MCV takes a look at the biggest releases and events that will affect the games industry in the next year.
1. Dark Souls II
For the masochistic gamers out there a sequel to the insanely difficult Dark Souls will be coming to stores in March. The series has a relentless cult following, and this sequel is one of the last great games for PS3 and Xbox 360.
2. Infamous: Second Son
The third entry in the Infamous series is set to be one of the biggest next-gen titles of 2014, and will no doubt show off what Sony’s new PlayStation is capable of graphically.
3. More GTA
There is no question that Grand Theft Auto V was one of the highlights of 2013, but there is still more to come. Rockstar has promised that story DLC for all three characters will be coming in 2014, as well as new multiplayer packs. Hopefully we’ll see some entirely new stories too, in the vein of GTA IV’s The Lost and Damned.
4. Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes
This is the latest console Metal Gear Solid game in five years and hits both current and next-gen platforms showing off Kojima’s new Fox Engine as well as setting the stage for the upcoming major sequel, Phantom Pain.
The stealth series returns after a ten year break. The games were always popular, but in their absence the series has gained a cult following.
6. South Park: The Stick of Truth
This RPG based on the hit cartoon series casts players as ’the New Kid’ in everyone’s favourite Colorado town as they play a live action role playing game. Popular enemies from the show pop up, including the Gingers.
7. The Elder Scrolls Online
The bestselling epic RPG title makes the logical step to being an online MMO. Set thousands of years before the other titles, players take on the role of a number of races in the games.
8. Final Fantasy XV
E3 2013 was a huge one for Final Fantasy, with a number of major titles: the highlight? This stunning and very action-based next-gen title.
9. Halo 5
The previous entries in the Halo series sold countless Xbox and Xbox 360s. Now, it will do the same on the Xbox One. We expect to see more of it at E3 and for it to hit stores before Christmas.
10. Max Max
This title, based on the highly popular film series of the same name, is one of Warner Bros’ biggest next-gen bets. We can expect big things from it as it is being developed Avalanche Studios, the studio behind Just Cause 2.
11. The Witcher 3
The hit RPG series based on Andrzej Sapkowski’s series of novels makes the jump to next-gen, boasting the biggest map in RPG history – 20 per cent bigger than Skyrim’s. The title is hotly awaited, winning the Most Anticipated Game awards at last year’s Golden Joysticks.
12. Dragon Age Inquisition
BioWare’s most successful series is back, and looks better than ever – with bigger environments and far more exploration than in previous installments. Combat has been reworked, too, as has the romance aspect of the game, which BioWare promises will be more ’mature and tasteful’.
13. Uncharted 4
Naughty Dog has given away very little about this game, let alone a release date, but if this hits consoles this year it will be one of the biggest PlayStation 4’s biggest titles next year.
14. The Sims 4
The first core Sims title in five years comes with an improved character creation system as well as new emotion based gameplay which will improve the social aspects of the title – each action will have massive consequences through the life of your Sims. After all these years, The Sims 3 and its expansions remain the UK’s biggest physical PC titles
15. FIFA 15 vs PES 15
A new year, a renewed rivalry between the big dogs of football games. FIFA will be riding off the back of its biggest release yet, selling considerably more than Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 – but Konami’s next title is being made on a new engine with help from a new studio so expect a big fight back.
16. Big Year for Telltale
The developer behind the Walking Dead games is back making not just a follow up to that title, but also games based on The Wolf Among Us. It has also obtained the licence to make titles based on the Game of Thrones series and has teamed up with 2K to create Tales from the Borderlands, set in the world of the series of the same name.
17. Kinect Sports Rivals
Rare, the acclaimed studio behind Goldeneye is back with another entry in the Kinect Sports series for the Xbox One which promises to make the most of Microsoft’s new Kinect.
18. More Call of Duty
With a new year, it’s safe to predict a new Call of Duty title. This year around it’s Treyarch’s turn to bring out a shooter, so it might well be another title in its World at War and Black Ops sub-series, though they might take the series in an entirely different direction.
