The Witcher 3 was delayed until February 2015. Battlefield: Hardline was delayed until February 2015. Batman: Arkham Universe was delayed until February, 2015. Evolve delayed until February 2015.
Sure, February 2015 is shaping up to be a rocking month for PC gamers, but after the deluge of delays, are there any games left to launch this year ?
Yes. Oh yes—in fact, there’s a lot of them. Read on to find out about the most intriguing PC games coming out by the end of the year, in helpful chronological order of release. From new Borderlands to new Civilization to Alien: Isolation and beyond, there’s a veritable flood of gaming goodness inbound.
September 2014 PC games
Wasteland 2 – Sept. 19
I’m going to decide arbitrarily that fall starts Friday, September 19, with the release of inXile’s post-apocalyptic CRPG Wasteland 2, a Kickstarted, 25-years-in-the-making sequel to the legendary Wasteland. (After all, we PC people didn’t get to experience a certain shooter-that-must-not-be-named last week.)
Are you prepared to survive in a post-nuclear Arizona, where battle tactics mean the difference between life and death, and every decision ripples with ramifications far into the future? I bet you aren’t. For more information, check out PCWorld’s far-reaching interview with Brian Fargo, head of inXile.
It’s been almost 30 years since the original Gauntlet landed in arcades. Thirty. Years.
If you’re feeling nostalgic, or just looking for a great co-op game, this updated Gauntlet looks like it’ll deliver. Featuring four-player co-op, with each person taking on one of four different classes, Gauntlet will have you alternately screaming at and embracing your friends. But mostly screaming at them.
Despite the fact that this game comes out next week, we still don’t know that much about it. It’s a space-based, real-time strategy game about venturing into the frontiers, with a voice cast featuring numerous people from classic science fiction TV shows (Firefly, Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek). And it’s a strategy game with Paradox’s name on it, so if past games are any indication it’ll probably be good?
The Stronghold series is one part real-time strategy game, one part city builder. While most entries take place in medieval Europe, Stronghold Crusader II returns players to the deserts of the Middle East for the first time since 2002. The game seemed to offer an alluring blend of city-building and castle-raiding during an E3 preview. And did I mention you can shoot diseased lion corpses at your foes to spread illness?
Developer Matt Gilgenbach’s previous game, Retro/Grade, is one of those weird mysteries: It was critically-acclaimed and had tons of positive word-of-mouth, but few sales.
In the wake of Retro/Grade‘s failure, Gilgenbach sank into depression and OCD. Neverending Nightmares takes on the guise of a horror game, but it’s really a psychological exploration of Gilgenbach’s struggle. It’s also absolutely horrifying. Like, at one point you pull a vein out of your arm.
Here’s what the Steam page for detective adventure game The Vanishing of Ethan Carter says: “Experience, in non-linear fashion, a story that combines the pleasures of pulp, private eye, and horror fiction, all of it inspired by writers such as Raymond Chandler, Algernon Blackwood, Stefan Grabinski, and H. P. Lovecraft.”
I have a soft spot in my heart for Frogware’s Sherlock Holmes titles. They’re always a bit janky and weird, but there’s just something about playing through the exploits of the world’s most famous detective that I find deeply satisfying. The latest installment will put your detective skills to the test in six varied new cases.
Sure, Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor looks only vaguely like it has anything to do with the Lord of the Rings license.
Regardless, it’s fun. I got to play about an hour of the game earlier this month and really enjoyed my time with it, even if it still feels like a thinly-skinned Assassin’s Creed more than a real Lord of the Rings game. There’s no telling whether that enjoyment will hold up over the game’s entire length, but right now I’m excited to dive in and experiment with the game’s Nemesis system, which pits you against procedurally-generated boss enemies—ones that hold grudges and remark on your past battles.
Read on for the most intriguing PC games being released in October and beyond.
October 2014 PC games
Alien: Isolation – Oct. 7
Notice how this is titled Alien, not Aliens? Yeah, that’s on purpose. Abandoning the gun-happy Aliens environment so popular in video games, this take on the franchise returns to Alien‘s stealth-horror roots. The alien is silent, it is fast, and it is deadly.
I’m still not entirely sold on Alien: Isolation as a horror game, but it’s not for Creative Assembly’s lack of trying. We’ll see what the final verdict is after I get to play through the whole game start-to-finish, in the dark, alone, and with headphones on.
Styx doesn’t have the name recognition of the big-name players, but it’s shaping up to be maybe one of the best stealth games of the year. Of course, that’s a pretty low bar when your main competition is Thief (though Master of Shadows releases the same day as that other stealth game, Alien: Isolation).
You play as Styx, a 200-year-old goblin trying to infiltrate the Tower of Arkenash. Yeah, that’s a pretty hokey description but…well, we’ll see.
The Evil Within hasn’t scared me yet, and I’ve played nearly two hours of its campaign. This freak-fest seems more into visceral, Saw-like scares rather than truly creeping horror. Still, as the next game from Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami, I have high hopes that the end product will give me goosebumps and forever make me scared of people who wear boxes on their heads.
What can I say? It’s more-derlands Borderlands. After two games you should probably know whether you like Gearbox’s particular brand of shooty-looty goodness. Also, the game was designed for the old Xbox 360 and PS3 hardware, so… don’t expect it to look phenomenal. Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is more of a treat for fans than a true sequel. Hence the name, I guess.
But it takes place on the moon! And you can jump really far! And Handsome Jack is in it!
A City Sleeps is essentially the remnants of Harmonix’s “on-indefinite-hiatus” Chroma, which blended the first-person shooter with elements of rhythm games. A City Sleeps is smaller and simpler, instead blending a shoot-em-up with those same rhythm-based concepts. You can read more here.
