The best PC games of 2014

PC Gamer

Page 1 of 10

2013 rapidly recedes, leaving only trace memories of pirates, guns, storied old mansions and always-online debacles. For now, a moment of peace. What better time to admire the onrushing tide of destruction soon to be wrought on our spare time? Here in 2014, more people are making games than ever. More than 1500 titles line Greenlight's shelves, dozens of Kickstarter projects are coming to fruition and almost everything is headed to early access.

That's just the tip of the joyberg that awaits. Which games will pierce through the screaming throng? Of the thousands of PC games out there, which are worthy of your attention? We're here to help, with the latest in our annual mega-features about the years to come. Sit back, have a cup of tea and immerse yourself in the games of 2014 and beyond.

Ladies and gentlemen, your genres.

Action
Adventure
Exploration and Survival
FPS
MMO
Platform
Puzzle
Sport
RPG
Sim
Strategy

There are many more to games come, of course, and we'll be updating the list periodically throughout the year as more are announced. Which games are you most looking forward to this year?

ACTION

Big-budget behemoths often dominate the action category, and so it proves in 2014. The surely-headed-to-PC Grand Theft Auto 5 rubs shoulders with intriguing multiplayer survival games like The Division. The spectres of distant games like Star Wars: Battlefront, Mirror's Edge 2, Deus Ex Universe and Beyond Good and Evil 2 offer haunting glimpses of a time beyond 2014, but all may fall before the return of the space flight sim. Star Citizen is coming. If its team can effectively utilise that vast crowd-sourced budget, we could be in for something a bit special.

Tom Clancy's The Division

Developer: Ubisoft

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: TBA

Link: The Division site

A disease spread on Black Friday decimates the US in five days. As part of the Division, you are tasked with saving what remains. Go up against both AI and other players in Ubisoft's hugely ambitious third-person shooter MMO. Expect meticulously designed environments courtesy of the promising new Snowdrop engine; expect ludicrous attention to detail (car windshields finally shatter like they should); just don't expect it to come out any time soon. The Division will be done when it's done, as Ubisoft's recently delayed Rainbow Six: Patriots demonstrates.

Watch Dogs

Developer Ubisoft

Publisher: In-house

Release date: Spring 2014

Link: Watch Dogs site

Though in recent years, Ubisoft has been happy to milk the Assassin's Creed licence until its ruddy teats squeaked, let us not forget that the space-wizards-thru-history mega-franchise was born of huge creative risk: a new IP that cost so much develop that, rumour has it, sales didn't cover the cost of development until its sequels were on shelves. Now, the same gigantic studio, Ubisoft Montreal, has unveiled Watch Dogs - a game with no smaller a scope than Assassin's Creed, combining the complex sedition of information warfare with brutish third-person action and, it is suspected, with some sort of clever multiplayer/singleplayer crossover. It's not only a showcase for the kind of polygon-crunching power the cutting edge PC can generate (finally loosed from the shackles of last-gen cross platform releases) but it also establishes a fiction that Ubisoft hopes will see it through the next decade.

We recently got our mucky paws all over Ubisoft's Watch Dogs. Have a read of what we thought here .

Grand Theft Auto 5

Developer: Rockstar

Publisher: In-house

Release: TBC

Link: GTA 5 site

There's been no confirmation of Rockstar's next blockbuster for PC, but it would be a world gone topsy-turvy if Grand Theft Auto 5 was marooned on consoles for ever. This isn't Red Dead Redemption, a game developed by a studio with around three PC credits to its name – this is GTA, a series whose every main instalment has appeared on PC. And it's developed by Rockstar North, a team that (even including its legacy as DMA Design) has brought all bar seven of its games to PC. And where are the internet petitions to port Walker over from the Amiga, I might ask?

One of the biggest releases of 2013, GTA 5 sees the player take on the role of three different characters trying to make a crust amid the tinseltown glamour and sunbaked squalor of Los Santos. And it's an ill-gotten crust at that, given the series' heritage of exuberant criminality: heists, hits and high-speed chases are the order of the day, interspersed with all the leisure activities a high-rolling hoodlum might desire. The game's online component, GTA Online, lets you do all that but...online, expanding Red Dead Redemption's brilliant multiplayer to envelop the entirety of Los Santos.

Mirror's Edge 2

Developer: DICE

Publisher: EA

Release Date: TBA

Link: Mirror's Edge site

Mirror's Edge 2 will be an open-world action adventure according to EA Labels president Frank Gibeau, who apparently used the term in the publisher's E3 analyst call last June. It'll be a prequel, too, telling the origin story of tattooed heroine Faith, pre-tattoo. The extent of the sandbox is currently unknown - all we've seen of the game a short trailer featuring a pair of gloved hands and lots of punching. But the change of direction has the chance to make a cult classic look like a practice run. Not least because Mirror's Edge 2 runs on Frostbite 2, Battlefield 4's engine. It particularly excels at physics, so you'll get your money's worth in shattering glass and billowing fabric.

"[Producer Sara Jansson] pitched an idea that frankly could only be built on gen four. It's a stunning concept, and when she came to us we knew we had it. And yes, we've been testing ideas and we've been prototyping stuff, and I'm glad that we waited to get the right idea,” says Patrick Söderlund, executive vice president of the EA Games Label. “I was frankly blown away,” he says.

Read our early report of Mirror's Edge 2

Mad Max

Developer: Avalanche

Publisher: Warner Bros

Release: TBC 2014

Link: Mad Max site

An open world Mad Max game from the developers of Just Cause? You don't need to be Bolo Santosi to see the value in that. We've barely seen any of it so far, but Mad Max seems to fuse the the go anywhere, grapple-hook anything attitude of the Just Cause series with brutal weaponry, ammo scarcity, added car customisation and a significantly browner colour palette.

Elite: Dangerous

Developer: Frontier Developments

Publisher: In-house

Release: 2014

Link: Frontier's Elite site

David Braben is finally to make the Elite sequel everyone has been patiently waiting for since Frontier: First Encounters came along in 1995 and didn't work properly. With crowdfunded millions and possibly more from investors, this could be the starbound successor people have longed for. In the months since its rather sparse announcement, Braben and co. have released some promising videos and screenshots that indicate they're on the right track. Between this and Star Citizen, it seems we may be heading for a new golden age of space sims.

If you crowdfunded Elite: Dangerous, there's a chance you now have access to its alpha version - head here for the full details. The rest of us will have to make do with this impressive ship battle trailer .

Star Citizen

Developer: Cloud Imperium Games Corporation

Publisher: In-house

Release: November 2014

Link: Roberts Space Industries

The hype behind Chris Roberts' new project was phenomenal, to the tune of $35 million and rising. A spiritual successor to the likes of Wing Commander, Privateer, Freespace and their ilk, Star Citizen is one of the grandest experiments in a genre many considered to be dead. Trumping even Elite: Dangerous in the give-us-all-your-money stakes, the project has thus far sucked in cash like a supermassive black hole; if Roberts and co. use the resources wisely, Star Citizen could well turn out to be the biggest and most ambitious space sim ever made. So no pressure then.

Star Citizen has now raised an incredible $35 million to date. Just a year ago , it was little more than a twinkle in Chris Roberts' eye.

Deus Ex Universe

Developer: Eidos Montreal

Publisher: Square Enix

Release date: TBA

Link: Deus Ex Universe

“Most of the team behind Deus Ex: Human Revolution is already working hard on this new game,” said Eidos Montreal head David Anfossi back in October, confirming that Deus Ex Universe's series of interlocking Facebook/iOS games will include a proper big-budget game that we can play on our PCs. It will be part of a larger network of spin-off titles that'll all play their part in an “ongoing, expanding and connected game world built across a generation of core games” which will include “additional Deus Ex games and experiences available in other media such as tablets, smartphones, books, graphic novels.” etc. A smattering of suspicious snorts accompanied that last particular snippet at PC Gamer towers, for who wants to hunt down a story through a disparate collection of formats? We'll comfort ourselves with the knowledge that the team behind the excellent Deus Ex: Human Revolution is returning, and with the intriguing suggestion that “trans-humanism segregation” will be an important element of the new game.

Transistor

Developer: Supergiant Games

Publisher: In-house

Release: TBC 2014

Link: Supergiant site

Supergiant's next game after the sumptuous Bastion mixes real-time with turn-based battles, telling the story of a singer named Red who comes into possession of a sentient greatsword. We don't know much more than that yet, but we do know that composer Darren Korb is back on board, as is Logan 'Rucks' Cunningham. That's pretty much all we need to know, for now. It looks gorgeous.

Mercenary Kings

Developer: Tribute Games

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: Early 2014

Link: Mercenary Kings site

Not enough games follow in the explosive footsteps of Contra and Metal Slug, so it's good news that Mercenary Kings half-exists (and will fully exist early this year). In development now, the sidescrolling shoot-'em-up adds crafting and online co-op into the mix. It doesn't hurt that Tribute Games made that Scott Pilgrim tie-in, and can endow this snappy action game with the same sort of exquisite pixel art.

Speedrunners

Developer: DoubleDutch Games

Publisher: tinyBuild

Release Date: TBC 2014

Link: Speedrunners site

It was only a matter of time before someone made a game about speedrunning, and here we are with the aptly named Speedrunners. It's a four-player, competitive platformer featuring grappling hooks, and let's just take a minute to appreciate that glorious sentence. DoubleDutch and tinyBuild plan to release a single-player, offline version of the game for free – if you want the full, proper multiplayer version, you'll have to stump up some cash. Which is fair enough.

We were on hand when Speedrunners was announced to grapple-hook it onto our front page. Later, we wrote about the plans to release an offline version of the game.

Dungeon Dashers

Developer: Jiqxor

Publisher: Jiqxor

Release Date: Early 2014

Link: Dungeon Dashers site

Turn-based dungeon crawlers tend to involve a lot of planning and trepidation, but – as the name may have clued you in – Dungeon Dashers wants to speed things up a bit. This top-down adventure whittles away the nested menus and fiddly interfaces, leaving a fast-paced, team-based dungeon crawler with a frankly adorable board game/miniatures aesthetic. As with so many games on this list, Dashers is currently on Steam Early Access – the final product aims to add online co-op and a Hardcore mode.

Kingdoms Rise

Developer: Flyleap Studios

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: TBA

Link: Kingdoms Rise site

A multiplayer fantasy combat game featuring '360 degree swordfighting', something previously only achievable by militaristic owls. Based on available evidence, the game's duelling is actually pretty cool, letting you waggle your blade in any number of directions to block, parry, stab and slash your enemy into teeny tiny bits. There are also bows, magic spells and Blink-style teleporting – if you like War of the Roses but wish you could hurl fireballs, you might want to keep your eyes on Kingdoms Rise.

A Hat In Time

Developer: Gears for Breakfast

Publisher: Joystiq

Release date: Mid 2014

Link: A Hat in Time

A vivid 'collectathon' platformer in the vein of Banjo Kazooie with an art style appropriated from The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker, A Hat in Time saw astonishing success on Kickstarter last year, raising $236,000 and massively overshooting their $30,000 target. An alpha build is due in February, and the developers will be adding Steam Workshop support to allow players to grow the game themselves.

Dying Light

Developer: Techland

Publisher: Warner Bros

Release: 2014

Link: Dying Light site

Techland's next zombie game might invite comparisons to their shambolic Dead Island series, but on first glance it has more in common with Mirror's Edge, asking you to run away from the undead horde – and climb up buildings, and parkour over rooftops – rather than slowly battering their heads in with a wooden paddle. You'll have to be more careful at night, as zombies become more aggressive when the sun is down.

EVE: Valkyrie

Developer: CCP

Publisher: In-house

Release: 2014

Link: EVE: Valkyrie site

An Oculus Rift-enabled space dogfighting game is obviously something that needs to exist, and who better to make it than EVE: Online developers CCP? Little of Valkyrie has been shown off yet, but if it can live up to even half of its immense potential this is sure to be a Rift must-have.

To find out what it's like to pilot a starfighter in virtual reality, check out our face-on impressions with Eve Valkyrie from Fanfest 2013.

Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number

Developer: Dennaton Games

Publisher: Devolver Digital

Release: TBC 2014

Link: Hotline Miami site

Originally designed as an expansion pack, Hotline Miami 2 soon spiralled into a full sequel that takes the original's already strange story into even weirder territory. It involves a film inspired by the events of Hotline Miami, a bunch of masked vigilantes who view the original game's Jacket as a hero, and very probably lots of levels where you go around killing gangsters with a variety of handheld weapons and firearms.

We went hands-on with Hotline Miami 2 a couple of months ago. Read what we thought of it here .

Nuclear Throne

Developer: Vlambeer

Publisher: In-house

Release date: TBA 2014

Link: Nuclear Throne

Vlambeer's new roguelike shooter is only available in early access form, but the instantly satisfying, impactful feedback so characteristic of their games is already present. As a mutant in a procedurally generated wasteland, you'll be running into enemies with guns almost as big as yours. Fortunately, you'll be able to improve your equipment and your abilities the more of them you kill. If you'd rather wait for the full release, which shouldn't be too far off (Vlambeer work extremely fast), check out their Twitch channel

Magicka: Wizard Wars

Developer: Paradox North

Publisher: Paradox Interactive

Release date: Early 2014

Link: Magicka: Wizard Wars

Wizard Wars is a competitive multiplayer rethink of the manic, joyous co-op of Magicka. It will retain a streamlined version of the same combat system, in which player summon elemental orbs and combine them in to spells. Magicka's hilarity stems not just from the tongue-in-cheek presentation, but in the huge capacity for self harm allowed for by the elements system. Cast a lightning spell while soaking wet and you'll electrocute yourself silly. Fire a laser beam inside a reflective dome shield and you'll likely kill yourself and anyone else in there with you. It'll be hard to take the competition seriously, but when Wizard Wars eventually arrives, hilarity will ensue.

Lords of the Fallen

Developer: Deck 13, CI Games

Publisher: City Interactive

Release date: TBA 2014

Link: Lords of the Fallen site

As an action RPG with a methodical take on combat, Lords of the Fallen risks immediate comparison to Dark Souls. Its developers say that they're not trying to capture the punishing survivalist nature of From Software's modern classic, instead they want players to dictate the challenge for themselves. You can use deadly magic to make fights easier, for example, but that'll reduce the amount of loot they drop when they die. You play as Harkyn, a huge warrior with an even bigger hammer on a quest to punish the fallen gods of his world for failing mankind.

Phantom Army

Developer: Zombie Studios, Smilegate

Publisher: In-house

Release date: TBA 2014

Link: Phantom Army site

The creators of Blacklight: Retribution have teamed up with Smilegate to create a third-person multiplayer competitive cover shooter. Visually, it looks a bit like Counter-Strike rendered in Team Fortress 2's cheery Pixar style, but will distinguish itself with randomly generated arenas and lithe characters that can roll and vault around the environment.

Assault Android Cactus

Developer: Witch Beam

Publisher: In-house

Release date: TBA 2014

Link: Steam Early Access

A frantic twin-stick shooter in which you play a police android called Cactus, fending off robotic foes on the Genki Star - a craft made up of dynamic changing levels. Expect the floor to shift under you and the walls to change shape as you gun down dozens and dozens of storming foes. There's co-op support, of course, unlockable characters with varying fighting styles, and more levels and enemies are constantly being added as the game nears release. Assault Android Cactus is currently undergoing playtesting on Steam Early Access.

Aztez

Developer: Team Colorblind

Publisher: In-house

Release date: TBA 2014

Link: Aztez

On the evidence of the available trailers and screenshots, you might not realise that a lot of Aztez takes place on a turn based strategic overmap. It's your job to grow the might of the Aztec empire and fend off all challengers in the process. Moments of conflict send you down into hyperviolent, sidescrolling battles, all of which take place in a sparsely coloured art style designed to make the gratuitous blood gouts appear even more luminous. Random events and overworld challenges are also included to encourage replayability, and there's already evidence of Devil May Cry-esque crunch to the combat.

Bombernauts

Developer: Tyler Glaiel

Publisher: Self-published

Release date: TBA 2014

Link: Bombernauts site

A multiplayer brawler in which you can throw unlimited bombs to knock enemies off the combat platform. Even when dead enemies can still throw the occasional bomb back in, making this the bombiest game since Bomberman. It's being made by Closure creator , Tyler Glaiel, who promises lots of game mode and power-up customisation to allow players to house-rule the most fun they can out of the explosive concept.

Ghost in the Shell: Standalone Complex

Developer: Neople

Publisher: Nexon

Release date: TBA 2014

A massively multiplayer shooter based on the Ghost in the Shell anime should be cause for excitement, but for those that loved the film, there's the fear that the dark cyberpunk aesthetic and intellectual musing on the nature of sentience will be lost. That so little is still known about Neople and Nexon's MMO, announced in February 2013, raises further cause for concern, has it escaped onto the net and started a life of its own? If Nexon can keep it contained it'll feature “fierce hacking battles between cyborgs fighting over strategic resources” and, ominously, “a new concept that integrates artificial intelligence with the player.” Prepare your brain-sockets for entry.

Atomic Ninjas

Developer: Grip Games

Publisher: In-house

Release date: TBA

Link: Atomic Ninjas

This cheery multiplayer combat game started life on the Playstation 3 and the Vita, but is due a Windows release at some point. It's a typical 2D slasher affair in which you take command of one of a cast of quirky martial artists including Sergei, a ninja who wields a spade, and The Very Last Samurai, whose motto is “Honor. Respect. Karaoke.” Quick and casual games like Atomic Ninjas have the potential to thrive on living room machines should Valve's Steam Machine idea take off.

Universum: War Front

Developer: StarworksArt Studio

Publisher: In-house

Release date: TBA

Link: Universum site

Universum wants to be all of the games at once, it seems. It's an RTS that lets you dive down into the mud to take control of your warriors in third-person. It also claims to be influenced by Dota 2, to some extent, and is set in a high fantasy sci-fi universe akin influenced by Star Wars. Battles will take place across five planes - underground, ground, air, water and space. It sounds like an insanely ambitious project for a small team, but Divinity: Dragon Commander shows that the concept is viable in today's technology. Universum will be released gradually, as detailed on their Kickstarter page .

The Stomping Land

Developer: Alex Fundara

Publisher: In-house

Release date: TBA 2014

Link: The Stomping Land

The Stomping Land is a multiplayer dinosaur-hunting game. You play as a tribe member on an island populated by several player-controlled tribes and an entire ecosystem of dinosaurs to hunt. As a group you must hunt, salvage and craft to improve your chances of taking down bigger game. As you become master hunters and no longer have to run from hungry T-Rexes, food will become scarce, and players will be forced to raid each other's settlements to survive. Dinosaur games have been tried before, with various limited degrees of success, but using the lizards as a backdrop to the human drama of a set of tribes fighting for survival is a smart move. The idea has earned the team a significant payday on Kickstarter, and The Stomping Land has been Greenlit , so we can hope to see it popping up on Steam this year.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

Developer: PlatinumGames, Kojima Productions

Publisher: Konami

Release date: January 9 2014

Link: Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

For action aficionados, PlatinumGames have been sorely missed on PC. For fans of batshit postmodern plotting, the Metal Gear series has also been sorely missed on PC. Here comes Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, then, to bridge the gap between Platinum and Kojima Productions and give us a dose of the expertise behind top console action games, Bayonetta and Vanquish. You play as former boring soldier man and current high-tech cyber-ninja, Raiden, who has a katana that can cut through anything. You use this Katana to exact revenge on, well, everyone. Will there be massive cutscenes? Yes. Will we learn the meaning of the word “revengeance?” Probably not.

Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z

Developer: Team Ninja, Spark Unlimited, Concept

Publisher: Tecmo Koei

Release date: February 14 2014

Link: Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z site

We're desperately short of great third-person action games in the Bayonetta /Devil May Cry mould on PC, so plans for a PC-bound Ninja Gaiden are, theoretically, welcome. However, the introductory trailer for Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z was so bad that any excitement we might ordinarily muster for such a project must now be tempered with the fear that it might be total balls. It's a cel-shaded take on Ninja Gaiden in which you play a ninja called Yaiba with an arm made of metal and a cybernetic eyeball. He's hunting the man responsible for his injuries - series hero Ryu Hayabusa. Expect swearing, blood, blades and, based on the trailer, lots of trying too hard.

Star Wars: Battlefront

Developer: DICE

Publisher: EA

Release date: TBA 2015

Link: The Battlefront reveal trailer

A great big stomping AT-AT boot announced that Battlefield developers, DICE, are working on a reboot of Battlefront in Frostbite 3. Given that EA only acquired the license weeks before the E3 reveal, this is unlikely to be anywhere near complete, especially given the fact that DICE recently put all of their projects on hold to direct development resource to the shonky Battlefield 4 launch. Still, it's good to know that in a future far, far away, there's another large-scale Star Wars game in the works.

We got so excited about this we penned a list of things we'd like to see from the new Battlefront.

Beyond Good And Evil 2

Developer: Ubisoft

Publisher: In-house

Release: 2014

Link: Ubisoft's site

Every silver lining has a cloud: Michel Ancel's efforts to resurrect 2D platformer hero Rayman proved so tremendously and ebulliently successful that it has delayed his return to Beyond Good And Evil 2. All that's been seen of the sequel to the superb off-beat action adventure is a rendered trailer and a few splashes of concept art, but if Ancel's recent form is anything to go by, we won't be getting half-measures if the project ever comes to light. Don't expect much in 2014, however.

Assassin's Creed: Liberation HD

Developer: Ubisoft

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: 15th January

Link: Assassin's Creed: Liberation HD micro-site

A return to the Assassin's Creed III timeline might seem an odd choice, given that we're all swigging rum and singing shanties alongside Black Flag's pirates. Even odder is the idea of returning for an upgraded and prettified version of a PS Vita exclusive. Even so, Assassin's Creed III: Liberation was notable for featuring the series' first female protagonist - Aveline de Grandpré - and drew praise for its recreation of 18th century New Orleans. This HD remake will add new missions and remove the original's touch-screen gimmicks.

Watch Aveline take on guards, gators and frilly dresses in the Assassin's Creed: Liberation HD announcement trailer .

Devil's Third

Developer: Valhalla Games Studios

Publisher: TBC

Release: TBC

Link: The official site

Things have been a little quiet since THQ withdrew as the publisher for this thirdperson shooter and melee combat game set on a war-ravaged future Earth. It has good pedigree, coming from a studio forged by principal developers of the Ninja Gaiden games, but neither the presence of near-legendary developers and a multi-million budget proved sufficient reason to keep it on THQ's slate. We await to hear its fate.

Galak-Z

Developer: 17-bit

Publisher: In-house

Release: TBA

Link: Galak-Z

Lasers? In space?! What manner of twin-stick shootery madness is this? The sweet, fast, frenzied kind, by the looks of it. Galak-Z also promises advanced AI enemies and a series of spacecraft inspired by '80s and '90s anime. It's a timed Playstation 4 exclusive, unfortunately, but hopefully it'll hit our desktops later this year.

Crypt of the Necrodancer

Developer: Brace Yourself Games

Publisher: In (the) house

Release: TBA 2014

Link: Necrodancer website<

Crypt of the Necrodancer is the world's first rhythm action roguelike. After a dungeoneering accident, our heroine has her heart stolen by a disco-lich, and not in the good way. Animated only be the power of dance, she must trek onwards, driven by a mystical sound. In practice this means a twist on the old roguelike conceit of enemies only moving when you do. Now both you and the monsters can only move on the beat, leading to a literal dance of death. The devs promise that you'll even be able to upload your own music, procedurally generating the dungeon from your own sick beats. Oh, and you can play it with a Dance Dance Revolution pad too.

Castlevania: Lords Of Shadow 2

Developer: MercurySteam

Publisher: Konami

Release: February 2014

Link: Castlevania site

The first Lords of Shadow was a pleasant surprise for many, winning players round with a highly competent (if derivative) mix of third-person action, exploration and puzzling. The sequel skips from medieval times to the modern day, with the protagonist, now going under the name of Dracula, awakening from a long slumber. Expect the acrobatic hacking and slashing of enormous supernatural creatures and enough of the red stuff to defeat even the most powerful of detergent cleaners.

Ultra Street Fighter IV

Developer: Capcom

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: August

Link: Capcom's Ultra SF4 site

OK, so we're reasonably certain this will be the last version of Street Fighter IV – unless there are any words that supersede 'ultra' – but if you've held out this long to give Ryu and Ken a good beating, this fourth version of the Capcom's classic fighting game should be the one to get. What's new? Extra characters – Rolento, Elena, Hugo and Poison – along with extra stages and modes and every bit of costume DLC released so far. By the end, Capcom will have hopefully made enough money to greenlight Street Fighter V, Super Street Fighter V, and Mega Street Fighter V: Hyper Ultra Omega Arcade Edition.

