The Spectacular 2014 Preview Spectacular - Part One
Too... Many... Games
2014 is no longer the lunatic space-dream of fantasists - it's really, really here! And rumour has it, it will be a year in which games are released. We've gathered together all those rumours to bring you a really rather enormous list of the PC games we expect to see in the coming twelve months. Good ones, great ones, and stinky ploppy-plop ones. Maybe some will even be average: we just don't yet know. This is but part one of our mega-list, with parts two and three appearing soon. The games are ordered in a mystery fashion - an imaginary prize* to the first reader to figure it out. Devour.
Its interface renders planetary systems in cool blues and the ships moving between them as simple icons. That alone is enough conjure flashbacks to Neptune's Pride's tales of space betrayal. If SPACECOM, which was recently Greenlit on Steam, is half as emotional and half as time-consuming, it could be twice the game.
Tom Clancy's The Division
Online multiplayer third-person tactical shooter action role-playing video game
Developing games from beyoooooond the grave, Ubisoft's latest Clancy-thing is aiming for some pretty epic scale. Alongside that ludicrous genre description, this is Ubi stretching their ambitious ways farther than we've seen before, aiming to create a dystopian, post-collapse New York in which social interaction is as important as shooting mans in the face.
No Man's Sky
First-person space exploration
Exploration is the game's core verb, but No Man's Sky procedurally generated galaxy contains more than ambulation. You're visiting its colourful, sci-fi book cover-inspired planets to gather resources with which to stock and upgrade your spaceship, so you can dodge pirates and reach further towards that galaxy's mutated core. Given its ambition, we'll be lucky to see it in 2014, but there's nothing wrong with hoping.
The Evil Within
If only it were being released under its Japanese name, Psychobreak. Detective Sebastian Castellanos sees his partners get murdered, and is then attacked himself. He wakes up in a monstrous land, seemingly born of a friend's madness. Um, yes, well. Bethesda like it enough to be giving it a worldwide publish, but when we do not know.
Open-world zombie hate
31 March 2014
It pairs open-world zombie-bashing with Mirror's-Edge-style runleaping, but the demo we played definitely needed some work in terms of control and general feel. That said, the night sections - wherein the shambling undead suddenly become spry as marathon runners whose legs aren't liable to snap at the sinew after a pillbug breathes on them - are terrifyingly tense.
Age Of Wonders III
Triumph Studios' turn-based strategy (with a hint of role-playing) slipped off into the mysterious reaches of 2014, as the Overlord developer wanted to do the long-awaited threequel's massive scope justice. Age of Wonders III is expanding into new territory with RPG-style leader classes, more in-depth city structures, and heaps of new abilities and rules.
The Long Dark
The Long Dark both looks and sounds beautiful. After a very successful Kickstarter, the game is set to offer first-person survivaling in a post-apocalyptic Northern wilderness. While you'll be scavenging and panicking as you might expect, there's also promise of a moral dimension to your struggle - how far are you willing to go to survive?
Men of War: Assault Squad 2
A new engine should bring interface improvements along with visual polish to the incredibly detailed WWII strategy game. It looks rather beautiful and could well be one of 2014’s first great strategic hits.
According to frequent RPS guest star Craig Pearson, Elite's dogfights already feel excellent, and Oculus Rift support sends the whole production dangerously deep into the unexplored reaches of Immersion Space. Of course, that's only the very, very, very beginning. 150,000 star systems, every role you can think of, customization out the wazoo (and also in, around, and through the wazoo) - David Braben and co certainly aren't lacking in ambition.
Red Baron failed in its Kickstarter campaign, but its creators seem undeterred. That's a good thing for lovers of the Dynamix original's biplane dogfights, as well as those who wish their flight sim sorties had a little more focus on skybound derring-do and a little less on accurate switch modelling. Read the Flare Path interview with its creator.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Open world RPG
Promising to be 30 times bigger than either of the previous massive Witcher RPGs, this is CD Projekt RED at their most extraordinarily ambitious. They reckon there will be over a hundred hours of stuff to do in the main and side quests, with horsies, boats and the like allowing faster exploration of its enormous world. No word yet on whether you'll be able to collect boobs.
Sniper Elite 3
First-person murder sim
If ever there was a first-person shooter for which the term "murder simulator" applied, it's Sniper Elite. This follow-up maintains the creepy, slow-motion, x-ray of every bone-shattering, bollock-exploding gunshot, but shifts the action from Europe to North Africa. It's also meant to be more of a sandbox, which should hopefully alleviate some of the last game's dreadful campaign missions. Hopefully.
