While 2014 will without a doubt belong to the new and shiny consoles, there are still games coming out for the PC. A lot of games. PC gaming is still far, far away from being dead. With the new consoles out, chances are, too, that PC games will start pushing the hardware again, something that has not happened in the past years, simply because the consoles most games were made for were keeping the technical ante down quite a bit (of course here’s to hoping the devlopers of cross platform titles don’t just go sloppy on PC optimization with the excuse of consoles now having more power…). Next year will also be a good year to be a PC gamer, and here we have twenty reasons for that, as usual in no particular order:
20 Watch Dogs
Ubisoft’s too close for comfort near future smartphone-punk game has been shifted to 2014, which almost instantly makes it one of the most interesting upcoming games. As usual with Ubisoft, PC games will have to wait an extra month for the release, and can look forward to an unforgettable experience with Uplay. But still, this is one to look forward to. Chicago never looked so good. There will be tons of things to do, and if you don’t like the near future setting, you just have to squint and the game will pass as another entry to the Assassin’s Creed series.
19 Everquest Next
Everquest is coming back. The father of the MMO (yes, Ultima Online, we have taken note of your complaints regarding potential fatherhood and believe me we are investigating) comes back with a vengeance. Aggressively updated graphics and all the things you would expect from a huge MMO that dares taking on the mountain size gorilla in the room that is World of Warcraft. But at the same time they don’t, since developers Sony Online Entertainment have stressed their intent of keeping the free to play model as long as possible.
18 The Division
Nothing bonds as fast as an epidemic of apocalyptic proportions. Well, unless you’re infected with the plague I guess. The Division is set in the ever growing Tom Clancy universe, and will be the first bona fide Clancyverse online multiplayer game. Think The Elder Scrolls Online with guns. Except probably not at all like that. But with guns. Lots of guns. And UAVs your friends can control with a tablet app. This game promises a bunch of new ideas, it will be interesting to see if they can actually put them all together in a meaningful way.
17 Wolfenstein The New Order
Fighting nazis never gets old. Fighting cyber robo nazis from the future? Uh, yeah that’s like the perpetual fountain of youth for awesome gaming recipes. Created by the people that made it possible for us mere mortals to actually become Richard D. Riddick for two games, the people who made up fabled and now fallen S
Machine Games, we are very much looking forward to kicking some shiny, metal nazi ass!
16 Broken Age
Tim Schafer returns to point-and-click adventures. Initially dubbed simply “Double Fine Adventure”, this game was one of the earlier kickstarter experiments with which Double Fine helped to start the kickstarter kraze we see today. I can’t really say too much about the game other than that it will be a Tim Schafer point and click adventure, which really says it all. It will probably be pretty awesome, if you like this kind of game.
15 Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls
Blizzard, the inventors of the expansion pack, bring back the expansion pack. Just like Lord of Destruction for Diablo 2 or the countless Word of Warcraft expansions, Reaper of Souls promises to bring more Diablo 3 click to kill madness to the people who desire more of those things. Also there will be a new level cap, a new character class, new skills, weapons and monsters to kill with those new weapons.
14 Dragon Age: Inquisition
After the debacle of Dragon Age II and the departure of the Doctors, BioWare took its time with the next big title, the third entry to the Dragon Age saga. Dragon Age Inquisition goes more into the direction of being an open world game, without fully becoming a Skyrim clone. The developers have been heard saying that the game will take some hints from open world games. Also the complaints about Dragon Age II have been taken to heart, so we can look forward to a much broader, much better developed experience.
13 The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Speaking of third parts of sprawling fantasy series, here’s another one to look out for. CD Projekt RED’s third entry into the acclaimed Witcher saga. The Wild Hunt will be an open world game, that takes the Polish developer’s insane attention to detail to another level. Gerald’s final adventure (supposedly, don’t take my word for it) will feature a huge open world and a completely nonlinear experience. Also it will look absolutely gorgeous, but that’s barely a thing we have to mention about games anymore at the current level of technology available.
12 Planetary Annihilation
While the game is currently accessible on Steam’s early access program, it is still far from finished, slotted for a true release sometime next year. Planetary Annihilation takes the real time strategy game formula of Supreme Commander to yet another level, going up to a, well, planetary scale. There will be huge multiplayer battles with 40 and more players participating as well as a single player campaign. And a lot of mayhem. Obviously.