You'll be pleased to hear that Ultra SF4 will ditch Games for Windows Live (mainly because GFWL doesn't exist any more). This version comes with a couple new battle systems too, which we've detailed here .

Thief

Developer: Eidos Montreal

Publisher: Square Enix

Release: 2014

Link: Thief's less than stealthy site

Thief - previously Thief 4 or, lamentably, Thi4f - was announced years ago to many a raised eyebrow. Then Square Enix released one of the best games of 2011 in the shape of Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Hopes were high when Eidos Montreal's next project was eventually revealed to be an open world reboot of everyone's favourite nicking simulator, though eyebrows did revert to an elevated position when we were finally given access to preview code. QTEs? A “focus” mode? An experience system that rewards you for kills? The new Thief suddenly didn't seem very Thieflike at all. Thankfully, some of these features were later scrapped or further explained as optional systems, but we're sneaking into this one with a note of caution.

Based on our recent hands-on , there's reason to be worried about Eidos Montreal's reboot - though there's still plenty of time for them to put it right.

Paradise Lost: First Contact

Developer: Ashtree Works

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: December

Link: Ashtree's website

In Paradise Lost you play as Subject W, a squid-like alien plant that escapes from a lab where it's being studied by probably evil scientists. The game fuses the reactive stealth of Deus Ex and non-linear layout of the Metroid and Castlevania games, and as you play, Subject W can evolve its skills to suit your play style. To help you evade the lab's security, you can posses guards, lob organic bombs, create decoys, and clamber around on walls and ceilings. It's yet another game on these pages to use pixel art, but notable for its animation, which is remarkably detailed. As well as all this, there'll be a story to follow, as well as puzzles to solve and platforming challenges littered around the facility.

Full Mojo Rampage

Developer: Over the Top games

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: TBA 2014

Link: Full Mojo website

A chaotic voodoo themed roguelike with co-op for up to four players. Explore randomly generated levels and discover strange magicks with which to blow stuff up. It's already available via Early Access, but expect 2014 to bolster its hocus-pocus dungeon crawling in the run-up to a full release.

Fortnite

Developer: Epic Games

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: TBA

Link: The Fortnite site

Remember Fortnite? We'll forgive the blank looks (though not the drooling), because Epic have been atypically quiet about their Unreal Engine 4-powered fort-building game since it was announced way back in the prehistory of 2011. We do know, however, that Bulletstorm devs People Can Fly are on the case, under their new moniker Epic Games Poland. It will be a PC exclusive, and since its vague 2013 release date has now sailed into the sunset, we can only assume it's happening this year. The game itself looks particularly impressive, in an Unreal sort of way, though a proper look at Fortnite's monster-repelling action would be much appreciated, particularly after Epic have been troublingly reticent about it for so long.

We chronicled the announcement of Fortnite over a fortnight ago – two years ago over a fortnight, to be exact.

Hellraid

Developer: Techland

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: TBA

Link: The Hellraid site

Hellraid started life as a Dead Island game mode, before being spun-off into a full game. That might be why it looks rather a lot like Dead Island, albeit with a moderately less tropical fantasy theme. In addition to zombies, you'll fight skeletons, flaming skulls and other demonic entities, in a co-op campaign for up to four players. As with a certain other 4P multiplayer shooter (this time Left 4 Dead), Hellraid features a Director-like 'Games Master' AI that will aim to keep each playthrough feeling fresh. Well, as fresh as a game about battling the undead can possibly get.

War of the Vikings

Developer: Fatshark

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: Early 2014

Link: The WotV site

Fatshark's brutal medieval combat game War of the Roses is set to receive a sequel, this time focusing on those lovable mead-quaffing scamps the Vikings. Hang on, they were a bit nasty too, weren't they? WotV swaps the squabbles between the houses of Lancaster and York for the invasion of the Viking army. You can play as either a member of the invading army, or as one of the understandably defensive Saxon soldiers, in a series of pitched multiplayer battles to the death. You'll be able to customise your probably-short-lived warrior too, designing their heraldic symbol, weapons and armour, and most importantly their beard.

River City Ransom: Underground

Developer: Conatus Creative

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: September

Link: River City Ransom site

8-bit beat-'em-up River City Ransom is getting a belated sequel, because Kickstarter. Also: because awesome. The original was an open world 2D RPG beat-'em-up, and this follow-up is an open world 2D RPG beat-'em-up, but with more detailed combat and pixel art. A couple of big names are associated with the project: Rich 'Disasterpeace' Vreeland, responsible for most of your favourite indie game soundtracks, and Yoshihisa Kishimoto, director of Double Dragon and “the grandfather of the beat'em up genre”. Should you be excited? If you like beating up bad guys in a series of sidescrolling environments, then hell yes.

Steel Storm A.M.M.O.

Developer: Zeolite studios

Publisher: Kot in Action Creative Artel

Release Date: TBA 2014

Link: Steel Storm site

A spin off from the anime inspired tank 'em up Steel Storm, Armored Mechanized Mobile Operations turns the series' multiplayer mode into a fast-paced lane-pushing game. Currently on steam early access, expect more characters, weapons, crafting and a matchmaking system to be introduced before the full release.

Scivelation

Developer: Black Wing Foundation

Publisher: TopWare Interactive

Release Date: Early 2014

Link: Scivelation site

By the time Black Wing's long-awaited Scivelation (formerly Salvation) finally releases, the Apocalypse may well have happened for real. It's a third-person shooter with interesting religious overtones, set in a literal post-apocalypse after the epic clash between good and evil left the Earth in a bit of a state. You'll play as a member of the 'The Resistance', resisting 'The Regime' that arose from the ashes to assume control of the ruined world. Where do they get these names from?

We were given a brief look at Scivelation a couple of years ago, before the game retreated into the darkness, never to be heard from again. Well, until 2014, hopefully.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Developer: Beenox

Publisher: Activision

Release Date: Early 2014

Your friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man will be swinging into town early next year, slightly ahead of the film. Unless it wants to spoil things, the superhero sandbox will take lessons from the first game and pick up right where the movie left off. Expect a more detailed New York City; expect a morality system; expect Stan Lee to pop up somewhere.

Smashmuck Champions

Developer: Kiz studios

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: TBA 2014

Link: Smashmuck website

A fast paced cartoonish lane-pushing game with a strange and comical cast of characters. Some of the items have been designed by Scott Kurtz of the webcomic PvP. It's currently on Steam Early Access as a free open beta, so the developers are welcoming new ideas for champions, skills and game modes.

Starwhal: Just the Tip

Developer: Breakfall

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: TBA 2014

Link: Starwhal website

Starwhal is local co-op game where you play as jousting Narwhals attempting to impale one another with their horns. It looks a lot like Geometry Wars, but with deliberately clumsy QWOP controls and neon space whales.

Road Redemption

Developer: DarkSeas Games

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: Early 2014

Link: Road Redemption Kickstarter

Ahhhh, so close. No, it's not Rockstar's long-awaited and non-existent port of Red Dead Redemption, but don't get all pouty, because this unofficial sequel to Road Rash is bristling with bonkers high-speed bike chases, samurai-sword-inflicted injuries, and wince-inducing ragdoll physics.

The Sun at Night

Developer: Minicore Studios

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: 4th February

Link: The Sun at Night site

The Sun at Night – formerly known as Laika – takes the tragic story of the Soviet dog launched into orbit in the 1950s, and gives it a happier, alternate history outcome. In this parallel universe, Laika somehow returns to Earth with the ability to talk, dons a set of shiny silver armour and some high-powered weaponry, and proceeds to take her revenge. (For the sequel, perhaps Buzz Aldrin could go around disintegrating moon-landing-deniers?) The Sun at Night will be released in three parts, the first entitled Laika Believes. It will take the form of a sidescrolling, shooty Metroidvania with RPG elements and “massive, nonlinear levels”.

Routine

Developer: Lunar Software

Publisher: Self-published

Release Date: TBA 2014

Link: Routine website

Routine takes the classic deserted space station horror setting to it's logical extreme. You arrive at a gorgeously realised spooky moonbase to discover that everyone has vanished, and must explore it to figure out why. The emphasis is on horror over action, and there's some lovely lighting on display, as well as a novel UI that uses in game screens instead of a HUD. Consider it Doom 3, but with subtlety.

Starlight Inception

Developer: Escape Hatch entertainment

Publisher: Self-published

Release Date: TBA 2014

Link: Escape Hatch website

With Elite and Star Citizen hogging the limelight, it's easy for smaller space games to fall between the cracks. Starlight Inception is helmed by a former LucasArts developer, and you can see the influence of X-wing and TIE Fighter at work. Unusually, the game is being co-developed for PS Vita.

Nidhogg

Developer: Mark Essen

Publisher: Self-published

Release Date: January 13 2014

Link: Nidhogg website

If you've read PC Gamer for the last couple of years you've probably seen us talk about how brilliant Nidhogg is, which was pretty selfish of us, since the general public has never had a chance to play it. All that will finally change in 2014 with the frenetic two player fencing game finally getting a commercial release, with improved artwork and new moves, including a dive kick. Sadly there's no word on whether Owen Hill's fabled 'wildebeest' manoeuvre will finally be officially recognised.

Wings of Saint Nazaire

Developer: Wings of Saint Nazaire team

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: TBA

Link: Nazaire site

A Unity-built space combat game with a focus on accessible control schemes, Wings of Saint Nazaire is more of a homage to Wing Commander than X-Wing, and joins the swelling ranks of indie space games warping our way. How can it stand out? Well, at the moment, the developers are planning to release it for free when it's complete, which is nice. Also you can play the alpha right now, which is even nicer.

Sub Rosa

Developer: Cryptic Sea

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: TBA

Link: Cryptic Sea site

Don't be put off by Sub Rosa's simplistic appearance, this is a clever multiplayer game about striking tenuous deals in a city of '80s gangsters. In the standard competitive mode there are three teams trying to gather gold, cash and a data disk, and return them to their hideout. Two of those teams will need to trade items to meet their target, which inevitably means tense item swapping in car-parks at gunpoint. It's the third team's job to smash this fragile peace and kill both teams. Expect tense stand-offs and sudden betrayals if the playable alpha ever turns into a full commercial release.

Deios

Developer: Barch

Publisher: Self-published

Release Date: TBA

Link: TigSource forums

Visually, there's nothing like Deios. The dense, muddy pixel art sputters and fizzes with bursts of visual static as you wander a world of huge god-creatures. It's a run 'n gun shooter interspersed with scatterbrained philosophical outbursts. You have a chance to customise your weapon every now and then, combining bizarre objects to alter your rate of fire and damage. You'll find a playable demo on the TigSource forums.

RIOT

Developer: RIOT

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: First half of 2014

Link: RIOT site

RIOT will give you the chance to alter the outcome of clashes between police forces and protesters, giving you control of a side of your choosing in an attempt to reflect the mentality and motivation behind those involved in violent protest. The fascinating subject matter is realised in a striking, bleak pixel art aesthetic, and will focus on real clashes from Egypt, Spain, Italy and Greece. The team are using eye witness accounts and testimonials from those involved on both sides of the clashes to present an even-handed take on riot behaviour.

The Flock

Developer: Vogelsap games

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: TBA 2014

Link: The Flock site

The Flock are twisted things, skeletal humanoids lurking in the deeps of a dead Earth. Now they rise, seeking the solar capsule left by the last humans. Emerging from the shadows in May, teasers for The Flock promise an unusual struggle for survival in an asymmetric multiplayer arena. A handful of players take to the field, and each must battle it out to reach and control the capsule for victory. But there's a twist. Holding the capsule transforms the player into the Carrier, becoming prey but with a bite of its own. Less agile and weaker than the Flock that chase it, the Carrier can turn the torch-like artefact on assailants to vaporise those in motion. Training the beam on stationary attackers will force them to stay put but leave you vulnerable to Flock not accounted for. Dutch indie Vogelsap promises a tense game of cat and mutant mouse.

Battle Cry of Freedom

Developer: Flying Squirrel Entertainment

Publisher: In-house

Release: TBA

Link: Flying Squirrel Entertainment site

Battle Cry of Freedom promises first and third-person scraps featuring over 500 players, no less, in this American Civil War strategy game with an eye on historical accuracy. You'll be able to build barricades and trenches into the environment to hold tough checkpoints, and you can even employ musicians to boost morale. It's being developed by the four-person mod team behind Mount & Blade: Warband's Napoleonic Wars expansion.

Overgrowth

Developer: Wolfire Games

Publisher: In-house

Release: TBA

Link: Overgrowth site

Giant anthropomorphic rabbits do battle with their eternal foes - giant anthropomorphic wolves - in this exciting and long-developed action RPG from Wolfire. Overgrowth's physics and animation systems mesh beautifully to create frenetic, impactful fights. Thanks to procedural wounding tech and some vicious weapons, it's also rather violent. Eventually the mechanics will prop up a full campaign, but that's some way off for now.

World of Warships

Developer: Wargaming.net

Publisher: In-house

Release: TBC 2013

Link: World of Warships

World of Warships completes Wargaming's triumvirate of free-to-play team multiplayer war sims. The classes show greater variety than World of Warplanes, and even World of Tanks. Aircraft carriers can launch airborne squadrons from afar, while speedy schooners will try to duck under battleship bombardment ranges to deliver a quick, fatal torpedo. It sounds interesting, but can Wargaming keep the ponderous pace of boat battles exciting?

Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor

Developer: Monolith Productions

Publisher: Warner Bros

Release Date: October 2

Link: The Shadow of Mordor site

Middle-Earth's dark side is explored in the aptly named Shadow of Mordor, which puts you in the role of a recently revived ranger with various wraith-like abilities. Set between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, the story sees its anti-hero Talion taking revenge for the death of his family, something he hopes to achieve through the medium of gutting orcs. Much has been made of the game's Nemesis system, which will see certain baddies remember actions or wounds you've inflicted on them in the past, for instance seeking you out later to get revenge.

Have a watch of this recent trailer for more information about Mordor's Nemesis system.

Assassin's Creed Unity

Developer: Ubisoft

Publisher: Ubisoft

Release Date: 28 October

Link: Unity's site

Given how long fans have been speculating about a French revolution setting for Ubisoft's swaggering historical action games, and given that it marks the first generational leap the series has made since the first game, it's a little strange there's not more buzz about Unity. Perhaps it's the fact that it's the seventh Assassin's Creed in as many years (not counting the handheld versions); perhaps it's the depressing fact that they couldn't be bothered to animate any playable female characters; perhaps we're simply already bracing ourselves for the jarring Abstergo sections no one has ever wanted in these games. Looking past all that for a moment, the thought of gaily leaping across Parisian rooftops with a few chums in tow is very appealing—arguably more exciting is the talk that Ubisoft may have finally abandoned all those awful eavesdropping missions. Black Flag was a good sign that there's still some meaty goodness at the heart of this series; Ubisoft just need to trim away a lot of the fat.

Rob Zombie has directed a short (and extremely gory) Assassin's Creed Unity animation , and yes that did feel very strange to type.

Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham

Developer: TT Games

Publisher: Warner Bros

Release Date: Late 2014

Link: Lego Batman 3

'Beyond Gotham' here means 'into space', with Batman teaming up with his cadre of superfriends to take on Brainiac from the Green Lantern comics. It's a Lego game, so we probably shouldn't expect too many massive changes here, and indeed there's something to be said for their comforting familiarity. Sidescrolling shooter bits have been spied in recent trailers, however, and you should know that Adam West will appear in the game—both as himself, and as 'Classic Batman'. Expect anyone who's ever fought, fought with, or looked at Batman cock-eyed in the street to star alongside him, including Superman, Batgirl and Batcow. Yes, there's a Batcow.

Escape Dead Island

Developer: Fatshark

Publisher: Deep Silver

Release Date: Autumn

Link: Deep Silver's site

It's clear that Techland and Deep Silver see a lot of potential in their tropical zombie apocalypse setting: in addition to the main game, we've had a MOBA—Dead Island Epidemic—and now a third-person stealth/combat game in the form of Escape Dead Island. While we wait for the bright, breezy Dead Island 2 to arrive next year, there may be fun to be found in this psychological, cel-shaded game, which interestingly is being made by War of the Roses developers Fatshark. You won't be immune to the virus in Escape, something that should make its shambling, rotting enemies even more deadly.

Hunt: Horrors of the Gilded Age

Developer: Crytek

Publisher: Crytek

Release Date: Autumn

Link: The Hunt site

Crytek's recent troubles have cast a sizeable shadow over this four-player co-op shooter set in the monster-ridden 19th century, and that's a shame, as it's shaping up to be pretty damned exciting. It's basically what Darksiders developers Vigil Games did next: ie a multiplayer hunting game set in a series of randomly generated environments. Resident Evil 4 and Left 4 Dead appear to be big inspirations for the game's third-person monster-slaying, and if Hunt's free-to-play elements aren't too egregious, this could be one of the surprises of the year.

Our announcement post contains a few more details, but be sure to check out our E3 hands-on afterwards.

Dynasty Warriors 8

Developer: Omega Force

Publisher: Tecmo Koei

Release Date: Out now

Link: Dynasty Warriors 8

Omega Force's long-running hack-and-slash hasn't had much of a presence on PC over the years, but the by-product of that is that we haven't been burned out yet on a series that changes little year-by-year. It's a gloriously silly, ridiculous game of pinball where the skittles take the form of human soldiers on a massive battlefield, fighting for whatever faction your extravagant general hero has a beef with at the time. Repetition is definitely a factor, but this is a series you can't stay mad at for too long.

Hack and slash your way to our review for more details on DW8.

Dead Rising 3

Developer: Capcom Vancouver

Publisher: Capcom

Release Date: September 5

Link: Dead Rising 3 site

Well of course Dead Rising 3 was coming to PC—it was just a matter of when. Capcom's first properly open world Dead Rising ups the zombie count in addition to upping the world size, revamping the crafting system in the process so that you don't have to seek out a workbench to mod your weapons. Other big changes are afoot too: the game's traditional strict time limit has been removed, at least for the normal story mode, allowing us to explore the corpsey city of Los Perdidos at our own pace.

ADVENTURE

You can thank Kickstarter for the return of the adventure game. Double Fine's Broken Age showed that there's still a huge appetite for narrative-driven puzzle games. Now we have a number of nostalgic returns to great adventure gaming series like Broken Sword. Elsewhere, Telltale lead the charge with their character-focused and choice-driven take on adventure games. Can Season Two of The Walking Dead live up to the terrific first run? Will The Wolf Among Us capitalise on its strong first episode? We can't wait to find out.

Broken Age

Developer: Double Fine

Publisher: In-house

Release: January 2014

Link: Broken Age site

Here it is: the monster that started it all. Without the astounding success of Double Fine Adventure's (now Broken Age's) nostalgia-baiting Kickstarter project, we wouldn't be seeing this current deluge of resurrected point-and-click franchises. Broken Age itself comes from names indelibly associated with the LucasArts point-and-click classics of yore - and this heritage was alone was enough for people to throw nearly $3.5 million at the company before a concept was even outlined. Still, one has since taken shape: some sort of girl-meets-boy yarn, stretched across interweaving sci-fi and fantasy realities.

Since its reveal, several videos have helped to elucidate what Broken Age is all about. This one shows off the game's twin worlds, this one offers the first glimpse of gameplay footage, while THIS one shows the level of voice acting talent we can expect. Did somebody say 'Jack Black', 'Jennifer Hale' and 'Raz from Psychonauts'? Yes, it was us just then.

The Walking Dead: Season Two

Developer: Telltale Games

Publisher: In-house

Release date: Episodes 2 - 5 to be released throughout Early 2014

Link: Telltale's The Walking Dead site

The first series redefined how Telltale approach their licensed adventures. With the second, they're upping the ante: bringing more tales from the dark heart of post-apocalyptic, zombie-ridden America, this time from the perspective of the small but capable Clementine. After a first season spent teaching, protecting and caring for Clem, the creators have removed the middleman, putting the player directly in control of her fight for survival. Expect an affecting mix of heart and horror along the way.

Have Telltale resurrected a winner with the second season? Read our review of the first episode .

The Wolf Among Us

Developer: Telltale Games

Publisher: In-house

Release date: Episode 2 due early 2014. Episodes 3, 4 and 5 TBA

Link: The Wolf Among Us site

The Wolf Among Us is an episodic series of adventure games based on the universe depicted in Vertigo's Fables comic book series. Fairytale characters carve out a hard life Manhattan, camouflaged by magical human personas called 'glamours'. You play as the current sheriff of Fabletown, Big Bad Wolf, a man feared and respected for the dark old days he spent blowing down houses and trying to eat Little Red Riding Hood. There's a mysterious and terrifying murder, of course, and soon enough you're investigating your friends, and digging through age-old fairytale relationships. It's rendered beautifully in a stark noir style, and got off to a thrilling start with episode one in October.

Find out just how much we enjoyed part one in our Wolf Among Us review.

Broken Sword: The Serpent's Curse – Episode 2

Developer: Revolution Software

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: January

Link: Revolution's Serpent's Curse site

Revolution's Kickstarter-funded adventure aims to make up for the mostly dire third and fourth games, which injected nonsense block puzzles and stealth elements into the celebrated mystery-'em-ups. By all accounts, it seems to have done a pretty good job, though of course we won't know the full extent until the game's globe-hopping story is concluded this January. Like most good things, The Serpent's Curse begins with a spot of pizza and light murder, before George and Nico – surely one of the best couples in gaming – reunite to investigate another ancient conspiracy.

We spoke to Revolution's Charles Cecil recently. Head here to read this thoughts on Broken Sword, religion, historical accuracy and the Da Vinci Code.

Dreamfall Chapters

Developer: Red Thread Games

Publisher: In-house

Release: 2014

Link: Red Thread Games

Much-loved adventure series The Longest Journey is to have at least one more chapter, coming from series creator Ragnar Tornquist and his new studio at Red Thread Games. Zoe Castillo, protagonist of Dreamfall, returns to the twin worlds of Stark (futuristic) and Arcadia (medieval fantasy) to, among other things, stop the evil Azardi empire from harvesting dreams. Mmm, dreams. The Longest Journey star April Ryan will appear in some form too, along with rogue Azardi soldier Kian Alvane. We know little more about it than that, but depending on your point of view, expect unique/tedious puzzles and philosophical/soporific dialogue from strong/Buffy women in their pyjamas/underwear.

See how far Chapters has advanced since it was first announced , to the reveal of this impressive in-game footage .

Kentucky Route Zero

Developer: Cardboard Computer

Publisher: In-house

Release date: Episodes 3, 4 and 5 TBA

Link: Kentucky Route Zero site

The first two episodes of this sublime and atmospheric adventure game are already out, but the remaining three linger in development limbo – an anxious situation for those of us transfixed by the KRZ's excellent music and evocative depictions of Kentucky. You play a deliveryman ferrying packages for an antique store, a point that's quickly sidelined as you're coaxed into increasingly miraculous scenarios in the forests and mines nearby. There's a strong imagination at work here. The mysterious Route Zero is subterranean multi-dimensional doughnut, organised by an underground human bureaucracy with its own strange office buildings. There's a museum to everyday objects in a dark, hidden part of the woods. The mines are littered with the belongings of long-vanished workers. The overall effect is strange, haunting and slightly unsettling, as though someone gave Kafka a banjo.

Read our verdict of part one of KRZ in our Kentucky Route Zero review.

SOMA

Developer: Vogelsap games

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: TBA 2014

Link: SOMA site

Frictional Games have proven that they know horror – first in the Penumbra games, and then again in Amnesia, an experience some of us will never forget. Soma is their latest first-person scare-'em-up, and after a few days of video teasers involving freaky pre-cognitive computers it was soon revealed to look quite a bit like their previous works. Until the Doc Ock-style tentacles make an appearance anyway. Expect creepy experiments, creepier blinking computer-things, and lots and lots of hiding, if Frictional's previous games are any indication.

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter

Developer: The Astronauts

Publisher: Self-published

Release Date: TBA 2014

Link: Astronauts website

Considering that indie studio The Astronauts are made up of former Painkiller and Bulletstorm developers, it was a surprise to learn that their first project would be a slow paced adventure. The Vanishing of Ethan Carter puts you in the shoes of a psychic detective investigating a child's disappearance, and features hardly any super shotguns at all.

Game of Thrones

Developer: Telltale Games

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: TBA

Link: The Telltale Games site

Questions abound regarding Telltale's foray into George R.R. Martin's wildly popular fantasy world. Question one: what with this, Tales of the Borderlands, and The Walking Dead, are Telltale spreading themselves too thin? Question two: can Telltale's trademark episodic structure do justice to the sprawling land of Westeros? Question three: will the games presumably cel-shaded style (we've yet to see the game in action) have a trivializing effect? After their award-winning Walking Dead season last year, however, we have no doubt Telltale will strike it big with this one.