Creative Assembly are the latest to try to convert the Alien license to gaming, without the added magic of Predators. Will it focus on a single solitary alien like absolutely everyone on Earth desperately hopes it will? Or will it be a face-hugger shooter par normality? Come on CA, THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE.
Endless Space was an Xcellent 4X strategy, and Endless Legend aims to bring its streamlined yet still sumptuously complex approach into a sparkling fantasy realm.
Space sim/crowdfunded wish fulfillment machine
Star Citizen wants to be all things to all gamers. Consequently it's the space dogfighting module that's due to launch in April 2014, with the rest of Chris Roberts' modern take on Wing Commander to follow later. Those other modules include the campaign, the larger multiplayer systems, the planet-based combat and, presumably if the money keeps flowing, the point-and-click module, the boss fight module, the taking the boss fights back out again module, and the football management module.
25 February 2014
The much beleaguered Thiefly follow-up should, further slips permitting, be with us in a couple of months, and we can finally all find out whether we needed to be so worried. Rebooting Garrett and his stealing ways without the Looking Glass crew behind it was always going to be a challenge. We're desperately hoping it's one they can meet.
StarCraft 2: Legacy of the Void
The final part of StarCraft 2's troika of expansions, this time letting you fight the good fight as the Protoss. Like 60% of all videogame alien races, the Protoss are basically space elves, but don't let that put you off. If Heart of the Swarm is anything to go by, Void should also ship with a set of changes to SC2's competitive multiplayer component. Which is, let's face it, the point of the series now.
Tales from the Borderlands
Between The Walking Dead and Wolf Among Us, Telltale are dangerously close to being respectable videogame developers again, wiping away all our memories of their terrible movie license tie-ins with deftly directed choose-your-own-adventures. Tales from the Borderlands is set in Gearbox's Borderlands universe and if we're lucky will let us make the very moral decision to kill Claptrap with a shotgun or a sniper rifle. (There is no immoral choice).
Assassin's Creed: Liberation
Jumpy shooty third-person
Jan 15th 2014
The Vita game is being HDerised for modern spangly computers, allowing us to play as Aveline de Grandpré... an actual woman. The original handheld version apparently took a semi-interesting look at the rancid social politics of the time, so here's hoping Liberation holds up decently on bigger screens.
Mech-based online FPS
13 March 2014
Some are utterly thrilled by the prospects for this online only FPS battleground, in which you play as either a pilot or a mech. Some are concerned it's a great deal of bombast. The winning side will be decided in a punch-up behind the Lamb & Flag on Tuesday night.
Multiplayer card game
Beta out now
Blizzard make a claim on further hours and days with their online card game. Already a fixture in the lives of many and sure to grow in 2014.
EVEn more EVE
Space Year 2014
We were quite impressed by what we played of CCP's admittedly lightweight EVE Valkyrie Oculus Rift tech demo, but the full game is still something of a mystery. Some form of integration with the larger EVE universe is a lock, but things like a single-player campaign and even launch platform(s) are still big question marks. It may not even appear on PC.
Murdered: Soul Suspect
Murdered: Soul Suspect has the greatest Wikipedia description - “The concept of the title was based on Die Hard, but with a twist when creative director Yosuke Shiokawa wondered what if protagonist John McClane died in the events of the film yet continues to fight as a ghost.” While solving his own murder, the protagonist will fight demonic creatures. Murdered is certainly a computer game.
Following Bastion is quite the task. But Supergiant games seem to be doing that with verve. A science fiction city in which you wield a weapon of unknown origin, trying to learn about its past. It looks gorgeous, and with an emphasis on a single-player story experience, there's a lot of reason to be excited about this one.
Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number
Top-down murder sim
Controversial? It’s Miami’s middle name. The first Hotline Miami was a beautifully stylish, horribly difficult murder-spree. The second has created headlines with its demo and it’ll be interesting to see what Dennaton eventually deliver.
Paradise Lost: First Contact
A hyper-detailed pixel platformer about employing the powers of a many-tentacled alien towards escaping from a science research facility. Expect Metal Gear stealth, Metroidvania non-linearity and an RPG-lite skill system. Let's hope the quality of its puzzles matches the beauty of its animation.
Co-operative patriotism simulation
Alpha out now
Broforce is a Contra-esque sidescroller, only with more destructibility. And by that, I mean all of it. Everything blows up constantly, resulting in chunky pixelated splatters of blood and shrapnel. There's a brobust level editor too, breh.
Flashback meets Gunpoint, as a man in a trenchcoat performs pixel-perfect jumps to traverse traps and trickery. A lovely demo already exists and the finished article should be with us sooner rather than later.
IL-2 Sturmovik: Battle of Stalingrad
The most beautifully crafted flight simulation of all time? Hopefully. This is the game that may launch a thousand Oculus Rifts.
