This is a great time to be a gamer.
We have brand new consoles from Sony and Microsoft on the cusp of showing us some great stuff, while Nintendo’s system has matured and is starting to show us what it can do. Nintendo and Sony both have great handhelds, and I haven’t even mentioned PC gaming yet. In our Most Anticipated series, we’ll be looking at each of the platforms one by one, highlighting some of the games we’re looking most forward to.
Of course, some of this year’s most anticipated games are coming to more than one platform, so we’ve included those in each applicable platform. Finally, we can’t fit every game into, so once you’ve read our list, tell us what we missed and what you’re looking forward to!
Platinum Games has been one of the Wii U’s most vocal supporters. The Wonderful 101 and Bayonetta 2 were announced early on and, now that The Wonderful 101 is on shelves, the studio can focus all its attention on the follow-up to one of the best-designed action games of the past few years.
While Platinum Games hasn’t given a firm date for Bayonetta 2, it’s tough to imagine them putting the game out much further, since it was announced back in 2012. Everyone expects the game to be good, but it could move a surprising number of Wii U consoles if it can pull hardcore action fans back in.
Child of Light (PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One)
UbiSoft’s UbiArt Framework has so far only yielded Rayman Origins & Legends, but the upcoming Child of Light looks like it might be the best-looking game to come out of the engine yet. Child of Light takes cues from Miyazaki animes and Yoshitaka Amano’s art and is being created by core members of the team behind Far Cry 3 – how’s that for a shift in subject matter?
Take on the role of a young girl named Aurora, who must take back the stars, moon, and sun from the Queen of the Night to get back to her home. This sidescroller uses RPG elements and even a skill tree like the one seen in Far Cry 3.
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
With Donkey Kong Country Returns hitting the Wii a few years back, and the Nintendo 3DS last year, Nintendo and Retro Studios made a clear and concise stance that this classic hero is here to stay.
Tropical Freeze brings the Kong crew into HD for the first time, and it looks to blend the insane difficulty and unending charm the series is known for. This game looks brilliant.
There’s also music from the composer who did the tunes for the original Donkey Kong Country on the SNES. Look forward to that.
The anticipation accompanying Hyrule Warriors is different from almost any game in this list. I’m anticipating its release, sure, but with one hand ready to cover my eyes. It could be a really fun game, but this strange combination of Zelda and Dynasty Warriors has, at first glance, more opportunity to fail than it does to succeed.
Link’s adventures have taken place in wide open worlds dotted with small encounters and big boss battles. The land of Hyrule seems to be under constant threat of sudden domination by evil wizards, but never at war, so I don’t know how well this style of game will mesh with fans of the series, but it’ll be worth watching at the very least.
Mario Kart 8
Everybody knows it: Mario Kart 8 is going to be great. It’s just a given.
This time around, Mario and his eponymous league are going Lionel Richie style: They’re racing on the ceiling. Each iteration of the series gets more and more nuts, but this has me wondering where they could possibly take it next.
Shovel Knight (PC, Nintendo 3DS, Wii U)
Earning over $300,000 in scratch from Kickstarter, Shovel Knight is the first title for Yacht Club Games. The company was formed by a bunch of former WayForward developers, so that means the studio has a lot of platformer cred when it comes to making games.
Shovel Knight screams classic NES title, and that’s why we’re psyched to have it on the Wii U. Gorgeous visuals, an awesome soundtrack, hilarious in-game action and classic challenges all put it on our must-have list for 2014. Come on, Shovel Knight, come out already!
Super Smash Bros. (Nintendo 3DS, Wii U)
Smash Bros., next to perhaps Mario Kart, is easily the biggest and most hyped Wii U title of 2014. We don’t know of a traditional Zelda releasing this holiday, so Smash is where it’s at for a lot of fans.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl, the most recent title in the series, when compared to its predecessor Melee, never really earned the same reputation for quality. It was a great game, make no mistake, but it wasn’t Melee.
This new Smash Bros., which is currently subtitle-less, will hopefully be even better than Melee. If that happens, prepare yourselves for another tournament capable game in a whole lot of living rooms.
Tengami (PC, Wii U)
Tengami looks bizarre. The right kind of bizarre. This artistic world combines layers of heaven and folding in order to create an odd and delightful tale.
Solve puzzles, explore the world and enjoy this pop-up style art book based on ancient Japanese lore. We can’t wait to do so.
Watch_Dogs (PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii U)
What I’d give to be a fly on the wall in the room when Ubisoft had to make the decision to delay Watch_Dogs. Despite it being on two generations of Xbox and PlayStation, Watch_Dogs is undeniably the poster child for this new generation of consoles. It was the first game we’d seen in a long time that didn’t have the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 logos at the end of the trailer, and it fired everyone up. It was the first sign that, yes, new consoles really are coming.
And then, just a few weeks before release, Ubisoft delayed the game. Our hearts all sunk and I can’t even imagine what it did to their bottom line. It’s coming sometime this year, though, and hopefully for the better.
X from Monolith Soft
Not much is known about X, the temporary titled effort from Monolith Soft. We assume it takes places in the Xeno series, though not even that has been confirmed.
It involves mechs, RPG elements and an open world. For most, that’s enough to whet the proverbial hype whistle. Knowing that Monolith is at the helm, though, makes this one hype-worthy indeed.
This RPG offering was confirmed for a 2014 release, so expect more from it in the coming months.
This, much like X, is a title that we’re sort of speculating about. It was announced a while back, but we haven’t heard or seen much at all about it since.
We know it’s being made by Good-Feel, the same studio that dropped Kirby’s Epic Yarn on the Wii. We also know that it looks good in a way only a small Yoshi made of yarn can.
This 2.5D platformer will likely be discussed more between now and E3. Here’s hoping.