The video game industry has come a long way since Atari brought pong to the masses in 1972. It is now one the biggest and most profitable industries in the world with several billion-dollar franchises running strong and new games being released every other day. As the industry grows, so does the necessity to make everything bigger and better than ever before. With the recent release and record-breaking sales of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, there is more pressure than ever before for video game developers to produce games that not only take full advantage of these consoles’ graphics, but to also create something unique, yet familiar. FirstCom Music anticipates that the following 25 games will take 2014 by storm.
25. Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare (Xbox One, 360, PC – February 18)
The cell phone gaming superstar Plants vs. Zombies moves up to the world of consoles in what promises to be a cute and fun game for the whole family. You get the same humor and quirkiness found in the original paired with 24-player multi-player, 4-player online co-op, and the ability to customize your favorite zombies and plants. What could easily be written off as a kids’ game, should be one of the all around coolest releases of the year.
24. Assassin’s Creed Liberation (360, PS3, PC – January)
The Assassin’s Creed video games are somewhat of a cult-classic in the video game world. The original made waves in the industry with its revolutionary storyline concept back in 2007. This newest installment revisits the Assassin’s Creed III video game with a complete graphics overhaul, new missions, sound effects, and a whole new gameplay experience. The new missions will shed more light on Aveline’s story, which should make fans of the original very happy.
23. Ultra Street Fighter IV (360, PS3, PC – June)
Another Street Fighter game? Oh, but this one is different. It boasts five new characters, six (maybe more) all-new stages, new modes, and new features. The new Ultra combos will add some spice to competitive circles. Other new improvements include new battle modes, an online training mode, and a new 3 v 3 that should more than revitalize the franchise. All of this “new” has the potential to make Ultra Street Fighter IV the best yet.
22. Wolfenstein: The New Order (Xbox One, PS4, 360, PS3, PC – TBD)
Europe 1960. The war is over, but in the world of Wolfenstein things are just starting to get interesting. A world filled with Nazis, Nazi dogs, and Nazi robots let’s your patriotic side run amuck in the violent and fun shooter. Fans will be surprised by the difficulty of this game compared to past releases. A very aggressive A.I., new original storyline, and intense gameplay promise that Wolfenstein: The New Order will be much more complex than past “point-and-shoot” instances.
21. Broken Age (Xbox One, PS4, 360, PS3, PC – January)
Broken Age helped establish Kickstarter as a viable crowd-funding platform in early 2012 by raising 3.45 million dollars from 87,000 backers within a month. It was and is still the most successful crowd funding of any video game. Needless to say, there are many people that are quite literally already invested in this game and for good reason. To start, the art and imagery is like nothing seen in the video game world before. Each frame is filled with the texture of pastels and brush strokes that are brought to life by fluid and beautiful animation. What’s more, the story line is amazing. It’s about taking odds against social norms and rituals. What could be more relevant and real to the millions that turn to video games for an escape from the status quo?
20. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Wii U – February)
Donkey Kong is back and it looks like a Pixar movie. The game has long been loved for its challenging puzzle like gameplay and buddy-buddy co-op; Tropical Freeze won’t be changing that. Although playing the co-op online is a possibility, like its predecessors this newest Donkey Kong begs to be played side-by-side with your bestie and a pizza. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze’s bubbly and broad appeal is sure to make it a hit with old fans and new gamers alike.
19. Mad Max (Xbox One, PS4, 360, PS3, PC – TBD)
The 1979 movie Mad Max is well known for its timeless Brian May soundtrack, 1973 Ford Falcon XB GT aka “Pursuit Special,” and action packed plot. It should come as no surprise that it became an instant classic. Car lovers will be happy that the game centers on the Pursuit Special, which is now called the “Magnum Opus;” Max starts out lost in the desert and the first point of business is to find the V8 super-stead. This game might sound like another cheesy movie based video game, but it’s so much more. The game is being released by Warner Bros. Games, who is responsible for Batman: Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, two of the most critically praised and awarded games in recent history. Think Grand Theft Auto meets Red Dead Revolver set in a post-apocalyptic dystopian past. *Goosebumps*
18. Dying Light (Xbox One, PS4, 360, PS3, PC – TBD)
In Dying Light there are zombies. At night they become faster, stronger, and more agile. No wonder the slogan is “Good Night Good Luck.” There have been a plethora of zombie themed games released recently, but Dying Light looks to be better than the rest for many reasons. Developer Techland released Dead Island in 2011 and a sequel in 2013. Both were met with rave reviews, but were by no means AAA games. Techland claims that lessons learned with their past few releases have allowed them to make Dying Light a zombie game second-to-none. It will be graphically optimized for next-gen consoles and will be released with an all-new gaming engine.
17. Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII (360, PS3 – February 11)
Final Fantasy XIII is back for its third installment. Fans of the series might be disappointed Square Enix has decided to revisit XIII instead of moving the saga forward. However, Lightning Returns will be different that any of the other thirty-five Final Fantasy games. The time engine has been completely redone to make every moment more dire and meaningful than before. Those who played the other two FFXXIII games will also be happy to hear that the battle mode has been reworked to be faster, freeing up precious time. These improvements will be nice, although the best aspect of Lightning Returns is a bit obvious. The fan favorite character Lighting is back to finish off the trilogy.
16. The Legend of Zelda HD (Wii U – TBD)
The 17 total official installments of The Legend of Zelda franchise have seen many different art styles, story lines, and characters, since its creation in 1986. The one time powerhouse has lost the loyalty of past fans by constantly changing the look and feel of their games. This newest release hopes to shake off the side stories and visual ambiguity previously infecting Zelda to return to its former glory. Game specifics haven’t yet been released, but more information is supposed to be revealed at the 2014 E3 gaming expo in Los Angeles June 10th.
15. FIFA 15 ( LIKELY Xbox One, PS4, 360, PS3, PC – TBD)
Soccer is the number 1 sport in the world, so it makes sense that FIFA is one of the best-selling games. FIFA has a tradition of having the best video game soundtrack and of constantly evolving to provide a better gaming experience. FIFA 15 will be no different. Not even the tiniest game detail has been confirmed, other than that it will likely be optimized for newest line of next-gen consoles and be better than ever. Even with such vague details, this should easily be one of the best games of the year.
14. InFamous: Second Son (PS4 – March 21)
One of PlayStation’s best console games is back to fully utilize the graphics and processing capabilities of the PS4. The original InFamous and InFamous 2received almost perfect ratings by amazing critics with its intriguing storyline, rich visuals, and exciting gameplay. Infamous: Second Son continues the legacy of the main character Cole and includes the awesome super powers and karma system fans will be familiar with. Unlike past games, Second Son will be set in Seattle and not another make-believe video game city. Since the game revolves around the concepts of evolving technology and digital identity, basing the game on a real city will provide a better stage for commentary on the world of texts, emails, and tweets we live in.
13. South Park: The Stick Of Truth (360, PS3, PC – March 4)
South Park has been pushing the limits of what is funny since 1997. The creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker have released South Park video games before, but after almost twenty years of success, they wanted to make South Park: The Stick of Truth a proper video game and not just another joke. The game has already seen delays, but that is ok. The plot line is set to be very complex, the gameplay looks like you are watching an episode, and best of all it looks hilarious! Crude, but hilarious nonetheless.
12. Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number (PS4, Vita, PC – TBA)
The first Hotline Miami received critical acclaim for its stunning ’80s style soundtrack and retro 8-bit styling. It has received more rave reviews than any other indie game I know of. Although the game is unnecessarily violent, such was the style of the 1980’s movies and games it pays homage to. Mom’s everywhere will be glad to know Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number will be the brutal conclusion to the gruesome saga. However, fans will be ecstatic to know that this sequel will include a more developed soundtrack, a more intricate story line, and much more action than the last.
11. Transistor (PS4, PC- TBA)
In Transistor an evil corporation named The Process steals the famous female protagonist’s voice. You must help her wield her sword to take back what it rightfully hers. Even though Transistor is completely new and original, it’s not entirely unfamiliar. The gameplay is similar to other action-RPG’s like Kingdom Hearts, Fallout, or Diablo, but offers its own extremely unique cyberpunk aesthetic. Transistor was claimed by many to be the best game at the 2013 PAX gaming conference and has the potential to be one of the best games of the 2014.
10. Fantasia: Music Evolved (Xbox One, 360 – TBD)
In 1928 Walt Disney gave the world the first animated film to feature synchronized sound and started a phenomena. Fantasia and Fantasia 2000 were also firsts of their own kind, providing audiences new ways to experience the fusion of sound and light. Fantasia: Music Evolved continues this tradition by allowing players to interact with popular music to create beautiful visuals with just their body using the Xbox’s Kinect. Disney doesn’t do things half way. Don’t expect Fantasia: Music Evolved to be anything less than amazing.
9. Mario Kart 8 (Wii U -Spring)
Forza Motorsport is for true gear heads. Gran Turismo is for tech-geniuses who know more about g-forces and drag coefficients than Obama-Care. Mario Kart is for everyone. Its newest installment will ditch the road and take you to the walls and ceilings for a new level of fun. The Wii-U will allow users to play online with friends in what should be some seriously awesome multi-player. This will be without a doubt the best installment of the franchise to-date.
