The usual suspects are back in new video game installments in 2014 – Mario, Solid Snake and Master Chief, to name a few- but this year they’ll also be joined be some shadowy newcomers with monikers like Aiden Pearce and Delsin Rowe. Following last year’s release of Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s PlayStation 4, many games scheduled to debut this year will harness the power of those next-generation systems in hopes of fulfilling long-simmering expectations, pushing pre-existing franchises into the future or potentially revolutionizing the medium altogether.
The lineup for 2014 includes updates to a couple of beloved role-playing series, new entries in long-running Nintendo franchises and an interactive parody where passing gas is considered a lethal weapon. Here’s a glimpse into some of 2014’s most anticipated games.
Dragon Age: Inquisition
After disappointing many fans with 2011’s “Dragon Age II,” developer BioWare hopes to reclaim the throne with the third chapter of its ambitious fantasy series by providing players with more choices, including the ability to play as a member of the fierce Qunari race.
Bungie Studios is going out of this world – way, way out of this world – for their first creation since 2010’s “Halo: Reach.”The sprawling interstellar shoot-’em-up takes place within an always-online universe where gamers can team up to complete missions, battle adversaries or each other.The game can be played on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One
The Elder Scrolls Online
The epic role-playing franchise “Elder Scrolls” goes online in this massively multiplayer rendition from ZeniMax Online Studios. Set a millennium before “Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim,” the sweeping open-ended version centers on a trio of warring factions in the hard-knock realm of Tamriel.The game can be played on PCs, PlayStation
inFamous: Second Son
The latest edition of Sucker Punch Productions’ superpowered series has a new setting, Seattle, and focuses on a new protagonist, Delsin Rowe. Exploiting his ability to absorb powers, the graffiti artist-turned-superhero works to takedown the oppressive Department of Unified Protection. Wham!The game can be played on PlayStation 4.
Mario Kart 8
Mario, Lugi, Princess Peach and all their friends, as well as some of their enemies, are hitting the road again in the eighth entry of the highly popular go-karting series. “Mario Kart 8” is adding several gravity-defying tricks to the mix, including vehicles and tracks that allow players to zoom across walls and ceilings.The game can be played on Wii U and will be available in spring.
South Park: The Stick of Truth
The long-delayed “South Park” game written by TV show creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone is expected to finally see the light of day this year. The role-playing lampoon casts players as the gang’s new kid who must team up with the show’s well-known, foul-mouthed characters.The game can be played on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PCs.
Super Smash Brothers
The addictive cartoony fighting franchise comes to Nintendo’s latest platforms in 2014 with new combatants, like the cutesy bug-catching Villager from “Animal Crossing,” star-loving Rosalina from “Super Mario Galaxy” and the highly flexible Wii Fit trainer from Nintendo’s workout franchise.The game can be played on Nintendo 3DS and Wii U.
After a decade-long absence from the video game world, the pickpocket series “Thief” returns with a reboot from developers Eidos Montreal, marking the return of hooded protagonist Garrett. He’s come back to his moody hometown to find it overrun by a money-grubbing regime.The game can be played on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and PCs and will release on 25 February
“Call of Duty” meets “Transformers” in “Titanfall.” The developers at Repawn Entertainment, many of whom worked on the landmark “Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare,” are equipping wannabe supersoldiers with gigantic mechanized robot suits in an always-online shooter exclusive to Microsoft systems.The game can be played on Xbox 360, Xbox One and PCs and will release on 11 March.
Tom Clancy’s The Division
Don’t touch that cash! After a disease spread on Black Friday leaves the United States in turmoil, players must navigate a chaotic, snowy New York as a deep undercover operative in this tactical online shooter that incorporates elements from both the survival and role-playing genres.The game can be played on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One and releases later this year
Interactive art imitates real-life in this surveillance-themed action-adventure romp centering on vigilante Aiden Pearce. With the touch of his smarter-than-smartphone, he can hack into cameras, computers, traffic lights and power grids throughout a high-tech Chicago.The game can be played on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One and PCs and releases in spring.The game can be played on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and PCs.