You think it’s hard reading about this many games? Imagine writing this thing. RPS has officially worn itself out before the year’s even gotten going properly. But it was worth it, because below is the third part of our ultromegafeature preview of 2014’s crop of PC games. At least those that have been announced already. And now you have it all, filling your calendar. Part one is here, and part two is here. Reading them all in one go will kill you. You’ve been warned.
Gods Will Be Watching
Devolver picked up publishing rights for the expanded version of survival adventure Gods Will Be Watching, doubling its Indiegogo takings and slapping a Spring release date on the tale of misery, struggle and survival. The original Jam Champion was a lovely slice of cruelty. http://www.deconstructeam.com/games/gods-will-be-watching/
Guh-guh-guh-guh, guh-guh-guh-guh-ghooooooooostship! CDF aims to offer a night of fright in space’s ceaseless darkness. It apparently has aliens and zombies, so you know it’s ticking all the boxes. Seems a bit generic, but you never know. Plus, an Oculus-Rift-optimized version is on the way, and nothing amplifies the terror of isolation like strapping an unwieldy virtual reality brick to your face.
Homestuck Adventure Game
Homestuck is an enormous beast of a webcomic. At first, it seemed like naught more than another in a line of Andrew Hussie’s MS Paint Adventures – surreal stories built around readers’ suggestions. Four years and more than eight thousand pages later, it has become a sprawling metafictional epic, with musical interludes and, soon, a game. The Kickstarter raised almost two and a half million dollars.
Mirror’s Edge 2
Runny Jumpy… Shooty?
Please don’t have guns. Please don’t have guns. Please don’t have guns. Please don’t have guns. Please don’t have guns. Please don’t have guns. Please don’t have guns. Please don’t have guns. Please don’t have guns. Please don’t have guns. Please don’t have guns. Please don’t have guns. Please don’t have guns. Please don’t have guns. Please don’t have guns. Please don’t have guns. Please don’t have guns. Please don’t have guns. Please don’t have guns. Please don’t have guns. Please don’t have guns. Please don’t have guns. Please don’t have guns. Please don’t have guns. Please don’t have guns.
Silence: The Whispered World 2
The first Whispered World was an attractive point-and-click adventure game with obtuse puzzles and a main character called Sadwick with one of the whiniest, most annoying voices in all of videogames. It seems fitting then that the sequel is set in a world called Silence, and better yet has both a new lead character and the promise of an even prettier art style. There’s no guarantee – and little hope – that the puzzles will be any better however.
Another day, another million-dollar Double Fine Kickstarter. Massive Chalice is a turn-based tactical game set in a feudal fantasy world, with the player controlling an immortal ruler and the heroes under his/her control. Heroes age, marry, breed and die, allowing the campaign to span generations.
Legend Of The Knightwasher
Washing Machine Knight Sim
Yet another game in which you play a washing machine, who is also a knight. WHEN WILL THEY END? In this one, the evil Darkwasher kills the goodly Knightwasher, but the king, Crownwasher, gives Knightwasher another lease at life by wishing him alive again to Death. Except, oh noes, that doesn’t go well, and Knightwasher has to redeem himself and return his name to the book of the living and dead. OMG.
Might & Magic X: Legacy
Remember when RPGs had more parties in them? You couldn’t swing a giant rat in a dungeon without hitting a barbarian, warrior, cleric and mage, lined up with the strongest at the front and the weakest at the rear. It’s been a while since Might & Magic graced our screens and the tenth title is almost ready for release, following a stint in Early Access.
El Presidente is showing no signs of losing power. The latest in the thriving series is to feature “eras”, meaning you’ll now see your dictator through from the 19th century, through a couple of world wars, and bring him up to the present day. Some joke about bananas.
First-person hacking puzzler
Quadrilateral Cowboy is about hacking, but you don’t do it by playing Pipemania. Instead you plop down a laptop, wire it to a piece of machinery – at its most basic, a locked door – and type out a short script. Soon you’re writing and executing .bat files full of instructions, and the way the world falls under your control makes you feel more like a cyberpunk spy than any other game. It’s from the creator of Thirty Flights of Loving, and poised to be one of the best games of 2014.
Wargame: Red Dragon
The latest in Eugen Systems’ series goes East, using the same mechanics as AirLand Battle, but moves its action to Asia, from 1975 to 1991. Five nations are added, including China and Korea, bringing with them 450 new units. And most of all, this time things get naval. There’s a new solo campaign, and of course the multiplayer mode too, for up to 20 player battles.
Oh why can’t the woodland creatures just learn to get along? This craft-and-survive-me-do looks utterly terrifying, as you try to survive in the woods by doing awful, awful things, like clubbing a zombie-thing’s head in with a rock, or staggering about in dimly lit caves while music roars at you. Eeeeeeeeeeeeeek.
Frictional Games skipped development duties on the sequel to Amnesia, their horror game about hiding in cupboards, in favour of making something new. SOMA is that thing. It trades wood and lamps for a science fiction setting, but seems similarly designed to send a thousand YouTubers into shrieking fits.
South Park: The Stick of Truth
March 4th, 2014
Stick of Truth looks exactly like the TV show it’s based on, and somehow mimicking South Park’s simple 2D cutouts feels like a better graphical magic trick than anything in Battlefield 4. It’s also written by the same people as the original show and designed by Obsidian, so there’s some hope its turn-based, fart-heavy combat and dialogue will make it the first game to live up to the name.
