Top 10 most anticipated games of 2014

By Matt Maguire

It's a new year, and that means it's time to look ahead to the year's most anticipated releases! Matt Maguire counts down the 10 most anticapated games for 2014.

This year's most anticipated game releases.
This year's most anticipated game releases.

10. Incognita

Genre: Turn-based strategy
Developer: Klei Entertainment
Platform(s): Windows PC, OS X, Linux
Release date: 2014
Why: Klei Entertainment has one of the best track records of any indie. The studio is on a tear, its last three releasing being the excellent Don't Starve, Mark of the Ninja, and Shank 2. Klei has also proven it knows how to create top-shelf stealth mechanics, and Incognita's XCOM-style turn-based combat and clear interface have it shaping up to be another winner for the Canadian indie.

9. Game of Thrones

Genre: Adventure
Developer: Telltale Games
Platform(s): TBA
Release date: 2014
Why: Okay, so we might be hanging out a little too much for a decent Game of Thrones title, but it's difficult to see how this one can go wrong.

Telltale (The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us) has some of the best writers in the business, and its character-driven style is perfect for George R. R. Martin's complex, densely-plotted, and brutal fantasy world.

8. South Park: The Stick of Truth

Genre: RPG
Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
Publisher: Ubisoft
Platform(s): Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Windows PC
Release date: March 7
Why: It's been delayed a bunch, but we still have faith that The Stick of Truth will prove itself a quality release in a couple of months. That's because South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone are heavily involved, because Obsidian (Neverwinter Nights 2, Fallout: New Vegas) has an enviable track record (especially when it comes to RPGs), and because what we've seen so far looks great - a faithful representation of the show's unique 2D look and crass sensibility.

7. Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

Genre: Collectible Card Game
Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
Platform(s): Windows PC, OS X
Release date: 2014
Why: The appeal of many trading card games lies in the collecting of cards, the strategic thinking, and the social play. With Hearthstone, Blizzard is betting that the familiarity of its sprawling Warcraft universe will give players another reason to lay their cash on the counter and their cards on the table. It's a fairly safe bet - there are still about eight million active World of Warcraft players, and millions more who reflect fondly on its real-time strategy predecessors. The clamoring for beta keys is not fuelled by the brand alone, though - Blizzard knows how to balance a game, and our time with Hearthstone has demonstrated that it is already a polished and highly enjoyable title.

6. Transistor

Genre: ARPG
Developer: Supergiant Games
Platform(s): PlayStation 4, Windows PC
Release date: 2014
Why: Supergiant Games' debut, Bastion, was one of the top games of 2011, and many of its winning elements appear to be present in Transistor. There's the evocative ethereal music (protagonist Red is a singer), exquisite hand-painted landscapes, and Bastion narrator Logan Cunningham is returning "in a vocal capacity". However, Supergiant has sworn against making the same game twice, and that's seen Transistor adopt a cyberpunk slant as well as more tactical combat. There's also a talking sword. This one really needs to be out, like, yesterday.

5. Pillars of Eternity

Genre: RPG
Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
Publisher: Obsidian Entertainment
Platform(s): Windows PC, OS X, Linux
Release date: Q4
Why: The third highest-funded game Kickstarter of all time, Pillars of Eternity is another Obsidian joint that proves there is a huge appetite for retro-style RPGs along the lines of the Icewind Dale and Baldur's Gate. It promises memorable companions, epic exploration, intense combat, and mature themes. However, it's the involvement of genre legends Chris Avellone, Tim Cain, and Josh Sawyer - who between them have worked on many of the most influential RPGs of all time including those listed above - that really has us excited. Never has the fourth quarter seemed such an Eternity away. (Sorry.)

4. The Division

Genre: Third-person shooter/RPG
Developer: Ubisoft Massive
Publisher: Ubisoft
Platform(s): Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Windows PC
Release date: Q4
Why: Look at that gameplay trailer. Just look at it. If that doesn't have you excited, you might want to revise your medication dosage. There are so many "What the..!" moments, from the map to the environmental interactivity to the destruction to the future tech, and Ubisoft's new-gen Snowdrop Engine dazzles. What's more, The Division takes place in a persistent online open world, so it's likely there will be content for days, and plenty of other gamer squads to frag. With the Splinter Cell franchise alone, Ubisoft has had plenty of practice creating top-shelf third-person shooters, and The Division looks like it could be the French company's best yet.

3. Watch Dogs

Genre: Action
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Publisher: Ubisoft
Platform(s): Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Windows PC
Release date: Q2
Why: There isn't too much we can say about Watch Dogs that we haven't already expressed before, but all points bear repeating, as the game looking utterly spectacular. Edward Snowden's revelations regarding PRISM have made the player's ability to access the personal information of Chicago's citizens in Watch Dogs seem all-too-plausible, and the options its hacking mechanics open up play-style-wise are very encouraging. The reputation system - where the player's actions affect the way they are portrayed in the media and therefore the way citizens reaction to him or her, but only if there are witnesses - also looks incredibly cool. So too does the seemingly-organic way the police hunt the player. And of course there's also the multiplayer component, a Dark Souls-style system that allows the singleplayer games of others to be invaded. Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. It's gonna be a huge year for Ubisoft.

2. Titanfall

Genre: FPS
Developer: Respawn Entertainment
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Platform(s): Xbox 360, Xbox One, Windows PC
Release date: March 14
Why: This one is fairly self-explanatory: it's an FPS from the creators of Call of Duty, and it features jetpacks, wall-running, double-jumps, and big-ass mechs. Interestingly for what is ostensibly a competitive multiplayer title, Titanfall also contains setpiece moments where players team up on a giant AI foe. But it's the mention of a Tribes-style momentum system for mech pilots that shows where Respawn's heart is: in tightly-controlled, frantic, vertical multiplayer combat. Sounds delicious.

1. Destiny

Genre: FPS/RPG
Developer: Bungie
Publisher: Activision
Platform(s): Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4
Release date: September 9
Why: There isn't a single game in our top 65 more ambitious than Destiny, or a developer with loftier ambitions than Bungie. The former Halo studio wants Destiny to be around for a decade and garner the kind of recognition and fanbase enjoyed by iconic pop culture franchises like Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and Star Wars. Such statements would be dismissed as hyperbole coming from many other studios, but the mythic science fiction of Destiny could have serious legs, and its FPS MMO-of-sorts structure lends itself to long-term player retention. Most importantly though, we love the settings and the gameplay we've seen so far, and we can see ourselves sinking way too many hours into this one, but regretting absolutely nothing.

- Gameplanet.co.nz

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