The game of the week for this week's Retro Weekly is one that is very close to my heart: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
Twenty PC Games To Get Excited For In 2014
2013 was a huge year for gaming as we finally saw the release of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. With console gaming in the spotlight, the poor PC must be forgotten about or used primarily to share memes on Facebook. The reality is far less grim for the modern PC gamer, however, as most major titles are released concurrently with as good as or superior PC versions, and anyone that’s spent two seconds on Steam will quickly realize that the explosion of awesome indie gaming is focused heavily on the PC. Even if you’re stoked about that new console there’s still a ton of titles to be excited for in 2014 for your faithful personal computer. Here’s our list for Most Anticipated PC Games 2014 (in estimated chronological order of release).
Developer: Double Fine
Release: January 2014
The grandfather of Kickstarter video games will finally see its release in early 2014, or at least part one will. After the Kickstarter campaign’s runaway success the scope ballooned from a tiny little experimental project into a full length adventure game with a beautiful hand drawn art style and professional voice acting the likes of which are usually only seen coming out of Germany. Double Fine’s Broken Age has staked much of its reputation on the game and over 80,000 backers are anxiously awaiting the results. With Tim Schafer behind the wheel I remain eternally optimistic.
Starbound AKA Terraria in Space saw its highly anticipated early access beta release in December 2013 and I for one have barely been able to tear myself away despite frequent character wipes and major patch updates. But that winning formula of crafting, exploring, and fighting your way through procedurally generated worlds is incredibly addictive and satisfying, and the sheer scope of the universe and staggering amount of content make this one of PC gaming’s front runners for when it’s officially released in 2014 (You can play the beta right now by pre-ordering).
South Park: The Stick of Truth
Devleoper: Obsidian Entertainment
Release: March 4, 2014
South Park video games have had a mixed history, but this Obsidian developed title promises to play out like a turn based JRPG with the fart attacks, dirty hippies, and hilariously offensive humor that the animated series is known for. With the death of THQ and acquisition by Ubisoft, South Park’s future was murky for all of 2013 before finally being pushed back into March 2014. Hopefully all these delays result in a memorable game that finally puts us in the jacked up but surprisingly poignant world of the South Park kids.
Developer: Supergiant Games
Release: Early 2014
The second game by Bastion developers Supergiant Games looks to be another Action-RPG but in a vastly different world of a sci-fi cityscape. Transistor will meld real time action gameplay with turn based planning and strategy and continue to show off Supergiant Games’ excellent art style and sound design.
Developer: Respawn Entertainment
Release: March 11, 2014
Titanfall will be the killer Xbox One app of 2014, and no doubt Microsoft is hoping it will be the new Halo. Of course Titanfall is also coming to PC! All the footage and trailers we’ve seen promises the next evolution of the modern competitive first person shooter by adding some fancy parkour traversal abilities and giant mechs to crush each other with. Is Just Add Giant Robots the next Just Add Zombies? Probably not, but that makes Titanfall all the more exciting.
Dark Souls II
Developer: From Software
Release: March 11, 2014
The Dark Souls series has garnered a unique reputation amongst modern games, featuring refreshingly challenging but rewarding gameplay that takes you back to a time before video games held your hand every step of the way. The sequel looks to keep the same game mechanics while doubling the size of its predecessor and allowing other players to jump into your game even while in your vastly reduced undead form. I’m sure you’ll die. A lot.
Diablo III: Reaper of Souls
Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
Release: March 25, 2014
Alright so it’s technically an expansion but so few companies still release meaty expansion packs rather than piece-meal DLC, and Blizzard is one of them. A pioneer in expansion packs Blizzard typically adds new everything, and Reaper of Souls will contain an entirely new character class as well as a fifth act and a continuation of the war between the angels and demons of Sanctuary. If you loved Diablo 3 the expansion looks like a great addition, and if you didn’t the new loot system and auction house removal may be enough to sway you.
Elder Scrolls Online
Developer: ZeniMax Online Studios
Release: April 4, 2014
Bethesda really wants you to be excited for Elder Scrolls Online, a traditional MMORPG that’s been in development for years – back when the genre was a bit less of a wasteland that it is today. Whether it’s multiplayer Skyrim or simply World of Warcraft set in the Elder Scrolls universe remains to be seen but the production values are massive, and the videos promise some intriguing large scale player versus player battles. If ESO can somehow combine everything that makes MMORPGs great (the social experience) and what make The Elder Scrolls games great (the single player choose your own adventure) then Elder Scrolls Online could really be something special.
Developer: InXile Entertainment
Another big Kickstarter project comes from legendary game designer and developer Brian Fargo in the resurrection of the original post-apocalyptic open world role playing game in the form of a brand new sequel. Wasteland 2 takes all the awesome bits of late 90s tactical CRPGs while utilizing modern interfaces and resolutions. If there’s any justice in this world, this and Pillars of Eternity will usher in a new renaissance of isometric tactical role playing games that has been sorely lacking.
Release: Q2 2014
Ubisoft surprised the entire industry when they announced Watch Dogs’ delay into 2014, causing a headache for many pre-ordered PlayStation 4’s that included the game in a bundle. Many a gamer has been anxious to get their hands on this near future world of surveillance ever since the trailer was first revealed at E3 2012. Delays are often a good thing with games – more time to iron out the bugs, smooth out any lingering problems, and optimize everything for the PC!