19. More Assassin’s Creed
Ubisoft’s historical action simulator has become something of an annual institution, so expect to see more Assassin’s Creed in 2014. Who knows where the series will go – World War Two? The Napoleonic Wars? This is on top of the HD update of 2012’s Vita title, Liberation.
20. Lots of LEGO
After Warner Bros having their biggest LEGO title in 2013 with Marvel Super Heroes, the publisher is set to give The Hobbit a plastic brick makeover. The title will tell the story of the first two films – An Unexpected Journey and The Desolation of Smaug. This is in addition to the video game adaptation of The LEGO Movie, which will be coming out in February.
21. Watch Dogs
Ubisoft’s hacking title is one of the most anticipated next-gen titles – especially after being delayed last year. Watch Dogs topped the games media’s own Most Anticipated Game of 2014 list.
The Xbox One definitely has a killer-app in EA’s Titanfall. It wowed critics at E3, winning 60 awards. The game is from the creators of Call of Duty and boasts jet packs and giant mechs called Titans that come in all shapes and sizes. It is entirely online with chaotic deathmatches
Another delayed next-gen title. This was showed off at the PlayStation’s unveiling in February and apparently makes good use of the PS4’s Share button which will come into play with team races.
24. The Evil Within
Horror veteran Shinji Mikami of Resident Evil fame is returning to his survival horror roots this generation. The Evil Within looks to be classic horror, with players very much outnumbered and underpowered while stalked by a horde of monsters. The title is from Bethesda, publisher of big new IP such as Dishonored.
25. The Order: 1866
This PlayStation 4 exclusive title was revealed at E3 2013 and serves to show just how beautiful games on Sony’s new hardware will be.
The developer behind the best-selling Halo series, Bungie, is teaming up with Activision to make this unique shooter that mixes aspects of MMO with traditional FPS games. This title will be huge, and Activision views this as one of the next-gen’s biggest titles.
27. Project Spark
Microsoft’s content creation game is headed to Xbox One later this year. The title was part of the console’s reveal in 2013 and gives players the tools they need to make games – either building their own from scratch, or remixing the ideas of other users.
28. The Division
Ubisoft’s latest Tom Clancy title was announced and shown off at E3 2013 and will be heading to next-gen consoles later this year. The game is built on the impressive Snowdrop engine which allows for some absolutely beautiful looking visuals.
29. The Crew
Race across a massive open world America in Ubisoft’s latest racing title on next-gen hardware and PC. Single and multiplayer are one and the same here – players form crews and race each other, or against ghosts.
30. Super Smash Bros
Nintendo’s multi-million selling fan-favourite returns for another bout – expect the publisher’s best loved characters – and some extras like Mega Man – plus new additions such as Animal Crossing’s villager and the Wii Fit trainer – beating the snot out of each other on both Wii U and 3DS.
31. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
Nintendo’s ape makes his HD debut in February and he’s bringing Diddy, Cranky and Dixie Kong along for the ride, each with their own unique abilities. It is the sequel of the Wii and 3DS title Donkey Kong Country Returns, which has sold over 7m copies worldwide.
32. Mario Kart 8
There will be no bigger title on the Wii U?this year than the latest addition to Nintendo’s racing series – it really has a system seller on its hands here. Mario’s new racing title brings the new additions from Mario Kart 7 to Wii U this Spring – including the flying and underwater sections.
33. Bayonetta 2
The eagerly anticipated follow-up to Devil May Cry creator Hideki Kamiya’s cult hack-and-slash title is coming exclusively to Wii U, complete with the chaotic a combat that made the first title so great. New this time is a two-player mode and a number of improvements.
34. Oculus Rift
The ‘90s dream of virtual reality gaming is almost upon us with the head-mounted VR headset. With id Software’s John Carmack now working full time on the futuristic tech, we expect great things from Oculus Rift.
