Resident Evil 7
After the bloated and frankly nonsense-filled sixth instalment, Resident Evil needs to return to either its survival horror roots or the action-packed, tightly-focused excellence of Resi 4. Part 6's hedge-betting three campaigns hindered a title that could have been brilliant, spreading itself far too thin. The problem for Capcom is deciding which way to go: survival horror doesn't sell as well as action, but the Japanese firm is way behind the curve when it comes to getting that right. A big call for a big franchise with even bigger problems.
Given that Capcom only has yet another iteration of Street Fighter IV for 2014, throwing out another Resident Evil wouldn't be the worst idea.
Hitman Absolution is either a pretty enjoyable action title or an affront to everything that has ever been good in the world, depending on who you talk to. Regardless, next-gen Hitman, like Resi, needs to settle on a direction and stick with it. We'd love to see a return to Blood Money's more open-ended assassinations, but again market forces might dictate that Absolution's action-heavy play returns. Whichever option IO decides to go with, it's imperative that it fix the AI: if we get spotted again while wearing a full SWAT outfit and balaclava we'll go on a rampage that will shame even 47.
With plenty of chatter on the likes of LinkedIn about it, and Square saying it's definitely 'a thing', next year would make perfect sense for Agent 47's return.
GTA 5 on PS4, Xbox One and PC
Look, we all know this is happening… hopefully. The only question is when, and the answer is probably between March and May. Let the install bases of both consoles increase, drop an increased-o-def version, then hoover up all the money.
But what about GTA Online? At the moment the player base is split between two machines. If the game hits PC as well, it'll be split between five. Migrating accounts could work, but what about switching between consoles? Rockstar has been firm in its commitment to the service, so it'll be interesting to see just what happens next.
If rumours are to be believed this is going to be a first-person horror game that doesn't feature loads of man-shooting but instead aims to evoke the original film's sense of dread. We can't confirm or deny this, but all the hints point to this being a very real thing. We're sure you'll like what you find...
Left 4 Dead 3
Another Valve title that will be released either soon or in about forty-two thousand years, Left 4 Dead 3's setting will turn out to be all important. While the original game's night-based, horror-movie inspired campaigns (Blood Harvest, anyone) were pitch perfect, the daylight-based equivalents in the sequel somewhat lacked the appropriate menace.
Going back to black for part 3 seems the obvious choice, but Valve has to be careful not to run over too much old ground. There's also the small matter of Versus mode: Left 4 Dead's competitive suite is an overlooked gem: here's hoping it improves further still.
New Deus Ex
Human Revolution excellently rebooted a series that had gone been dormant since 2004's so-so Invisible War, but you get the feeling that this next-gen entry's success is just as important as the last game's was. This Deus Ex sequel has to keep the franchise momentum going, while also not succumbing to the various pressures HR resisted (that art direction, for one). It also needs to avoid all of the mistakes that game made, namely: don't outsource your bloody boss fights.Once again Square has been very forthcoming about a new Deus Ex being on the horizon, and it's doubtful it'd wait till 2015 to pull the trigger.
Long-announced, long-delayed, long in the tooth? Id Software's place in history is secure, but with its last couple of outings hardly setting the world alight it needs to do something drastic to regain its former stature. Leaked artwork of a (thankfully) scrapped version showed off some bland real-world settings. Which isn't Doom, frankly. Doom is running around with a chainsaw and a shotgun putting more people in the ground than the Undertaker.
Ultimately, if it doesn't come out next year, will it ever? With John Carmack now off its books, things don't look particularly rosey. It's do or die for the legendary developer.
Sleeping Dogs: Triad Wars
After rising from the dead to become one of the best open-world games of 2012, Sleeping Dogs is a bona fide property in its own right. Now, United Front Games are working on a follow-up set in the same universe called Triad Wars. Let's hope that it's a proper sequel, and not some nonsense spin-off that doesn't build on everything that Dogs did so well. No-one wants to see a strategy game where you vie for control of different districts, selling drugs and generally controlling...wait. As long as it's not as bad as The Godfather II, that could work…
Metroid Wii U
The Wii U needs games, and let's face it, they're not coming from any third parties. Therefore, Nintendo needs to focus on its big guns. We already have Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros. next year, so why not get a new Metroid into the world as well? It may not be a huge seller compared to the power of some triple-A titles, but it has a strong following and, as Prime showed, can rewrite the rulebook when it wants. There's still not even a peep that such a thing exists at this stage, but we say look for it at this year's E3.
Borderlands 2 is a success story for the ages. Although Gearbox was very vocal about its open world gunathon before release, no one, surely, thought it would go on to sell the numbers it did. As one of 2K's most important titles, we expect the third in the franchise to be rolled out next year to continue this momentum. Will it do anything drastically different? Probably not. But given how popular the previous iterations are, we don't think that'll annoy too many people.
Evolve is becoming one of those games that is getting stuck in development limbo. A very ambitious project from the brains of Turtle Rock – they of Left 4 Dead fame – it was on THQ's books originally before 2K picked it up in the great sale of 2013. Since then, silence. That's not the world's biggest surprise given this mentioned shift, but not getting it released next year would ring a few alarm bells. An announcement has to be a guarantee, if nothing else. If so, this will definitely be one of the more interesting titles in 2014.
So, it was all a ruse, eh? A teaser site for what appeared to be Fallout 4 goes up, the entire industry gets itself into a kerfuffle, and then it turns out it was rubbish. Throughout all of this, Bethesda stayed oddly quiet. If it weren't for Pete Hines tweeting that there'd be no Fallout announcement at the VGXs, all signs very much pointed to such a thing taking place. With that in mind, it's likely Fallout 4 is due to be revealed next year. A release date is unlikely given Bethesda already has Elder Scrolls Online, Wolfenstein and The Evil Within coming out, but to whet the appetite for 2015? Most definitely.
Far Cry 4
If history teaches us anything about the Far Cry franchise, it's that games are few and far between. That changes when it comes to Far Cry 3 and Ubisoft. The third entry in the series did very well both commercially and critically. Selling around 4.5 million copies and racking up its fair share of 10s across the board, the open world shooter is now hot property. Throw in that no one enjoys annualising its IPs more than Ubisoft, and we think another iteration will be along sooner rather than later.
Mass Effect 4
Remember how awful the Mass Effect 3 ending was? Something to think about there... enough time has passed that we can forgive and forget, though, and focus on what matters: a brand new Mass Effect game. Mass Effect 4 is definitely in development – neither EA or BioWare can go a few months without name-dropping it – and given how games work, waiting around two years before gearing up for another one makes sense. We just hope it's gone about in the right way. Is it necessary to return to Commander Shepard, or is a completely brand new take the way to go?
While they do all blur into one if you're not a fan of the series, DiRT deserves credit for its consistency. A solid racing game that always looks the part – a next-generation version will blow all our eyeballs into oblivion – we're interested to see how Codemasters approaches the franchise on the Xbox One and PS4. DiRT would benefit greatly from an injection of new ideas rather than sticking to its tried and tested ways – it can't just keep increasing the visual sheen further. We know the presentation will be the slickest thing you've ever seen, but expand the template, dammit. Make us believe again.
The Legend Of Zelda: Wii U
Nintendo first teased a Zelda for the Wii U back at the console's announcement in 2011. It's now 2013, and what have we got? Nothing! The Wind Waker HD was a lovely aside, but given that we played that in 2003, it's not the perfect substitute. 2014 has to feature something more than a demo during a hot, blistering E3. Visuals that can make a grown man cry, Link in his tried and tested green tunic, and the makings of something that is beyond special. You've got work to do Nintendo. Let's start here...