The privilege of working with the Codec Moments team is that I get to gush over fangasm inducing stuff. With it being early doors in 2014, we’re at the point of the year which is possibly one of the most exciting. A lot of stuff has been announced, a lot of rumours are flying around and on top of that there is still another 11 months for more rumours, speculation and announcement. It’s also a time when everybody does their anticipation lists and I’ve carefully selected a few that I am looking forward to seeing. While there is a ton of other stuff that I am equally as eager to see, I can’t talk about them all so here are the heavy hitters. For now at least.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Warning: There is a Witcher 2 spoiler in here.
This is hands down the game I am most eager for in 2014. In the years since the release of The Witcher on PC, I have been enthralled in White Wolf’s story and have dived willingly into his history which was both lovingly and skillfully crafted by Andrej Sapkowski, going into publication way back in the early 90′s. A running theme throughout the entire story, spanning both book and game, has been the looming threat of the superpower that is the Nilfgaardian Empire attacking Temeria and that very attack began in the closing moments of The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings. Which, for all invested, is a big deal.
CD Projekt RED have done a tremendous job of bringing Sapkowski’s work from the page to the screen, all while being one of my favourite developers in this modern day games industry that seems to be so brazenly veiled in shady business practices. Their digital distribution website GOG is the first port of call when it comes to guaranteed DRM free content as well as the ever-so-welcome revival of classics that are, by at large, disregarded by the industry. Whether it’s simply a good grasp on public relations or not, CD Projekt Red carry the ‘friend’ persona that so many other developers wish they could hold a fraction of. Since The Witcher’s inception they have crafted this masterpiece of a series of games with glaring evidence of growth from the first installment to the second and from what I can see, they’ve carried that with them into the third. I don’t just think this company may do it justice, I know they will.
Amazing story, amazing game, amazing creators. Cannot wait.
I am still just as eager to get my hands on Watch Dogs as I was when I first saw it. The only difference is that it’s closer now. What’s not to love about the idea of Batman with an iPhone? Although, I can’t go as far as to say that Aiden Pierce appears to be a deep character, he’s a compelling one none the less and there’s still a lot about him that is unknown. Premise, across all mediums, is always a big deal for me when it comes to deciding what I’m going to invest my time in (that’s why I watched the movie Dog Tooth – look it up) and this game has a doozy. Simple but unique. What if you could hack EVERYTHING around you? I personally can’t wait to find out.
I’ve always been a fan of Ubisoft, despite their many indiscretions, as they provide solid products. In fact, I was such a fan of Prince of Persia that at first I didn’t like Assassin’s Creed because it was clearly them ‘going in a new direction’, one that wasn’t PoP… but Ezio’s story took care of that pretty damn quickly. I won’t say that there is nothing negative to say about this company because there is, a lot of it. What I will say is that I don’t struggle to overlook a lot of it because I love the games they make.
Dark Souls II
I’ve always loved the idea of a game that doesn’t pull punches and From Software’s Souls series has done so not only in abundance but in a way that has tagged it’s patrons as sadists in the eyes of many. With it’s intentional design of dropping players in at the deep end, with no initial sense of direction, they’ll often go the way they will soon regret when they suddenly enter an inescapable chamber with the Gaping Dragon. In my early experiences with Dark Souls I recall having to even remain vigilant with trash mobs, specially when the aspect of ‘curse’ was thrown into the mix.
From Software have, in this series, provided gamers with the fantasy they love without the constant handholding that has become standard practice. Not only is the gameplay unforgiving but even the story has to be weened out through keen and meticulous observation of flavour text attached to items, things that people say as well as covenants and their reasons for existing. There is practically no exposition offered, no info dumping, and it compliments the game’s not one inch personality perfectly. There is a story to be found but you have to really want to find it… or, y’know… Google it.
I’ll confess that to this date I have not successfully finished either Demon Souls or Dark Souls but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to get a day one copy of this 2014 addition to the franchise.
Torment: Tides Of Numenera
I didn’t back this Kickstarter project but in retrospect, I should have. I did, however, watch as InXile asked for $900,000 and within no time at all accumulated over $4,000,000 to make this game. Reading through the Kickstarter page, even if you disregard the existence of Planescape: Torment, it’s abundantly clear why these people deserve every success they get. Stretch target after stretch target was bowled over and they handled each and every one like champions, to the extent that they pretty much added another game on top of it for when your character isn’t alive! Visually it looks outstanding. It’s heavily story focused (which is always a massive plus in my eyes) and the varying elements of how you got about influencing your story are through the roof. It just looks so complex, and I love complex!
As I said earlier, it’s too early to say as there are still a lot more announcements to be made this year, it’s only February but… I can see this being, for me at least, game of the year material. Simply because it’s what I’ve been waiting for for a long, long time. I just hope it lives up to the understandably high expectations I have set for it.
Tom Clancy’s The Division
In 2013, the world lost one of it’s most influential authors in Tom Clancy, but his memory remains not only in the many amazing books he had written in the course of his life but also in the film adaptations of many of those books and, in no small measure, the impression he has left upon the games industry, too. If it weren’t for the combined efforts of Clancy and Ubisoft, I probably never would have given many other military themed games a chance. My first Clancy/Ubisoft game was the first Splinter Cell which I instantly loved. Later getting into Ghost Recon, then Rainbow Six. Covering so many bases from the stealth to the tactical battlefield squad all the way done to the high tension close encounter swat team focused gameplay and far, far beyond with Endwar and H.A.W.X. The franchise is a winner, whether Ubisoft choose to see it that way or not.
E3 was a funny old affair, but as well as some terrible comments and decisions made and, in the interest of fairness, some exploitative tactics to capitalize on those poor decisions and comments, there was a lot of good to come out of the event, also. This being one of them, I don’t know when this game is coming out but I’m in the mindset that whenever that due date is, it’ll launch a year later. And I’m fine with that. I want polish on this and for that I can wait another five years. Anything I have to say would be based on the very limited information that we’ve all recieved so far but suffice it to say that, for me, this game was love at first sight. If you’ve not seen the E3 footage, go check it out and join me!
And that brings us to the end of part one of my most anticipated games of 2014. Stay tuned for part two, where I’ll be going over a list of games due this year that I hope are as good as they look. Feel free to tell us what you are most looking forward to in the comments below.