Civilization: Beyond Earth is basically Civilization V in space, but I don’t necessarily mean that in a bad way. As head of a corporate colony you’ll chart a new future for humanity, either bringing us closer to the extraterrestrial ecosystem or learning how to dominate the alien nature and turn it to your will.
Freed from the constraints of history, Firaxis looks like it’s had a lot of fun drawing on science fiction references. This is the Alpha Centauri sequel you didn’t (or maybe you did) know you wanted.
Lords of the Fallen has drawn a lot of comparisons to Dark Souls, and for good reason: It looks like it features the same style of methodical combat against enormous, punishing bosses. In other words, it looks like it’ll kick your ass.
There are so many Dead Island games in the pipeline, it can be hard to keep them straight. With Dead Island 2 slated for 2015, Escape Dead Island is the small stopgap—a psychological mystery adventure set on the island from the original game. Sometimes shipping crates fall from the sky.
What do you do after making the over-the-top shooter series Serious Sam? If you’re Croteam, you make a “philosophical first-person puzzle game,” of course. You play as an artificial intelligence, tasked with solving puzzles entered through some sort of big, ethereal cathedral.
I don’t know. The guy that wrote FTL and The Swapper wrote this, and that alone makes it intriguing.
The Longest Journey is literally the most apt name for this adventure series, which started in 1999 and just dribbles new games out to us every seven or eight years. The last entry, Dreamfall, ended on a cliffhanger in 2006. You know what else happened in 2006? V for Vendetta released. So did that awful Garfield movie with Bill Murray. “The Office” was still a good TV show. It’s like I’ve waited my whole life to find out what happens next.
And now, thanks to Kickstarter, I’ll finally get the chance.
Read on for the final PC games being released throughout November and December.
November and December 2014 PC games
Never Alone – Nov. 4
Never Alone is a puzzle platformer, and…well, there are a lot of those.
But what sets Never Alone apart is it was created in tandem with Alaskan Natives to help teach about their culture and society through video games—similar to the approach Valiant Hearts took with World War I earlier this year. Playing the game unlocks videos that teach aspects of Alaskan Native culture, from the ghosts in the Northern Lights to arctic foxes.
Are you ready for another Call of Duty? How about a Call of Duty set in the sort-of-near-future, with jump jets?
If you are, great! There’s another Call of Duty coming out this year, and it’s got jump jets!
If not, too bad! It’s the only big-budget shooter you’re getting this year, thanks to Battlefield: Hardline‘s (much-needed) delay . I guess keep on playing Team Fortress 2, Battlefield 4, Red Orchestra 2, Arma 3, or whatever other poison you’ve chosen.
I don’t really know how to feel about Assassin’s Creed: Unity. After last year’s fantastic pirate outing in ACIV, I’m a bit sad to see Ubisoft once again returning to the old “climb tall churches in an old European city” setting.
On the other hand, the new consoles have really let Ubisoft go crazy with crowds—they’ve been boasting about numbers in the thousands. Also, everything we’ve seen so far has looked smoother and more fluid than past entries, so… count me tentatively hopeful?
One part racing game, one part MMO, The Crew is Ubisoft’s big open-world car-stravaganza . The map is “the entire United States of America,” which is to say that it’s a weird bizarro version of America where it takes an hour or two to drive from Los Angeles to New York City.
The handling felt floaty to me last time I played, and I certainly don’t see The Crew taking over my love of Forza Horizon anytime soon, but seeing as the latter isn’t coming to PC…
This year marks World of WarCraft‘s tenth birthday, and what better way to celebrate than with another expansion? This fifth expansion will take players to the original Orc homeworld, Draenor, as well as raise the level cap to 100 and introduce player-owned strongholds.
I’m pretty sure my editor, Mr. Brad Chacos, is the only person on earth who really lovedDragon Age II, so I’ll try to tread lightly here. (Clarification: I adored Dragon Age: Origins and didn’t absolutely loathe Dragon Age II—Ed.) Dragon Age: Inquisition is the third chapter in BioWare’s blockbuster fantasy RPG outing, and its first on new console hardware. Hopefully it was worth the wait—early previews of the game’s return to Origins-like tactical battles certainly look promising, and the series has always featured stellar characters.
Who knows? Maybe it can even fill the Witcher 3-shaped hole in my heart for a few months.
If The Crew isn’t winning you over and you need a PC racing game this year, Project CARS (Community Assisted Racing Simulator) is your other option.
Okay, let’s pretend for a second that the name doesn’t completely suck. Project CARS is a hardcore simulator title, along the lines of Gran Turismo or Forza. It’s intense. It has Oculus Rift support. It even makes use of dynamic tires. I will undoubtedly be terrible at it.
Let’s party like it’s 1998! Pillars of Eternity rounds out this year’s CRPG trifecta (alongside Divinity: Original Sin and Wasteland 2) and it looks like it’ll be the most faithful to the Infinity Engine games of old. In fact, from what I’ve played of the beta, Pillars of Eternity could easily be a new Baldur’s Gate game. Check out PCWorld’s in-depth interview with project lead Josh Sawyer for all kinds of cool, nitty-gritty details.
December’s looking pretty dead, save for this four-player co-op game. Sure, it’s not truly the next Tomb Raider—that won’t be out until next year. Still, I saw a bit of this four-player co-op game at PAX, and it looks like a Tomb Raider-themed version of Gauntlet. If it lives up to those expectations? Well, that’s not a bad way to close out the year.