The Top 20 Most Anticipated Video Games of 2014 Part 1 - 20 to 11
2013 marked the end of a console generation. Well, not really, most of the game on the list you'll find below are coming out on the last gen of consoles, and PC is still around. But the point is that with the update in graphics promised by Sony and Microsoft, the next couple of years should be interesting to follow. When we were putting together our top 10 games of 2013 list, we actually had a bit of trouble, in that we didn't know if we'd be able to populate it properly. Hell, in 2012 the list was twice as long, and while the top 2 were undisputed and the rest of the top 5 worthy, everything else seemed to fall a little flat. So there's a part of us that worries about 2014 and what the game industry is capable of, but then another part of us that remembers how most developers not named Naughty Dog, Rockstar or Telltale were likely holding back and waiting for new hardware.
So, does our early look at 2014 give us confidence? We're still not entirely sure. Interestingly, a considerable number of games on this list were also on last year's list thanks to unavoidable delays, and a few others we're still somewhat uncertain about. But what we can say is that for one reason or another, the following 20 (22, if you count our two honorable mentions) are the ones we're looking forward to playing the most over the next twelve months. That is, until half of them get delayed, and the other half are usurped by indie games that seemingly came out of nowhere, but that we really saw at PAX for the last two years.
Part one of the list is below, with the top 10 going up shortly. It was compiled by BWP's editor, George Prax, and Games Contributor Matt Bradley. If we forgot something important, or you totally disagree with our homerism, make sure to let us know in the comments below!
HM: Naughty Dog's Next Project
At the VGX show in December, it was revealed that Naughty Dog was indeed working on another Uncharted game for the PS4. No release date was announced, it wasn't even confirmed whether or not this would be a numbered entry into the franchise or even include Nathan Drake for that matter (although over-analysis of the trailer would suggest it would have something to do with pirates). But we do know it's coming, and it's probably safe to assume that with Naughty Dog's recent expansion, we probably won't have to go much more than a full year before their next game, especially since the PS4 is sorely lacking a killer app. It might be an Uncharted game, it might be something to do with The Last Of Us, it might even be a surprise Jak & Daxter or Crash Bandicoot game or possibly another new franchise. But I'd put money in the idea of us seeing something from Sony's marquee studio before 2014 is up.
HM: Assassin's Creed Sequel
We haven't heard anything about what Ubisoft has up their sleeves for the next Assassin's Creed game yet, but you can be sure that we'll find out in the coming months. Even though sales were reported to be down upon the release of Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, there's no reason to doubt that Ubisoft will grow their yearly streak of games in the franchise to 7 in a row. And while we were wary of this last year, the refreshing setting and gameplay of ACIV changed our minds, to the point where we were comfortable naming it our third favorite game of 2013. But the developer has a lot of pitfalls to avoid. Assassin's Creed V needs another new setting, character and story, and loads of new gameplay advancements. It needs to build on what Black Flag gave us, not mimic it hoping that people will be willing to spend another $60 bucks on the same thing. That being said, we wouldn't be entirely upset if the Black Flag name was spun off into its own side-franchise for more pirating adventures. There's plenty more to do with that concept, so put us in the shoes of another pirate, like the DLC already has, give us more seas to explore, but refocus on Assassins vs. Templars somewhere else. With the game's developers promising that a truly "next-gen" experience would be coming with the next game, we're excited to see what they have up their sleeves.
20. EA SPORTS UFC
Developer: EA Canada
Publisher: EA Sports
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One
Release Date: May 4th, 2014
Pre-Order EA Sports UFC on Amazon
2013 wasn't a great year for sports titles. It felt like EA in particular was holding back with all their franchises, giving themselves another year so that we could get true change for the next gen consoles in 2014. But the most important sports title of the year might end up being EA's first crack at their new partnership with the UFC. We learned about the new partnership when Dana White made an appearance at the EA E3 press conference, and while we don't have all that much to go on just yet, it will be very interesting to see how EA takes the leap to next gen with an all-new franchise, taken over from the now-defunct THQ, which did manage to produce a couple of good MMA titles when it had the license.
