Release: March 8
The most famous city building sim series of all time is set to make a confident return next year. Maxis have built a new engine to simulate the intricacies of each city's inner workings with even greater detail. Glassbox will dynamically measure hundreds of factors, from pollution levels to citizen satisfaction to hopefully create the most satisfying SimCity game we've seen for a long while. Early footage of earthquakes and alien invasions suggest's there's plenty of heartache ahead for SimCity's disaster-prone towns.
Read our verdict on SimCity here .
Release: TBC 2013
Maintain control of a facility of murderous inmates in Introversion's upcoming prison management sim. Set up cell blocks, organise guard patrol routes, wire up a security system and try your best to stop your captive brutes from breaking out. Escapees aren't your your biggest problem. Inmates will try their best to get away with as much crime as possible while you're not looking. They'll smuggle in shivs, start riots and do their best to run slipshod all over your carefully made plans. Prison Architect is in paid alpa stage, which means you can pay to play an early version right now. Introversion are adding more features every week.
Welcome to Stabshank. As our Prison Architect diary reveals, it's pretty much the worst prison in the world. If you somehow manage to escape, make sure you read our illuminating recent interview with Introversion.
Release: April 23
“Survive! Collect! Attack!” is the tag line for Klei's sepia-toned open world survival game, Don't Starve. You play a top-hatted gentleman adventurer who must wander the randomly generated wilderness, collecting tools for your camp to aid your survival. There will be little in the way of a tutorial, Klei want us to discover how their mysterious world works for ourselves. There are hints scattered throughout the update notes on the Don't Starve site, however. Your dapper gent can cultivate eggs and hatch feathery companions, fish in ponds and fight flaming hounds. If you're too callous with those you meet, you risk enraging the “Krampus” demon, who will hunt your adventurer down and punish him for his sins. Eek.
Cities In Motion 2
Publisher: Paradox Interactive
Release: April 2
Cities in Motion 2 marks Paradox' return to the strangely fascinating world of mass transit management. The sequel will let you organise bus routes and tweak train fares with a friend in co-op mode and an improved economy model will add a social engineering element to the advanced route-setting features. Affordable transport will affect the prospects of nearby residents, making them more affluent and more demanding. The new day night cycle will add a bit of extra visual flair to your metropolis and there's even an option to run competing networks in multiplayer.
Publisher: War Balloon Games
Star Command lets you recruit a crew, build a spaceship and trawl the universe in search of new life and new civilisations to crush. It was originally backed as an iPhone game on Kickstarter, but should arrive on PC in 2013. You can build new rooms for your craft and bolt new weapons to its exterior as your minions slave away at consoles and gradually level up within. It wouldn't be a space exploration game without the odd space lobster turning up, but though your crewmembers look suspiciously similar to Star Trek officers, they have the capacity to be a lot more violent. If you decide not to recruit the aliens you meet, you can wipe them out and loot what remains of their civilisation.
The Sims 3 70's, 80's, & 90's
Expansion packs for The Sims 3 have reached the stage where they've just started going slowly back in time, decade by decade. They're likely to reach the Victorian era before Maxis get round to making a proper sequel, which I'd rather like to see, because this pack adds hairstyles, clothing and furniture specific to each era. Flared jeans, flat tops, arcade machines, legwarmers, leotards headbands and grunge threads are just a few of the items included.
Bus, Woodcutter, Bridge, Crane, Farming Simulators 2014
Release: Throughout 2013
With comforting certainty we can expect to see follow-ups to Excalibur, SCS, UIG and Wendros' series of simulators. The next Woodcutter Simulator has already been announced, is due in January and will let us wield chainsaws in first-person. Finally Keep an eye out for the next edition of Euro Truck Simulator too, our Tim Stone called it “one of the PC's finest and freshest driving games” in our review in PC Gamer UK issue 248.