beta for a while now and is free-to-play, so you can currently grab it right now, but the game will be releasing proper in late March.


Sniper Elite 3

Sniper Elite 3

Genre: Third-Person Shooter
Developer: Rebellion, 505 Games
Publisher: Rebellion
Platform: Likely PC, Xbox One, PS4, Wii U
Release Date: Unknown 2014

Jon says: Sniper Elite is one of those underplayed series that does a few things very well. It has excellently designed levels, satisfying sneaking, and surprisingly fun cooperative play. To its fans, this is probably the most criminally underplayed series out there – and it looks like V2 sold well enough to warrant a fascinating sequel set in North Africa. That’s very exciting, because the African campaign is one of the less represented and more interesting conflicts in WWII – outside of Battlefield 1942‘s excellent Tobruk map. Rebellion and 505 Games have a short, dramatic trailer at their website, including the infamous killcam. Killcam being one of the most delightfully gory – and effective – representations of what the sniper’s role in warfare actually is: Terror. Strangely intimate terror.


Strider

Strider

Genre: Platformer
Developer: Double Helix
Publisher: Capcom
Platform: PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Release Date: 2014

Josh says: I can’t get enough platformers. From the bouncy DuckTales Remastered, to The Bridge which lacks even a jump button, I adore every kind of platformer you can imagine. I’m also a sucker for nostalgia, as it turns out, which is a winning combination for the reboot of Strider, which I remember fondly from my NES days of gaming. They’re not going the DuckTales route, though. They’re implementing skill systems and decision trees, offering more of an RPG experience in the classic action-platforming shell.

Whether the blend of RPG skill systems and traditional action platforming gameplay is going to be good, I can’t really say. I can, however, say that I can’t wait to find out!

Anticipated Continued

Sunset Overdrive

Sunset Overdrive

Genre: Shooter
Developer: Insomniac Games
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Platform: Xbox One
Release Date: 2014

Josh says: What happens when Mirror’s Edge and Borderlands fall in love and conceive an illegitimate lovechild? From the looks of it, at least, the obvious answer is Sunset Overdrive. Dashing across rooftops, signs, and canopies using pseudo-parkour moves, it channels the essence of Mirror’s Edge. Through the hyper-stylized art direction, wacky characters, and over-the-top arsenals, it’s Borderlands traits are definitely shining through.

In development by Insomniac Games, Sunset Overdrive is, at least in theory, going to be Xbox One exclusive, meaning that it’ll be designed from the ground up with next-gen power in mind. It’s not one of those trans-generation titles that’s being graphically throttled by the limitations of the previous console generation. You can expect, nay, demand that Sunset Overdrive offer Ryse-like graphics, with high-intensity, action-oriented gameplay.

All that aside, the official site uses the word “Awesomepocalypse.” What else do you want?


Super Smash Bros U

Super Smash Bros for Wii U & 3DS

Genre: Fighting
Developer: Sora Ltd. & Namco Bandai Games
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform: Wii U, 3DS
Release Date: Unknown 2014

Jon says: With the inclusion of iconic Mega Man and yoga-badass The Wii Fit Trainer, Super Smash Bros Wii U & 3DS is shaping up to be if not the best, at least the most hilarious installment in Nintendo’s every-character-and-also-the-kitchen-sink fighting game. While many people were disappointed with Wii U’s Super Smash Bros Brawl for its eschewing of the competitive spirit that made Melee so good, it was still a damn good party game. In the end, however, we’re hoping for a return to form for Nintendo: A really great party game with no randomization – laying the seeds for real, hardcore competitive play. We’ve gotten the start too, with Sakurai announcing that the game won’t, in fact, have random and fantastically frustrating character tripping. That and the triumphant return of King Dedede, the most important and valuable of videogame potentates. Do not question his royal Penguinness.