Developer: 22 Cans
Platforms: iOS, Android, PC, Mac, Linux
Release Date: TBA 2014
Okay, we'll admit that we sometimes fall victim to Peter Molyneux's self hype. While Curiosity ended up being mostly a menial and silly timewaster on mobile platforms, it seemed like it was all a setup for his next project. We already know that Curiosity's winner would have an impact on the game, as he will "reign" over it as the game's "God" (it will however be a single-player experience). The game itself is one where you build a civilization and cultivate and grow it over the course of its history, with a function that affects how much your subjects believe in you. Godus also allows you to modify terrain and the environment itself. Of course, this is Molyneux we're talking about, so we'll have to wait and see if the final product delivers on all these promises (it probably won't), but with a successful kickstarter behind it, as well as an early Beta already available, it actually seems like the game is already on the right track. Check out a lengthy gameplay demo below:
18. DRAGON AGE: INQUISITION
Platforms: PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: TBA 2014
Should the third Dragon Age game be higher up on our list? Possibly, but BioWare is making a lot of promises when it comes to fixing the mistakes they made with Dragon Age II, and they also seem to be holding on to a lot of what they added in that second game. So while what we've seen of Inquisition so far is impressive and very "next gen", it remains to be seen if the final product can hold up, especially in what seems to be turning out to be a stacked year for RPGs. With The Witcher 3 and Dark Souls 2 (spoiler!) both factoring in much higher on our list, to us, Dragon Age just seems a little lost in the shuffle. So we're hoping that more footage from the game will change our minds headed into 2014, but for now, Dragon Age is still on a wait-and-see status, but with a healthy amount of anticipation. Here's the reveal trailer from E3:
17. THE LAST GUARDIAN
Developer: Team Ico
Platforms: PS3 (PS4?)
Release Date: Never.
If you've followed our Most Anticipated lists over the years, then you know that The Last Guardian has become somewhat of an in-joke. The farce has gotten to the point where Sony barely ever talks about it anymore, although that hasn't stopped fans from continuously speculating whether or not it would show up at some Sony event (hint: it didn't, again). If the game really was on the horizon, the last twelve months would have offered ample opportunities to talk about it, with the announcement and eventual release of the PS4. But through reveal events, E3 conferences, launch events and other conventions, we never once heard about The Last Guardian. In fact, the only tidbit Sony did offer about the game in 2013 came around E3 2013, when Jack Tretton said the game was "on hiatus" but not forgotten, while Shu Yoshida responded by saying it was still in "active development". With the PS4 still needing a killer app, is TLG on course for a surprise release? Yeah, no, but it's fun to dream sometimes.
16. THE YEAR IN NINTENDO
Developer & Publisher: Nintendo
Platforms: WiiU, 3DS
Release Date: Various
By Matt Bradley
Nintendo have had a slightly rocky start with their new home console, the ‘Wii U’. Not many games were available at launch, and the ones that were weren’t particularly worth owning. Things got better this year, with major releases such as Pikmin 3, The Wonderful 101, Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD, and Super Mario 3D World. Some of which may not have sold spectacularly, but all were released to high critical acclaim. Cut to the sales boost the system finally received in the wake of a strong Mario line-up this Christmas, and things may finally be turning around for Nintendo’s pint-sized machine.
With more Wii U’s now in homes and a much larger install base, Nintendo are set to release a plethora of anticipated games over the next year, including: ‘Donkey Kong Country Returns – Tropical Freeze’ from award winning studio Retro Games, the massively hyped fighting follow-up ‘Super Smash Bros’ for Wii U and 3DS, and all around favourite ‘Mario Kart 8’. On top of the inevitable reveal of a brand new 3D Zelda game at E3, newcomers and early adopters of the system finally have a lot of good content coming up soon. This makes Nintendo, in general, a key subject to keep your eyes on next year.
15. THE WITNESS
Developer: Number None Inc. (Jonathan Blow)
Platforms: PS4, PC, iOS
Release Date: TBA 2014
The Witness has been around for a while, but the hype for the game reached a new high in 2014 when it received a major showcase through Sony at their various PS4 events. Jonathan Blow's upcoming game was revealed to be a "timed exclusive" for the new console, and new trailers and demos for it have looked breathtaking, leading many to call it one of their most anticipated games coming out of this past year's E3. The puzzle game won't end up being Sony's killer app for their new console, if for no other reason than the fact that it'll also be on other platforms at one point or another. But could it be 2014's version of Journey? A beautiful indie game from a talented developer that will take things to the next level? That's a distinct possibility. Check out the trailer for The Witness from the PS4 reveal event:
14. NO MAN'S SKY
Developer: Hello Games
Release Date: TBA
We've made it a point this year to try and reduce the number of games with unknown release dates or windows from the list after so many games from last year ended up delayed, but we simply can't help ourselves with No Man's Sky, even after the most recent developments with the game's developer, Hello Games, which had its offices flooded and potentially a lot of work lost over Christmas. How that might affect the game's development process is uncertain, as is the status of the game and when it might ever end up seeing a release. It doesn't have a publisher, nor does it have any confirmed consoles. But part of that might be Hello Games' strategy. Not the flood of course, but the announcement of the game at the VGX show in early December.