Tales from the Borderlands

Developer: Telltale

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: TBA

Link: The official site

How many episodic adventure games are Telltale making now? Joining The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us and their just-revealed Game of Thrones series is Tales from the Borderlands, which as you may have guessed is based on Gearbox's Aliens: Colonial Marines. (Actually, no, but can you imagine?) The story concerns a bunch of “wannabe vault hunters”, and based on the sole teaser trailer it seems to have captured the tone of the shooty co-op games fairly well. Oh, yeah, that's the other thing: there will be shooting, according to Randy Pitchford, albeit not quite in the Borderlands house style.

Check out Tales from the Borderlands' first teaser trailer here , along with an even less revealing one for Game of Thrones.

Murdered: Soul Suspect

Developer Airtight games

Publisher: Square Enix

Release: Mid 2014

Link: Soul Suspect site

Being dead is a notable disadvantage when it comes to fighting crime – or so you would think. After being shot and killed by a mystery assailant, detective Ronan O'Connor (that'd be you) decides to put his afterlife to good use by solving his own unfortunate murder. He does this with the aid of the spirit community, and his new found ability to possess (well, a bit) living beings. It's pretty much Ghost, only with seemingly far fewer romantic pottery scenes.

Jane Jensen's Moebius

Developer: Pinkerton Road Studio

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: Early 2014

Link: Moebius site

Just to be clear, since the apostrophe's misleading: Jane Jensen isn't Moebius, but she is responsible for the seemingly mad-as-a-box-of-hammers adventure game bearing the same name. You might remember Jensen from the similarly pointy-and-clicky Gabriel Knight and Gray Matter; here she turns her attention to the secret organisation known excitingly as 'FIST'. I feel like they worked backwards from the acronym there, and as ever that's no bad thing. You'll play as improbably named antiques dealer Malachi Rector, tasked with investigating a wide-reaching mystery in the same manner that Lovejoy or Tinker might – although with admittedly more murders along the way.

Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure

Developer: Big Finish Games

Publisher: Atlus

Release date: Early 2014

Link: Tex Murphy site

Subject of yet another unexpectedly successful Kickstarter campaign, this sees the hardboiled PI from the future return for another adventure of mystery, drama, live-action cut-scenes and natty hats. Development of this belated sequel hasn't exactly been smooth sailing, but recent video seems to indicate that it's still on track for an early 2014 release. If you're sad that FMV adventure games didn't take off in earnest - really? Also: you're going to like this hokey, cheesy, but above all fun trailer very much.

The Blackwell Epiphany

Developer: Wadget Eye Games

Publisher: In-house

Release: “Marchish”

Link: Wadget Eye games website site

The fifth in a series of paranormal adventure games has been going since 2006. The Blackwell games are self contained mystery adventure starring medium for hire Rosangelina Blackwell and her spirit guide, Joey Mallone, while dropping hints at a greater story about where Rosa's powers come from, and who Joey was in life. The series has matured and improved over time, with 2011's Blackwell Deception the pick of the bunch, and developer Dave Gilbert promises Epiphany will be the longest and darkest game yet.

Armikrog

Developer: Pencil Test Studios

Publisher: In-house

Release date: TBA 2014

Link: The Armikrog site

A claymation adventure game from the creator of Earthworm Jim, Armikrog scooped almost a million dollars of backing from its Kickstarter plunge last year, and ongoing pledges have earned enough for them to consider branching out to the WiiU and beyond. They describe it as a spiritual successor to to early 2000s adventure game, The Neverhood, as fans quick quickly notice after a glance at the unusual moulded art style. You play a clay explorer called Tommynaut, and must escape the mysterious prison of Armikrog with your trusty talking dog, Beak-Beak.

Luminesca

Developer: Matt Glanville

Publisher: Self-published

Release Date: Episodes 3-5 TBA

Link: Luminesca site

Luminesca is a haunting underwater exploration game. Armed only with a torch, you have to navigate a shadowy subterranean world full of dark machines and an ecosystem of smaller pondlife. It's a gentle, accessible game designed to reward “curiosity, exploration and playfulness”. The first two chapters are available through early access on Luminesca's site , and a further three are planned.

Valiant Hearts: The Great War

Developer: Ubisoft Montpellier

Publisher: Ubisoft

Release: TBA 2014

Link: Debut trailer

Ubisoft's Ubi-Art framework (as used in Rayman Origins and Legends) is being used here to tell the stories of four strangers during the first world war. It's an adventure game of sorts, featuring spectacularly beautiful illustration and a story that promises to not just tug but yank at the heartstrings. May contain dogs.

Octodad: Dadliest Catch

Developer: Young Horses

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: TBA

Link: The Octodad site

Octodad: loving father, caring husband, secret cephalopod. In this absurd third-person puzzler, you play a suit-wearing octopus as he tries to convince his human family he's, you know, not an octopus. Humour here comes from placing a ludicrous force in a mundane setting - a supermarket, a church, the back garden. Here you're given simple tasks such as 'BBQ the burgers' or 'put away the plates', tasks made slightly more challenging when you've got a tangle of tentacles to contend with. Plates will smash, burgers will burn, and brilliantly, no-one will suspect a thing despite the fact, again, you're a freaking octopus. This is self-generating slapstick: you'll smash through the banana stand at the supermarket, mow the grass by dragging a lawnmower around on a rubbery limb, don a top hat for your wedding, and pour juice over your daughter as she innocently holds out an empty cup. Surely one of the most original concepts of the year.

Jazzpunk

Developer: Necrophone Games

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: January

Link: Jazzpunk site

Jazzpunk is... well that's the question. It's constant invention and weirdness make it hard to define. Really, it's a comedy game - one where every small interaction offers another funny vignette that riffs off of the techno-'60s espionage theme. From infiltrating a Soviet consulate, to flicking popcorn at annoyed cinemagoers, Jazzpunk frequently rewards your exploration with surprising new ways to make you laugh.

Phil chuckled his way through the first two levels in a hands-on preview of the game's IGF build.

Among the Sleep

Developer: Krillbite Studio

Publisher: In-house

Release: TBA 2014

Link: Krillbite studio site

Horror games are at their best when they make the player vulnerable, which is why Among the Sleep, which puts the player in the body of a two year old child, looks utterly terrifying. Even an ordinary house becomes intimidating and challenging when you're only two feet off the ground. As a small child, your only way to deal with danger is to hide from it, crawling into small spaces and hoping it will pass you by. Truly one of the scariest games of 2014.

Stasis

Developer: Chris Bischoff

Publisher: Self-published

Release Date: TBA

Link: Stasis site

You play a man rudely awakened from suspended animation on a spaceship in distress in this dark but detailed adventure game from one-man team, Chris Bischoff. You'll have to make your way through the ship to find out where it's headed, and why you're on it. An alpha demo is available now if you'd like a closer look at that hyper-detailed artwork.

Ether One

Developer: White Paper games

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: TBA 2014

Link: Ether One

Ether One asks you to explore the mind of a drug addict in order to repair her shattered memories. For some reason the minds of drug addicts bear a striking resemble to landscape paintings of Cornwall, who knew? It's a fairly simple first person adventure game at heart, but one enlivened by it's surreal, dreamlike setting and the Eternal Sunshine style ethical dilemma that drives the plot. It also has Oculus Rift support, which really brings the bleak landscapes to life.

For more information, read Tom Hatfield's Ether One preview from earlier this year.

Homestuck Adventure Game

Developer: MS Paint Adventures

Publisher: In-house

Release: 2014

Link: Homestuck site

A webcomic parody of the adventure games of yore in the shape of Homestuck/MS Paint Adventures, transposed to an actual version of an actual adventure game actually funded to the tune of millions of actual dollars by Homestuck's rabid fanbase. It's the sort of thing the internet was made for. So it's nice to see it's the sort of thing that is being made for the internet then, really.

Captain Astronaut's Last Hurrah

Developer: PopCannibal

Publisher: In-house

Release: 2014

Link: Captain Astronaut site

Captain Astronaut is like a strange and sad fairy tale. An injured child (dressed as a Astronaut, hence the name) travels through a weird fantasy world by guiding swarms of lights. On the surface it appears to be a point and click adventure, but the slight swarm parts feel more like a puzzle game, and the developers say it plays more like an RTS. We'll find out more next year.

Dream

Developer: HyperSloth

Publisher: Mastertronic

Release: TBA 2014

Link: Steam Early Access

An exploration of lucid dreaming, Dream asks you to play as a directionless young man called Howard Phillips, whose believes his dreams are trying to tell him something about his live. Using your bedroom as a hub, you explore some utterly stunning dream worlds, solving puzzles and helping Howard get his life on track. The game is currently in early access alpha, with only a handful of dreams available, but it already looks like one of the most mesmerising games of 2014.

Dropsy

Developer: Jay Tholen

Publisher: Jay Tholen

Release Date: October

Link: Jay Tholen's site

Dropsy might look rather terrifying – he is a clown after all – but beneath his grotesque make-up lies a gentle and warm-hearted individual that wouldn't harm a fly. He's starring in an open world adventure game with little to no text, and a structure that will allow you to explore and move the story along at your own pace. The game uses an icon-based speech system that represents Dropsy's essentially mute nature, meaning this should be one of the rare adventure games natively playable in all languages. While humans may be a little weirded out by Dropsy, he seems to have no trouble communicating with animals – including his similarly clownlike dog Eughh.

We first encountered Dropsy late last year , after he successfully juggled his way through his Kickstarter campaign.

A Bird Story

Developer: Freebird Games

Publisher: In-house

Release date: TBA

Link: Freebird Games' site

Rather than launch straight into a sequel to To The Moon, Freebird Games are instead working on a spin-off. A Bird Story is billed as a surreal short that's set in the same universe, but that takes place before the adventures of the doctors Watts and Rosalene. Instead, it tells the story of a bird with a broken wing, and a boy who will later grow up to be the patient of To The Moon's planned second episode.

Elegy for a Dead World

Developer: Dejobaan

Publisher: In-house

Release date: TBA

Link: Elegy for a Dead World site

You wander around a dead alien world, making notes about your observations and drawing conclusions about the fate of the long-dead creatures that came before. Then you reach the end of your exploration, and your notes are packaged into the Steam Workshop for others to upload, rate, and discuss. It's a reflective writing game, essentially, inspired by the works of British Romantic poets, Keats, Shelley, Byron. In the entire list, this is the game least likely to contain an end boss, health packs and a rocket launcher.

Gods Will Be Watching

Developer: Deconstructeam

Publisher: In-house

Release: February 2014

Link: Gods Will Be Watching

Deconstructeam's beautiful adventure webgame is being expanded into a bigger and more complex experience, complementing its lone survival scenario with several more that have to be, er, survived. It's not just about living, however: one of the new scenarios sees you playing as a group of bioterrorists, tasking you with managing a tense hostage situation without causing panic or mutiny.

White Night

Developer: OSome

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: TBA 2014

Link: White Night

If the words “survival horror”, “Alfred Hitchcock” and “German Expressionism” make your ears prick up, then point your eyes at this adventure game, inspired by all of the above, and Alone in the Dark. Rendered in stark black and white, White Night captures the ambience of the moodiest cinema noirs, and promises to use it to create some memorable scares in its haunted house setting.

Tengami

Developer: Nyamyam

Publisher: Self-published

Release Date: Mid 2014

Link: Tengami site

Tengami is a serene adventure game set inside a pop up book. As you guide your character through each unfolding spread, you can manipulate the papery seams of the scene before you to unfold new staircases or reveal hidden caves. It's set in a dark fantasy take on Ancient Japan, and is being co-developed for iPad - a perfect fit for the tactile folding and sliding of cardboard scenery.

Octopus City Blues

Developer:

Publisher: Self-published

Release Date: Late 2014

Link: Octopus City Blues

This surreal adventure game is set in a city built around a colossal Octopus. You play a “tentacle cutter” called Kaf Kafkaryan suffering from mysterious hallucinations about a world inhabited by “twisted creatures” who don't live in a giant Octopus. Expect weirdness. Lots of weirdness.

The Detail

Developer: Rival Games

Publisher: In house

Release date: TBA 2014

Link: The Detail site

The Detail is an old-school noir-style adventure game. As veteran detective Reginald “Reggie” Moore and former criminal informant Joe Miller you walk the streets, investigating murders and trying not to get smoked by sinister members of the criminal underworld. It's built in the Unity Engine, and counts early Lucasarts adventure games and HBO series The Wire among its influences. Expect death, angry men swearing at the injustice of the world, and stylish lighting.

Lioness

Developer: Zack Ayles

Publisher: In-house

Release date: First episode out by 2014's end

Link: Lioness Kickstarter page

This experimental adventure game from Zack Ayles casts you as freelance journalist, Eggbert Kirby. Accompanied by a Nicotine-addicted cat, you must investigate the circumstances surrounding seven mysterious disappearances. Ayles says the game is primarily about “human connection” and says that the team are “experimenting with unique new ways to approach games as a storytelling medium.” If that's not interesting enough, the game will also feature “time travel” and “interdimensional coffee”. The first of the seven planned parts should be out before the end of 2014.

Dyscourse: Survivors, Choose Wisely

Developer: Owlchemy Labs

Publisher: In-house

Release date: September 2014

Link: The Dyscourse site

Can you guide your group of survivors to safety? Dyscourse is a game about life-or-death decisions in the wilderness, rendered in a rather lovely living-collage aesthetic. You've crashed on a large island and must stay alive long enough to be rescued, but you'll spend more time managing your group's psychology than gathering resources or battling monsters. Dyscourse will present many branching decisions that will affect your group's relationships with one another. Misjudge the politics of a situation and members could betray you, or go it alone. Crack the group completely and you could be wiped out in days. One to watch for fans of The Yawhg and The Walking Dead.

1979 Revolution

Developer: Ink Stories

Publisher: In-house

Release date: TBA

Link: 1979 Revolution

1979 Revolution is an episodic adventure game in the vein of Telltale's The Walking Dead series, except there will be a strong historical element supported by historical photographs and voice recordings. You play as a photojournalist caught up in the Iranian revolution of 1979, making decisions and trying to protect your friends as the security forces and revolutionaries clash. 1979's Kickstarter flopped short of its $395,000 target, but the team are still amassing contributions on their site. It's a team of considerable talent, and the lead developer Navid Khonsari - formerly of Rockstar - was branded a spy by his native Iran for working on the project. The game's claims to authenticity are strengthened by collaboration with French photojournalist Michel Setboun, who covered both sides of the conflict in 1979. Photos you take during the game can even be compared to genuine shots taken by Setboun, and events from the game will be enhanced by genuine stock footage.

Ghost of a Tale

Developer: Lionel Gallat

Publisher: Self-published

Release date: TBA

Link: Ghost of a Tale

As a tiny wee mouse you must explore and survive a world full of wandering undead beasts in this gorgeous adventure game built by one man, Lionel Gallat. Gallat is using advanced textures and DirectX11 techniques to create a hyper-detailed island full of dark shores and carefully crafted dungeons. Development is proceeding gradually, but a closed alpha is due early in 2014.

Catequesis

Developer: Baroque Decay and Curved Cat games

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: TBA 2014

Link: Catequesis site

You know what sucks? When you meet your girlfriends' parents for the first time and it turns out one of them has an incurable disease that can only be cured by a mysterious and certainly evil ritual. Such is the challenge that faces you in Catequesis, a horror adventure game inspired by the 16-bit era and classic low-fi horror games like Yume Nikki.

Crimes and Punishments

Developer: Frogwares

Publisher: Focus Home Interactive

Release Date: September 2

Link: Sherlock Holmes: The Game: The Site

We're still waiting on a truly great detective game, and it would be apt if turned out to be one starring the Great Detective himself, Mr. Sherlock Holmes. Crimes and Punishments is Frogwares' latest Victorian sleuthing adventure, and this one boasts all manner of technological advancements, more involved detective elements, moments of moral deliberation, and the ability to dress Holmes in a variety of disguises – if you've read the books or seen the wonderful TV series starring Jeremy Brett, you'll know that Holmes was pretty much the original Agent 47.

Frogwares and Focus Home acknowledged the terrifying Creepy Watson video with their own take based in Crimes and Punishments' engine. When you're sufficiently spooked, check out this massive trailer for the latest game.

Hatoful Boyfriend

Developer: Hato Moa, Mediatonic

Publisher: Devolver Digital

Release Date: August 21

Link: Hatoful Boyfriend site

The world's first—and presumably only—pigeon dating game doesn't appear to have much to offer beyond its gimmicky premise, but if the writing/jokes are strong enough, there's always room in our hearts for a good parody game. Alternatively, this could be a hugely engaging story that just happens to take place in a school for talented birds. You'll play the part of the only human in the institute—let's hope they can understand your pigeon English.

EXPLORATION AND SURVIVAL

This is a new category for 2014. Many upcoming games don't comfortably fit into old action stereotypes. These games are about exploration and discovery. You wander, learn, craft and gradually master the world. Some, like Starbound, are easygoing and pleasant, others, like DayZ, are absolutely not. The exploration and survival section is home to many great hopes of 2014, like Sir, You Are Being Hunted, Sunless Sea and The Forest, and fresh contenders like Alien Isolation show that studios are willing to put big budgets behind these clever survival horror concepts.

Alien: Isolation

Developer: Creative Assembly

Publisher: SEGA

Release Date: TBA 2014

Link: Alien: Isolation site

Put the Alien games of old out of your mind, Isolation promises something that series fans have been missing for years - a game based on the original film. A single, intelligent alien stalks you through the corridors of a failing facility. There are no flamethrowers, grenades, smart guns or useful rolls of gun-binding gaffer tape lying around. It's just you, a motion tracker, a ship full of dark nooks and crannies to hide in and the greatest movie monster ever devised. The environments and technology are based on the paraphernalia found on the '70s film set, and the low-fi sci-fi aesthetic is carried by an impressive engine, which does a great job of capturing the complex hard and soft lighting of the Alien films' futuristic dungeons.

Chris first braved Isolation's corridors for us, and wrote his thoughts on the harrowing experience down here .

DayZ

Developer: Bohemia Interactive

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: TBA 2014

Link: DayZ site

The mod shifted thousands of copies of ARMA 2, and hundred of thousands have already been sold on Steam Early Access. DayZ is a phenomenon that's only going to grow as the small team working on it at Bohemia fix the bugs and bring it up to completion. Each server supports a version of DayZ's huge, zombie-infested and completely explorable island. 40 players at a time can fight for survival, scavenging clothes, medicine and weaponry from abandoned towns, gas stations, airports and military outposts. New players will quickly learn that humans are far more deadly than zombies. Well armed bandits will often hunt newbs on sight. Even in its early, clunky state, DayZ is extraordinarily tense, and keeps on turning out great stories.

Starbound

Developer: Chucklefish

Publisher In-house

Release date TBA

Link: Starbound site

As a homeless space traveller you must explore procedurally generated planets populated by procedurally generated creatures in procedurally generated cities, caves and ancient temples. As you wander, you'll gain materials to craft better equipment, liase with NPCs, and discover new life and new civilizations. The Early Access version of Starbound is already fantastic and full of weird cosmic secrets. The planned feature s posts on the Starbound site offer a glimpse of what the game will grow to be in 2014. Chucklefish plan to add space combat, and “Spaceship Dungeons”, huge floating wrecks that are “the size of a planet”. Along with The Kerbal Space Program, Starbound could become one of the defining games of 2014.

Project Zomboid

Developer: The Indie Stone

Publisher: In-house

Release date: TBA

Link: Project Zomboid site

After years of development, this zombie apocalypse sim landed on Steam Early Access in 2013, introducing new players to a grim survivalist existence. Root through abandoned houses for food, forge basic weapons out of household tat, board up the windows and try and survive for as long as possible in a world overrun by the undead. Your character's mental state is as important as your physical wellbeing. You'll have to fend off depression, loneliness and terror before you can competently face the hordes. There's still plenty of development to go, but Project Zomboid could be a tremendous story generator when it's complete.

Learn about the dramatic and arduous development cycle behind Project Zomboid in our Special Report.

White Heaven

Developer: Dreampainters Software

Publisher: In-house

Release date: TBA

Link: White Heaven site

Amnesia: The Dark Descent has spawned a mini-genre of first person horror games, which is set to grow with the arrival of White Heaven. This one's set in an abandoned, isolated hotel near a creepy forest - people who build scary hotels near creepy forests should really know better by now. It's notable for being built in Unreal Engine 4, which ought to make it a very pretty creepy hotel at least. It'll also have Oculus Rift support, which will surely become mandatory for this sort of horror game in the coming years.

Stranded Deep

Developer: Beam Team Games

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: TBA 2014

Link: Stranded Deep site

Good news! You've survived an aeroplane crash. Bad news. You're stranded in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Stranded Deep is a survival game set in a procedurally generated patch of sea. You may find yourself stranded in shark infested waters, you may be able to dive and scavenge leftover luggage trapped in randomised reefs. Oculus Rift support should make Stranded Deep's impressive wave tech look even more tangible, and a crafting system should add a bit of structure and progression to all that scavenging.

The Long Dark

Developer: Hinterland Games

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: October

Link: Official website

Set in a snowy wilderness, The Long Dark sees pilot Will Mackenzie (voiced by Mark 'Commander Shepard' Meer) struggling to survive in a world where an atmospheric phenomenon has rendered all technology useless. The focus is on exploration and survival rather than action. You'll have to keep warm, fed, sheltered, and safe from predatory wildlife as the freezing nights close in. There are other survivors too, some of whom will be aggressive, so the game isn't completely free of conflict – but it's always a last resort. Interestingly, there's no HUD or Minecraft-style meters: Mackenzie will simply say what he needs, whether it's food or a fire. The stylised, minimalist visuals are particularly striking.

Read our interview with Hinterland's Raphael van Lierop

No Man's Sky

Developer: Hello Games

Publisher: In-house

Release date: TBA

Link: No Man's Sky

No Man's Sky is a procedurally generated sci-fi FPS. But wait, it gets better. You'll be able to chart the universe in your spaceship, hopping from planet to planet, all without a single load screen. But wait, it gets better still. Each planet, promise the developers, will be unique to the player. Supposedly, every atom in the game is procedurally generated. On a desert planet you might sprint from a giant land snake; on a water planet you'll swim with luminous green sharks. Is it too ambitious a project from the team behind Joe Danger? Find out for yourself next year.

Read our first news story on No Man's Sky

Limit Theory

Developer: Procedural Reality

Publisher: In-house

Release: 2014

Link: Limit Theory site

There are a lot of space simulation/adventure games popping up on Kickstarter and Indiegogo, but you can never have enough. Limit Theory skips any semblance of scripting or plot in favour of a sandbox universe of procedurally-generated everything, in which you can explore, shoot things, coo at the pretty stars, or die a horrible, horrible death. Sounds great.

Sir, You Are Being Hunted

Developer: Big Robot

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: TBC

Link: Big Robot's website

Blending the dynamic, reactive stealth of Deus Ex with a Monty Python sketch, Sir sees you surviving in a grim British rural wilderness with packs of tweed-wearing robots on your tail. Despite their jaunty walk and dapper top hats, they're actually incredibly menacing. Their red eyes glow in the gloom, and if they spot you, your ears echo with the sounds of gunfire and eerie robotic voices. Your task is to collect a series of objects strewn around a procedurally generated archipelago, avoiding the remorseless gaze of the 'bots, and keeping yourself alive by scavenging food and weapons.

Read about the latest alpha update

Starpoint Gemini 2

Developer: Little Green Man Games

Publisher: Iceberg Interactive

Release: TBA 2014

Link: Starpoint Gemini 2

Take charge of a spacecraft and explore a single continuous universe, battling spacefaring denizens and customising your ship as you go. Scraps unfold in real-time, but you'll have to adroitly shuffle power around yours ship to keep subsystems active while bringing your weapons to bear. Little Green Man Games promise plenty of RPG depth and progression to your exploration and tactical intrigue to the combat. If you get lonely out there in the big black, you can hire mercenaries to fly with you and employ officers to man positions on your ship. A promising and deep space exploration game, Starpoint Gemini 2 already has some dedicated players on Steam Early Access.

The Evil Within

Developer: Tango Gameworks

Publisher: Bethesda

Release: 2014

Link: The Evil Within site

The Evil Within is without a firm release date right now, but one thing we do know is that Shinji 'Resident Evil' Mikami is involved. Survival horror in the Resi/Silent Hill mold hasn't been particularly well represented of late, and Within seems like an attempt to get the genre back on track. From what's been revealed it involves a cop, monsters and a guy with a chainsaw – so far, so good.