8. Super TIME Force (Xbox One, 360 – TBA)
Do you remember Contra? Battle Toads? Metal Slug?! Super Time Force will take you back to the days of 8-bit arcade games, but with one main difference. You get to time travel back to the beginning of the level every time you die to help your previous selves. Sure there are a great many other games coming out with MUCH bigger budgets than this 8-bit blast from the past, but the concept is second-to-none.
7. Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes (Xbox One, PS4, 360, PS3 – March 18)
Metal Gear Solid V will be released in two parts, Ground Zeroes and Phantom Pain. The first will be released March 18th and the latter at a to-be-determined date later in 2014. The Metal Gear Solid story-line is terribly complicated for anyone that isn’t a dedicated fan and for some that are. All you need to know is that its creator, Kojima, is hailed as one of the best and most influential names in the industry and that this is supposed to be his most amazing and over-the-top release yet.
6. Watch Dogs (Xbox One, PS4, 360, PS3, Wii U, PC – Summer)
In Watch Dogs you take control of Aiden Pearce, a mysterious, and quite savvy hacker. It looks like Grand Theft Auto and games of the like, but is much different. Most games like this are very violent and consist of pointing and shooting, whereas Watch Dogs embraces our ever-developing techno-centric age to provide something better. Aiden’s cell phone essentially takes the place of a gun, conveying the whole “pen is mightier than the sword” message. I for one think it is a brilliant concept and a thought provoking commentary on modern society.
5. Halo 5 (Xbox One – TBD)
Not much is known about the newest Halo release other than what can be seen in the trailer shown at this last year’s E3 gaming expo. It’s the Master Chief himself and he is in a cloak. It’s coming in 2014. Gameplay will run at 60 frames per second (that’s really good). The rest, including the official title, is to be determined. One thing is for sure; there are millions of die-hard Halo fans anxious and ready to play as Master Chief again.
4. Destiny (Xbox One, PS4, 360, PS3 – September 9)
The Halo franchise has changed a great deal since Bungie released the first installment in 2001, especially in 2010 when Microsoft took the reins from Bungie and gave them to 323 Industries. With Halo off of their plate, Bungie has teamed up with Activision Blizzard for Destiny, their first console offering sinceHalo: Reach was released in 2010. Gameplay takes place in a post-apocalyptic world 700 years in the future. In this first-person shooter RPG there are aliens and YOU must save humanity from being destroyed by wiping them out! The story sounds familiar, but everything else is new. Bungie has something to prove after losing the Halo franchise and Destiny will be its way of doing it.
3. The Walking Dead: Season 2 (360, PS3, PC, Vita – All 2014)
The Walking Dead was given the coveted game of the year title from several publications in 2012. It is widely regarded as one of the most influential games in regards to video game story telling. Traditionally, video games denote decisions in game as black or white. Good or evil. In The Walking Dead the status quo was challenged. There is no wrong decision, but every minor choice made affects character development. In addition to the success of the game The Walking Dead TV show has reached critical acclaim attracting new fans/potential customers. FirstCom Music has had their music placed in several episodes and is very excited for the new game. For all of these reasons the second season of The Walking Dead video game is set to be one of the biggest releases of 2014.
2. Titanfall (Xbox One, 360, PC – March 11)
In just a few years Infinity Ward turned Call of Duty into a house hold name and one of the most financially successful franchises of all time. The studio heads left the franchise and have now turned their attention to Titanfall, which has grabbed the attention and love of the entire gaming industry. Why? How? Take everything familiar from Call of Duty, add GIANT mech-robot “titans,” lush and beautiful graphics, and a much smoother enjoyable gameplay, and you get Titanfall. The history, the guns, the machines, the multi-player, and the sheer amount of gorgeous detail make this game something you won’t want to miss.
1. Super Smash Bros (Wii U/3DS – TBD)
The Super Smash Bros franchise is one of the most recognizable and loved multi-player games in video game history. This newest installment was first announced at E3 in 2011, but has recently been confirmed to release sometime 2014. It boasts next-gen graphics and 21 confirmed characters, including several new ones. The Wii U and 3DS versions will each unlock different achievements and goodies, which will be an added bonus for those who play both. Either way, it’s Super Smash Bros! I call Pikachu.
The next-generation of high-definition gaming is here. Video games along with their promotional trailers, commercials, and films require high-quality production music, which happens to be the expertise of FirstCom Music. FirstCom Music is dedicated to providing its clients with the best production music in the most up-to-date styles has set it apart as the gold standard in the production music industry. Although, being most well-known for its work with film, radio, and television industries, FirstCom Music has been placed in spots for Nintendo, Call of Duty, and many other video game productions. For more information you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or click the link below to check out our newest releases.
– Joseph Noga, Contributing Blogger | FirstCom Music