This one is one of the smaller games on this list, but none the less one to look out for, as it scratches an itch that’s been abandoned for too long. Routine takes parts of Amnesia’s hide and evade horror game formula and transplants it to a mysteriously abandoned space station. The game runs on Unreal Engine 3, looks absolutely incredible for game made by two people, and will feature heavily on some cool features like procedural level and mission generation.
Another indie title that got a successful kickstarter. Darkwood takes the perspective from indie shooter Teleglitch, adding a procedurally generated world and story elements to the mix, and goes wild with monsters of all kind in the dark and a procedurally generated, permadeath horror adventure. One of the most exciting indiegames to look out for next year.
9 The Long Dark
And another kickstarted indiegame. This one takes survival seriously, pitting the player mostly against the elements and hungry wildlife. Finally you can starve and freeze to death, while you can also fend of wolves by keeping a fire burning through the night. Unlike other games, The Long Dark will not feature zombies or extensive gunplay, but focus exclusively on survival mechanisms. It sounds like an interesting concept and it will be exciting to see where this game ends up in a year time.
8 The Elder Scrolls Online
Bethesda’s answer to World of Warcraft has been a long time in the making, and thankfully, a lot has changed since those early proof of concept screenshots. The game now actually looks more like fans of the series would want an Elder Scrolls MMO to look. The game is already in closed beta, and will also be available on new generation consoles, though there will not be cross platform play.
Verticality is the name of the game in Titanfall, which varies from its predecessors in the Call of Duty franchise. Developed by the creators of Call of Duty, Titanfall is a multiplayer-only experience that promises to change the way we look at, and play first-person shooters as players are encouraged to scale walls, leap from building to building, and pilot gigantic mechs that tower over the battlefield.
6 The Sims 4
The Sims 4 arguably offers more of the same experience as its predecessors in the series, but EA promises to deliver an evolutionary experience with The Sims 4 with a new artificial intelligence and emotion system that changes the way the game is played. More than just a facelift, then, for the long-running series.
5 Lords of the Fallen
At first glance, Lords of the Fallen might look a lot like a Darksiders game, but at closer inspection it’s more along the lines of a German-made take on the Dark Souls franchise. There’s big swords, even bigger knights, and a whole lot of hardcore death in store for gamers. Much like Dark Souls, Lords of the Fallen features methodical combat and requires players to be quick on their fingertips.
4 Tropico 5
The banana republic simulator (not related to the clothing brand) goes into the fifth iteration, going more and more into the direction of a full on Sim City city building simulation. For the first time in the series, Tropico 5 will also feature competitive and cooperative online multiplayer features where the players can compete or cooperate with other, potentially rival dictators.
3 Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number
It’d be funnier if the game were called Hotline Miami 3: Wrong Number, because then it’d actually be a wrong number and… well, you get the joke. The fact of the matter is that Hotline Miami 2 is the follow-up to Hotline Miami, one of the industry’s most visceral experiences despite being a top-down pixelart-driven experience. Expect more blood, more gore, and a whole lot of Drive-inspired masked mayhem and killing.
2 Project Eternity
Project Eternity is a fantasy-themed role-playing game from the masters of the genre, Obsidian Entertainment. Developed by Josh Sawyer and his team at Obsidian, Project Eternity boasts some of the most well-regarded writers in the genre, including George Zeits, who created Mask of the Betrayer for Neverwinter Nights 2, and Chris Avellone of Planescape: Torment fame. The game was funded on Kickstarter to a tune of $4.1 million, in addition to funds received through PayPal. Needless to say, it’s all very popular and expected to top the lists of role-players everywhere.
1 Torment: Tides of Numenera
Dubbed as the spiritual sequel to Planescape: Torment, Torment: Tides of Numenera (what a mouthful!) takes place in the new RPG setting of Numenera, and is themed around the concept of “action” as opposed to Planescape’s “belief”. Designed by Colin McComb and a few of the other folks responsible for the original Torment, Torment: Tides of Numenera is one of the most highly anticipated role-playing games of the year.