Raindrop

Developer: Raindrop Studios

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: TBA

Link: Kickstarter

This extremely pretty, Unity-built survival horror game failed to reach its Kickstarter funding target this year, but development continues. That's fortunate, because Raindrop's golden forests and bleak, deserted concrete wastelands look like a fun place to get lost. You'll spend a lot of time scavenging to craft weapons (though the developers stress that you don't have to kill people if you don't want to), armour and vehicle upgrades as you explore environments that have been in production since 2007, when the two-man team started building Raindrop as a Half-Life 2 total conversion.

Frontiers

Developer: AAD Productions

Publisher: In-house

Release date: Summer, 2014

Link: Frontiers site

As vast and mysterious as games like Skyrim or Fallout 3 have been, they're as much about the mechanics of character progression and loot upgrades as they are about the exploration of their worlds. Frontiers was inspired by Bethesda's earlier game, Daggerfall, and hopes to recapture the joy of uncharting the unknown. The story incorporates the increased tensions between the game's regions, mysterious and deadly orbs, and your character's quest to find their uncle - who disappeared in uncharted lands. Along the way, you'll need to live off the land, craft new tools, and uncover the game's continent-wide mystery.

For more on Frontiers, check out Phil's interview with its creator, Lars Simkins .

Sunless Sea

Developer: Failbetter Games

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: TBA

Link: Sunless Sea site

Sunless Sea is set in a dark, procedurally generated underground ocean. You must pilot your customisable ship around its waters, discovering islands, hiring crew and battling sea monsters. There's plenty of menace in Sunless Sea's murky, mysterious visuals and the strange creatures that populate the world, and the video for the team's successful Kickstarter campaign drops a few hints of the horrors to come when it suggests that you'll “lose your mind, eat your crew” and “quell a mutiny.” It's being built by Failbetter Games, creators of Fallen London, who list FTL, Don't Starve and Sid Meier's Pirates as influences, which means Sunless Sea will hopefully give us a chance to craft some good horror tales of our own.

Darkwood

Developer: Acid Wizard Studio

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: TBA

Link: Darkwood site

Darkwood is a top-down survival horror set in, er, a dark wood. After a successful IndieGoGo campaign the three-person team have charged ahead with development of their open world generation technology. You'll have to craft items from found objects in the various abandoned houses that populate the wood, which is set in the deepest, darkest depths of Europe in the twilight of the 20th Century. Early videos of Darkwood show a rich, sinister atmosphere that's already laden with menace. Death is permanent, too, to add even more tension.

Eidolon

Developer: Ice Water Games

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: TBA

Link: Eidolon site

You're stuck in the wilderness of West Washington and all the humans are gone. Fish, hunt and hike to extent your existence and uncover the stories of the people this land has lost in this serene exploration game from Ice Water Games. The pale, impressionistic art style is reminiscent of Proteus, but don't be fooled by that - you'll have to fend off starvation and build campfires to keep death away.

Interstellaria

Developer: Coldrice Games

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: TBA

Link: Interstellaria site

Gather a crew and explore the galaxy in your ship in search of new life and new civilisations. When you discover a new planet, you beam down and explore it as a 2D platformer level. Some will have you blasting alien nasties in Mega Man-esque run 'n gun battles, others will encourage Metroidvania style exploration. Any goods you find can be used to upgrade your character and your ship. There will be space combat as well, inspired by FTL, and the creator hopes to eventually let players spend their entire game in space, or on a planet's surface, when the game is complete.

The Forest

Developer: Ben Falcone

Publisher: Self-published

Release Date: TBA 2014

Link: The Forest site

The Forest is at once a staggeringly gorgeous survival sim and a staggeringly creepy horror game, featuring crafting, exploration, a day/night cycle, and of course moments where you batter violent semi-naked mutants to death in a wooded area. You're a plane crash survivor Losting it up on a mysterious island; during the day you'll gather and scavenge resources, build yourself a home, attempt to grow food, and very probably try to work out what's going on (if there's time). Night, however, brings the aforementioned mutants, humanoid creatures who lurk in the shadows of the game's beautifully rendered forest, and who don't appear to be too fond of its new guest.

Vox

Developer: Always Geeky

Publisher: Self-published

Release Date: TBA 2014

Link: Vox site

Minecraft casts a long shadow over new indie games offering malleable block-based adventuring. What can the newcomers do that the original can't? Vox's voxel engine ought to be easier to manipulate than Minecraft's block-by-block building approach, and there are quest-givers lingering about to give a bit of structure to your spelunking.

Naissancee

Developer: Limasse Five

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: Early 2014

Link: Naissancee

Architecture and light play together wonderfully in this exploratory puzzle game, set in a colossal abstract machine. It's an artistic endeavour inspired by Anouk De Clerq's video, Building . As you move light around the rigid structures, pools of shadow reveal hidden pathways. The use of sharp shadow and gravity-bending puzzles create an occasionally disorientating but novel sense of traversal through an alien space.

Coin Crypt

Developer: Greg Lobanov

Publisher: Self published

Release Date: TBA 2014

Link: Coin Crypt

You play a 'Lootmancer' in this procedurally generated roguelike. That means the coins you steal from the crypt's chests can be used to deal damage in combat. There's permadeath, of course, but you can unlock different playable characters as you scramble further through each level. According to the developer, Coin Crypt is inspired by “the Nexus City prototype by Terry Cavanagh, Spelunky by Derek Yu and the card game Dominion”. Early access is available through the website linked above, or through Steam Early Access.

Betrayer

Developer: Blackpowder Games

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: 2014

Link: Betrayer's site

Set in the New World in the 17th century, the boldly monochrome Betrayer (well, boldly monochrome until they added the option to view the world in full colour) puts players in the role of a potential settler, who arrives to find the place inhabited by ghosts, skeletons, and other things you should probably kill with your bow. It's an indie, open world first-person horror from ex-Monolith developers, and that's reason enough why you should be excited.

What's black and white and red all over? Betrayer, as it turns out .

The Dead Linger

Developer: Sandswept Studios

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: TBA

Link: The Dead Linger on this site

Wait, which DayZ-a-like is this? It's the one set on a huge procedurally generated planet – a bit like ours, which was procedurally generated sometime after the Big Bang. The Dead Linger promises that you'll be able to “interact and explore every item, weapon, object, and building that you can see. No fake doors, no fake windows, no invisible walls”. So you can hardly accuse Sandswept of lacking ambition. What else can we expect? Zombies, barricading, and multiplayer featuring “as many survivors as your server can handle”. The Dead Linger has been in development for around four years now and is still in alpha, so a 2014 release is a bit of a push.

Nether

Developer: Phosphor Games

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: 2014

Link: Nether's site

Oh look, it's a first-person, open world, multiplayer survival game that follows in the wake of DayZ. For once, though, it doesn't feature a single reanimated human. It does – cough – feature superpowered mutant thingies known hilariously as Nethers, but they're honestly not that similar to DayZ's zig-zagging zombie hordes. Nether's regions are far more urban in nature too, with a huge city environment that resembles the rusty, ruined locales of a Stalker game.

Phosphor Games revealed Nether to PC Gamer back in August, before taking the game to Steam Early Access a couple of months later .

Delver

Developer: Chad Alan Cuddigan

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: 2014

Link: Delver's site

Chad Alan Cuddigan's first-person roguelike has gone through a number of changes over the last few months, the most notable being the recent adoption of considerably more detailed sprites and backgrounds. Thankfully the new look retains the deliciously chunky pixels of previous builds, not to mention the fantastically catchy soundtrack. Compared to many roguelikes, roguelites or roguelite-likes you may have played lately, Delver is a relatively simple dungeon crawler, comparable to the game that kicked this entire, messy genre off – Rogue. You'll defeat enemies, find weapons and armour, enchanted wands and piles of yummy grub, as you make your way through a procedurally generated dungeon. It's the game's wit, warmth and general slickness that will keep you coming back.

Neo Scavenger

Developer: Blue Bottle Games

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: 2014

Link: Neo Scavenger site

Neo Scavenger is a hexy, sci-fi, single-player strategy game. Waking up in a cryo lab with little more than a hospital gown to your name, your secondary task is to uncover the mystery of why you were there in the first place. Your primary task, of course, is to not die for as long as possible, something that's considerably harder than in many games of this ilk, what with bandits, mutants, disease, exposure, malnutrition and even dysentery awaiting the unprepared explorer. Luckily there's a crap-ton of useful stuff lying about the place. Carrier bags, tin cans, clothes, old gadgets and the like: the remnants of our materialist society. You're welcome , grim-faced apocalypse survivors. Neo Scavenger is currently available as a paid beta, but from what we've played it feels almost finished – the slightly unwieldy UI could probably do with another pass though.

Edge of Space

Developer: HandyMan Studios

Publisher: Reverb Publishing

Release: TBA 2014

Link: Edge of Space site

Explore alien planet full of flying sharks with jetpacks, dig, mine, explore and terraform it to make it suitable for habitation. There are a few survival crafting games about, but few are as bright and bizarre as Edge of Space. Watch out for flying space squid as you're constructing your next outpost or power station. Early access is available through Desura now.

7 Days To Die

Developer: The Fun Pimps

Publisher: In-house

Release: May 2014

Link: 7 Days to Die site

7 Days to Die is a “survival horde crafting game”, words which here mean “DayZ meets Minecraft”. That's hardly a bad mish-mash of elements, however, and the alpha version already shows a ton of promise. Survive, craft, build, dig and lay traps on a post-apocalyptic Earth, trying not to get yourself bitten while you do so.

Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime

Developer: Asteroid Base

Publisher: In-house

Release date: TBA

Link: LiaDS site

The developers describe this as a “frantic local co-op platformer-inside-a-shooter”. You and a friend (or AI partner) must rush around the innards of a bright pink spaceship to man turrets and fend off asteroids and attacking aliens. As you roam the galaxy you'll have the opportunity to explore new regions of space, liberate planets and then shout at each other when things inevitably go wrong and you blow up and die because someone couldn't climb a ladder fast enough.

Lost Spirits of Kael

Developer: Rablo Games

Publisher: In-house

Release date: TBA 2014

Link: Lost Spirits of Kael site

A magical harpist has put a spell on the forest of Kael, covering it in a mysterious mist that hides wandering demons. In this strange action RPG, you play a young artist who's entered the forest to recapture his muse, but finds himself lost in the mist, fending off said demons with punching. Lost Spirits of Kael's deliberately childish visuals take on a delicious creepiness when paired with the soundtrack. An odd but atmospheric project.

Blood Alloy

Developer: Suppressive Fire Games

Publisher: In-house

Release date: TBA

Link: Blood Alloy site

Blood Alloy describes itself as a “2D, sci-fi urban Metroidvania” set in a ruined cyberpunk world. You play as a young amnesiac who awakes to find she's been forcibly converted into a cyborg. It seems that those who converted her have only given her some impressive tools with which to exact painful revenge, but first she must hunt her persecutors through a non-linear environment full of robot bosses, secret areas and powerful upgrades.

Before

Developer: Bill Lowe

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: TBA 2014

Link: Before site

Due to Bill Lowe's rather idiosyncratic blogging style, we actually know little about Before. What we do know is that 1) It's about cavemen, 2) it looks bloody beautiful, 3) no seriously like at that picture it's gorgeous. Here's hoping we learn a little more in 2014.

Proven Lands

Developer: TheseTales

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: TBA

Link: Proven Lands site

You're stranded on an uncharted planet, facing hunger, thirst and loneliness in a harsh and hostile desert. You'll need to build, scavenge and learn to survive on the procedurally generated landscape. So far, so in keeping with the growing survival genre. Proven Lands' trick is a trait and ambition system, that aims to add the unpredictability and character drama of Crusader Kings 2 to the top-down roguelike setting.

Shelter 2

Developer: Might and Delight

Publisher: Might and Delight

Release Date: August

Link: Might and Delight site

We don't have much to go on yet with this sequel, but we can expect another harsh battle of survival against nature, the various predators lurking in nature, and very probably more trial-and-error stealthing as you try your best not to get you adorable cubs eaten. Shelter 2 will feature a bigger world, and a new family of animals to protect: a mother Lynx and her litter of cutesy cubs. New “maternal features” will let you call your offspring, carry them around, and tell them to drink at water sources.

FPS

Who can renew the traditional FPS? Games like Far Cry 3 used an open world and RPG staples like crafting and progression systems to freshen things up. The likes of Survarium hope to one day employ similar devices, but otherwise there's a strong nostalgic leaning among games like Wolfenstein: The New Order and Wrack. Perhaps we'll find hope in the upcoming spawn of the 7DFPS game jam, which spawned greats like Receiver and Super Hot? Whatever happens, Titanfall's speedy traversal and moreish mech battling should offer some succour for those who want to pick up a big gun and make explosions happen.

Titanfall

Developer: Respawn Entertainment

Publisher: Electronic Arts

Release date: March 2014

Link: Titanfall site

Any game that lets you call in a pet mech from orbit is worth a look, but that's just one of the reasons to keep an eye on short-session multiplayer shooter, Titanfall. Developers, Respawn Entertainment, have spent years trying to find a balance between fast-paced, jetpack-powered footsoldier shootouts and lumbering mech duels and, based on first impressions, may have totally nailed it. Soldiers can boost and wall-run through its cityscapes, hitching rides on friendly mechs before calling down stompy doom-machines of their own. Firefights flow freely from streets, to rooftops, to giant robots with rocket launchers. Titanfall promises the speed tactile satisfaction of Call of Duty's multiplayer mode, but with greater variety and an engaging futuristic setting.

Find out more about how Titanfall's frantic fights feel in our hands-on

Wolfenstein: The New Order

Developer: MachineGames

Publisher Bethesda

Release date TBA 2014

Link: Wolfenstein: The New Order site

It's 1960, and free love and music festivals have been replaced by robot dogs and Nazi shocktroops. As Captain B. J. Blazkowicz it's your job to single-handedly undo this alternative-history screw up using big guns and shouting. At first glance, The New Order looks like an old fashioned corridor shooter quite suited to the “Wolfenstein” name, but this frivolous mass-blaster promises a few interesting new ways to dice up robo-Nazis, like a laser that lets you slice through cover with pixel-perfect precision. Carve rude shapes out of concrete barriers, and then snipe your foes through the gap. It's being developed by MachineGames, made up of some major figures from the Darkness and Chronicles of Riddick team at Starbreeze, which means it might just be good.

For a taste of Wolfenstein: The New Order's trademark absurdity, check out our hands-on account, about fighting Nazis in a moon-dome.

Survarium

Developer: Vostok Games

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: TBA 2014

Link: Survarium site

STALKER 2 was never to be, but most of its former developers are keeping the dream alive with Survarium, though a free-to-play arena shooter is hardly the form you'd want a spiritual successor to take. Fortunately, the maps they've shown so far are laden with the dilapidated beauty of STALKER's irradiated wasteland, and Vostok eventually want to turn Survarium into something much bigger and more emergent, with a co-op mode that riffs on DayZ. The prospect of a 40-person server set in a STALKER-esque zone built in a modern engine is worth getting excited about, even if it has to start life as a relatively restricted competitive shooter first. Alpha sign-ups are available if you want to get in early.

Paranautical Activity

Developer: Code Avarice

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: 2014

Link: Steam early access

Paranautical Activity is a fast paced roguelike FPS. At first glance it looks like a blocky version of Doom, but the use of three dimensional space reminds us more of Quake 3. More importantly levels are procedurally generated for short, frenetic gunfights. Developers Code Avarice had a pretty rough time earlier this year when they signed up with a publisher in order to bypass Steam Greenlight, only to be told that they would still have to go through the process. Thankfully they eventually succeeded and are now in early access.

Tom Clancy's Rainbow 6: Patriots

Developer: Ubisoft Montreal, Ubisoft Red Storm, Ubisoft Toronto

Publisher: Ubisoft

Release: TBA

Link: Rainbow 6 site

Domestic terrorism on American soil is a fairly brave subject to cover when it comes to mainstream videogames and probably requires delicate handling. Perhaps that's why so many of the development team have jumped ship following the rather cold reaction to its early trailers. It may have undergone a total overhaul - as do so many of Ubisoft's big budget releases. We can probably still expect rappelling out of buildings, vision modes and co-operative door breaching to make an appearance, but as to the game's structure, little is known. Alas, there's little reason to hope it will ditch the cinematic action nonsense of latterday Clancy games for the series' origins as a supremely tactical squad shooter. We can but hope that Rainbow Six will one day re-emerge, but don't expect it anytime soon.

Prey 2

Developer: Human Head

Publisher: Bethesda

Release date: TBA

Link: Human Head site

Early previews of this game showed a tremendously appealing vertical slice of sci-fi opening world shooting, with the player taking on the role of a human air marshal accidentally transported to an alien planet during the events of the first game. Here he becomes a bounty hunter, clambering and diving all over the Blade Runner inspired cityscape with some rather tasty firstperson parkour tricks, and no small amount of gadgetry. It looked exhilarating to play, with a wealth of combat and traversal options available to you, as you pursued your quarry through the neon and gunmental of a dizzyingly vertical environment. Alas, some sort of kerfuffle between devs Human Head and their publishers at Bethesda has halted production – although rumours emerged recently that Arkane have now picked up the baton.

Furious 4

Developer: Gearbox

Publisher: Ubisoft

Release: TBC

Link: Gearbox's site

Originally set to be the fourth entry in the po-faced, pseudo-reverent WW2 shooter series, Brothers In Arms, early trailers for Furious 4 took such a divergent and whimsically vicious tone that the project was hurriedly hived off on its own. Since its initial reveal, however, the Tarantino-inspired action caper has been little seen or heard, with Gearbox claiming that there's been a substantial facelift in the interim.

Doom 4

Developer: id Software

Publisher: Bethesda Softworks

Release: 2015

Link: id homepage

We've known Doom 4 was coming for years, but during that time very little information has dripped out about id's return visit to hell. Will it have a shotgun? Will have a blue keycard? Will it have a BFG? These questions haunt us. Production of id's follow-up to Rage has been completely restarted at least once, with the words “development” and “hell” being thrown around recently. id's John Carmack left the company in 2013 to work full-time at Oculus VR - how will that affect this troubled sequel to the divisive Doom 3?

Interstellar Marines

Developer: Zero Point Software

Publisher: In-house

Release: TBA

Link: Steam early access

Interstellar Marines has been in development in some form or another since 2005 and is now in beta, but we're certain it's going to get released in 2014, honestly. It's an ambitious four player co-op shooter that takes its inspiration from the likes of System Shock 2 and Rainbow 6. The current build boasts some very impressive lighting and weather effects, but is still some distance from the dream game Zero Point are pitching.

Zone: Commando

Developer: Xitol Softworks

Publisher: In-house

Release: TBC

Link: Xitol's site

Initially set for release in the middle of 2012, this multiplayer sci-fi shooter's release date has been in hasty retreat. According to Xitol's Twitter feed, the project is still alive, but there's still not much to go on beyond pre-alpha screenshots and promises.

Enemy Front

Developer: City Interactive

Publisher: In-house

Release: Mid 2014

Link: Enemy Front

Remember when all first person shooters were set in World War 2? City Interactive do, apparently, and want to revisit that era with CryEngine 3 powered FPS, Enemy Front. It promises larger, more sandboxy environments than Call of Duty offered back in the day, along with scenery destruction and other modern engine gubbins. You play as a US war correspondent called Robert Hawkins, covering Nazi resistance movements across World War 2's major European theatres of war.

Sniper Elite 3

Developer: Rebellion

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: 2014

Link: Sniper Elite 3 teaser site

As enjoyable as Sniper Elite's shooting has been, the series' level design has rarely taken advantage of the methodical, almost clinical nature of long-range warfare. Sniper Elite 3 wants to increase your tactical options, presenting a more open African sandbox filled with Nazis to shoot and military hardware to disable. As always, your power is in your ability to avoid detection, confuse the enemy, and set traps to silently but violently even the odds.

Verdun

Developer: Blackmill games/M2H

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: 2014

Link: Steam early access

World War 1 is an underused game setting, perhaps because it was far messier and more morally ambiguous than the smash hit sequel, World War 2. Verdun goes against that grain, setting a squad based multiplayer shooter in the trenches at that famous French battle (the origin of the phrase “They shall not pass” - Trivia Ed). It's on steam early access right now and reminds us very much of Red Orchestra. Also this year players re-enacted the famous World War 1 'Christmas Truce' and stopped shooting to throw snowballs at each other, which is just adorable.

Contagion

Developer: Monochrome LLC

Publisher: In-house

Release: 2014

Link: Contagion site

The spiritual successor to the Zombie Panic: Source Half-Life 2 has you and a few friends battling randomly spawning zombie hordes, carefully watching your ammo reserves as the undead menace gradually overwhelms you. Even worse, bitten friends can turn and become zombies themselves Think of it as a less frantic but equally dangerous take on the Left 4 Dead formula with plenty of randomisation to keep things fresh.

Rambo: The Video Game

Developer: Reef Entertainment

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: 2014

Link: Rambo site

“Oh hey remember me, Rambo? I was in the games of 2013 list!”

“Oh yes Rambo, what have you been doing since then?”

“I've been delayed till 2014”

“Okay, did we learn anything new about you?”

“Not really, but I did release a trailer with lots of explosions in it,”

“Aren't you supposed to be based at least partly on the first Rambo film? The one that was about a traumatised veteran suffering from PTSD.”

“Technically yes.”

“Oh dear.”

“But wait! I'm using the original sound tapes from the film to do voice acting!”

“Hmmn”

Wrack

Developer: Final Boss Entertainment

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: TBA 2014

Link: Wrack site

Borderlands rather brought back the idea of the cel shaded shooter, once the sole dominion of the oft-overlooked XIII. Wrack goes back in time to an era of extremely fast movement, plentiful but not especially intelligent enemies, jump pads and sweet shotguns. It's on Steam Early Access , after the fashion of the day.

Tower of Guns

Developer: Terrible Posture games

Publisher: Self-published

Release Date: TBA 2014

Link: Tower of Guns website

Tower of Guns is all about power ups. It's designed to be a quick burst of procedurally generated FPS action that lasts as long as a lunch break, and over the course of that lunch break you'll acquire a crazy mix of power ups and gun upgrades. Shotgun Rocket Launchers? Centuple Jump? All are possible with the right combinations of power ups.

Super Hot

Developer:

Publisher: Self-published

Release Date: TBA 2014

Link: Super Hot website

Originally made for the 7 day FPS gamejam, Super Hot exploded in popularity when a Unity version was made available earlier this year. The smart take on bullet time (time only moves when the player does) immediately caught on, resulting in a full sized version being Greenlit near instantly.

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel

Developer: Gearbox

Publisher: 2K Games

Release Date: October 14

Link: The Pre-Sequel's website

Where next for Gearbox's increasingly silly co-op FPS? To the moon, obviously. The Pre-Sequel rounds up NPCs from previous games and throws them together as playable characters, including (seemingly) the clattering, robotic Claptrap. Laser-based weapons and cryo ones will be making their grand appearance here, the latter of which will allow you to freeze enemies in place. Perhaps the biggest change, however, is the moon itself. Its low, low gravity will allow players to jump and float around the battlefield, while its lack of air will require them to keep track of their decreasing oxygen levels.

Evolve

Developer: Turtle Rock Studios

Publisher: 2K Games

Release Date: October 21

Link: Evolve's site

Evolve is a Left 4 Dead-style co-op FPS, which makes sense as it's from the team behind Left 4 Dead. The twist here is that you're hunters on the trail of an alien monster, which in a further twist will be controlled by a fifth player. Expect a menagerie of monsters to fight, however, including the Goliath and the Kraken, who we imagine will be released at some point. Fans of Left 4 Dead 2's asymmetrical multiplayer will want to keep an eye on Evolve–hell, even fans of Monster Hunter, as this appears to be treading similar stomping grounds.

We went hands-on with Evolve and then wrote about it , as is our wont. If you'd rather hear words than be forced to read them, however, check out this video on the same topic.

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

Developer: Sledgehammer Games

Publisher: Activision

Release Date: November

Link: CoD's Advance Warfare site

Call of Duty goes full-on sci-fi for Advanced Warfare, Activision's first properly 'next-gen' CoD, and one that stars Kevin Spacey as the classy ranting bad guy. After years of samey corridor shooters, is there reason to be excited about this one? Well, there's reason to intrigued , at least. Now that it's finally unshackled from the Xbox 360 and PS3—those versions are being handled by a separate development team—this latest CoD might impress on a visual level, even if we suspect it won't stray too far from the template laid out by previous games.