A month after PS4, 2014
Mike Bithell's follow-up to Thomas Was Alone is a top-down puzzler, requiring the use of sound to solve sneaky-stealth puzzling. Once again starring Danny Wallace as the game's AI, it will launch with hundreds of puzzles of its own, and also the ability for players to create and share their own levels. It'll have a month's PS4 exclusive for some reason, then reach the PC.
River City Ransom: Underground
The original River City Ransom was released in 1989 and was a beat-'em-up with a simple control scheme, an open world full of objects to be used as melee weapons, and a lot of style. RCR: Underground is the unlikely, officially licensed sequel. It has the original creator onboard as an advisor, the backing of a successful Kickstarter campaign, and its development blog suggests everyone involved is taking great pains to evoke the spirit of the original.
Galak-Z: The Dimensional
Ships tumble beautifully and erotically through space. Direction is meaningless. Everything is meaningful. A game of possible rare beauty about acrobats in control of machines in space.
A Kickstarter darling to the tune of over $625,000, this one's taking the low road with little regard for frivolities like shame or dignity. You are a car. You turn pedestrians into intestine-topped road pizza. Everything goes crash-crash and boom-boom, and you giggle with furious mirth.
Cyberpunk noir slapstick pizza survival horror comedy
Adult Swim released several fantastic games in 2013 and Jazzpunk looks like the studio’s most ambitious offering to date. It wants to make you laugh and early evidence suggests it might well succeed.
Hacking the open world
If Ubisoft can pull this off, what a thing it will be. An open city in which you can hack everything, letting you choose how to approach your given quests, whether by gunfire or stealth. What we've seen looks like the strangest combination of stunningly exciting potential and hoary GTA-me-do generic violence. Where it will eventually fall will decide the game's fate.
Open world vehicular violence
Will Avalanche bring the beautiful ruckus of Just Cause 2 to Mel’s mad world? Hopefully. Ziplines, headbutts and exploding cars all feature. This much we know.
Top-down rogue-like RPG
No date set
Unlike many of its more modern horror genre compatriots, this one's about survival first and foremost. Blockade doors, find generators, and weep as sanity effects convince you that said generators are puking drunken disapproval at all of your life choices. Also, the game's very, very dark.
Hey, remember MMOs? They were fun for a bit, weren't they? Attempting to revive some sort of retro nostalgic interest in the old genre, Carbine and NCSoft's Wildstar looks like it'll focus on the core of what made the most successful examples succeed so successfully, while even braving a subscription model. (Along with bemusing alternatives based around buying in-game items or something.)
Galactic Civilizations 3
Turn-Based Space Strategy
Release: 2014 – Founders’ alpha early 2014, public beta soon after.
Stardock’s hotly anticipated sequel may be the epic 4X space game that the federated worlds have been waiting for. Improved planetary management, intricate ship-building and interstellar terrain are among the features that could make this game, long in-development, the brightest star in the sky.
Blacklight dev Zombie's latest is a procedurally generated scare-'em-up. You'll wander around an island that's never the same twice, take photos, and develop a desperate, clawing phobia of creepy dolls. It's creepy, kooky, mysterious, and spooky. It's probably not much like The Addams Family.
Murder Mystery Business Sim
Turn-based Agatha Christie, in which players invite aristocrats to houses and then observe and capture them when they murder one another. That’s aristocrats for you – they live to kill.
Grand Theft Auto V
Flowers, women, men, haircuts. Cars. Radio gaga.
Wolfenstein: The New Order
Someone at Bethesda needs to do their history homework. They seem to think the Nazis won World War 2 in 1960. And that some dude called Captain B.J. Blazkowicz was the man to stand up to their world rule in an attempt to fight back. This is going to be awfully awkward when they realise what a silly mistake they've made.
Dungeon Defenders 2
Not a MOBA
First it was a tower defense sequel, then it was a MOBA with tower defense elements, and now it's a tower-powered defend-o-battler again. After an icky time of accusations and confessions for developers Trendy, the sequel appears to be back on track. Perhaps things will work out for the best after all. Hopefully? Maybe?
Space Station 13 Remake
Multiplayer space roleplaying sim
Have you ever dreamed of being a space bartender? Quinns' did, and Space Station 13's 2D sprites offered him the freedom to live out his dreams on a ship populated with other people. This remake should do the same in a prettier engine with a more user-friendly interface and proper physics.
Check back on Monday for part two of this ludicrously enormous feature.
*Imaginary prizes are not available to employees of Rock, Paper, Shotgun Ltd, nor their families, friends, lovers and opticians.