35. Steam Machine
Valve is finally bringing PC gaming to the living room. The developer is working with more than 12 companies to produce the hardware. The console also comes with the unique Steam Controller.
36. New Nintendo Hardware
Each year, Nintendo seems to release a new piece of tech – last year we had the 2DS, and the year before the Wii U and the 3DS XL. This year maybe it’ll be the 2DS XL, or how about a slimmed down version of the Wii U? Or perhaps a Nintendo tablet?
37. More Vita
Sony has already announced and released the Vita TV microconsole in Japan, as well as the stripped down and cheaper PS Vita Slim. We expect the publisher to release something in the UK this year.
38. Xbox vs PlayStation
Hype surrounding the next-gen dominated much of 2013, but its this year that really matters. Both consoles have some fantastic exclusive titles which will help them to sell.
39. More Android consoles
Ouya might not have taken off in quite the spectacular fashion it was meant to, but that hasn’t deterred other developers. Madcatz has its Mojo Android console, Ouya is releasing a follow up to last year’s console, and Gamestick might be coming out.
40. E3 2014
Last year’s E3 saw the big platform holders fighting to out do one another. Now we are past the next-gen launches, hopefully we’ll see what this brave new world of consoles has to offer us.
41. MCV Awards
The MCV Awards returns, celebrating those working hard in UK games retail and publishing. There are 25 awards up for grabs, including new prizes for best Events Team, Digital Strategy, Publishing Partner, Creative Agency Team and Digital Campaign. Lobbying is open now, and ends on January 24th. The awards will be dished out on April 10th.
42. World Cup
There’s no doubt that all eyes will be on Brazil this summer as the World Cup takes over. As is fitting of such a huge occasion, there inevitably will be a tie-in video game, for those football fans who want more than a month of the beautiful game – which is far longer than the England team will last in the competition.
Europe’s biggest games conference will be back for its sixth year in August. Last year the show was the biggest ever, with 340,000 people and 635 exhibitors coming to the huge halls in Cologne.
44. Top networking events
There will be plenty of opportunities for you to meet your peers from around the industry in 2014. From the MCV Pub Quizzes, to London Games Conference and the Games Media Awards.
45. Retail gets in on the digital market
It’s been a long time coming, but High Street retail is finally starting to work its way into the digital games market place. Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft are all backing physical retailers with their digital games.
46. Retail’s recovery
In 2013, games retail sales declined year-on-year, while hardware sales rose slightly. Now the new consoles are out, we expect more recovery from the industry and a big year for games while Sony and Microsoft battle it out.
47. Console price cuts
A new generation of gaming hardware means that the old consoles should come down in price. We expect to see price cuts for the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3. Hopefully Nintendo’s Wii U will see a price cut to push sales, too.
48. Video game films
2014 sees Need for Speed coming to the silver screen in March with Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul at the wheel. Also coming in the spring is a CG animated film based on the Heavenly Sword series while a new Resident Evil is set for a September release.
49. Government tax breaks
After being approved by the Government last year, the UK video game will be benefitting from tax breaks....once the EU finishes investigating the proposals. Hopefully these breaks will take effect in 2014.
50. eSports will get bigger
Thanks to livestreaming platforms like Twitch, eSports have never been more popular – with 32m watching a League of Legends final last year. The UK has been lagging in eSports popularity, but 2014 should be the year eSports break into the mainstream.
WHAT THE INDUSTRY IS LOOKING FORWARD TO
I hope the initial console momentum gathers much speed in 2014 and that the weighting to digital content provides overall industry growth, making for a healthy business model for everyone with rising valuations to match. It’s time. An uplift in the economy is looming and an industry starting to feel good about itself and with the real innovation in content coming, it should make for a good year and put a smile on everyone’s face.
