One of the great things about starting a new year is the sense of potential we get. We know that dozens of developers have games that they plan to bring out during the year, but we don't know how they'll turn out yet. Will 2014 bring us something that belongs in the RPG Hall of Fame? Or barring that, will it at least bring us 12 months of fun? We sure hope so. In this five part feature, we present to you 25 games that we are looking forward to this year; games we think have potential and get us excited to start a new year of gaming. Not all of them may see release this year, but we'd be pretty excited if they did.
Note: Titles are listed in no particular order.
It is no secret that Zeboyd Games has become an indie darling among RPG fans. Breath of Death VII and Cthulhu Saves the World left a lasting impression on fans, and Zeboyd even took over the mantle of Hothead Games' Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness series. Zeboyd's library so far tells a tale of growth, and their upcoming Cosmic Star Heroine looks to be their most realized game to date. Taking stylistic cues from beloved classics such as Phantasy Star and Chrono Trigger, and with a soundtrack by Hyperduck Soundworks, Cosmic Star Heroine is a classic style JRPG that's definitely aiming for the stars.
Writeup by Neal Chandran
What could be more enticing to WRPG fans than spending over 100 hours with Geralt of Rivia in a completely open world? Not just a matter of being "bigger and better" than its predecessor (although that much is true as well), Wild Hunt transcends the concept of sequel by introducing a dynamic open world with a player-choice-driven story, living and reactive inhabitants, complex economics, weather systems, and points of interest visible from anywhere Geralt stands. This is the monster hunter's final adventure, and we're sure to shed a tear or two as his story concludes. Exactly how it concludes will likely depend on you.
Writeup by Kyle E. Miller
Obsidian has been a company of highs and lows. Their ambitions have always been set high, but sometimes the final product disappointed due to budget constraints and accelerated release times. With Pillars of Eternity, Obsidian no longer has those excuses. After blasting more than 2.8 million dollars past their initial 1.1 million dollar Kickstarter goal, they finally are getting everything they've asked for in terms of money and time from a fanbase hungry to see what they can do. The initial gameplay videos of this return to the company's Infinity Engine roots look absolutely beautiful and have only served to increase the hype. If Obsidian delivers here, not only could we see the beginning of a new RPG franchise, but Obsidian will have proven to their critics that when they get what they ask for they can create games to rival the best studios in the business.
Writeup by Dave Yeager
A lot is riding on Wasteland 2. inXile's sensational run through Kickstarter pulled in nearly 3 million dollars, blowing well past the 900k they were looking for to make the game. Wasteland 2 was part of a trend in 2012 and into early 2013 of high profile developers going to the crowd funding platform as opposed to the traditional producer model, and the results have been very mixed. 2014 is a year where we will expect to start seeing the finished products for several of these larger Kickstarter projects, and the whole gaming world is waiting with bated breath to pass judgement. Is crowd funding a fad? Or is the traditional funding model about to be subverted forever? Either way, with Steam early access already rolled out for the hefty asking price of $59.99, the game that many curmudgeons see as the real spiritual successor to Fallout 2 is, 25 years after the original Wasteland was released in 1988, becoming a reality.
Writeup by Dave Yeager
When The Walking Dead: Season 1 debuted, its initial episodes met with positive response. As the series improved with each installment, its finale met with accolades that placed Telltale center-stage as modern gaming's leading adventure game developer. With Season 2's first episode to whet our palette, Telltale clearly aims to surpass its initial reimagining of Robert Kirkman's world. Clementine acting as lead protagonist means a perspective shift from repentant murderer to pubescent youth amidst a cannibalistic apocalypse, which offers a fascinating lens for Telltale's writers and players to peer through. Indeed, Episode 1 has already offered several examples of what these circumstances mean in a world losing meaning. With four more installments on their way in 2014, our primary hope is that we don't have to wait too long between each episode.
Writeup by Bob Richardson
We doubt it. We really, really doubt it, but we want it so much that putting it on our list and visualizing it coming out this year makes it feel a little closer. Visualizing is the key to making dreams come true, right? Persona 5 has an incredible amount of pressure on it, but it's in good hands. Being released on the PS3 instead of next-gen systems, Persona 5 is currently mostly a mystery. We were given a small glimpse, and, though it is enticing, it gives us almost nothing on which to base our conjectures. Will it use the same formula as Persona 3 and 4 or explore completely new structure? Will there be the same school sim aspect or will the protagonists be older and more mature? Will there be one dungeon or many? Will there be a Teddie? All we can say for sure is that it will be dark, it will be weird, and it will bear the Shin Megami Tensei badge with pride.
Writeup by Kyle E. Miller