The Division

Tom Clancy’s The Division

– Sometime in 2014
Genre: MMO
Developer: Ubisoft Massive
Publisher: Ubisoft
Platform: PS4, PC, Xbox One
Release Date: 2014

Paul says: The Division took everyone by surprise during its announcement at E3 2013 with a lengthy demo showcasing a brand new Tom Clancy game that wasn’t another military shooter. Set in New York City after a devastating plague has caused widespread death and destruction, this open world, third-person action MMO lets players explore a ruined abandoned city as a member of the titular Division, a secret organization dedicated to restoring society in the event of disaster. With a heavy focus on social interaction, co-op and PVP seem to be the mainstays of the game, giving the likes of DayZ a run for its money. Plus, the technology behind it looks absolutely gorgeous!


The Order: 1886

The Order: 1886

Genre: Action-adventure
Developer: Ready at Dawn
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Platform: PS4
Release Date: Q3 2014

Josh says: Okay, I’ll admit. I don’t know all that much about the seemingly obscure The Order: 1886. It’s got something to do with half-man-half-beast monsters and the Knights of the Round Table, or something like that. What’s important is that it’s an alternate-history industrial-era action adventure with fanciful elemental weapons and just the right amount of irreverence. I can’t imagine that the Knights of the Round Table storyline is going to hold much water, but neither will the lightning gun. It’s still likely to be amazing.

This is at the top of the “be excited, but don’t get your hopes too high” category, as it has a lot of potential, as long as it doesn’t try to take itself too seriously. I’m okay with a Black Flag level of seriousness, where it’s tempered, but I would hate to see The Order: 1886 try to be The Last of Us, and just fall completely flat because of the hilarious premise.

Anticipated Continued

The Stomping Land

The Stomping Land

Genre: Action Survival
Developer: SuperCrit
Publisher: SuperCrit
Platform: PC
Release Date: May, 2014

Justin says:The Stomping Land is one of those games that get a quirked eyebrow of interest on nothing other than its premise. What if you took the multiplayer survival game play of gathering resources while dealing with the player vs player dynamics and put that into a world with dinosaurs. Sold! Your primary food source is the meat from various smaller dinosaurs, but this will also attract the bigger predators, like T-Rex. You’ll need to use traps and lures to fend the carnivores off long enough for you to gather. The game appears to be filled with these kinds of mechanics that pull at both ends. Storing up food will unlock new abilities, but the more food that’s being stored will also decrease the spawning. This forces players into contention, either working together or raiding other’s camps. Oh and did I mention that you can also ride the dinosaurs!The Stomping Land has been approved for Greenlight and will be available for early access sometime soon.


The Witch and the Hundred Knight

The Witch and the Hundred Knight

Genre: Action Role-Playing
Developer: Nippon Ichi Software
Publisher: Nippon Ichi Software
Platform: PS3
Release Date: March 25, 2014

Jon says: Here’s a goofy little action-RPG brawler where you play as a reckless and brutal disembodied knight spirit in the service of an angry witch. Then you go about murdering monsters by the hundreds. As one does. The structure sounds interestingly loose, with score-based perfection on stages alongside finding new or alternate paths, promising about 30 hours of gameplay on the main story alone. Either way, if Dragon’s Crown scratched your single-player action itch this year, The Witch and the Hundred Knight is going to be your fix in 2014.


Thief

Thief

Genre: Stealth
Developer: Eidos Montreal
Publisher: Square Enix
Platform: PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Release Date: February 25, 2014

Justin says: While there have been a few announcements ruffling the feather of diehard fans, like the replacement of Stephen Russell as the voice of Garrett, I’m still waiting with some anticipation to see what the final Thief reboot will be like. The demo I saw at the PlayStation 4 release looked promising, with plenty of opportunity for Garrett to behave more like an actual master thief and less an assassin with a stint of kleptomania. My biggest trepidation at the moment is if Eidos Montreal attempts to turn Garrett into some kind of more palatable Robin Hood-esque character rather than a simple thief with knack for getting wrapped up in larger plots.Eidos Montreal did a stand-up job with Deus Ex: Human Revolution so I’ll be keeping an eye out for Thief in late February.