Far Cry 4

Developer: Ubisoft

Publisher: Ubisoft

Release Date: November 18

Link: Far Cry 4 site

Ubisoft's latest open world FPS is a far cr...well, you get the idea, but it sees them leaving the tropical jungles of the first three games behind. We're now in the Himalayas, which means snow, more vertical terrain, grappling ropes and “weaponised elephants”, obviously. We've every extremity crossed that Far Cry 4's story will be less mesmerisingly awful than its predecessor's, but with new moves such as kicking and mid-transit car-jacking, the open world first-person action should be better than ever.

Here's what we thought of Far Cry 4 after playing the game's explosive E3 demo.

Lovely Planet

Developer: QUICKTEQUILA

Publisher: tinyBUILD

Release Date: Out now

Link: Lovely Planet

The colourful art style, lack of gore, and Calum Bowen's infectiously chirpy soundtrack might lead you to believe that Lovely Planet is some easy-peasy 3D platformer, but it's actually a “great, merciless speedrunning platformer and twitch shooter”, as opined in our review. The “mediocre presentation” might sully things a bit, but this is the perfect antidote to the recent glut of corridor-based, iron sights, cinematic shooters comprising endless shades of the colour brown.

We thought Lovely Planet was mostly lovely in our review .

MMO

Releasing a big-budget MMO with a subscription fee is a huge risk in today's market. A good MMO takes many years to make, and games like The Elder Scrolls Online have seen the waxing and waning of the traditional subs model during its production cycle. Are TESO and its ilk the tail end of a dwindling phenomenon, or will they gather loyal audiences and prove that the traditional MMO is still alive and kicking? Whatever happens, World of Warcraft will keep on keeping on.

World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor

Developer: Blizzard

Publisher: In-house

Release date: 2014

Link: Warlords of Draenor site

The monolithic World of Warcraft may well be entering its twilight years, but millions of players still log in every month. The fifth expansion, Warlords of Draenor, will raise the level cap to 100, give the player character models a much-needed revamp, add player-run garrisons and start a new war. Thanks to a wobbly time-portal plot device, fan favourites like Grom Hellscream return in a pointed shift away from the colourful, happy. huggy Mists of Pandaria expansion. Whether or not the next Xpack wows WoW's most loyal fans, World of Warcraft is here to stay, for another few years at least.

For everything there is to know about Warlords of Draenor, check out our article, World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor - everything there is to know.

Wildstar

Developer: Carbine

Publisher: NCSoft

Release date: TBA

Link: Wildstar

Don't let the Saturday morning cartoon vibe fool you, there are some veteran developers behind this cheerful MMO from Carbine. Magic and technology are both viable weapons on the sci-fi planet Nexus, home to a long-dead (OR ARE THEY?) race called the Eldan, and warred over by two playable factions, dark intergalactic empire, The Dominion, and a bunch of wisecracking renegades called The Exiles. The bright and varied classes vary from dual-wielding interdimensional space cowboys to Espers, which can summon magical weaponry to do their fighting for them. Select players are just starting to explore its vibrant world in the first Wildstar beta. Everyone else will hopefully get a go later this year. The biggest challenge for Wildstar and big budget competitors like The Elder Scrolls Online will be convincing players to buy the game and then put up a monthly subscription fee. Wildstar at least offers an alternative in the form of CREDD, a month of play time that can be bought with in-game gold for players who have enough time to amass the required fortune.

Wildstar looks bright and fresh, but it's not trying to reinvent the wheel, as Leif discovered when he played for our preview.

The Elder Scrolls: Online

Developer: Zenimax Online Studios

Publisher: Bethesda

Release date: Spring 2014

Link: TESO site

The Elder Scrolls online has weathered a mixed reception since its announcement. On one hand, it's the largest Elder Scrolls game ever made - and the first to allow players to explore the entire continent of Tamriel. On the other, there are those who argue that an MMO of the traditional sort can't do the series justice - after all, Skyrim's just as famous for its basket-based emergent tomfoolery as it is for its actual RPG mechanics. The real reason to watch The Elder Scrolls Online is the talent behind it - the ex-Mythic developers responsible for the innovative Warhammer: Age of Reckoning and, before that, Dark Age of Camelot. We're excited about the potential of the unseen but documented PvP element - don't write off the old-school MMO just yet.

We went hands-on with Elder Scrolls Online back in May. Read what we thought of it here .

Everquest Next

Developer: Sony Online Entertainment

Publisher: In-house

Release: 2014

Link: Everquest Next site

Not to be confused with the player-driven build-a-thon Everquest Next: Landmark, this is the MMO proper, with characters, classes, quests and levelling. The world won't be quite as malleable as Landmark, though we can expect to see lots of destructibility, and a big part of the game will involve mining down through various layers of procedurally generated substrate to uncover new dungeons. Terrain above ground is destructible, too, so it'll be interesting to see how SOE go about regenerating destroyed lands, before players mine the world into nothing. One thing's for sure, this is an ambitious and exciting new take on the MMO.

We spoke to SOE about Everquest Next back in August last year, before taking a proper old look at it the following month . Spoiler: we liked it.

EverQuest Next: Landmark

Developer: Sony Online Entertainment

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: Early 2014

Link: SOE's EverQuest Next page

What's next for EverQuest? Well, EverQuest Next. But before that is Landmark, a massively multiplayer voxel-based building game that will let you explore a giant world and develop or destroy it to your heart's content. The best player creations will eventually be implemented into EverQuest Next proper – so you may have to spruce up your crude, penis-shaped tavern if you want SOE to consider including it in their MMO. The frankly gorgeous Landmark will be released free-to-play early in 2014. Soon after, SOE will expand the toolset with AI, combat and DM tools. MMORPGs don't tend to be known for their innovative qualities, but EverQuest Next is properly exciting stuff.

Marvel at our building skills in our EverQuest Next: Landmark hands-on preview.

Blade & Soul

Developer: Team Bloodlust

Publisher: NCSoft

Release: 2014

Link: Blade & Soul site

The hugely popular Korean MMO will get an international release in 2014, exposing everyone to the violently colourful continents of the Stratus Empire, and the martial arts wars that rage across its territories. There's a combo system to spice up combat, but much of Blade & Soul's appeal lies in its vibrant aesthetic and pretty zones. NCSoft are working on the port, which will mean some design tweaks. “What players in Korea consider fun and balanced might not be as well-received in Europe and America”, they say.

World Of Darkness

Developer: CCP Games

Publisher: In-house

Release date: TBC

Link: CCP site

CCP are promising a faithful take on White Wolf's pen and paper vampire RPG, so expect to spend more time talking to the monsters than slaying them. There's talk of a complicated political system that'll allow players to make power plays and betray one another by the rules of the Masquerade, the vampire code of conduct. 15 members of the team were laid off just before Christmas 2013, however, a worrying sign for this ambitious and lengthy project.

World of Diving

Developer: Vertigo Games

Publisher: In-house

Release date: TBA

Link: World of Diving site

A relaxed, massively multiplayer diving sim designed for use with the Oculus Rift (though it is not required), World of Diving offers peaceful stretches of oceanic exploration in procedurally generated seabeds inspired by fine diving spots from around the world. There are also sharks, as the above image attests, but World of Diving is largely exploratory in nature. Keep an eye out for underground caverns, sunken World War 2 submarines and more. World of Diving is currently in early alpha, and it's not yet clear how the massively multiplayer angle will play just yet, but it's a fine prospect for those who want a bit of a respite from guns 'n death.

Lego Minifigures Online

Developer: Funcom

Publisher: In-house

Release date: Second half of 2014

Link: Lego Minifigures Online site

Doubtless inspired by Skylanders' success, Funcom's Lego Minifigures Online is a free to play co-operative MMO that ties in with Lego's range of physical minifigures. The characters are drawn from all corners of the Lego universe, and each has its own bombastic combat abilities - expect pirates to fight alongside princesses and futuristic space cadets. From hub locations players can neet and team up to take on dungeons, action-RPG style, looting crates to unlock new characters. Once the MMO is up and running, physical Lego Minifigure mystery bags will include codes that instantly unlock a playable version of each included minifigure in the game. If it captures kids' imaginations, it could be huge.

Firefall

Developer: Red 5 Studios

Publisher: Red 5 Studios

Release Date: Out now

Link: Firefall site

Firefall mixes acrobatic Tribes-style shooting with an MMORPG structure to form something (relatively) unique. Our review will tell you more, but while there's potential in Firefall's free-to-play grinding and roleplaying and shooting at stuff, it doesn't seem have come close to achieving it yet. The state of the game will likely change over the next few months and years, however, so be sure to keep an eye on it if the concept appeals.

Click here for all our Firefall coverage.

PLATFORM

The retro appeal of a good platformer will never die. The miraculous thing is that we're still seeing innovation and variation on the classic sidescrolling formula. Rain World's beautiful, characterful animation and sinister environments sell its chase mechanics perfectly, while the likes of Apotheon present open world god-slaying on the surface of an old urn. Metroidvania fans are well-served, too, thanks to long-lived projects like Iconoclasts.

Iconoclasts

Developer: Konjak

Publisher: In-house

Release date: TBA

Link: Konjak's site

Iconoclasts has been a long labour of love for its creator, Joakim Sandberg, and the time and effort that's gone into development is paying dividends. It's a beautiful sidescrolling blend of exploration, combat and character-driven narrative broadly similar in form to games like Cave Story. Alpha versions from 2011 and 2012 are available on the Konjak website if you want to get a preliminary feel for how it plays. You'll find a fast and fluid blaster with some wonderful animation. Sandberg says those versions are already quite inferior to the current build he's working on.

For more on the Iconoclasts, check out our seven hour hands-on session with last year's build.

Rain World

Developer: Joar Jakobsson

Publisher: Self-published

Release Date: TBA 2014

Link: Rain World dev log

A chase game with a wonderful moody atmosphere and terrific animation. In Rain World, you're a lithe white weasel in a world full of terrifying lizards. As you vault between poles and squeeze into tiny industrial crawlspaces, the lizards will relentlessly follow, jaws snapping hungrily. You can throw rocks to stall them, but they're otherwise unkillable. It's a promising and beautiful project already, and is set to head into Kickstarter early in 2014.

Apotheon

Developer: Alientrap

Publisher: Self-published

Release Date: TBA 2014

Link: Apotheon

This tense, fighty platformer looks as though it's been pulled from the surface of an ancient urn. The methodical combat evokes Dark Souls, favourably, and there will be competitive multiplayer in addition to the single player adventure. That's set in an open-world Mount Olympus, which you're exploring as humanity's last champion, on a quest to reach the top and punch out god.

Spider: Rite of the Shrouded Moon

Developer: Tiger Style

Publisher: In-house

Release date: Spring

Link: Tiger Style's blog

The sequel to 2009 puzzle-platformer Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor puts you back in control of a nippy web-shooting arachnid. But there's more to the game than spinning sticky traps to catch and consume insects then flinging yourself to the exit. This time the location is Blackbird Estate, a mysterious mansion built by a secret society. Like before, its slowly unravelling secrets form the background narrative while intuitive platforming contributes the action. Developers Tiger Style, behind the well-received Waking Mars and the alright-ish-we-guess Hornet Smash, say that Spider 2 will be "bigger, better, and richer than ever before.” “We hereby promise it is going to fulfill your every fantasy about what a Spider game possibly could be.” That's ambition.

Cloudbuilt

Developer: Coilworks

Publisher: Self-published

Release Date: TBA 2014

Link: Cloudbuilt

Some fancy shaders add a sketchy look to Cloudbuilt, with the aid of a jetpack you free-run through abstract floating sky-mazes, blasting turrets and troublesome blocks as you wall-run and dash at super-speed through the level. It feels a bit like a 3D Sonic game, but there's no one route through each environment, you're supposed to improvise as you hurtle toward the goal, which is sometimes hundreds of feat above your starting position.

Shovel Knight

Developer: Yacht Club Games

Publisher: In-house

Release date: September

Link: Tiger Style's blog

It's Ducktails meets Dark Souls in Shovel Knight, a hard-as-nails platformer where the titular lead kills enemies by using his shovel like a pogo stick. And, after some Mr Driller-style digging and Megaman-style platforming, at the end of each level sits a themed boss. Plague Knight? Mole Knight? Propeller Knight? All will meet their demise at the end of your gardening tool.

Super Retro Squad

Developer: Exploding Rabbit

Publisher: In house

Release date: TBA 2014

Link: Super Retro Squad kickstarter page

Super Retro Squad is an updated remake of the creator's earlier creation, Super Mario Crossover, which mashed Mario, Samus, Link, Megaman and a bunch of other classic characters into a single retro love-fest. It quickly became evident that all of those characters belonged to other companies, and so no money could be made from Crossover's popularity. A solution! Remake the whole thing with new music, levels, and characters. Well, not entirely new. They're homages to famous heroes of old. Expect running, jumping and shooting of the sort you might have enjoyed decades ago.

Unepic

Developer: Francisco Téllez de Meneses

Publisher: ninagamers

Release Date: Early 2014

Link: Unepic site

For a game called Unepic, Unepic certainly sounds pretty...huge. It's a sidescrolling RPG/Metroidvania set in a giant castle, featuring quests, pets, items galore, and 200 rooms to fight your way through. You play as Daniel, a D&D player dragged into a fantasy world and pursued at every turn by an evil spirit. The single-player game is apparently “100% finished”; it's just the multiplayer element that needs work.

Owlboy

Developer: D-Pad Studio

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: TBC

Link: Owlboy site

It takes time to make a game as beautiful as Owlboy, the skybound platformer from D-Pad Studio. In development for a few years now, this bright and airy adventure takes place in a world whose floating islands have fractured and dispersed after a “great calamity”. You're Otus, one of the last remaining Owls, out on a quest to save your village from pirates – although I'll wager there's something more mysterious going on.

Catacomb Kids

Developer: FourbitFriday

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: August

Link: Catacomb Kids site

This procedurally generated platformer recently cleaned up (just) on Kickstarter, and if you're thinking “I've no room in my life for another one of those ”, then the following sentence should make you think again. The hook here is the game's Magicka-style playfulness: in that game you could mix and match spells to dramatic effect, while Catacomb Kids will also let you craft in real time by chucking items around the environment. To make a potion, for example, you can throw the required ingredients into a pool of water before boiling the whole thing with heat. It's a little bit Spelunky and a little bit Ultima VII.

Our first encounter with Catacomb Kids was back in October. It was subterranean love at first sight .

Hot Tin Roof: The Cat That Wore a Fedora

Developer: Glass Bottom games

Publisher: In-house

Release: Mid 2014

Link: Glass Bottom games website site

Hot Tin Roof tells the tale of Emma Jones, a two bit private eye in a low poly blocky world. Emma is accompanied by her trusty hat wearing cat Franky, and must keep the peace on these mean, metroidvania style streets as best she can. Also notable is Emma's revolver, which acts much like Garrett's bow in Thief: not so much a weapon for plugging bad guys and as a tool for problem solving. By collecting and loading different cartridges you can give yourself a knockback double jump or fire a grappling hook, so loading them in the right order lets you pull of fancy moves in quick succession.

La-Mulana 2: The 0th Body, The 9th Spirit

Developer: Takumi Naramura

Publisher: Nigoro

Release Date: TBA

Link: La-Mulana 2's teaser site

Takumi Naramura's inspirational La-Mulana received a Spelunky-style remake a couple of years ago, bringing the previously fairly obscure platformer to a much wider audience. This surprise sequel (the original came out way back in 2005) seemingly retains the new art style, giving players a new temple to explore and plunder, this time inspired by Norse mythology. Lemeza, the first game's Indy-esque hero, has hung up his whip and laptop for this sequel: you'll play as his daughter instead. Nothing else is known at this point, other than the fact that Narumara aims to make La-Mulana 2 a bit less confusing than the first.

Strider

Developer: Double Helix Games

Publisher: Capcom

Release Date: TBA

Strider! Not a game about Aragorn (of Arathorn fame), but rather a platformer series concerning a futuristic ninja who enjoys running down slopes, performing feats of acrobatics and chopping people up. It's not a game that's historically been interested in PC, but this year everything changes. Well, everything Strider-related, at any rate. The confusingly named Strider is a remake of the original Strider; it seems appropriately fast, two-dimensional and reverent to the original game. We'll know for certain when Strider Hiryu hacks at our nostalgia glands later this year.

Strider was announced way back in July 2013. Thankfully, we were on hand to document its many trailers.

Freedom Planet

Developer: GalaxyTrail Games

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: Early 2014

Link: Freedom Planet site

Is your heart aching for the grand return of the 16-bit platformer? GalaxyTrail Games are rather banking on you saying yes – and if you've seen their hyperactive Freedom Planet in motion, you may well be joining the back of the queue. It's essentially Sonic meets Gunstar Heroes meets Mega Man – the team were wise not to draw influences from Bubsy, Zool and Cool Spot instead. Platformers these days have drifted more towards the slow-paced, abstract and puzzley, so a game that reverts all that in favour of speed, collectibles and over-the-top boss fights is a welcome, nostalgic sight indeed.

Ghost Song: A Journey of Hope

Developer: Matt White

Publisher: Matt White

Release Date: May

Link: The Ghost Song site

When you reference Super Metroid and Dark Souls in the same sentence, you have our attention. When do it for a game that looks like Ghost Song, you cause monocles to smash. Notice we said 'Metroid' rather than 'Metroidvania' –Matt White's game has clearly taken Nintendo's 16-bit classic as its prime inspiration, something that's weirdly refreshing after so many titles seemingly based on its derivatives instead. Super Metroid was truly the Aliens of the non-linear platform genre, and if everything goes to plan for this visually sumptuous, ambitious sidescrolling adventure, Ghost Song could well be its Prometheus. Only, y'know, hopefully not complete bum.

Project Maiden

Developer: Kevin B. Cole

Publisher: Kevin B. Cole

Release Date: July

Link: Kevin B. Cole's tumblr

The funny thing about games that endow their heroes with a raft of powers and gadgets is that said powers and gadgets tend to make them a wee bit overpowered. By the end of the game you're a walking medieval Superman, and the difficulty doesn't always scale to match. A couple of games have toyed with the idea of making you weaker by the game's end – notably Sword & Sworcery – but Project Maiden will go the whole hog by removing heroine Imogen's powers one by one across the course of the game. To put it another way, it's Zelda or Mega Man only in reverse – you'll start this sidescrolling platformer with a whole bunch of powers, before each stage robs you of a precious skill. The free game will culminate in a final boss fight in which you'll only be able to use your core abilities.

A.N.N.E

Developer: Gamesbymo

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: TBA 2014

Link: A.N.N.E site

A.N.N.E is a novel combination of side scrolling spaceship shoot 'em up and pixel art platformer. You can switch between on foot platforming and ship flying at will, and often solve puzzles by using your ship to move objects to jump on, or clear a path for your ship while on foot.

Legend of Iya

Developer: Andrew Bado

Publisher: Andrew Bado

Release Date: November

Link: Bado's dev journal

Iya's finely honed finely honed pixel art can compete with the very best of the 32-bit era. But it's shaping up to be quite the game too, using the structure of the Metroidvania to tell the story of a girl transported to a fantastic land full of elephants, oddly. Iya has been in development, in one form or another, for years, and this latest iteration will hopefully drag the game over the finishing line – $77,241 of Kickstarter money will probably help.

Shantae: Half-Genie Hero

Developer: WayForward

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: October

Link: Shantae site

The next in the queue of retro-esque indie games is Shantae: Half-Genie Hero, WayForward's upcoming platformer based on their unofficial belly dancing mascot. You might remember WayForward for their work on DuckTales Remastered, but Shantae is their baby – the series has previously appeared on Gameboy Color, DS and 3DS. The star of the series is a girl named, er, Shantae, a half-Genie with a powerful mop of purple hair and a penchant for jumping her way through lightly Metroid/Zelda-esque environments.

Lego The Hobbit

Developer: TT Games

Publisher: Warner Bros

Release Date: Spring

Link: TT's site

Following on from Lego Lord of the Rings – while at the same time, er, preceding it – the annoyingly named Lego The Hobbit concerns the tale of Bilbo and his gang of dwarven mates, as they attempt to reclaim their homeland from the maw of a greedy Sherlock dragon. Unlike Lego LOTR – which crammed three films into one bumper game – The Hobbit follows just two of Peter Jackson's recent movies, leaving next year's concluding part with a Lego parody all to itself. Considering The Hobbit's relative cinematic freshness, it can't really hope to compete with LOTR when it comes to iconic scenes, but it will hopefully play just as scrummily as TT's previous games. As long as they don't ape the films exactly and include an unbearable dwarves-hilariously-do-the-washing-up level, we should be fine. They're definitely going to do that, aren't they?

Have a read of our review of Lego LOTR for a good sign of what to expect from this se...er, prequel.

Escape Goat 2

Developer: Magical Time Bean

Publisher: Self-published

Release Date: TBA 2014

Link: Magical Time Bean website

Escape Goat was a novel puzzle platformer in which you played as a goat attempting push blocks around in order to rescue sheep. With the aid of a pet mouse (used to push buttons from far away) Escape Goat built some surprisingly smart and complicated puzzles from its simple toolset. The sequel simply promises more: more rooms, more gadgets, new secrets, new sheep.

Axiom Verge

Developer: Tom Happ

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: TBA

Link: Axiom Verge site

Planting both feet on the retro jump-pad, Axiom Verge has hints of everything from Cave Story to Contra. A “metroidvania” style explorative platformer, you'll chart the labyrinthine passages of the game's world to collect items, power-ups and weapon upgrades. In addition to the well trodden genre staples, Axion Verge is also touting a strong soundtrack, a "gripping" sci-fi story, and a yet to be revealed secret feature.

1001 Spikes

Developer: Nicalis

Publisher: Nicalis

Release Date: Out now

Link: The home of Nicalis

Nicalis added one more spike for this expanded sequel to their Xbox Live Arcade game 1000 Spikes. In the process, they also included pretty much every indie platforming star going, from Knytt to Curly Brace from Cave Story, as unlockable characters. The game itself is a super-hard sidescroller featuring deadly spikes and traps at every turn. 1001 Spikes' hook is its two differing jumps, low and high, which lend the platforming an extra element of precision.

PUZZLE

Once upon a time, puzzles were about combining things in inventory screens. Today brain-teasers bend time and space to tax our mental muscle. Scale lets you shrink the damn moon to progress, while Fract moves you through the insides of a colossal music sequencer. Today's puzzle game offer much more than puzzles, too. Quadrilateral Cowboy revels in its joyful vaudevillian setting. Tangiers ushers you into a dark world where you can steal the thoughts of others. Braid creator, Jon Blow, is also working on his next game, the colourful and intriguing island game, The Witness.

Quadrilateral Cowboy

Developer: Blendo Games

Publisher: In-house

Release date: 2014

Link: Quadrilateral Cowboy

Armed with a yellow laptop and basic programming skills, Quadrilateral Cowboy has you hacking through corporate defences to steal sensitive data from well-defended facilities. You do this by creating and executing command lines to bypass obstacles, typing them into your laptop as you sneak through each level. Type Grate1.open(3), and the grate in front of you will open for three seconds, for example. You have to chain multiple commands together as missions increase in difficulty, which makes Quadrilateral Cowboy a puzzle game that's both challenging and tactile. It's a pleasure to type commands directly into your magic laptop, and your adventures are couched in the humour and joyous vaudevillian stylings of the Citizen Able universe we've already explored in Gravity Bone and Thirty Flights of Loving. It's going to be great.

The Witness

Developer: Number None

Publisher: In-house

Release date: TBA 2014

Link: The Witness site

A puzzle game set on a mysterious island by Jon Blow, the man behind Braid. It shares a little with the Myst series - including, in Eric A. Anderson, a designer. The nature of its puzzles, and the ideas tying them all together, remain mysterious, though the last blog update on the site notes that the puzzle count is already up to 595.

Scale

Developer: Steve Swink

Publisher: Steve Swink

Release Date: December

Link: Steve's Swinky website

Scale is a first-person puzzler that lets you shrink and rebigulate objects in your environment with the aid of a magic scaling gun. It sounds a bit like Portal mixed with Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, and that is obviously something that needs to exist. You play the part of Penny, a brilliant physicist on a quest to...well, we don't actually know that part yet. But it's a quest that involves a brightly coloured world full of things to make really small or big. For instance, shooting at the moon will affect the tides and either raise or lower the level of water back on Earth. Blow up a butterfly and you'll then be able to ride on the insect's back. It's a clever notion for a game, so let's hope creator Steve Swink can do it justice. On the evidence of a brief Kickstarter video and a bunch of excellent GIFs, he seems to be on the right track.

Little old Scale made a big impression when it was brought to our attention late last year.

Tangiers

Developer Andalusian

Publisher: In-house

Release: Mid 2014

Link: Tangiers site

An avant-garde stealth game inspired by Thief, William Burroughs, David Lynch, and other moody, intriguing things. Tangiers promises surreal landscapes and ideas by the bucketload, but perhaps the most novel one teased so far is the game's physicality with words – you can literally pick up a guard's thoughts and hurl them as a distraction, for example.

