New hardware took center stage of the video game industry in 2013 as both Microsoft and Sony joined Nintendo in next generation gaming with the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, respectively. The new year is shaping up to be all about the games and there are many to be excited about. However, only 10 games jumped out at me enough to make the list of most anticipated of 2014.
10. “Mario Kart 8” — To be released in spring — Nintendo Wii U
What’s not broke doesn’t need fixing. It’s not in quotations, but one might as well assume that sentence came from the mouth of a Nintendo spokesperson when talking about the “Mario Kart” franchise.
Indeed, the series has seen little innovation, especially in recent years, but that looks like it’s about to change in 2014 with “Mario Kart 8.” The eighth installment will be the first full high-definition “Mario Kart” and will show players the future of racing with topsy-turvy tracks that only hover crafts could maneuver on.
If that’s not enough, Nintendo has promised the inclusion of online multiplayer and other social features, bringing “Mario Kart” into the 21st century. In all, “Mario Kart 8” may very well prove to be the most complete racer that Nintendo has ever published.
9. “The Order: 1886” — To be released in fall — PlayStation 4
Little is known about Ready at Dawn’s upcoming, supernatural-action title, “The Order: 1886,” but what was shown off at E3 2013 was enough to get everyone excited.
In what seems to be an elegant recreation of Victorian, gothic times, “The Order: 1886” throws players into a centuries-long battle against a group of monster hunters and a rare, half-human half-beast breed of enemy. The trailers released so far have given fans a taste of the beautifully-depicted setting and the action that surrounds it, all knotted in a story thats potential seems endless.
“The Order: 1886” will be an important title. Not only is it a PlayStation 4 exclusive, it will be one of just a few new, major intellectual properties buying for critical and commercial success in a year filled to the brim with sequels and reboots.
8. “Halo 5” — To be released in fall — Xbox One
After captivating the industry in 2012 with “Halo 4,” developer 343 Industries has had to come to the realization that they have big shoes to fill with “Halo 5.”
There are a number of exciting questions fans should be asking after the developer unveiled “Halo 5” just months ago. Why is Master Chief wearing a cloak? Is the universe’s most renowned hero hiding from something or someone?
These questions will most certainly be answered this fall. When they are, they will be a part of a new engine showcasing a full 60 frames per second, a la “Call of Duty.”
7. “Tom Clancy’s The Division” — TBA — Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC
A crippled New York City is torn at the hands of disease and enemy terror. Soldiers are strengthened by the sights of their guns. This scenario could only be that of a Tom Clancy-branded game.
While some believe “Tom Clancy’s The Division” won’t hit in 2014, the anticipation alone has us begging for the third-person shooter. The game tasks you, one of just a number of infantrymen, with clearing the broken city of the threats that have hindered civilization so far.
Developer Red Storm Entertainment promises that “Tom Clancy’s The Division” will be more than just another “run-and-gun” shooter. It’s a huge world. It’s a pretty world. And we cannot wait.
6. “Infamous: Second Son” — To be released on March 21 — PlayStation 4
Finally, a game with a concrete release date.
“Infamous: Second Son” will have to appeal to a number of players who’ve never touched the series. Thankfully, developer Sucker Punch Productions seems up to the task.
“Infamous: Second Son” is an action game with powers that even your average Marvel super hero would be jealous of. Players will take the reigns of Delsin Rowe, a 24-year-old that enjoys graffiti and, well, nothing else. Like most stories involving super powers, Delsin comes across his powers and uses them to fend off enemies in a story that Sucker Punch hopes revitalizes the series’ name.
Whether you’re accustomed to the franchise or not, “Infamous: Second Son” has all the makeup of a blockbuster title — quite possibly the first on PlayStation 4.
5. “South Park: The Stick of Truth” — March 4 — Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC
Not all of 2014’s most anticipated games are coming to Xbox One, PlayStation 4 or Nintendo Wii U. Despite being delayed three times – yes, three – “South Park: The Stick of Truth” is shaping up to be a comedic goldmine and a very thought out role-playing game all the same.
For those out of the loop, the game is being made by the same folks who made “Fallout: New Vegas.” Check. The game’s script is entirely written by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. Check mate.
“South Park: The Stick of Truth” looks like it was stripped straight from Comedy Central. If it plays like a triple-A, role-playing game and makes players laugh for hours upon end, everyone wins.
4. “The Walking Dead: Season Two” — To be released throughout the year — Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, PlayStation Vita
Few media outlets left “The Walking Dead: Season One” off their “best of” list in 2012. Fewer are leaving the game’s second season off their most anticipated list of 2014.
After the roller coaster of emotions that was season one, players now tackle the zombie-infested world as Clementine, a young girl that’s become all too familiar with the reality of pain and death.
With episode one of season two already out, it’s clear that developer TellTale Games is ready to pull on players’ emotional strings once again. If you do yourself any favors in 2014, check out “The Walking Dead: Season Two.” Just be sure you play through season one first.
3. “Watch Dogs” — To be released in summer 2014 — Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U, PC
Like our fifth selection, Ubisoft’s “Watch Dogs” has had to deal with the disappointment of being delayed. However, the industry has seen enough of the game to know that it’s shaping up to be unique and, hopefully, something special.
Playing as Aiden Pearce, you’ll get to cause mayhem with futuristic technology that would make even the iPhone 6 look “so last year.” The game is an open-world title similar to that of “Grand Theft Auto V.” You’ll be driving and shooting, but also hacking and escaping in a way that left the crowd at its debut in 2011 speechless.
If you’ve ever wanted to hack a stoplight in your favor, and let’s be honest, we all have, then “Watch Dogs” may be the 2014 hit for you.
2. “Destiny” — To be released on Sept. 9 — Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
When Bungie handed over the “Halo” series to 343 Industries in 2010, few knew what was next for the popular developer. But early last year, Bungie announced the future of the studio: “Destiny.”
“Destiny” is a new IP set in an open-world. The game is inherently a massive multiplayer online game. One will play through a campaign, but within one’s story, people will come across friends and strangers embarking in their own campaigns. One can choose to go your own route lone-wolf style, but players can also team up and tackle missions and online modes in an experience that aims to elevate MMOs on consoles to an entirely new level.
Will “Destiny” be as groundbreaking as “Halo: Combat Evolved” was in 2001? Doubtful. But that won’t stop Bungie and their quest to create one of 2014’s most captivating titles.
1. “Titanfall” — To be released on March 11 — Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC
Vince Zampella and Jason West, co-founders of Infinity Ward and the masterminds behind the “Modern Warfare” series, were sent packing by Activision in March of 2010. The two didn’t need any pity, though. They quickly started up their own studio, Respawn Entertainment, and the number one most anticipated title of 2014, “Titanfall.”
“Titanfall” is absolute mayhem. It is a game that blends single-player and multiplayer into one big component. Whether you are using parkour to get from point A to B or blasting foot soldiers in a massive, gun-toting mech called a Titan, there’s no shortage of epic moments in “Titanfall.”
Is the game the “Call of Duty” killer many have dubbed it to be? That’s yet to be seen. One thing is for certain though: “Titanfall’s” March release cannot come soon enough.