So, 2014. As the gaming world puts a big 2013 behind it, now remains the challenge of building on what it brought about: a new consciousness of storytelling in games, the continuing rise of small and independent developers challenging the dominance of the big publishers, and new retail models pushing the medium into new and unfamiliar territory. Oh, and there’s those new consoles waiting to start showing what they’re truly made of, as well.
But with the new year also comes change, which is especially true for MCP as we say goodbye to our longtime Editor Justin Clark. Justin is moving on to write reviews for Slant magazine and continue developing his upcoming gaming blog, and all of us here would like to thank him for his stellar work over the years, and wish him the very best of luck in his future endeavours.
Taking up the mantle is myself, Cav Gallagher. Going into 2014 we will be bringing the same editorial and review content you’ve come to expect from MCP, and continuing to strive to make our little corner of the Internet a place that generates quality videogames writing that is as fun to read and discuss as it is to write. CHUD’s gaming contingent may be numerically a mere subset of the community at large, but it’s also home to a ton of the kind of creativity and intelligence most full gaming sites can’t draw from. Key to the new MCP will be coming up with new, thought-provoking content that will spark the involvement of yourselves, dear readers, as participants and through lively discussion in the comments and on the message boards.
So with that in mind, we want to know the kinds of content you’d like to see. We have ideas, not least of which being new regular columns that we’ll be debuting over the coming weeks, but the more we know what piques people’s interest the more fun we can make this place for everyone. Leave a comment or jump on the boards and let us know!
2014’S MOST ANTICIPATED
With the new generation entering its first calendar year, the consoles will bear the brunt of anticipation as people wait to see which releases properly showcase the new hardware. We’ll be putting up our predictions for 2014 as a whole in a few days, but for now here are some of the releases we’re looking forward to seeing over the next twelve months.
Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes/The Phantom Pain: A new chapter in Hideo Kojima’s sci-fi/espionage epic is always big news, but this one, coming after MGS4 seemingly wrapped Snake’s story with a neat little bow, is an especially big deal. Throw in the prospect of MGS hitting the next-gen and you have a must-play, not just for the already impressive looking Fox Engine but just to see how much more enjoyably loopy Kojima-san can make the MGS lore than it already is.
Watch Dogs: Ubisoft seem to have been keeping this one under the radar since the announcement of its delay on the eve of the next-gen launch. Just as likely a ploy to focus attention on Assassin’s Creed 4 than to avoid burnout after the sizeable hype already generated for their hack-happy adventure, one hopes that the extra time in the oven allows the game to live up to its intriguing concept.
Dark Souls 2: With From Software’s Souls franchise becoming something of a sleeper hit with challenge-starved Western gamers, expectations are sky-high for the long-awaited sequel. With a bigger world, a slightly less wall-shaped difficulty curve for new players and promised extra optimizations for the PC version, it’ll be interesting to see if from can add the polish while maintaining the compellingly cruel but fair gameplay that made Dark Souls a bizarrely sweet slice of gaming emasculation.
Mad Max: If any game sits in the ‘Anticipated But Slightly Feared’ bracket, it’s this one. On the one hand, you could easily see the glorious insanity concocted by Avalanche Studios in Just Cause 2 fitting Mad Max like a glove, but while the jungles of Panau allowed for a lot of vertical, foot-based gameplay the barren environments and vehicle combat of Max’s world seems to invite a very different style. Continuing confusion over the game’s setting (We know that Max will have an Aussie accent, but will he be in Australia?) is also discouraging. Still, the idea of what Avalanche could do with this property is keeping us hoping.
Titanfall/Destiny: If no-one else, sci-fi FPS fans should walk out of 2014 happy with two of the last generation’s most influential dev teams – Bungie and Call of Duty’s Jason west and Vince Zampella – launching their next major franchises. Titanfall’s wall-running, mech-hopping slickness has garnered a hugely positive response at the big trade shows and potentially offers enough that is different to entice jaded CoD veterans, while Destiny promises Borderlands-esque loot questing as part of a more persistent, larger-scale experience than we’ve been used to in the shooter genre.
South Park: The Stick of Truth: A Paper Mario-esque RPG developed by Obsidian and with a script written by Parker/Stone? Yes please. Yes please very much. One of many victims of Delayapalooza 2013, the meagre footage that’s showed up so far suggests that Ubisoft are using the extra time well and may well be cooking up the game that finally heals the scars of a million crappy South Park games past.
InFamous: Second Son: A.K.A. the PS4 game everyone’s waiting for. With a new setting and new protagonist, this in-canon reboot has made a huge impression at the major trade shows with its dazzling lighting and particle effects, and for many will mark when the PS4 era really starts. If Sucker Punch can continue to refine the gameplay from the first two games, we could end up with a new king of superhero games and the thing that none of the next-gen consoles have really pulled off so far: a killer app.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt: CD Projekt struck gold with Witcher 2, turning the promise of the first game into a refreshing comeback for the old-school RPG that gave us some of the most impressive visuals of the last generation. If the footage that’s come out of Witcher 3 is to believed, the conclusion of the Geralt trilogy is going to be even prettier, with a new open-world structure promising a role-playing epic to challenge Bethesda’s best.
The Witness: Jonathan Blow’s PS4 follow-up to his little known cult outing Braid has a lot to live up to, not only as a chance for Blow to continue showing that he’s worthy of his own hype, but also as a follow-up to the game that played an instrumental part in the rise of indie development as we know it. Either way, we hope that The Witness will be one of the games that help kick the new generation out of its cautious infancy, and encourage the gameplay innovation the mainstream sorely needs.
Alien: Isolation: Stuff it. OK SEGA, we’ll bite. If Creative Assembly nail this it’ll be the Alien game of all our dreams, but you can consider yourselves as strictly on probation.