Pillars of Eternity
Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
Release: Q2 2014
Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Beloved developer goes to Kickstarter promising nostalgic PC genre and makes millions of dollars. It’s a headline we saw so many times in the last two years it nearly became tiresome, only there were all too many games, ideas, and companies that failed to meet with any success. Obsidian Entertainment has the respected role playing pedigree and the perfect idea to utilize it – a tactical fantasy role playing game along the veins of Baldur’s Gate and Icewind Dale, but set in a completely new and original fantasy universe. Project Eternity only recently received an official title, but progress on the game has been a steady stream of developer interviews, art design, and most recently a fancy new trailer.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Developer: CD Projekt RED
Release: Q2 2014
The Witcher series gained a large swelling of followers and fans after The Witcher 2’s quiet success in 2011. Fans will get rewarded with a massive open world, next-gen RPG that’s sure to bring in everyone else that’s still unfamiliar with Poland’s cat-eyed monster hunter and uniquely dark and mature fantasy world. The Witcher 3 is designed specifically for next-gen hardware with a new in-house engine, and the whole game looks like the next evolution of the Elder Scrolls franchise – combining a fantastically detailed fantasy world with a gripping story and character choices.
The Sims 4
Developers: Maxis, The Sims Studio
Release: Late 2014
The Sims may not be the dominating (and ridiculed) franchise it once was, but with Maxis returning to the helm of its most famous franchise, attention should be paid. It’s sad that one of the features will be that’s it’s a single-player game that doesn’t need to be online – a major issue that has plagued many of EA’s games including the last big Maxis revival, SimCity. The new Sim creator takes advantage of Spore’s easy to use molding features, and a refined AI will ensure that your Sims act just as catty and manipulative as your real life friends.
Dragon Age: Inquisition
Release: Q3 2014
BioWare’s previous Dragon Age game was a very mixed bag for most gamers and critics, but BioWare has repeated that they’ve learned from their experiences and feedback, and hope to put their famous fantasy franchise back on track with a return to tactical combat and multiple player races. If we indeed get the best elements from the previous games with a more open-ended world and some nice story payoffs, Inquisition could be one of BioWare’s best titles.
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft
Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
Get ready for an explosion of nerdy acronyms as Blizzard has already conquered the RTS, the ARPG, the MMORPG, is working on the MOBA, and in 2014 we’ll finally see them take on the digital CCG. As per every Blizzard release Hearthstone has been in beta for months as they fine tune the balancing and server load for the inevitably still shaky and unbalanced release. But hey, it’s Blizzard doing Magic: The Gathering with Warcraft heroes – sign me up!
Developer: Avalanche Studios
Oh yes, they’re making a Mad Max video games. Unlike unnecessary Hollywood remakes, video game adaptations of older franchises are a brilliant idea – allowing us to explore a nostalgic and fun world exactly as we’d want to. The Mad Max universe takes place in a gritty post-apocalyptic Australia where bandits roam the wasteland in pieced together death cars and vie for gasoline and ammo. It’s the perfect recipe for a video game!
Galactic Civilizations III
Technically no release date has been announced, and Stardock is no stranger to disastrous launches. Hopefully the announcement of the latest entry in this beloved Civilization-In-Space franchise means that work is far enough along that we’ll see a 2014 release. Stardock does turn-based 4X strategy games really well and a return to their grand daddy franchise will be a welcome sight.
Release: Late 2014
First revealed at E3 2013, Ubisoft’s true next-gen action title will take full advantage of an all new engine in a massively multiplayer apocalyptic world. Thanks to the “vocal and passionate PC gaming community” (Ubisoft’s Words) they agreed to release The Division on Windows PC in addition to the new consoles, and provide a “first-rate PC experience.” Not much is known about the title other than mobile app integration and seamless multiplayer but Ubisoft will probably continue to tease and reveal more information throughout the year.
No Man’s Sky
Developer: Hello Games
Having only just been announced via a jaw-dropping trailer at the Spike VGX awards in late 2013, No Man’s Sky is by far the most intriguing and little known game on this list. A PC version has not been announced nor has any release date, so putting the game here is part speculation and part simple wish fulfillment. The video teases an open universe with unique planets, land and space exploration, and of course the requisite giant sand worms on a desert planet.
Developer: Cloud Imperium Games
Release: Late 2014/Early 2015
Cheating a bit as Star Citizen’s full release probably won’t be until Early 2015, but a fully playable beta (and no doubt Early Access) should be done by the end of the year, and many folks are practically drooling with anticipation. Chris Roberts’ brainchild has raked in millions of dollars in crowdfunding for gamers desperately yearning for the next-gen massively multiplayer version of Wing Commander. Giving players command of their own customizable spaceship and playing in a galaxy with others should be a no-brainer, and Star Citizen’s funding success has revealed a huge desire for exactly this kind of game.
There’s many more I didn’t have room to mention, like the absurd amount of licensed titles coming out of Telltale, more Kickstarter games than you can shake your nostalgic 90s-tinted glasses at, and the myriad of Steam games taking advantage of Early Access in 2013 to release a final commercial release this year. And that’s just the games we know about. With new consoles come new (hopefully) awesome franchises that haven’t even been announced yet. The last generation brought us BioShock, Assassin’s Creed, Uncharted, and Mass Effect. 2014 will be a fantastic year and assuming the Amazon drones don’t reach Skynet level sentience and enslave humanity with their low deals and convenient shipping, we’ll be enjoying one of the best years in gaming we’ve seen yet.