Fract OSC

Developer: Phosfeind Systems

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: TBA 2014

Link: Fract site

The prototype build of Fract won an IGF award back in 2011, and the team have been working to turn it into a full release ever since. Their quest is almost complete, so soon we'll all be able to enjoy this abstract open world puzzle game. The synth audio is essential to the operation of many of Fract's puzzles, and it's finished with a healthy dose of lasers and Tron-esque environments.

Miegakure

Developer: Mark ten Bosch

Publisher: Self-published

Release Date: TBA

Link: Miegakure site

A puzzle platformer in four dimensions, Miegakure looks like it could eventually be one of the most challenging puzzle games ever devised. After playing a private build, Braid creator Jon Blow says “I find it easy to think of Miegakure as one of the great puzzle games of all time”. It's even been immortalised in an XKCD comic . You complete puzzles by shifting the environment from a fourth dimension to affect space in three dimensions. Even after watching the instructive trailer , it's tricky to get one's head around. The best solution will be to play it, but there's no release date, or any sign of a public demo yet.

Volume

Developer: Mike Bithell

Publisher: Self-published

Release Date: 2014

Link: Mike Bithell's Volume page

Clearly a fan of Metal Gear Solid's VR missions, Mike Bithell's next game after Thomas Was Alone is a retelling of Robin Hood via a military stealth simulation. The gimmick here is that your gadgets and abilities revolve around making noise. Distraction is key, and through blackjacks, bugles and thunderclaps, it's your job to manipulate the game's guards into creating a path through the level. In addition to the story, a key focus of the game is its level editor, ensuring simulated sneaking will last long into the year.

Steal the latest Volume info by checking out Chris's interview with creator Mike Bithell.

Life Goes On

Developer: Infinite Monkeys Entertainment

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: Early 2014

Link: Life Goes On site

The screenshot tells the sad but also hilarious story of Life Goes On, a puzzle game in which you control a conveyor belt of bumbling knights, sacrificing them one by one so that the next might get a little further into the dungeon, and then die in turn in some creative and amusing way. Scratch that Lemmings itch with the playable demo.

The Escapists

Developer: Chris Davis

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: May

Link: Escapists site

Whatever you expected Spud's Quest developer Chris Davis to do next, it probably wasn't The Escapists: a top-down indie prison break sim. It's a game about, well, breaking out of prison, but it's not as simple as activating a cutscene or receiving one of those delicious hidden-file-cakes – it takes planning, surreptitiousness, crafting, bribing, training and a hell of a lot of digging. The Escapists is Shawshank, The Great Escape and Escape from Alcatraz rolled into one.

The Escapists went on the lam late last year. Have a read of what we thought of its announcement here .

Gravi

Developer: Always Geeky

Publisher: Self-published

Release Date: TBA 2014

Link: Gravi site

You play a magic ball lost in a trap-ridden alien spacecraft in this puzzle platformer from Hashbang games. An electric lasso lets you grab onto walls and propel yourself through tiny spaces rife with spike traps and other deadly, deadly features.

Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee New N' Tasty!

Developer: Just Add Water

Publisher: Oddworld Inhabitants

Release: Spring 2014

Link: Oddworld site

A ground-up remake of the classic puzzle platformer that renders Abe's doom-laden escape in full HD. Oddworld Inhabitants have re-done everything, from the FMV sequences to the way the camera moves. It's a nostalgic project, but one devoted to a characterful and much-loved series.

Talisman Digital Edition

Developer: Nomad Games Limited

Publisher: In house

Release date: TBA 2014

Link: Talisman page

This is the officially licensed multiplayer online version of the classic fantasy adventure boardgame. 1-4 players pick from one of 14 characters and start questing for the Crown of Command. It's a faithful recreation of the physical set, complete with digital dice rolls and a virtual version of the original board. It's currently lounging on Steam Early Access while bugs are being fixed.

Storyteller

Developer: Daniel Benmergui

Publisher: Self published

Release date: TBA 2014

Link: Storyteller

Storyteller is a puzzle game set in a series of comic strips. You place characters together in each panel to craft stories, and each level will require a certain set of story twists. Place a couple of compatible characters in a panel, and they might fall in love. If the story requires heartbreak, then you can place the unfaithful partner with another compatible character in panel two and, voila, they start cheating and the heartbreak requirement is achieved. Storyteller won the Nuovo award at the IGF in 2012, but its sole creator has been working on it ever since, increasing the span and depth of the available stories.

Road Not Taken

Developer: Spry Fox

Publisher: In-house

Release date: TBA 2014

Link: Road Not Taken site

A roguelike puzzle game about “life and loss”, Road Not Taken drops you into a forest that's recovering from a terrible winter freeze. Lost children are scattered throughout the place and are in dire need of rescue. You can pick up objects, creatures and children, but carrying them around costs valuable stamina. Run out, and you collapse in the snow and die. The permadeath and puzzle elements are wrapped up in a charming art style that softens the brutality of the scenario, a little, at least.

Hack 'N' Slash

Developer: Double Fine

Publisher: In house

Release date: First half of 2014

Link: Hack 'N' Slash site

A product of Double Fine's internal “Amnesia Fortnite” game jam, Hack 'N' Slash was quickly picked out for further development. You play as an elf with hacking skills, who can manipulate the code of the dungeon she's trapped in and “cheat” her way through an otherwise standard Zelda-esque fantasy adventure. This is Double Fine, so expect some charming art and lots of jokes gently poking fun at RPG tropes.

Clandestine

Developer: Logic Artists

Publisher: In-house

Release date: TBA 2014

Link: Clandestine teaser site

There simply aren't enough games about spies around, are there? Clandestine is an intriguing prospect, though, an espionage thriller that you play in “asymmetrical co-op”. One of you is a secret agent, doing secret agent things like hiding behind pillars and knocking out guards. The other is a hacker sat safely out of the action, responsible for getting into security systems and opening doors remotely. A novel idea that we're quite excited to try in practice when Clandestine is released later in 2014.

Gorogoa

Developer: Jason Roberts

Publisher: In-house

Release date: TBA 2014

Link: Gorogoa site.

This puzzle game requires you to move elements between the panes of beautifully illustrated boards to alter the reality they depict. It plays like a clever interactive comic book with an exquisite art style. The game's creator, Jason Roberts, hopes that players will absorb Gorogoa's story by osmosis as they explore each pane and uncover the plot behind each picture. The concept is understood through play, which is why Roberts has added a playable demo to the Gorogoa site. Enjoy.

For more on Gorogoa, check out Pip's hands-on account.

FortressCraft Evolved!

Developer: Projector Games

Publisher: Digital Tribe

Release: TBA 2014

Link: Forge Quest site

A big hit on Xbox Live Arcade in 2011, FortressCraft Evolved! is being rebuilt in Unity for a PC release. It's a block-based construction game a bit like that other one with the Creepers, but this one cuts out the survival game and focusses entirely on huge collaborative builds. More advanced tools like pre-made block and cylinder shapes make it quicker to throw up huge structures and there will be built-in sharing features to encourage showing off.

Contraption Maker

Developer: Spotkin

Publisher: In-house

Release: TBA 2014

Link: Steam early access

Contraption Maker is a spiritual successor to classic Heath Robinson (Rube Goldberg if you're American) physics puzzler The Incredible Machine. It's being created by the same team as the original, but they're looking to take advantage of all the technological advances made since they started out in the 1990s. Contraptions are now bigger, with more complex physics interactions, a simpler editor and a lot of online sharing options. An alpha version is currently available on Steam early access.

Audiosurf 2

Developer: Dylan Fitterer

Publisher: Dylan Fitterer

Release date: Early 2014

Link: Audiosurf 2 site

Already available through Steam's Early Access scheme, this sequel to the 2008 rhythm puzzler brings with it several new features. There's the ability to play in first-person, for one. Then there's Audiosprint, where players duck and jump hurdles to music. There's also a wakeboarding mode that asks you to perform stunts on the end of a tether. Like the first, Audiosurf 2 is only as good as your music library, so you may want to populate it with banging tunes before diving in.

Mousecraft

Developer: Krunching Koalas

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: TBA 2014

Link: Vox site

Tetris meets Lemmings in this charming puzzle game. You place those famous blocky shapes to create paths through dangerous arenas for hordes of suicidally stupid mice. Why? Well there's this mad scientist cat, you see, with a machine that's powered by mice, so he has to get them into the machine to complete his experiments, the crazy sadist. You can step into that sadist's labcoat yourself to create new levels that will eventually be shareable via the Steam Workshop.

Particulars

Developer: See Through Studios

Publisher: Surprise Attack

Release Date: TBA 2014

Link: Particulars site

You play as a quark in a subatomic world of colliding particles in this tactile puzzle game. You'll have to negotiate the push and pull of other particles as you complete each experiment and gradually uncover the story of physicist, Alison. It's available on Steam Early Access , and there's a playable demo too.

Revenge of the Sunfish 2

Developer: Jacob Waldemar Buczynski

Publisher: Self-published

Release Date: TBA 2014

Link: Revenge of the Sunfish website

To play Revenge of the Sunfish 2 is to glimpse madness. Players are assaulted by a constant stream of bizarre Wario-ware style minigames, often grotesque, surreal and violent in appearance. It is strange, unsettling and hilarious, and it is like no other game found in this reality.

The Talos Principle

Developer: Croteam

Publisher: Devolver Digital

Release Date: Autumn

Link: Croteam site

If a philosophical, first-person puzzler seems like a bit of a departure from Croteam's unashamedly dumb Serious Sam series, that's because, well, it is. Writers Tom Jubert (Penumbra) and Jonas Kyratzes (The Sea Will Claim Everything) are on-board to remind Croteam not to put any shotguns in. The Talos Principle takes place in a set of beautiful ruins, seemingly in Ancient Greece, with various technologically advanced barriers like laser beams, robots and security cameras testing you at every move. It's non-linear too, meaning you'll be able to attempt its many puzzle rooms in an order largely of your own choosing. Intriguing stuff.

SPORT

There are a few inevitable but unannounced titles we haven't slotted into the list just yet. The likes of Fifa and PES will surely return, but until then we can look forward to a barrage of racing games - led by the ever-expanding and stupidly beautiful Project CARS - and a rush of cybersports designed for side-by-side competition. The Sportsfriends bundle alone contains a raft of such games, and Make Something Unreal competition winner Epigenesis has a bright future that might just grow its own dedicated esports community.

Project CARS

Developer: Slightly Mad Studios

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: TBA

Link: The Project CARS site

It's been a long time since the PC had a platform-defining racing sim in the vein of the Xbox's Forza or the Playstation's Gran Turismo. Project CARS might just be that sim. Unconventionally funded by a community who can pledge money and purchase tool packs to contribute to the game, Project CARS supports Oculus Rift and TrackIR, has 35 locations to Gran Turismo's 27 (all with full day/night cycles and dynamic weather), and is already streaks ahead of the so-called 'next-gen' Forza 5. As you can see, it looks gorgeous.

Ridge Racer: Driftopia

Developer: Bugbear

Publisher: Namco Bandai

Release: TBA

Link: Ridge Racer Driftopia site

This is the second Ridge Racer game made by Bugbear after 2012's pretty-good Ridge Racer Unbounded. Driftopia is a free-to-play affair that'll be supported by in-game microtransactions. Plyers will be able to compete “asynchronously”, which means saving and sharing your fastest, driftiest ghost runs for friends to compete with. It's available as a free download on Steam Early Access right now.

Thumper

Developer: Drool LLC

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: TBA 2014

Link: Drool

Racing games are rarely as dark or psychadelic as this rhythm action game, in which you play a chrome scarab hurtling down a dream-like runway at ungodly speeds, on a quest to slay a cybernetic, malignant force known as CRAKHED. As you fly towards your goal, you can slam your vessel against the ground to create a thunderous bass beat, earning your tiny racer his “THUMPER” title.

Next Car Game

Developer: Bugbear

Publisher: In-house

Release date: TBA 2014

Link: Next Car Game site

The next car game from FlatOut developers, bugbear, will be a physics-driven affair. Spectacular damage modelling has been the focus of their early tech demo, which consisted of a white plane populated by various vehicle-mangling machines. When the game eventually gets a proper name and some tracks we can look forward to some violent wheel-to-wheel driving duels.

To see Next Car Game's destruction tech in action, check out Craig's car-bashing experiments.

Assetto Corsa

Developer: Kunos Simulazioni

Publisher: In-house

Release: TBA 2014

Link: Steam early access

Much like Project CARS, Assetto Corsa represents a new approach to racing games. The developers are independant, and put out a beta of the game very early, with only a small number of courses and cars, but a very impressive driving model. Now they're using the funds from early access buyers to support themselves while they gradually expand the game with every increasing numbers of cars and tracks, providing a steady drip feed of new driving options.

F1 2014

Developer: Codemasters

Publisher: TBA

Release Date: TBA

That's a picture of F1 2013, because the surely-inevitable sequel has yet to be announced, technically. Codemasters have talked about future editions, though, saying that any future F1 games will be built on “next-gen” hardware. That means they can use more of our PCs' latent power to render more realistic physics and volumetric tyre spray and the like. We can, of course, expect lots of fine licensed cars and tracks to race on, and an updated ruleset to reflect the latest frivolities of F1 lawmaking.

The Crew

Developer: Ivory Tower/Ubisoft

Publisher: Ubisoft

Release Date: Late 2014

Link: The Crew: The Website

Ubisoft's ambitious racing game mixes single-player, cooperative and competitive driving in an open world, persistent online space. I've consulted the checklist and that makes it an MMO, so if you prefer your racing games to be a little more antisocial, The Crew might not be for you. As per the title, the game encourages you to to recruit a team of fellow driving enthusiasts, giving you all sorts of tasks to accomplish in the world when you get together. The campaign – playable alone or with chums – sees you infiltrating the murky driving underworld, in order to stop the supply of knock-off hubcaps and illicit nodding dogs. Possibly.

What happened when we got our hands all over Ubisoft's racey MMO? Words happened , that's what.

Trials Fusion

Developer: Redlynx

Publisher: Ubisoft

Release Date: TBA

Link: Trials Fusion site

Fusion is a word which here means 'all futuristic, like', with this latest Trials game swapping non-descript warehouses for neon-tinged future cityscapes. Thankfully, the future still has bikes, along with idiots willing to risk life and limb to get to the end of insanely difficult, physics-puzzley courses. It would be fairly tricky to make a Trials title without either of those. Fusion adds tricks to the formula, giving you points for doing backflips, frontflips, sideflips and mobiusflips in addition to your primary challenge of staying the hell alive. Because it's being published by Ubisoft, it also has a tie-in mobile thing called Trials Frontier, which will presumably link up to the main event in some way.

Snow

Developer: Poppermost

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: TBA 2014

Link: Snow site

When it leaves early access, Snow will be a free-to-play open world snowboard and ski winter sports game set on a huge explorable mountain. Microtransactions based around licensed real-world gear will keep the game afloat while players carve up the slopes, swapping tricks on the mountain or competing on preset courses of ramps and rails.

Distance

Developer: Refract Studios

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: TBA 2014

Link: Distance

This is the spiritual successor to the excellent Nitronic Rush, a speedy survival racer that also doubles as an exploration game. You're racing around the neon walkways of a huge, mad city, dodging lightning strikes and flying razor blades, and occasionally transforming into a flying car to negotiate tricky gaps in the road. There will also be a level editor so players can create their own bizarre courses.

Carmageddon: Reincarnation

Developer: Stainless Games

Publisher: In-house

Release date: Mid 2014

Link: Carmageddon site

How tame Carmageddon looks now - once the videonasty most reviled, now a harmlessly over-the-top knockabout racer with splattery, jam-filled pedestrians. It's remake may struggle to deliver the transgressive thrill the original game did, but just as long as it approaches racing with the same riotous sense of destruction it should deliver just as many belly laughs. Early Access will be available in early 2014.

MXGP: The Official Motocross Videogame

Developer: Milestone

Publisher: In-house

Release date: Spring 2014

Link: MXGP site

Motorcross isn't well represented in games, so the announcement of a modern official racing game last year was pleasant news for fans. Terrain deformation and advanced animation hopes to sell the danger and drama of every sliding turn and official licensing will add credence to the 60 riders, 60 bikes and 14 tracks.

Epigenesis

Developer: Dead Shark Triple Punch

Publisher: In-house

Release: Mid 2014

Link: Epigenesis site

Winner of 2013's Make Something Unreal Contest, Epigenesis is a bit like handball with space-gladiators, except you fire the ball out of a cannon attached to your hand - much better than a puny human palm. Contests take place on platforms floating in space, and you're entirely free to shove opponents off into the abyss while punting the glowing victory orb towards Epigenesis' elevated goals.

Frozen Endzone

Developer: Mode 7

Publisher: In-house

Release: TBC 2014

Link: Frozen Endzone site

Frozen Synapse was one of the best turn-based tactics titles of recent years, and we've no reason to suspect that its unusual follow-up will be any less strategically rich. Espionage is replaced here with an American Football-like sport – the game differentiates itself from Madden, however, with its turn-based action, futuristic aesthetic and, oh yeah, the fact that its two teams are entirely populated with robots.

Hokra

Developer: Ramiro Corbetta

Publisher: Sportsfriends

Release Date: 2014

Link: Sportsfriends site

Hokra has the noble distinction of being the only game I know of to be both a sports game and an art installation. Created for the New York University game centre, Hokra presents a minimalist version of hockey, pitting two teams of two against each other in local co-op. The game evokes Sensible World of Soccer's simplistic pass and shoot approach to football. Hokra will be sold as part of the Sportsfriends bundle along with with Johann Sebastian Joust, Super Pole Riders and BariBariBall.

Johann Sebastian Joust

Developer: Douglas Wilson

Publisher: Sportsfriends

Release Date: 2014

Link: Sportsfriends site

Johann Sebastian Joust can be secure of it's place in history. No matter what the quality of the eventual game, it will always be remembered as one of the greatest puns ever made. Thankfully it also looks like a lot of fun. Two players hold motion controllers, they can't move them any faster than the tempo of the music. Thus they must protect their own controller while trying to jostle and disrupt their opponents. The result is a barely disguised fight in videogame form. Which is brilliant. Johann Sebastian Joust will be sold as part of the Sportsfriends bundle along with with Hokra, Super Pole Riders and BariBariBall.

Super Pole Riders

Developer: Bennet Foddy

Publisher: Sportsfriends

Release Date: 2014

Link: Sportsfriends site

Super Pole Riders, by QWOP creator Bennet Foddy, is an upgraded version of his free web game Pole Riders . It features two pole vaulters trying to kick a ball (suspended in mid air) into each other's goals. Much like QWOP, the attraction is in how the difficult controls result in a clumsy and hilarious experience, with players vaulting into and over one another, repeatedly falling flat on their faces. Foody plans to improve the game with variable arenas, interesting geometry and up to four pole wielding maniacs at once. Super Pole Riders will be sold as part of the Sportsfriends bundle along with with Johann Sebastian Joust, Hokra and BariBariBall.

BariBariBall

Developer: Noah Sasso

Publisher: Sportsfriends

Release Date: 2014

Link: Sportsfriends site

BariBariBall is a very simple game. You and your opponent are in an arena with a ball. If you dunk the ball on their side of the arena, you score, if they dunk it in yours, they score. What makes it work is the incredible degree of control you have over your character's movement which, coupled with a slow moving ball, means every game becomes a series of improbably acrobatic double jumps, air dashes and last minute interceptions. BariBariBall will be sold as part of the Sportsfriends bundle along with with Johann Sebastian Joust, Super Pole Riders and Hokra.

F1 2014

Developer: Codemasters

Publisher: Codemasters

Release Date: October 17

Link: Codies' F1 site

2014 was a big year for F1, with various rule and regulation changes being decreed from on high, and Codies will reflect those changes in this year's tie-in game. New difficulty options have also been promised, but it's clear this is more of a stopgap until next year's offering, which strangely has already been announced. That's the 'next-gen' one, in which we can expect F1's already impressively rendered vehicles and tracks to look extra shiny on PC. Or to have higher quality textures. Or whatever it is the 'next-gen' difference is.

We covered the announcement of both games here .

FIFA 15

Developer: EA Canada

Publisher: EA Sports

Release Date: September 23

Link: EA's FIFA site

This gazillionth entry in EA's licensed football series will give each player their own 'emotional intelligence', something that sees them perk up or become depressed depending on how the match is going. The marketing focus has been on graphical upgrades and gimmicks borrowed from The Sims 4, which is hopefully a sign that the mechanical business of kicking a ball around is all well and correct. Gimmicks aside, PC players will finally be getting the 'next-gen' version of FIFA, rather than the port of the PS3/360 game we received last year.

We interviewed FIFA 15's producer Nick Channon about all things football.

Grid Autosport

Developer: Codemasters

Publisher: Codemasters

Release Date: Out now

Link: Codies' Grid site

Autosport was essentially Codemasters' apology for the missing features of Grid 2, among other things re-instating the in-car view that was bizarrely absent in the previous game. Reactions were mixed, to that view and to the idea of shelling out another wadge of cash for the game Grid 2 should have been, but beneath all that lies a racer we found particularly solid and refined .

RPG

What a great time to be an RPG fan. Today big-budget epics like The Witcher 3 and Dragon Age: Inquisition co-exist alongside equally exciting retro projects like Pillars of Eternity and Wasteland 2. If you loved the old stuff, there's going to be lots of new old stuff, if you like tough, atmospheric stuff, Dark Souls 2 is incoming. If you love action RPGs, then Grim Dawn and Reaper of Souls should suit. 2014 will be a top year for looters and levellers.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Developer: CD Projekt RED

Publisher: Warner Bros

Release: Late 2014

Link: The Witcher site

The grimdark mud 'n blood world of the Witcher will finally be that: a world, huge and explorable. It's Geralt's final quest, and CD Projekt RED are determined to make it his best. The scale and detail present in early videos has us interested, but it's the promise of branching dynamic quests and a main story scattered across the world that we're most looking forward to most. As well as the typical mix of politics, war and bawdy behaviour, The Witcher 3 will feature plenty of monster hunting, giving us the chance to actually perform Geralt's main occupation, too. It's due out late this year, and looks like it'll drive many to upgrade their PCs. It's going to be a hefty one.

For more on the Witcher 3, check out our massive first-look account .

Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls

Developer: Blizzard

Publisher: In-house

Release date: March 25 2014

Link: Reaper of Souls site

The big red dinosaur has been locked inside a magic rock, so, as Diablo tradition dictates, a new boss must rise to present a fresh world-ending threat. This time round it's Malthael, the angel of death. He's slain most of the population of the Templar town of Westmarch, and risen them as servants to go forth and destroy humanity why not. A great plan - just as long as there aren't any high-level adventuring demigods out there looking to reach a heightened level 70 cap. The Diablo 3 expansion also adds a new class called the Crusader, and Adventure mode, which should add a bit of variety to the gear grind. The expansion will release alongside a major patch that will completely rebalance loot for all Diablo 3 players and remove the controversial auction house - a welcome move that's poised to recapture hordes of lapsed players.

For a cruise around the mostly dead city of Westmarch, check out our Reaper of Souls hands-on account.

Might & Magic X: Legacy

Developer: Limbic Entertainment

Publisher: Ubisoft

Release: 2014

Link: Might & Magic X site

I have a feeling we have Legend of Grimrock to thank for Ubisoft's surprise revival of the main Might & Magic series, which has long been sidelined in favour of its turn-based strategy offshoot. Available on Steam Early Access now, Legacy is defiantly old-school in its approach, presenting a gigantic, grid-based first-person RPG, of the sort that died out around the turn of the century.

Underrail

Developer: Stygian Software

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: 2014

Link: Underrail site

Obsidian and inXile asked for millions to make their own spiritual sequels to the isometric RPGs of yore ('yore' = the 90s), but Stygian Software have been quietly beavering away on Underrail for years. (Although their alpha-funding programme has probably helped.) It's Fallout meets Metro 2033 meets Arcanum, essentially, and if that isn't the best mashup since Kit-Kat meets My Mouth I'll eat...well, I'll eat another Kit-Kat. Yum. OK, so it looks a little basic compared to the slightly more glamorous Wasteland 2 or Pillars of Eternity, but Underrail has all the quests, abilities, turn-based combat and post-apocalyptic wrong-uns you could ever want. The Fallout/Metro influences are clear in the setting – the game takes place in a series of underground metro tunnels, where the (presumably Vitamin D-deprived) remains of humanity now dwell.

Our first encounter with Underrail was over a year ago , when the alpha version cropped up for sale. A rather nifty trailer emerged a few years later.