Titanfall

Titanfall

Genre: FPS
Developer: Respawn Entertainment
Publisher: EA
Platform: Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC
Release Date: March 11, 2014

Greg says: I don’t play a lot of shooters, and I certainly don’t like jumping into online play only to get my ass crushed the first ten seconds of every spawn. But when I played Titanfall at last year’s E3, I had a blast jumping into mechs and laying waste to the hapless fools below me. It’s undeniably fun to pilot a mech so agile, but even the added mobility of being outside a mech is fun in Titanfall. After what felt like endless minutes of fun, the match was over, and I was happy to see I was in the top third in kills. Better than the success of a noob playing against other noobs, I felt like Titanfall rewards smart play more than any shooter I’ve picked up in the last five years. If this is what Respawn is going to be producing going forward, they just might skyrocket into the pantheon of elite game studios.

Anticipated Continued

Torment Tides of Numenera

Torment: Tides of Numenera

Genre: RPG
Developer: inXile Entertainment
Publisher: inXile Entertainment
Platform: PC
Release Date: TBA 2015

Justin says: While initially slated for a 2014 release, due to the overwhelming crowd-funding support Torment: Tides of Numenera has been pushed back “several months” in order to fulfill all the stretch goals. Much like how Pillars of Eternity aims to be a successor to the Baldur’s Gate series, Torment: Tides of Numenera will serve likewise for Planescape: Torment. The developers are focusing on providing a rich setting with complex characters and dialog being just as much a driving force to the narrative as the combat. The alignment system also sounds intriguing, instead of generic moral blocks it’s instead based around grouped emotions and motivations. The next 12 and “several” months is shaping up to be really excellent for RPG fans.


Transistor

Transistor

Genre: Turn-based Strategy
Developer: Supergiant Games
Platform: PC, PS4
Release Date: TBA 2014

Paul Says: This sci-fi themed title from the creators of Bastion took everyone by surprise when they launched a reveal trailer way back last March, telling the story of Red, a singer in the city of Cloudbank who is being tracked by countless robots. Her only means of survival is a strange talking sword. Instead of a button mashing action RPG, however, Transistor features strategic and turn-based gameplay, letting players plan out their actions and try out new combos and attacks.


Valiant Hearts: The Great War

Valiant Hearts: The Great War

Genre: Puzzle Adventure
Developer: Ubisoft Montpelier
Publisher: Ubisoft
Platform: PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Release Date: Unknown 2014

Jon says: From presentation to execution, this may end up being one of the quirkiest, most fantastic games of 2014. It is, in theory, a puzzle adventure game revolving around the story of four strangers during World War I who try to help a young german soldier find his lost love. The hook is that it involves jumping from character to character keeping them alive amid one of the most brutal wars that region ever saw, all the while building towards their eventual actions that bring the plot to a heartwarming close. It’s a work in the tradition, of, say, Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s A Very Long Engagement and builds on that quirky style. It looks poignant and wrenching. It looks like Ubisoft Montpelier is going to deliver a beautiful and fascinating story about the very terrible, real, and human costs of war. The single released trailer says it all quite well.

Anticipated Continued

Warlock 2: The Exiled

Warlock 2: The Exiled

Genre: Turn-based Strategy
Developer: Ino-Co
Publisher: Paradox Interactive
Platform: PC
Release Date: 2014

Greg says: The last Warlock was a surprisingly fun fantasy strategy game that had a lot going for it. It had the accessibility of a Civ V clone, but had unique fantasy units like Werewolves and Elven archers, as well as game changing spells you could cast on a strategic level. I hope the sequel keeps the tongue-in-cheek feel of the leaders, while expanding on the concept of other planes to explore and monsters to kill as you expand your empire.


