Yesterday I laid down a list of seven games I thought would flop in 2014, so today I thought I’d be a bit more upbeat and list games I think might be breakout hits.
Current-gen consoles, next-gen consoles, cellphones, the indie scene — 2014’s breakout hits could come from anywhere, but hey, as I’m sure you’re aware of by now, I’m not afraid of being wrong, so let’s do this. Here are seven games I think are going to be surprisingly successful in 2014…
Why am I listing this random 3DS RPG with a nonsense Engrish title? Because Bravely Default is basically a true spiritual successor to Square-Enix’s beleaguered Final Fantasy series, a fact more and more people seem to be picking up on. This one’s gaining steam and getting a surprising amount of coverage on western gaming blogs — it may be a slow burner, but by the end of 2014, I think Bravely Default will have sold a surprising number of copies.
I think Nintendo may have latched onto something the gaming world never knew it wanted in its Dynasty Warriors meets Zelda mashup, Hyrule Warriors. This game received a unexpected amount of attention when it was announced, and most of it was positive. The classic Zelda formula is great and all, but sometimes you just want to skip the exploration and puzzle-solving and bash moblins with a few buddies, ya know? I think this game will do more to sell the Wii U than people might think.
If I had to predict which indie game is going make it big in 2014, I’d go with Quadrilateral Cowboy. The basis of the game is simple — basically you play as the “hacker” character from action movies. You know, the guy who has to sweat over their computer unlocking doors and hacking systems in order to keep the blundering “heroes” alive. The game even requires you to learn little bits of simple computer code in order to write “programs” that will bypass security systems.
Playing as a keyboard jockey instead of a secret agent may sound dull, but the game is said to be surprisingly gripping and has already won several indie game awards. I’m pegging this one to be this year’s Papers Please or The Stanley Parable.
In yesterday’s article I predicted Double Fine’s Broken Age would end up accruing disappointing sales, but I don’t think it’s all doom and gloom for Tim Schafer’s company. While it’s being overlooked now, I think Spacebase DF-9 looks kind of brilliant — the game is a space station management sim. You have to do the usual things you might expect like space mining and building up your station, but things are complicated by the fact that all the people living on your space station are individual Sims-like personalities with their own lives and goals. I’m going out on a limb and saying this game will make Double Fine more money than Broken Age in 2014.
Xenoblade Chronicles Sequel
I think Nintendo’s untitled sequel to Xenoblade Chronicles is the game with the greatest chance of saving the Wii U in 2014. Xenoblade Chronicles was a brilliant mashup of western and Japanese RPGs that was unfortunately treated absolutely shamefully by Nintendo’s American branch. The upcoming sequel looks amazing, and I think this time around Nintendo will fully support the game — they can’t afford not to. Xenoblade Chronicles sold surprisingly well with Nintendo actively trying to bury it. It’s sequel will do some impressive numbers with a real push.
Deep Down has a lot going for it — it’s looks more genuinely “next-gen” than almost anything else out there, and yet it’s going to be free-to-play. It a Dark Souls II style hardcore dungeon hack, but it also features full online co-op multiplayer. Capcom is trying a lot of interesting, ambitious things with this one, and I think it’s going to pay off.
Tom Clancy’s The Division
Right now, Tom Clancy’s The Division isn’t receiving as much hype as other next-gen shooters like Titanfall or Destiny, but I think it might end up being as, if not more, successful than those games. The Division takes place in a gorgeous open-world version of New York and features dynamic online multiplayer, which allows you to join up with or fight against other players depending on your whims. Destiny is based on a similar concept, but I think the gritty streets of post-apocalyptic New York might actually be more interesting Destiny’s sci-fi setting. Everything in The Division looks, and I assume feels, totally visceral — the action is fast, the bullets hit hard and even this guy who isn’t particularly into shooters wants to play. Don’t count this one out.
So, those are the games I think will be surprisingly successful in 2014. Again, surprisingly successful — don’t complain that I didn’t include Xbox One Halo on the list, because that one’s obviously destined for success. That said, what games do you guys think will do surprisingly well this year?