Every once in a while, some random commenter will accuse this site of being entirely about negativity, which I think is absolutely false - pretty much anyone's definition of nerd is someone who wears their passions on their sleeve...and pants, and hockey jersey, and Halloween costume, and toy shelf, and porn collection, and...you get the idea. Yes, we can be brutal when something disappoints us, but it comes from a place of high hopes and optimism. With a whole year ahead, and nothing that has badly burned us yet, it's time to hone those hopes. What is it that we're anticipating the most in 2014?
I surveyed all the regular TR contributors, and what follows is a selection of picks from those who responded.
1. Maximum Overdrive.
So I guess this would be where I chime in with my most anticipated video game of 2014 as expected, and I shall not disappoint. Well, I know one of the golden rules in gaming nowadays is never to trust a trailer that doesn't feature any gameplay footage...but I just can't help it, I'm giddy with anticipation over Sunset Overdrive. Insomniac's open-world Xbox One shooter just seems like it'll hopefully be an absolute blast, chock-full of the type of vibrant, cathartic mayhem, cartoonish feel, and sheer fun that both triple-A and next-gen games need a bigger dose of these days. It looks to be an incredible sort of Resistance/Ratchet & Clank mash-up that Fuse should have been, it's the type of game we all need, and that's why it's my #1 pick so far for 2014's most anticipated game.
...But I also had a list of 2014-due games prepared for this just in case, so why the hell not give them props as well? Murdered: Soul Suspect, Hyper Light Drifter, Broken Age, The Order: 1886, Transistor, Dying Light, Jazzpunk, The Evil Within, and Cuphead should all be on your radar as well for one reason or another. And Watch Dogs as well, but I shouldn't have to mention that by this point (that, and it should already be out by now, dammit). Happy 2014! (Kyle LeClair)
2. Grand Finales.
As for what I'm looking forward to in 2014? Endings, mostly. Tite Kubo's sustained hit Bleach is winding down. Battle Angel Alita: Last Order will be coming to an end. Blade of the Immortal will be coming to the end. Kentarou Miura hasn't put the kibosh on his dark fantasy epic Berserk, but he's backed off on it to work on other stuff. There's nothing wrong with big, broad hits like these, but I start to worry when they go on for too long. After all, how is a series like Bleach, with 60+ volumes, supposed to get new fans? I'm ready for some new stories from these vaunted creators.
Other than that, I've got my eye on Osamu Tezuka's The Crater, a boutique manga release from a tiny company called Kansai Club. Kansai Club kickstarted this release, and it's been kind of a mess-sloppy shipping estimates led the publisher to beg for more money at the eleventh hour, and we've been without an update on the book's progress for a few months. Will The Crater will it be a belated triumph, or a cautionary tale? I'm rooting for the former, but watching with great interest. (Mike Toole)
3. Your Next.
As far as 2014 goes for the world of RPGs, the 800 pound gorilla is going to have to be D&D Next. As I have mentioned, I was less than impressed by the play testing so far. However, D&D is roleplaying to many of the more casual gamers and the media at large, so we can expect the new D&D edition to make huge waves upon arrival. Meanwhile, Paizo has a modest release schedule, presumably due to the big D&D release. I have heard very little about the future of Pathfinder with the exception of one book, the Advanced Class Guide. This book is intended to expand the number of available options, including an Investigator class that will finally allow me to play "not Sherlock Holmes" in a fantasy game.
Those are the two biggest releases, but there are some smaller ones I am looking forward to, such as an actual print on demand version of the new rules for Vampire the Requiem and whatever else Onyx Path gets out the door. I also hope that the Kickstarters I backed in 2013 deliver something close to on time in 2014. If so, I will soon be clutching my Fairytale Games and Reaper Bones 2 miniatures in my hot little hands. If you didn't back those Kickstarters like I did, you will still be able to get them, but you will have to wait a bit longer and pay a bit more. After some quiet years, it looks like 2014 will have the most new product on shelf since the mid-90s, for better or for worse. I am hoping for the better. (David N. Scott)
4. Bullet Time.
Back in September of 2012, AMC ended the first half of Breaking Bad's 5th season with Walter White's brother-in-law (who was also a DEA agent) discovering his secret of being the biggest drug dealer in the Albuquerque area. This intense set-up was followed by a hiatus of nearly a year, with the next episode not airing until August of 2013. As frustrating as this time frame was for viewers, it pales in comparison to the waiting done by readers of Lapham's hard boiled crime comic Stray Bullets, which last published an issue in October... or 2005. The recent announcement that a new issue will see the light of day next year has brought a ray of joy and excitement - one that can only be understood by people who got sucked into the thrilling tales of miscreant screw-ups only to be left hanging for so long as to lose all hope of seeing any resolution ever arrive. (Greggory Basore)
5. Mal Wares
My most anticipated figure of 2014 is Firefly's Mal Reynolds from Funko's 6" Legacy line. I'm cautiously optimistic about Legacy, but Funko has stated these figures will be very similar to Star Wars Black 6", with the same articulation and even the same designers (Gentle Giant Ltd.), so there is reason for optimism. I also reserve the right to be even more excited about a Star Wars Black 6" Darth Vader if it's announced. (Poe Ghostal)
6. The Eyes Have It.
Since the end of the Davies era, I've had to learn to accept the extra amount of humor added into my Doctor Who. It started out with eccentricity, like fish fingers and custard, but grew from the amusing to the sometimes annoying, with Thomas Thomas and Naked Twister. It felt, at least to me, that the humor started to overshadow some of the seriousness of the situations. Don't get me wrong, I love a good laugh, but I miss the days when Doctor Who could be silly and serious without compromising the story. Tom Baker did it perfectly; Sylvester McCoy did too, but by the time Matt Smith had to "just keep moving forward", the silliness was almost too much at times. This made the show something that I stopped caring if I missed. But all that changed with a two-second glimpse of Peter Capaldi's eyes.
The intensity of the stare in that "blink and you'll miss it" cameo instantly had me excited for Doctor Who again. Could we soon see a Doctor who, while still able to difuse a situation with a wee bit of sillyness, can capture an audience with an air of gravitas that Matt Smith and almost all of the recent Doctors were missing? While time will only tell, I know where I will be sitting when the Twelth Doctor makes his first, full length appearance. (Jason Helton)