Wasteland 2

Developer: InXile Entertainment

Publisher: In-house

Release: TBA 2014

Link: Wasteland 2 site

There's a decidedly retro shift among many of our games of 2014, and games like Wasteland 2 are at the spearhead of the backwards charge. The Kickstarted modern sequel to the game that inspired Fallout is currently being beta tested by its Steam Early Access community. The tactical post-apocalyptic RPG blends Wasteland's classic dark humour and grim brown settings with a modern engine. The finished article will feature hundreds of characters and greater customisation options for your ranger. It also promises “multi-path” problem solving, and the “choices” and “consequences” you'd hope for from a classic RPG. Will it be as good as the original, time and a bit more polish will tell.

Grim Dawn

Developer: Crate Entertainment

Publisher: In-house

Release date: TBA

Link: Grim Dawn site

Veteran developers on the excellent action RPG, Titan Quest, have decided to go it alone and build their own ARPG building on those systems. It's set in a grim, dark but highly detailed medieval fantasy world called Cairn, where humans are on the brink of extinction. You'll be able to mix and match skills from five available classes over 75 levels. Environments are destructible and prone to dynamic outbursts from the weather and the game will include challenges specifically balanced for co-op parties. Formerly, it would find itself competing with the monolithic Diablo games, but Grim Dawn now also faces competition from the free to play Path of Exile. With this and Reaper of Souls, Action RPG fans will have plenty to look forward to in 2014. Grim Dawn is currently available on Steam Early Access .

Pillars of Eternity

Developer: Obsidian Entertainment

Publisher: In-house

Release: Late 2014

Link: Pillars of Eternity site

As soon as the Kickstarter boom began there were rumblings from Baldur's Gate fans the world over. Could this be how Chris Avellone and Obsidian get to indulge their writerly RPG fantasies? Yes, as it turns out. Known under the placeholdy title Project Eternity for the longest time, the newly christened Pillars of Eternity has finally shown video proof of its existence, and the snippets of game footage certainly resemble the old Infinity engine games - only quite a bit better-looking, obviously.

Want to make the Eternal wait for Pillars a little more bearable? Get stuck into this huge interview with Obsidian's Josh Sawyer.

Shroud of the Avatar

Developer: Portalarium

Publisher: In-house

Release: October

Link: Shroud of the Avatar site

Richard 'Lord British' Garriott is back doing what he did best: making Ultima games. Sorry, 'Ultima' games, with Shroud of the Avatar borrowing pretty much everything from the classic RPG series except the name. This is not in itself a bad thing, though Shroud's combination of single- and multiplayer elements is a little tough to get a handle on. We'll have to wait and see whether it can recapture the magic of Ultima Online.

Age of Wonders 3

Developer: Triumph Studios

Publisher: In-house

Release: Early 2014

Link: Age of Wonders site

Where would we be without Notch? In a world without Age of Wonders 3 in it, that's where. The Minecraft creator and Hat-Wearer of the Year invested in this promising, unexpected follow-up to the celebrated Age of Wonders games – and you can see why. Essentially Civilization mixed with Heroes of Might & Magic and Master of Magic, Wonders is still the go-to game for fantasy strategising. 3 adds more RPG elements, in addition to translating the top-down 2D trappings of old to full 3D.

Dragon Fin Soup

Developer: Grimm Bros

Publisher: In-house

Release date: TBA 2014

Link: Dragon Fin soup

The name of the indie developers, Grimm Bros, tells you all you need to know about the dark fantasy vibe the team are trying to capture with Dragon Fin Soup, but there are lashings of comedy here, too. You play Red Robin, a booze-loving hero travelling across a fantasy land on the back of a giant turtle called Atui- er, Asura, on a quest for revenge. You can dual wield anything, from pots and pans to magic swords, or dispose of enemies at range with a sawn off shotgun, or other craftable weapons. There's also a dynamic day/night cycle, pets, fishing and dungeons full of fairytale creatures to bully.

Liege

Developer: Coda Games

Publisher: In-house

Release date: First act due early 2014

Link: Liege site

The entire royal family is dead, now you have to navigate the hordes of would-be Kings and Queens in this stylish tactical fantasy RPG. The hand-drawn art adds a lavish sheen to notstalgic design reminiscent of early JRPGs. The tactical, turn-based combat takes place on a grid system and focuses on small group duels. After a successful Kickstarter campaign, it's due to be released in three acts, with the first due to arrive early this year.

Child of Light

Developer: Ubisoft Montreal

Publisher: Ubisoft

Release: 2014

Link: Child of Light site

That other 2014 game being made with Ubi-Art, Child of Light is an equally painterly sidescrolling adventure starring Aurora, a sword-wielding child tasked with defeating the Queen of Night. It's inspired by JRPGs such as Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy VI, but the game's most novel feature is perhaps its rhyming dialogue – the story is being written as a sort of epic poem.

Dead State

Developer: DoubleBear Productions

Publisher: In-house

Release: March 2014

Link: Dead State

This promising zombie survival horror RPG lumbers towards its planned March release date with an imminent Early Access campaign. You'll battle through an American town overrun by the undead, teaming up with survivors to blast the shamblers in tense, turn-based encounters. Panic is a powerful factor when facing zombies, and the noise you make if you choose to resort to firearms always risks attracting overwhelming numbers. It's made by a storied team with experience working on great games like Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines and Neverwinter Nights 2.

Cube World

Developer: Wolfram and Sarah von Funck

Publisher: Self-published

Release: TBA

Link: Cube World site

Of all the building and exploring Minecraft-a-likes, Cube World is one of the most promising. It's a fully fledged action RPG set in a sprawling, procedurally generated voxel universe full of dungeons and boss monsters. There will be lots of crafting, of course, but relaxing busywork is offset by some proper combat mechanics, and even boss monsters.

Cyberpunk 2077

Developer: CD Projekt RED

Publisher: Atari

Release: 2015

Link: Cyberpunk 2077's site

CD Projekt RED's next hugely ambitious project ditches the sword-and-scars fantasy of The Witcher in favour of the Cyberpunk pen and paper RPG. It'll feature a non-linear story, character customisation, future-robo-people - all the stuff that made the studio's last efforts so so special.

Except the future-robo-people. They're new. The game's multiplayer features will be virgin territory for the Witcher devs too, although they've so far given no hint about how they will be implemented.

Heart Forth, Alicia

Developer: Alonso Martin

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: TBA

Link: Heart Forth, Alicia's page

The world has moved on since development first started on Heart Forth, Alicia back in 2007, but one thing has remained constant: our desire to play this arresting platformer/RPG. The story involves gods and wizards and people presumably putting their hearts forth, while the sidescrolling action gives you a number of magical powers – and of course various helper fairies – in your quest to return to your floating island home.

The Banner Saga

Developer: Stoic

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: 14th January

Link: The Banner Saga site

This RPG/turn-based strategy hybrid comes from a trio of ex-Bioware developers and the pockets of an army of Kickstarter backers. It's a story of viking mythology, tough choices, and patiently waiting to smack a giant with an axe. It's the first part of a planned trilogy, but the series' combat system was already trialled in the free-to-play game The Banner Saga: Factions. Hopefully between the lessons learned from that accomplished if not spectacular release, and the deep and grown-up story being promised, the full singleplayer game will have a more lasting impact.

For more, take a look at our review of last year's The Banner Saga: Factions , and watch the full game's announcement trailer to see its beautiful art in motion.

Mass Effect 4

Developer: BioWare

Publisher: EA

Release: 2015

Link: Mass Effect site

We can only speculate about the setting and framework of Mass Effect 4. In fact, the "4" may not be correct if the next game turns out to be a prequel. One thing's for certain, Shepard's story is done and dusted, so don't expect to encounter the series' iconic hero. If it's set after the third game, ME4 will have to deal with the universe-altering decisions Shepard makes at the end of game three. However that pans out

Only Bioware and EA know where Mass Effect is going next, but we have a things we'd like to see from Mass Effect 4 ourselves.

Legends of Eisenwald

Developer: Aterdux Entertainment

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: TBA 2014

Link: Aterdux site

Gather your part and venture forth into medieval lands full of pagan thugs and bandits. You'll battle them in the time-honoured medieval tradition, by standing in individual hexes and taking it in turns to hit each other with halberds. This is a dark mud 'n blood take on low fantasy that'll play out over a seven-part campaign, though there will also be a scenario editor for those that want to continue the adventure.

Forge Quest

Developer: Open Realms

Publisher: In-house

Release: Mid 2014

Link: Forge Quest site

Forge Quest is an action RPG made from voxels, with randomly generated dungeons full of creatures to mess up with your voxel sword. The classic ARPG reward loop is here - kill, loot, get better at killing - but it's spiced up by a cheeky sense of humour. It'll face tough competition when it eventually makes its way off Steam Early access, however. The ARPG drought is over, now we get to choose between this, Diablo 3, Torchlight 2, Path of Exile and Grim Dawn.

Divinity: Original Sin

Developer: Larian Studios

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: 28th February

Link: The Divinity: Original Sin site

The Divinity series adds a welcome note of self-aware humour to the serious business of clicking on skeletons until they die, including goofy in-jokes, memorable characters and – in strategy spin-off Dragon Commander – even dealing with a number real-world political issues. (Er, and steampunk jet-powered dragons.) That humour's present and correct in Original Sin, but it's the game's ambition that should have you frantically scribbling 'February 28' in your diary. Larian's latest aims to be nothing less than a modern-day Ultima VII, featuring a ridiculously interactive and detailed world, along with co-op, turn-based combat and even a level editor.

We took a brief look at Original Sin last year, before Larian took to Kickstarter to shore up extra funds. You'll be happy to hear they knocked it out of the park

Hyper Light Drifter

Developer: Heart Machine

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: June

Link: Heart Machine's website

This 2D action RPG has some of the most stylish pixel art we've seen. Developers Heart Machine cite games like Diablo and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past as influences, with fast, responsive combat and a large, atmospheric world to explore. Music is an important part of the game as well, and handling the soundtrack is Rich 'Disasterpeace' Vreeland, whose previously supplied the wonderful Fez score, as well as contributions from electronic artist Baths, whose new album Obsidian was recently released to critical acclaim. Heart Machine were asking for a modest $27,000 to make the game, and ended up with over $600,000, so expect a much grander end product than their original vision.

See the combat system in action

Barkley Shut Up And Jam 2

Developer: Tales of Game's Studios

Publisher: In-house

Release: Early 2014

Link: Tale of Game's site

Or, to give it its full title, The Magical Realms of Tir NA NoG: Escape from Necron 7, Revenge of Cuchulainn - Chapter 2 of the Hoopz Barkley SaGa, this adventure game sequel hopes to top the madness and hilarity of the first Barkley game. As an unnamed, powerful kid, you must wander the Post-Cyberpocalyptic Wasteland in search of the wise Cyberdwarf, who may hold some clue as to how the evil rogue AI, Cuchulainn, can be defeated. Expect lots of basketball puns, relentless jokes and JRPG style turn-based combat.

To find out why the prospect of a Barkley sequel has us excited, check out our Barkley 2 preview.

The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot

Developer: Ubisoft Montreal

Publisher: Ubisoft

Release: “Coming soon” 2014

Link: Mighty Quest for Epic Loot site

A jolly action RPG that'll be free-to-play when it's released, The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot isn't just about raiding castles and killing monsters for gold, you'll be able to team up with friends to create your own fortresses that others will try to raid. Hold on to your gold hordes effectively enough, and you'll be able to level up your characters, and dress them in ever-shinier armour. The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot offers promises a cycle of monster-killing and tower defence, propped up by microtransactions.

Find out how the castle-building and combat works in our Mighty Quest for Epic Loot hands-on.

Dragon Age: Inquisition

Developer: Bioware

Publisher: EA

Release: Summer/Autumn

Link: Bioware

Dragon Age has always proved a divisive series. With its third instalment, Bioware hopes to meld the best parts of its adult fantasy Dragon Age: Origins with its much maligned sequel, and hopefully satiate naysayers in both camps. A new protagonist will enter a world in civil war, with a playable area larger than that of the first game, taking place in and around the Orlais region. There'll be more customisation, increased emphasis on tactical decisions in combat and - if you're lucky - more beards.

Dark Souls 2

Developer From Software

Publisher: Namco Bandai Games

Release date: March 11 2014

Link: Dark Souls 2 site

Don't expect the sequel to one of 2012's toughest games, Dark Souls, to relent on difficulty. Co-director Tomohiro Shibuya has said he has no intention of changing the controls or introducing an easy difficulty mode into the brutal fantasy RPG. That said, the world - roughly twice the size of Dark Souls' - will be more accessible. Could fast-travelling be available from the start? Also, dedicated servers should remedy the first two games' notoriously spotty (albeit innovative) co-op and adversarial multiplayer.

Dark Souls received a bare-bones port to PC in 2012, but once modders had polished it up , it was magnificent. The follow-up will hopefully strive to be just as dark and deeply challenging, The PC version was announced alongside the consoles, so it'll likely be a little less rushed this time round.

Watch Dark Souls 2's 12-minute video demo Dark Souls II 12-minute gameplay demo .

The Age of Decadence

Developer: Iron Tower Studio

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: Spring 2014

Link: The Age of Decadence site

The post-apocalypse doesn't have to mean rusty tin cans, giant cockroaches and a wardrobe full of ragged jumpers, as the ambitious Age of Decadence shows. In development for around nine years, the game features a non-linear plot, seven different factions and endings, and a ton of ways to customise and improve your character. The world's inspired by the war-hungry, bronzey, Asterix-hating Roman Empire, which seems as good a society as any to fall back on when modern civilisation goes down the crapper. While the finished game is a little way off yet, you can download the public beta right now.

Blackguards

Developer: Daedalic Entertainment

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: January

Link: Blackguards site

Daedalic – makers of fine-looking adventure games like Deponia and The Whispered World – have turned their talents to building a tactical, turn-based RPG. And before you ask: yes, it features hexes. The focus might be on combat, but there is a grim story underpinning everything. You'll assume control of a bunch of fantasy outcasts, including a drunken wizard, a very angry dwarf and rogue addicted to drugs. The group will band together to defeat a “dark menace”, though I can't help but wonder if there are others better suited to the task.

We took a brief look at Blackguards last year. Read our thoughts at the following link .

South Park: The Stick of Truth

Developer: Obsidian

Publisher: Ubisoft

Release Date: 4th March

Link: South Park: The Stick of Truth site

Will The Stick of Truth be the first good South Park game? Previous games have lowered the bar practically to Hades, so Obsidian and Ubisoft have every chance of success. Yes, I said Obsidian – the RPG developers du jour will hopefully endow this filthy 2D adventure with their trademark quality writing and design. South Park creators (and Stick of Truth scriptwriters) Trey Parker and Matt Stone are onboard to ensure that the game looks and feels like an actual South Park cartoon – hopefully one of the earlier episodes, rather than the increasingly tiresome event episodes of more recent seasons.

Chasm

Developer: Discord Games

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: May

Link: Chasm site

Procedural generation? Check. Metroidvania elements? Check. Lovely pixel art, loot drops and (optional permadeath)? Check, check and YOU ARE DEAD. Chasm ticks a lot of boxes, but it does so while keeping its own eyeball-slicing, mine-delving identity. The game's (successful) Greenlight page reveals that you're “a soldier passing through a remote mining town on their journey home from a long war. The town's miners have recently disappeared after breaching a long-forgotten temple far below the town, and reawakened an ancient slumbering evil.” Now why did they have to go and do that?

We first noticed Chasm a year ago . The game took to Kickstarter a few months later .

Radio the Universe

Developer: 6e6e6e

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: TBA

Link: The game's tumblr page

How is development on this promising, faintly stunning sci-fi action RPG going since its Kickstarter target was duly thrashed a year ago? We have no idea, because the updates are visible to backers only – but hey, the sign that there are updates is encouraging at least. Why are we excited? Because Radio the Universe references some of our favourite things – Yume Nikki, Dark Souls, Shin Megami Tensei and Zelda – while smothering its own gorgeous pixel art over the top.

Radio the Universe hit Kickstarter just over a year ago. We jotted down our initial thoughts in this post .

Always Sometimes Monsters

Developer: Vagabond games

Publisher: Devolver Digital

Release Date: TBA 2014

Link: Devolver Digital website

Always Sometimes Monsters is that rarest of things, an RPG set in the real world. You take the role of an ordinary person, down on their luck, trying to get back on top. Different characters have different, races, genders and orientations and although the developers haven't said how those will influence the game I think we can all be fairly certain that straight white male will be the easy mode.

Witchmarsh

Developer: Luciano Sgarbi and Joe Conway

Publisher: In-house

Release: TBA

Link: Witchmarsh's dev blog

Don't let the gorgeous 2D pixel-art fool you: Witchmarsh has its roots in some hardcore RPGs, citing Baldur's Gate and Neverwinter Nights as inspiration. The game will task you with creating a team of investigators, with the eventual aim of solving a recent series of mass kidnappings. The creators hope to melding customisation and choice with a Metroidvania style focus on exploration. Witchmarsh will be putting its case forward in a Kickstarter campaign due early this year.

Sacred 3

Developer: Keen Games

Publisher: Deep Silver

Release Date: August 5

Link: Sacred 3 site

This ambitious, well-regarded series of co-op Diablolikes is no longer in the hands of original developers Ascaron, and it's probably not entirely unrelated that this third game marks quite the departure from those games. It's a much more deliberately arcadey game, with no loot, and with a focus on thunky moment-to-moment combat instead. The two-player multiplayer of the previous games has been bolstered by two additional players–even if playing alone, you'll travel with three NPC party memberss. Given how radically different it is to the previous entries, there's a good chance of a vocal backlash to Sacred 3's sacrilegious reinvention, but on its own terms this might be quite fun.

Risen 3: Titan Lords

Developer: Piranha Bytes

Publisher: Deep Silver

Release Date: August 12

Link: Risen 3 site

The original Risen had its fair share of problems, but at the time of release it existed in its own little bubble of unforgiving, largely open RPGs, eschewing level-scaling in favour of treacherous exploration where one wrong foot could see you made dead in minutes. The sequel awkwardly grafted a pirate theme onto its third-person adventuring, with little success, while this third game looks to be a return to what made the first one so memorable. Expect slightly shonky roleplaying with a focus on factions and exploration.

Costume Quest 2

Developer: Double Fine

Publisher: Midnight City

Release Date: October

Link: Double Fine

Costume Quest 2 swaps the leafy suburbs of the original game for the witchy, voodooy, alligatory swamps of New Orleans. Thankfully it will keep the Halloween adventuring, the JRPG-style combat, and trick-or-treating kid heroes Wren and Reynold—well, it wouldn't be much of a Costume Quest without them. “Deeper combat” and “more costumes” are promised for Double Fine's latest seasonal adventure, including every coulrophobe's very favourite outfit: that of the friendly clown.

We set foot in the Bayou to take a closer look at Double Fine's Halloween adventure.

Crypt of the Necrodancer

Developer: Brace Yourself Games

Publisher: Brace Yourself; Klei

Release Date: Late 2014

Link: Official Necrodancer site

Given that roguelikes have already infiltrated most every other genre out there, perhaps rhythm roguelike Crypt of the Necrodancer was an inevitability—but it still feels fresher than most of PC Gamer's moves on the dancefloor. The strict grid-based movement of classic roguelikes/dungeon crawlers turns out to be a perfect fit for Necrodancer's turn-based hopping and bopping, while the animations of the dungeon's beasties are simply to die for. The grooviest dungeon crawler of this or any other year.

If you feel like tapping your toes to the beat of Necrodancer's drum, be sure to check out our first look from last year.

SIM

Maxis disappointed sim fans with SimCity in 2013, but can they bounce back with The Sims 4? That won't matter at all to flight-sim fans, who will be hoping that the latest entry in the veteran IL2 Sturmovik series will live up to its billing. In 2014, sims will be moving to new frontiers. Mars exploration game, Take on Mars, represents a new direction for Bohemia, and Spacebase DF-9 will hopefully improve to give us some good spaceship management by the end of the year.

IL2 Sturmovik: Battle of Stalingrad

Developer: 1C Game Studios

Publisher: 1C Company

Release date: TBA 2014

Link: IL2 Sturmovik site

The battle for air superiority had huge consequences for ground troops in the battle of Stalingrad. The latest in the veteran series of IL2 Sturmovik flight sims will include conflicts from Operation Uranus to the surrender of the 6th army. Gigabytes worth of flight manuals and historical accounts are being used to help model the feel of each plane, and veteran test pilots have given their feedback on the alpha version based on their real flying experiences. It claims to be the “largest and most detailed recreation of the Battle of Stalingrad theatre ever modeled in a flight simulation”. Players can buy into early access now, but the full release is due this year.

The Sims 4

Developer: Maxis

Publisher: EA

Release: Early 2014

The Sims site

The game that will launch 1,000 expansion packs is set to arrive in early 2014, bringing more tactile, squishier character creation to the table and a much bigger focus on emotions. Group conversations will play a far bigger part too, with EA having noticed that human beings are capable of talking to more than one person at a time.

For more on how the next Sims will model emotions, check out our Sims 4 first look.

Spacebase DF-9

Developer: Double Fine

Publisher: In-house

Release date: TBA 2014

Link: Spacebase DF-9 site

Anyone who's enjoyed a bit of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine will have wondered about what the day-to-day running of a space station would be like. Spacebase DF-9 is a game all about exactly that. As well as maintaining your station and its inhabitants, you have to deal with approaching meteors, passing derelicts, space pirates and the ever-present threat of decompression. A very shoddy early version of the game has appeared on Steam Early Access, but hopefully with time the bugs and clipping errors will be resolved, and DF-9 can evolve into a deeper sim.

Star Command

Developer: Star Command

Publisher: Self-published

Release: 2014

Link: Star Command

Initially destined for IOS and Android devices, the successfully Kickstarted PC version ensured that this spacebase management sim will get a desktop release. You populate your station with a customisable cadre of spacefarers, fend off alien invasions and travel the galaxy meeting new species. Given the complete portable versions, it'll probably reach us ahead of Double Fine's similar effort, Spacebase DF-9.

Mew-genics

Developer: Team Meat

Publisher: Self-published

Release: 2014

Link: Mew-Genics site

Team Meat's Edmund McMillen describes Mew-Genics as a “cat lady sim” whose influences include “The Sims and Pokemon with a sprinkling of Animal Crossing and a dash of Tamagotchi”. You have a household full of procedurally generated cats that will mate and produce offspring bearing combinations of their traits. Enter a desirable cat into a pageant and you'll get rich, but first you have to encourage champion mogs to drop sprogs - not an easy task. Like herding cats, you might say.

Kerbal Space Program

Developer: SQUAD

Publisher: In-house

Release date: TBA

Link: KSP's site

Kerbal Space Program is already a brilliant rocketry sandbox - even in its pre-launch Early Access state. With access to an almost overwhelming number of ship parts and rocket boosters, you're left to conquer the great void above Kerbin, filling it with orbital satellites and manned missions to other planets. The last few updates have focused on the newly introduced campaign mode, adding some structure to the game via the need to collect science points to unlock new parts. Next year, expect to see that refined and expanded on, as the game approaches release. Also look out for the recently announced official multiplayer mode.

Where to begin? Ian brought us a hands-on account of the latest 0.23 update , Phil detailed his many failed attempts to land on the Mun, and we've rounded up the twelve best mods currently available for the game

Space Engineers

Developer: Keen Software House

Publisher: In-house

Release: TBA

Link: Space Engineers site

Don a suit and build spaceships in space to crash into other spaceships, in space. Space Engineers ditches the block-based morphism of Minecraft in favour of more methodical building, which has players creating struts and layering on panels to form outer hulls. You also have to craft individual components to power your ship, including engines and weapon banks. There's a tech demo available on Steam Early Access, but it only offers a hint of Space Engineers' full potential.

Take on Mars

Developer: Bohemia Interactive

Publisher: In-house

Release: TBA

Link: Take On Mars

Bohemia Interactive, known for detailed simulations of war in the Arma series, are diversifying a bit. Realising they have the technology to render vast swathes of beautiful terrain, they decided to point their artists at the surface of Mars, and create an exploration sim in which you control a rover mapping the surface. It's been in Early Access since summer 2013, and offers a series of science missions in which you guide your robot through experiments to test the surface and uncover the history of the planet. Hopefully they'll resist the temptation to stick aliens in it by the time it releases sometime this year.