We speculated that the team might be trying to entice someone to help publish or finance them, and that might end up being even more likely now that they've suffered the tragedy of the flood. We wouldn't be surprised to see someone like Microsoft of Sony jump in to help get this very ambitious game out in time for 2014. For now, all we have to go on is that very impressive trailer, showing us a "procedurally generated" universe and a first-person shooter sci-fi game that seems to good to be true:
Developer: Eidos Montreal
Publisher: Square Enix
Platforms: PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: February 25th, 2014
Pre-Order Thief on Amazon
Square Enix often has a tendency to do a lot of things wrong. It seemed to start doing things right again when it stopped calling the upcoming Thief reboot Thi4f, handing the reins of the game to Eidos Montreal, which successfully rebooted another franchise a couple of years ago with Deus Ex: Human Revolution. While the hype levels haven't been massively high for this one, everything that we've seen of Thief so far does seem to suggest that the end-result will indeed be similar to that of Deus Ex. The reboot seems like it's going to take a lot of inspiration from other recent games which have pulled off stealth in recent years, and it won't be surprising to see it end up looking similar to maybe a darker Deus Ex. At the very least, it's definitely one of the first games of 2014 to most look forward to. Here's the last we saw from the game at VGX in December:
Platforms: PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Release Date: September 9th, 2014
Pre-Order Destiny on Amazon
To tell you the truth, the hype surrounding Destiny is kind of dumbfounding us. Yes, Bungie's first post-Halo game looks beautiful and will satisfies the first-person sci-fi shooter market, but we haven't really seen much that really deserves the insane hype that it's been getting, at least from our perspective. It looks like Borderlands, plays like Halo, and offers a Mythology that probably won't be dealt with much over the course of the game. Again, it looks like it's going to be good, possible great, but the expectations seem way too high all things considered. That may have to do with certain promises being made by Bungie that the game will be "alive" and dynamic, meaning that things that happen int he game may not have been planned by Bungie. But we're still not entirely onboard with the always-online MMO-ish "shared-world" shooter genre that seems to be defining the early promises of this new console generation, and we're skeptical to see what the game can actually pull off, considering how much we've been promised and how little we've seen that isn't much more than your standard FPS fare.
That might seem like a lot of negative things to say though, because Destiny still looks great. Set 700 years in the future, the story will deal with a near-collapse of the human race and the last remaining city on earth. The gameplay, while seemingly derivative, actually looks pretty great, combining the styles of we've seen from Borderlands and of course Bungie's previous ventures.
Here's a recent dev diary for the game:
11. BROKEN AGE
Developer: Double Fine Productions
Platforms: Android, iOS, Linux, Mac, PC, Ouya
Release Date: January 2014 (Act 1), April-May 2014 (Act 2)
If we could choose three words to define the most interesting developments of these last couple of years in gaming, those words would be: Indie, crowdfunding, and graphic adventure (okay that last one is two workds, but you get the point). We've seen the rise of Kickstarter and what's it done for independent games looking to self-publish as opposed to will themselves to the mercy of the big corporations, and we've seen companies like Telltale Games make episodic graphic adventures cool again. Early in 2014, Tim Schaffer and Double Fine will combine these concepts to bring us the two parts of Broken Age, their new graphic adventure game which picked up so much money on Kickstarter that they were able to hire some big name actors led by Elijah Wood for voice work.
The game will tell the story of two characters, one female, looking to escape the wrath of a monster, and one male (voiced by Wood), looking to escape his mundane life as the sole survivor of a calamity which has him living on a space ship, and of course how their lives will end up interconnecting. Schaffer's done some great work in the past, and he's gotten big money through Kickstarter to do it this time, so we'll be looking closely to see what the end result will be. Here's the Elijah Wood reveal from VGX:
Check back soon for part 2 and the top 10!