After 2013’s console wars, you’re probably pretty tired of hearing about video games, right? Yeah, that was a test. You passed. Who could ever get tired of hearing about video games? 2014 is poised to be an incredibly exciting year in gaming, but for very different reasons than the previous year.
Looking at emerging trends, it certainly seems that many shifts in gaming culture will come of age this year, making 2014 a year that will go down in the annals of gaming history.
A quick scan of all of the upcoming 2014 reveals a refreshing bevy of female protagonists. While some studios still feel uncomfortable putting a lady in the lead without oversexualizing her, it’s nice to see more heroes emerging that just so happen to be normal girls who are completely capable of fending for themselves.
Child of Light (PC, PS3, PS4, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One)
One such heroine is Child of Light‘s Aurora. A very ill Aurora falls asleep in 1895 Austria only to awake in Lumuria, an incredibly beautiful Studio Ghibli-esqe storybook land. This game is a departure from developer Ubisoft’s usual fare, but that’s quite alright with us. The devs call this game their “love letter to Fantasy RPG’s,” and we can’t wait to be a part of it.
Another exciting trend gaining traction in the gaming industry is crowdfunding, which gives us games that are just so innovative and promising that gamers will pay to see them come to life. Imagine the things we’ll see now that the future is wide open without any red tape from heavy-handed studios. 10 years ago, I never would have thought that places like Steam Greenlight or Kickstarter could have such an impact on the quality and innovation of games in every genre.
Broken Age (Mac, PC, Android)
One of 2014’s most promising family-friendly crowdfunded games is Double Fine’s Broken Age, a stylized and updated homage to point and click adventures of yore. The story follows the parallel lives of a girl chosen by her village as a sacrifice to a monster and a lonely boy living in space being raised by a computer. Players control the dual protagonists respective fights against their destinies in a beautiful game supported by a state of the art graphics engine.
Hohokum (PS3, PS4, Vita)
We’ve covered this game in our PS4 release games for kids article, but it’s very much worth another mention. Forget scores and impossible objectives and come relax with this gorgeous and trippy game of 3D snake. This game has tossed out the option for failure in exchange for a place to focus on the relaxing vibes of the long-mover changing colors as it flies through space. The game was heavily influenced by the devs’ frequent field trip’s to London’s best free museums, so there’s a little culture in there as well (like ancient pyramids to explore).
This title is all about escaping a beautiful and hauntingly spooky island by solving puzzles and following the game’s voice over narration. The game’s creative director Paul Rubio has taken inspiration from Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Jason and the Argonauts and the artwork of Joaquin Soralla, Salvador Dali and Giorgio de Chirico to give us this visually stunning game that is sure to show us what’s so “next gen” about the PS4.