Rod Cousens, CEO, Codemasters
More people playing games. It will be such a huge year in terms of increased options for gamers; Xbox One and PS4 have launched well, Nintendo I’m sure will have plans to push their incredible content to consumers, PC games will continue the strong growth that has been enjoyed for the last couple of years. Whatever device you play on, whatever gaming ’style’ you enjoy, you will never have had so much choice.
John Clark, Vice President Digital Distribution, Sega Steam Machines.
Outside of the World Cup which I am looking forward to, I am looking forward to Oculus Rift becoming a ’thing’. I want to see it on sale, in shops, online anywhere and everywhere and thus scratch that VR itch which I have had since Lawnmower Man. And I am looking forward to the Steam Box being available. That is going to kick out the jams. Without doubt.
Andy Payne, Chairman, Mastertronic
My hopes for 2014 are that we finally hear that the tax breaks for games get the go ahead. I want UKIE to play its part in helping the mainstream media reflect on games as a positive, important part of culture. I also want to see a new generation of code literate, artistic talent break through into games and every school in the country to be talking about our sector as the most exciting career prospect.
Dr. Jo Twist, CEO, UKIE
With Playfire now tracking and rewarding next-gen gamer’s achievements, we’re looking forward to seeing more of what our community is really buzzing about in 2014. We have some exciting Green Man Gaming projects in the pipeline, though personally, I’m still hoping for a Half Life 3 announcement this year, especially as we’re now working with Valve.
Paul Sulyok, CEO, Green Man Gaming
2014 is going to be a fantastic year. I’m excited about Oculus Rift and how it is going to be integrated into big game releases, the increased gaming mobility with the continuation of second screen app gameplay, Steam Machines and what they do to the market, and developers and the new consoles – has the potential of the hardware been fully realised? More games, games and games and, of course, E3.
Clair Porteous, Deputy MD Film and Games, Future Publishing
Really there’s two things I am looking forward to in 2014: The launch of some significant head turning jaw dropping digital titles from Rising Star Games throughout the year. And the trophy celebrations in Islington in May – there has to be a reason to have waited and hoped for so long.
Martin Defries, MD, Rising Star Games
I’m looking forward to the summer, little rain, more charity work, winning the lottery, playing The Witcher 3 and The Division, E3 2014, making Pac-Man and The Ghostly Adventures the best campaign since the ‘80s and generally a focused and happy year.
Lee Kirton, UK PR and Marketing Director, Namco Bandai
In an already crowded market I will be interested to see what Valve have to offer. Will their new Steam Machine be the shape of things to come? Does it really embody the idea of what a next-gen console is meant to be? Rather than evolution will it be revolution?
David Yarnton, Ex-Nintendo
I’m in love with the next-gen consoles, but the most exciting thing is where the elements outside of the machine will take gaming. Companion apps and remote play have already changed the way I’m playing so I can’t wait to see how publishers will build on this already great offering.
Dan Kilby, Project Manager, Ziff Davis International
This past year was a huge year as we launched RuneScape 3, and 2014 will continue that trend with the game’s first forays into mobile. I’ll also be at Glastonbury Festival next year, which if the rumours are true, will mean performances from Bowie and Kasabian – I can’t wait.
Neil McClarty, Brand Director, RuneScape, Jagex
I’m excited to see how the PC gaming scene develops alongside this new generation of consoles. The PC gaming market continued to grow rapidly in 2013; with major software exclusives, plus new hardware manufacturers like Steam and Oculus Rift.
Sarah Rogers, Sales and Marketing Director, NCSoft Europe
It’ll be interesting to see how developers start pushing the power of the new generation of console hardware. We should see some interesting games. And I’m also excited for Mario Kart 8.
Gurdeep Hunjan, Games Buying Manager, Sainsbury’s
Watching the installed base of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles grow will certainly be the highlight of 2014. Consumer interest has been huge and the Christmas boost coupled with available stock early this year and a strong software line up should see numbers rise rapidly.
Robert Lindsay, MD, GamesCentre