Neil Gaiman is becoming Neil GameMan!!! A JOKE! DO YOU GET IT? For the comic creator extraordinaire is turning his hands to pixelly entertainment, with a haunt-em-up puzzle adventure. It claims to let players solve puzzles “any way they choose”, but we’ll see about that. My “napalm everything” approach might not be acceptable. But the premise: driving people mad with fear to regain your mansion, is A GOOD ONE.
An underwater building and exploration game from Unknown Worlds, the creators of Natural Selection 2. There’s very little information about the game thus far; we know it’ll have coral forests and enormous alien fish, but not what we’ll be doing with them.
A stealth game inspired by equal parts Thief, Burroughs and, according to its successful Kickstarter page, the “darker avant-garde of the 20th century”. The world will also apparently respond to your play style, remaking its environments according to your actions. Jim interviewed the Bristolian bods behind it.
City building strategy
Missing its end-of-2013 plans, because this big old management game is one guy working incredibly hard, but there’s still hopes that it’ll be out very soon. A group of outcasts decide to set up a new town, with nothing but the clothes on their backs, and you behind a mouse. Seeming like a Settlers for the moderner age, at a much deeper simulation level.
Motorbike Brrmmmmmmm BANG
Making an impressive $173k on Kickstarter, this motorbike-racing-beat-em-up is aiming for a Summer release. And yes, it’s Road Rash, but all modern and made by people without the rights to say the words “Road Rash”. As a new recruit to a motorbike gang, you’re aiming to work your way up through the ranks. Let’s hope for some nicely dark Sons Of Anarchy influences. Cause for concern? One of the developers wears a hood over his cap, and frankly, that’s not okay.
Far Cry 4
We hope 2014
Ubi haven’t formally announced a sequel to Far Cry but they do rather enjoy regular releases of their successful franchises. Hopefully there will be motorbikes and a way to turn chickens into hats with pockets.
The Sims 4
The Sims 3 cut down on the micromanagement necessary to keep your tiny human pets alive, letting you focus more on their wants than their needs. The Sims 4 aims to increase the focus on drama over potty-training by layering further emotional complexity on top, starting with the ability for sims to perform context-sensitive actions depending on their mood. In other words, your sims can be depressed, and consequently be worse at friendships but better at writing novels.
Double Fine Adventure
January (Act I), Spring 2014 (Act II)
Once known simply as Double Fine Adventure, Broken Age is Tim Schafer and co’s return to the warm, nostalgic embrace of the point-and-click adventure genre. It takes the form of two separate stories – one about a young girl in a fantastical kingdom, another about a young boy aboard a sci-fi colony – that focus on breaking free from the chains of tradition. Despite controversy over a sudden change in release and distribution methods, Broken Age seems witty, charming, and decidely old-school, which is exactly what it set out to be.
Side-srolling 2D space simulation sandbox role-playing puzzle action platformer
It’s hard to put it much better than the genre description for this one. Those things. In one game. It’s ambitious, but Coldrice Games almost doubled their Kickstarter goals. It has to be said, there are rather a lot of surface similarities with Starbound, but this is going to have more in common with FTL, The Sims and Starflight.
Oh, kids these days and their crazy catacombs. Catacomb Kids is a roguelike platformer in the vein of Spelunky, only with far more room for creativity and experimentation in its mechanics. With a simple rock, for instance, you can create a distraction, trigger traps, knock a torch into an enemy and set it ablaze, look cool while rolling around like an idiot, and heaps more.
Character-driven sci-fi role-player
Consortium is weird, but in a good way. Instead of serving up a piping hot slice of galaxy ala, say, Mass Effect, Consortium gives you a confined location, a relatively small cast of characters, and options galore. It’s a murder mystery of sorts, but the focus is on communication and choice. Also, it breaks the fourth wall via a clever fictional interface. Fun!
Crypt of the Necrodancer
Roguelike rhythm game
Crypt of the Necrodancer is called Crypt of the Necrodancer, which already makes it incontrovertibly the greatest game of all time. Also, its fusion of roguelike dungeon-crawling and groove-powered, er, everything makes for a hopping good time. Literally. Because you, you know, hop a lot.
Jane Jensen’s Moebius
The main character in Jane Jensen’s Moebius is called Malachi Rector, which raises the obvious question as to why the game is not called Malachi Rector’s Moebius. Pick the right font – bold and wry – and the title alone would shift a million units. It’s a classically styled point and click mystery from the Gabriel Knight veteran.
Dragon Age: Inquisition
Dragon Age II might have seen BioWare’s home-grown fantasy world buckle under its own weight, but Inquisition looks to be a return to form. This one boasts a massive, explorable world, tactical combat built from the ground-up to be paused at any moment, and more than one cave (!!!). Videogame Deities, please let this game be as good as it’s looking.
EverQuest Next Landmark
MMO/MMO world-building toolset
February 2014 (paid alpha)
EverQuest Next Landmark is a thing of such grand ambition and scope that we’re honestly not sure if it’ll work out. SOE isn’t either, but that hasn’t stopped the MMO mainstay from hedging its bets on a Photoshop-esque in-game worldbuilding toolset and the bottomless treasure box that is player imagination. In fact, if players dream up something that makes SOE’s own version of EQN look like amateur hour, so much the better in the developer’s book.