Banished

Developer: Shining Rock Software

Publisher: Shining Rock Software

Release Date: February 18

Link: Shining Rock's website

Citybuilders, like real-time strategy games, are something of a hibernating genre these days, so it's always great to see indie developers keeping the flame alive. Banished tasks you with constructing and maintaining a medieval town, with a particular focus on the grim business of keeping its population alive for as long as possible. Can you keep your town going through the harsh winters, harsh autumns, and let's be honest harsh springs and summers of medieval life? Probably not, but you can always select 'New Game' afterwards to give it another go.

We mostly enjoyed our time with Banished in the course of formulating our review , but we didn't feel any great urge to return.

STRATEGY

Welcome to the strategy section, the home of real-time and turn-based takes on conquest. The RTS bounced back in 2013 with StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm, Company of Heroes 2 and Total War: Rome 2, and thanks to Kickstarter, the trend is set to continue. We want nothing more than for Planetary Annihilation to blossom into the epic SupCom sequel strategy fans deserve, but should that fail to pass, we can take comfort in the 64-bit embrace of a new GalCiv. Look out, though, for Prison Architect, Endless Legend and Defence Grid 2 - games built by small teams with huge potential.

Galactic Civilizations 3

Developer: Stardock

Publisher: In-house

Release date: 2014

Link: Galactic Civilizations 3 site

One of the greatest 4X games of all time finally gets a follow-up, and this one comes with a 64-bit OS requirement. Hopefully that extra memory will go towards enhancing GalCiv 2's extraordinary and slightly scary AI, which operated on a complexity such that you could write books about it, as former PC Gamer writer Tom Francis discovered when he wrote an entire goddamn book about it. Even if Stardock simply bring some extra eye-candy to the complex galactic politics of the second game, that's reason enough to build some new spacecraft take over the universe again.

Starcraft 2: Legacy of the Void

Developer: Blizzard Entertainment

Publisher: In-house

Release: 2015

Link: Starcraft 2 site

Do you remember the past? When Blizzard announced they were splitting Starcraft 2 into three games and the internet went ballistic, claiming they were 'gouging' gamers and we should all put off buying SC2 to spite those money-hungry beggars? Then Starcraft 2 came out, was rather good, and all was forgotten. The second and last of the announced expansions, Legacy of the Void, focuses on the Protoss for its single-player campaign, it features Zeratul as its protagonist, and it will of course include additional units - and that's about all that's known at this point in time. While the story and cinematic sequences are apparently finished, Blizzard have said that the campaign needs more work, so who knows when this belated expansion pack will finally arrive?

Planetary Annihilation

Developer: Uber Entertainment

Publisher: In-house

Release date: TBA

Link: Planetary Annihilation site

A spectacular proof-of-concept trailer secured this RTS a massive Kickstarter windfall, now all Uber Entertainment want to do is make it. The band is made up of some former Supreme Commander developers, and you can see that powerfully in the art style and the concept, which has giant commander robots building robot armies with nano-bots. In Supreme Commander you couldn't colonise a planet, build a huge cannon and then shoot another planet, however, or attach rocket thrusters to a moon and crash it into the enemy. It's that ridiculous but brilliant dream that has motivated PA's thousands of backers. Early builds were released to backers in 2013, and development continues in earnest.

Heroes of the Storm

Developer: Blizzard

Publisher: In-house

Release date: TBA

Link: Heroes of the Storm site

With Dota 2, Valve successfully released a sequel to a mod of Blizzard's Warcraft, and have since been treading an interesting legal line with its hero design ever since. Both companies have successfully avoided being drawn into a disastrous copyright showdown, and at Blizzcon in 2013, Blizzard finally revealed the revamped vision for their long-awaited lane pusher. Unsurprisingly, it seems very keen to distinguish itself from its rivals. Heroes of the Storm places emphasis on speed and accessibility. Staple DotA technique, last-hitting, is gone, and there will be multiple map layouts with varying objectives. The cast is pulled from all corners of Blizzard's catalogue, which means you get to be Jim Raynor and shoot Diablo in the face. For those intrigued by that idea, beta signups are now live on the Heroes of the Storm site .

Prison Architect

Developer: Introversion

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: TBC

Link: Official website

When you think about it, it's strange that there haven't been many prison management games up until now. It's like a hotel sim, except every so often one of your guests draws a shiv and starts a fight in the showers. In Prison Architect you have to account for violent inmates, stop the smuggling of illicit materials and, perhaps, rehabilitate and release those that have behaved well, all by sketching out buildings, placing facilities and managing your guards. Prison Architect is now in early access, and has easily some of the most entertaining patch notes of all time. “Prisoners who were on the toilet when they got released would stay on the toilet forever. This is now fixed.” Dark.

Read Andy's Prison Architect diary .

Kingdom Under Fire 2

Developer: Blueside, Phantagram

Publisher: In-house

Release date: Mid to late 2014

Link: Kingdom Under Fire 2 site

An intriguing hybrid of action RPG and RTS with MMO elements, Kingdom Under Fire 2 lets you fight enemy heroes on large battlefields while simultaneously commanding units. There's a metagame in which players can form guilds to battle for territory and besiege each others' strongholds, and there are three factions commanding over a hundred types of unit. It's been in development since 2008, and is destined for Korean release early in 2014, and wider release later that year. It's an ambitious project but MMOSITE have reported on some of the difficulties the developing studios have faced so far, which doesn't bode so well for the finished article.

Door Kickers

Developer: Killhouse Games

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: 2014

Link: Door Kickers site

What did doors ever do to Killhouse Games? Regardless of their hostility towards domicile entry points, you have to admire them for keeping the strategic SWAT simulator genre alive, which has been woefully ignored for too many years. Door Kickers is a little like a real-time Frozen Synapse, Jagged Alliance or, yes, the early SWAT games; if you've grown tired of the lack of complexity in modern tactical combat titles, the game's freeform, choice-riddled missions should do quite nicely.

Worlds of Magic

Developer: Wastelands

Publisher: In-house

Release date: TBA 2014

Link: Worlds of Magic site

Worlds of Magic promises a 3D modern take on the turn-based 4X strategy game, Master of Magic, and has secured $34,000 of funding from Kickstarter backers based on that pitch. Players will explore and expand across procedurally generated terrain across multiple planes of existence, including raw elemental planes that will play host to different monsters. Staying true to Master of Magic, combat will be powered by a D20 OGL system and there will be 12 schools of magic to master. Worlds of Magic has now been Greenlit on Steam, and has released a demo to show off the game's progress so far.

Strife

Developer: S2 Games

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: TBA

Link: Strife's site

Is there room in the overcrowded MOBA marketplace for another Multiplayer Online Battle Arena? Heroes of Newerth developers S2 Games reckon so, which is why they're developing another one. With Strife they're aiming to provide a friendlier, more social game, which will hopefully develop a far more welcoming community than HoN's often famously prickly players. S2 are calling Strife a “second generation MOBA”, meaning it will be narrative-heavy and community-focused, rewarding collaboration and embedding social systems into the core of the game. It sounds like a step in the right direction for a genre that can be offputting to new players – whether it can hope to compete with the mighty LoL and DOTA 2, however, remains to be seen.

S2's newest MOBA was revealed back in August of last year. We covered the announcement here .

Smite

Developer: Hi-Rez Studios

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: 25th March

Link: Smite site

I may as well repeat the above question: is there room in the overcrowded MOBA marketplace for another Multiplayer Online Battle Arena, one with another conveniently monosyllabic title? Perhaps. Smite ditches heroes for Gods, and lots of them, including deities from all your favourite mythologies and religions and pitting them against one another in a sort of blasphemous battle royale. While it's not officially out until March, you can of course sign up and play the beta right now.

Smite is now in open beta. We were on hand to chronicle the release.

Hearthstone

Developer: Blizzard

Publisher: In-house

Release date: TBA 2014, currently in closed beta

Link: Hearthstone site

There's a consensus among players in the Hearthstone beta that this online collectible card game from Blizzard will take over the world in 2014. It's a card duelling game in which two players deploy abilities and creatures from their hands by expending a reserve of mana that grows with each turn. The format is similar to the perennial Magic: The Gathering, but is quicker and, predictably, quite a lot flashier. But what's a traditional CCG like Magic to do? Ordinary cards made of ordinary paper and ink can't lift from the table to hammer into enemy monsters. Ordinary players sitting at ordinary tables can't magically set fire to the entire playing surface, as Hearthstone's spells often do. It's an addictive and complex CCG infused with the tactile joy of a PopCap game. We're doomed.

East vs. West: A Hearts of Iron Game

Developer: BL-Logic

Publisher: Paradox Interactive

Release: Early 2014

Link: East vs West site

Real-time strategy in the Second World War period has been done to death, so it's always a relief when a game move on to that horrible post-war period of mass paranoia and nuclear tension. Huzzah then for East vs West: A Hearts Of Iron Game, which covers the Cold War period in Paradox's traditional strategic fashion.

Steam Marines

Developer: Worthless Bums

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: 2014

Link: The official site

Roguelikes don't normally give us access to a whole squad – one life is quite enough pressure, thank you very much – so Steam Marines' focus on a team of, er, steampunk marines can seem a little daunting. Luckily you have guns on your side, so you don't have to get too close to the various horrors of this turn-based, spaceship-set game if you still have a few rounds at your disposal. Positioning and teamwork are both key, giving this brutally difficult game a tactical, strategy RPG feel. If you've ever wondered what X-COM or Space Hulk would be like with more roguelike elements, you're going to want to give Steam Marines a second glance.

We first noticed Steam Marines back in 2012 . The game, now on Steam Early Access, appears to have come on a fair bit since then.

Xenonauts

Developer: Goldhawk Interactive

Publisher: In-house

Release: TBA 2014

Link: Steam early access

Goldhawk Interactive have spent the last four years working to bring their vision of a spiritual sequel to XCOM into reality, so they must have been knocked for a loop when an actual sequel arrived last year. Nevertheless Xenonauts has a very different approach from new XCOM, slavishly recreating the original game with a minimum of changes, rather than redesigning it wholeheartedly with more modern ideas. They're currently in early access, but the big question remains unanswered, are the old ones really the best? Or is it time we moved on?

To find out more check out our most recent Xenonauts preview .

Star Lords

Developer: Arkavi Studios

Publisher: Iceberg Interactive

Release: Late 2014

Link: Star Lords site

Galactic Civilizations 3 is a big hope for 4X space game fans, but if that fails to recapture the glory of its predecessors, there's always Star Lords. Like Gal Civ, you'll be able to take control of one of the game's races and expand across the stars, designing and building your own ships and conducting trade and diplomacy where necessary. Combat involves is turn-based and takes place on hex-tiled boards. Star Lords invaded Steam Early access in December '13.

Stonehearth

Developer: Radiant Entertainment

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: September

Link: Stonehearth site

Stonehearth is essentially Minecraft for project managers, giving you control over a team of builders and settlers rather than making you do all the hard work for yourself. You'll build, secure resources, expand and defend your settlements – this is starting to sound a lot like Civilization, too. It's a little more zoomed in than that strategy epic, however, offering up a blocky procedurally generated world for you to colonise with similarly blocky people. Mod tools and co-op should extend the life of the game somewhat – we can't wait to see the sort of ambitious projects dedicated players will come up with.

Godus

Developer: 22 Cans

Publisher: In-house

Release date: TBA

Link: Godus

As a god in Godus, you must sculpt the land below you to encourage settlers to lay down towns and blossom into advanced civilisations, in theory at least. Right now, in Godus' alpha version on Steam Early Access, being a deity is mostly a matter of pointlessly clicking on things. The underwhelming alpha version may yet improve, however, and it'll be interesting to see if Peter Molyneux can recapture some of the magic of Populus with further development. The alpha release was preceded by Curiosity, a social game in which participants chipped away at blocks in a giant cube for approximately a million years to reach the centre, whereupon the lucky soul who made it became Godus' god-king. It's not yet clear how the lucky winner will precisely influence the final product, but as long as his first commandment is “THOU SHALT NO LONGER ENDLESSLY CLICK ON RESOURCE BLOBS” we'll be happy.

Warhammer 40,000: Space Wolf

Developer: HeroCraft

Publisher: In-house

Release date: TBA 2014

Link: Space Wolf site

HeroCraft have a tricky task on their hands. Can they siphon the rage and violence of the 40k universe into a turn based card game? A focus on the barbarous Space Wolves gives them a bit of a head start. Unlike their overused brethren, the Ultramarines, this ferocious chapter is based on a frozen world close to the troublesome Eye of Terror, which puts them in a good place to come into conflict with the forces of Chaos. Combat will unfold on a grid system, and the abilities of your squad will be tied to action cards, so don't expect a fast-paced brawler.

Super Roman Conquest

Developer: SeaCliff Interactive

Publisher: In-house

Release date: TBA 2014

Link: Super Roman Conquest

The SUPER part of the title invokes the sidescrolling, 16-bit stylings of ye olde SNES games, but this is a strategy game, not a brawler. You guide your Roman troops to battle across 2D planes at multiple depths, crushing barbarian hordes, looting their stuff and using it to build better siege equipment and weaponry. You direct your conquest on a strategic overmap. A charming little strategy game built by ex-Lucasarts vets.

Meridian: New World

Developer: Headup Games

Publisher: In-house

Release date: TBA 2014

Link: Meridian: New World

Hooray, people are still making RTS games! Meridian will be a fairly traditional specimen of the genre, but will come bundled with map and campaign creation tools, and the developers say that they'll be releasing official maps regularly, post-release. There'll also be a bit of a metagame on your base ship as you chat to your crew between missions. there “the strategy you use and how many troops you sacrifice to reach your goal will influence the attitude of your crew towards you”.

Chaos Reborn

Developer: Julian Gollop

Publisher:

Release: TBA

Link: J. Gollop's site.

The ZX Spectrum classic is getting a remake courtesy of its original designer, the man behind X-Com: UFO Defence, Julian Gollop. Wizards face each other across a board and summon monsters to engage in proxy battles on their behalf, lazy wizards! Development is coming along gradually, but in November last year an update popped up announcing level editing tools for players. Gollop is toying with the idea of a free to play release when Chaos Reborn is eventually reborn.

World Zombination

Developer: Prolateriat

Publisher: In-house

Release date: TBA 2014

Link: Proletariat site

Like a horde of undead rotters, the zombie games just keep on coming. This time you can play as humans or the zombies in a strategy game about taking over the world. The humans are on the defensive in this particular war, so their missions will play out like tower defence games, while the zombies rely on huge swarms to turn the remaining warmbloods to their side. There will be a mix of hand-designed and procedurally generated levels to play through when World Zombination hits PC and iOS this year.

Supreme Ruler 1936

Developer: Battlegoat studios

Publisher: Self-published

Release: 2014

Link: Battlegoat studios site

A real-time indie “geo-political” strategy set during World War 2, you can take control of any of the big political players of the era and try to alter the course of history using trade, intimidation and, of course, legions of tanks and chaps armed with guns. The latest in the Supreme Ruler series currently lingers on Steam Early Access while the final bugs are being squashed.

The Castle Doctrine

Developer: Jason Rohrer

Publisher: Self-published

Release: TBA 2014

Link: Castle Doctrine site

As a father and a husband, you must defend your home from invading criminals by creating networks of deadly traps (which can be just as deadly to you, if you're not careful). You're on a tight budget, however, and soon you'll need to leave your house and invade others to steal extra funds to secure your fortress. The neat part? Those homes you're invading belong to other players, and they're also tricked out with deadly traps. Once your character dies, they're gone forever, and you won't be able to create a new character on that server again - that ought to add plenty of tension to your home invasions.

Rymdkapsel

Developer: Grapefrukt

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: January

Link: Rymdkapsel site

It means 'space capsule' in Swedish, but that doesn't really tell you anything either. Rymdkapsel is a gorgeous, minimalist strategy game where 'real time' thankfully doesn't mean 'rapidly clicking on stuff until your wrist seizes up'. It's a slow-paced and meditative affair, tasking you with building and expanding a flat, multicoloured space station, while protecting your base from those who wish to do it harm. This PC version adds new missions, tunes and game modes.

Check out our Rymdkapsel announcement post for a trailer and more info.

Luftrausers

Developer: Vlambeer

Publisher: Devolver Digital

Release Date: Early 2014

Link: Vlambeer's Luftrausers page

Vlambeer's stark arcade shooter Luftrauser is due to receive an expanded sequel this year with the aptly named Luftrauser s . It's a 2D dogfighting game, essentially, giving you the ability to customise your own 'rauser' from dozens of planey bits and bobs. Doing so will not only change how your plane handles but also rearrange the game's 'dynamic' soundtrack. After a bit of a delay, Luftrausers is now on track for an early 2014 release; Vlambeer haven't had the best luck recently, so we can only hope that some unscrupulous developer doesn't beat them to the punch with an inferior clone first.

Massive Chalice

Developer: Double Fine

Publisher: In-house

Release: September 2014

Link: Massive Chalice site

Double Fine's other Kickstarted game is a tactical strategy on a historical scale, giving you the opportunity to play as multiple generations of a family – a bit like Saga Frontier 2, obscure JRPG fans. The comparison isn't entirely unwarranted: the team have cited Final Fantasy Tactics and Fire Emblem as inspirations, along with Game of Thrones and XCOM.

Craft The World

Developer: Black Maple Games

Publisher: In-house

Release: TBA 2014

Link: Craft the World Facebook page

If you've played Terraria you might look at Craft the World and think “hmmm, that looks a lot like Terraria”, and you'd be right. Rather than a single character, you're controlling a tribe of little diggers simultaneously, which makes it more RTS than adventure. The devs say there's also a bit of Dungeon Keeper in there, as you build defences to fortify your dwarfish settlement. Mine the earth, craft, survive. It's on Steam Early Access now.

Aerena - Clash of Champions

Developer: Cliffhanger Productions

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: TBA 2014

Link: Aether site

This turn-based, grid-based hero combat game lets you engage in cross-platform battles with IOS chums. There are more than 40 Champions to assemble into a competitive team, which can be upgraded and customised with 'Aether Shells'. It's set in an alternative reality version of 1955, in which humanity has decided to move into the clouds with the aid of a magical and powerful substance called Aether, a substance worth going to war for.

Endless Legend

Developer: Amplitude Studios

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: TBA

Link: Endless Legend's teaser site

Amplitude Studios have a bit of a thing about the word 'Endless'. Joining their space-based 4X strategy game Endless Space, and their in-development roguelike Dungeon of the Endless, is the slightly more traditional Endless Legend. It's a hexy fantasy 4X with a visual style that recalls the opening sequence from Game of Thrones (or alternatively, the entirety of Greed Corp). Height is important, you see, with terrain elevation granting various bonuses and affecting line of sight. Also of note: drug-addled elves, a rather beautiful interface, and a novel assortment of playable factions.

Amplitude gave us a tour of their intriguing 4X back in October. Click here to see what we thought.

Dungeon of the Endless

Developer: Amplitude Studios

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: TBA 2014

Link: Endless Legend's teaser site

A counter-part to Amplitude's 4X game, Endless Legend, Dungeon of the Endless is set miles below the surface of the fantasy planet of Auraxia. You manage a team of randomly selected survivors as they explore the cave networks, swat constantly swarming subterranean nasties and try and drag their ship's valuable power source to the surface. Every time you open a door, a wide range of random happenings can occur. You could find helpful survivor who'll join your team, you might find a horde of creatures, or a shopkeeper with useful items to sell. How do videogame shopkeepers get into such strange nooks and crannies?

Infested Planet

Developer: Rocket Bear games

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: TBA 2014

Link: Infested Planet website

Command a small squad of marines against an endless horde of ravening aliens in this indie RTS. Hold back the extraterrestrial flood long enough and you'll be able to upgrade, improve and erect defences. It's nearly finished, apparently, and there's an early access build that offers plenty of procedurally generated monster-blasting action

Clockwork Empires

Developer: Gaslamp Games

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: Spring

Link: Official website

This Dwarf Fortress-like, Victorian-flavoured colony-settling sim has a touch of Lovecraftian darkness about it. Leave your laboratories and scientists unattended and they'll likely start dabbling in forbidden magic, summoning unspeakable horrors. Exploration and scientific discovery are a big part of growing your colony, but in a world where such evil exists, this can be a dangerous pursuit. Your colony will have a distinct class system, with upper, middle, and lower class citizens needing different things, as well as artist, soldiers, and the wealthy. Buildings can be customised, giving your colony a distinct personality, and… well, we could go on. We'll be covering this one a lot in future issues.

Read our preview of Clockwork Empires

Defence Grid 2

Developer: Hidden Path Entertainment

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: TBA

Link: Defense Grid 2 site

What started as a Kickstarted add-on has caught the eyes of investors and morphed into a fully fledged sequel. At this early stage, the game is known simply as Defense Grid 2, though there will likely be a catchy subtitle added further down the line. Since the first nearly five years ago, tower defense games are now ten-a-penny, but Hidden Path truly understand what makes a good one: satisfying kills, levels that mix up restriction and freedom, balance and readability. Oh and robots. Lots and lots of robots.

Cannon Brawl

Developer: Turtle Sandbox

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: TBA 2014

Link: Turtle Sandbox website

Cannon Brawl reminds us a lot of the glory days of Worms. Two players use colourful airships to drop artillery pieces on the map, firing great big honking missiles and lasers at one another until one player (and most of the ground they're standing on) is destroyed. It's quick and easy competitive action with a cheerful disposition.

Tropico 5

Developer: Haemimont Games

Publisher: Kalypso Media

Release Date: 2014

Link: Tropico 5 site

While Tropico 4 was a steady if unambitious iteration, Haemimont's next game in the banana republic building series promises more dictatorial dilemmas and a longer term of office. This time, El Presidente will rule through the eras, starting in the colonial 19th century, and - if you can survive the wars and economic collapses between - through to the 21st. Tropico 5's other big back of the box feature? Nepotism. You'll be able to appoint family members to key political position, earning the benefits of their experience and connections.

Maia

Developer: Simon Roth

Publisher: In-house

Release date: TBA

Link: Maia site

Maia is a space colony management sim. Its creator, Simon Roth, describes it as "Dungeon Keeper meets Dwarf Fortress," but you'll also find hints of hard sci-fi film classics, like 2001 and Silent Running. Maia itself is the deadly planet your settlers are trying to tame, and - as a disembodied floating hand - it's your job to help them survive everything from solar flares to mental breakdowns. Aside from the promise of the game itself, it's also encouraging to see Roth's commitment to buyers. He's guaranteed that players will never have to buy extra content past the initial purchase, and that the game's development will go on "indefinitely," even after the end of its currently running Early Access beta period.

Pip recently went hands-on with the game. She failed to find the Queen.

March of War

Developer: ISOTX

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: May

Link: March of War website

A fast paced, turn based strategy game set in a dieselpunk version of World War 2, you take charge of one of six factions and set out to dominate the map. This free-to-play turn-based strategy game will be rolled out in episodes in the coming year. You can play the first right now on Steam Early Access .

War for the Overworld

Developer: Subterranean games

Publisher: Self-published

Release Date: TBA 2014

Link: Steam early access

War for the Overworld is a spiritual sequel to Dungeon Keeper built by modders of the original game. It was originally due for release in August, but like most games conceived in that heady summer of Kickstarter, it slipped. All we've got so far is a bare bones 'bedrock beta' with a couple of levels and basic building.

Castle Story

Developer: Sauropod studio

Publisher: In-house

Release Date: TBA 2014

Link: Castle Story site

Adorable strategy construction game which combines Minecraft style block building with a family friendly strategy game. You manage small beings called “Bricktrons” who build lovely looking castles on floating islands in the sky.

Galactic Princess

Developer: Mickaël Mancini

Publisher: Self-published

Release Date: TBA 2014

Link: Galactic Princess website

We don't know much about Galactic Princess. It arrived suddenly less than a month ago, sporting the best gifs ever . We do know that it looks a lot like FTL, only with some lovely pixel art and an emphasis on smuggling. The developers say there'll be a Kickstarter and Greenlight in January, so expect more information then.

Civilization: Beyond Earth

Developer: Firaxis Games

Publisher: 2K Games

Release Date: October 24

Link: The Beyond Earth site

This isn't the first time Civilization has gone beyond Earth, of course–that was with Civ-in-all-but-name Alpha Centauri–but there's enough of that game's DNA here to make this a very exciting prospect indeed. Rather than having to explore the ascent of man, and the clash of the titans between cavemen and Romans for the umpteenth time, this new alien setting allows Firaxis to bend the rules of ecology, and let their imaginations go wild designing creatures and advanced technology as they see fit. It's a game about colonisation–er, a bit like Sid Meier's Colonization–exploring the pressing question of whether humanity should adapt to fit its new environment, or whether we should do our utmost to remain as we are. It's also a game about clicking on hexes, in case you were worried it might be straying too far from the mould.

Here's what happened when we got our hands on Civ: Beyond Earth.

Around the web

by CPMStar (Sponsored) Free to play

Comments

highlights