Wasteland 2

Wasteland 2

Genre: RPG
Developer: InXile Entertainment
Publisher: InXile Entertainment
Platform: PC
Release Date: TBA

Justin says: Along with Double Fine Adventures, Wasteland 2 was one of the early games to show rampant success on Kickstarter. Most any gamer will be aware of Fallout, but we likely never would have had Fallout without Wasteland. The games share many similarities; nuclear war causes the post-apocalyptic setting and a group of what’s left of various military and law enforcement personal form together as a group of survivalists. The game hit early access beta last December, and while it hasn’t been officially announced we expect to see it released sometime this year.


Watch_Dogs

Watch Dogs

Genre: Action-Adventure
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Publisher: Ubisoft
Platform: PC, PS3, PS4, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Release Date: Q2 2014

Paul Says:This action-adventure game set in a futuristic Chicago looks wicked cool, and features an interesting premise to boot – as highly skilled hacker Aiden Pearce, you parkour, sneak and hack your way cross a city controlled by a supercomputer in order to bring down corrupt officials and punish criminals who are evading the law. As Aiden, you can shut down traffic lights, trigger blackouts, hack into phones to nab bank data and all sorts of other internet shenanigans – though I have to wonder if there’s a button that lets you scream “HACK THE PLANET!” every time you do so.


Wildstar

Wildstar

Genre: MMORPG
Developer: Carbine Studios
Publisher: NC Soft
Platform: PC
Release Date: Q1/Q2 2014

Greg says: The MMO market may be dying, but companies still believe an original game design can make a hit. Carbine is trying to sell the quirky sci-fi Wildstar as an MMO that breaks the mold. With its action-based combat, extensive player housing system, and a genuinely humorous script, there’s certainly a lot going for it, and my time in the beta has proved that clever quest design can go a long way. I’m looking forward to Wildstar claiming a stake in MMO players hearts who have grown faint from the present offerings.

Anticipated Continued

The Witcher 3

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Genre: Action RPG
Developer: CD Projekt
Publisher: CD Projekt
Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Release Date: Q2 2014

Justin says: Whether it’s advocating against consumer-harming DRM or iterating on their Witcher RPG franchise, the developers over at CD Project Red have been continuing in excellence.The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will be the conclusion of Geralt of Rivia’s story. Geralt is a witcher, an enhanced monster hunter, whose skills and lack of memories always manage to get himself caught up in greater conflicts. The Witcher games are known for their dark stories rich with choices and consequences for your actions. The Witcher 3‘s major promise if the inclusion of a massive open world, rather than the previous games more chapter based areas. Q2 might be a bit of a hopeful estimate, but look for this one sometime in 2014.


Wolfenstein The New Order

Wolfenstein: The New Order

Genre: Shooter
Developer: MachineGames
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Platform: PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Release Date: 2014

Josh says: I’ve talked about Wolfenstein: The New Order a couple of times in recent months. Though I played wholly different sections of the game each time, one thing was consistent throughout: It was gloriously Wolfenstein all the way through. The New Order is not going to be for everybody, and I won’t pretend otherwise. If, however, you grew up on Wolfenstein 3D and its ilk, you’ll almost certainly want to check it out.

From the brief glimpses I got of The New Order, not only do you get the classic Wolfenstein tough guy act from BJ, slaughtering Nazis by the truckload, but you’ll also get a surprisingly in-depth narrative. From saving your kind-hearted nurse from the Nazi attack on the psych ward, to meting Frau Engel during the suspenseful train ride, you’ll definitely want to pay attention in The New Order. I’d also be remiss not to mention the giant fascist robopuppies.


There you have it, 2014 in the world’s largest nutshell. As you can see, there are a ton of really exciting titles in the works, and, while you can expect that at least some of these games will get pushed to 2015 or beyond, we here at The Escapist have a busy year ahead of us with the rest.

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