Which will be the biggest games of 2014?

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As 2013 slides into Christmas it’s a good time to reflect on what an amazing year it has been for gaming. Seriously – take a look at your shelf. It’s easy to forget stuff like Far Cry 3 and Tomb Raider from earlier in the year when the year has ended with the magnificent Grand Theft Auto 5. You could be forgiven for wondering what games are left for next year? Here’s a rundown of some of what are likely to be the biggest games of 2014.

Watch Dogs

Originally slated to launch alongside the PS4 and Xbox One, Watch Dogs from Ubisoft is a sandbox action/adventure/shooter with a focus on two zeitgeisty topics: hacking and surveillance. It’s a new intellectual property (so not a sequel) but rose to prominence when it was shown off at last year’s E3 as the sort of games the PS4 and Xbox One are capable of running. Key things we’ve seen so far include combat, and using your in-game phone to hack into different parts of the world to complete objectives.

The game was pushed into the spring following a difficult decision by the developers – they wanted to polish it some more. But it already looks great! We can’t wait.

The Division

Almost by stealth, Ubisoft have become one of the best developers out there. The Division looks set to add another glistening high-point to their record. Set in New York three weeks after a virus outbreak, The Division is an online multiplayer game that appears to major on co-op play. There was an awesome moment during its E3 reveal when after hearing the ‘characters’ chat amongst each other, planning strategy, you suddenly realise this isn’t in-game recordings but your fellow players. Let’s hope things remain that serious when we can get our hands on it.

The other major talking point around The Division has been the engine running the game – called Snowdrop, it promises some stunningly real physics, and materials that act like real life… so you should be able to shoot holes in canvas, smash glass and dent metal, and so on. Watch the above video about the game engine and be astonished!

Smash Bros WiiU & 3DS

One of the guaranteed bright spots for the ailing WiiU next year is the release of the next iteration of the Smash Bros series. Despite having some pretty ropey new characters it’ll still sell like the bucketload as all of the characters we know and love, from Mario to Link to Pikachu, will still be present – on some all new stages. What’s particularly interesting is that this is the first game in the series to get a companion release on the 3DS – so it will be interesting to see what linking up the two games can do, and how the 3D will be utilised too.

Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes

Brilliantly, Ground Zeroes is coming to both Xbox and Playstation platforms – on both PS3 and PS4, as well as 360 and One. It’s slightly unusual though in that it’s only the first half – the prologue – of a game coming a few years from now called MGSV: The Phantom Pain (think how they, umm, split the last Harry Potter film in two, I guess).

It’s looking good though – it’s a prequel set in 1975, you play as Snake infiltrating a blacksite in Cuba. We’re looking forward to dashing about inside a cardboard box already.

Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare

Surprisingly, Plants vs Zombies isn’t just a mobile game. It started life on Windows and Mac, and the next game in the series is starting at home too: on Windows, Xbox and Xbox One. Unlike the tower defence game of the past, this iteration is a third person shooter – and will sport both cooperative and multiplayer modes online, supporting up to 24 players.

It’ll be interesting to see if this also makes the jump to mobile.

Elder Scrolls Online

One of the biggest games of last year – in fact, one of the biggest games of all time – was Skyrim, the most recent game in the Elder Scrolls universe. Next year looks set to see a follow-up in the form of Elder Scrolls Online – a MMORPG. Could it challenge World of Warcraft’s dominance in the online fantasy space?

Details are still relatively scant, but what we do know is that the game will be set 1000 years before Skyrim, and that it has been in development for over six years now. When it’s released for both PS4 and Xbox One… it’s going to be huge.

Mario Kart 8

We all know the drill by now, right? Bright colours, fast cars and Mario, Peach, DK and co racing around a track. It’s the same game you’ve played countless hours of – but for the first time, the game will be in HD on the Wii U so will look better than ever.

Zelda U

We don’t know anything about this yet, but an original Wii U Zelda title is slated to appear next year. Whilst we’ve seen a remake of Zelda: Wind Waker launch with the console, what fans are hankering for is something like the above – a tech demo called the “Zelda HD Experience”. Expect it towards the end of next year… or knowing how Shigeru Miyamoto does things… delayed into 2015.

James O’Malley
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