2013 isn't even over, but we're already looking forward to next year with GameSpot's Most Anticipated for 2014 series. Which games are our editors most looking forward to over the next 12 months? In Part Three of our series (check out Part One and Part Two), we venture into the realm of fantasy for two sequels we can't wait to play.
Safe sequels are often the most disappointing ones, but the next two games in our Most Anticipated for 2014 series--Dark Souls II and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt--look to be anything but standard follow-ups. Dark Souls II, for example, features significant changes to real-world player interactions, while The Witcher 3 is going the "bigger is better" route, significantly expanding the size and scope of its gameworld. But what do some of our GameSpot editors think? Read on to see why Dark Souls II and The Witcher 3 are two of our Most Anticipated Games for 2014.
I can't wait to rummage around a new Dark Souls for the first time, and explore a new land packed tight with dangerous secrets and sly discoveries.GameSpot Editor Martin Gaston
People always talk about how hard the original Dark Souls was, but I've always thought focusing so completely on its difficulty was doing the game a disservice. Dark Souls was a challenge, sure, but there's a bit more spice to its progression than that: you'd eventually hit a point where you could breeze through large swaths of the game with a kind of superpowered momentum. No, the real beauty of Dark Souls was in the discovery.
Loads of games like to make you think you're exploring, but few of them ever attempt anything greater than just scattering around a few hundred collectible trinkets to hoover up. Dark Souls, by comparison, was a dense, ornate, and virtually impenetrable maze, and only after about 60 hours did I figure out how its land of Lordran connected. It was wonderful.
If you're anything like me, there have been at least a few times when you've wished you could play a game again for the very first time, to freshly experience it all again. When I finished Dark Souls, I was hungry for more. Namco Bandai has kept much of its upcoming sequel a secret, and that's absolutely fine by me: I can't wait to rummage around a new Dark Souls for the first time, and explore a new land packed tight with dangerous secrets and sly discoveries.
I'm looking forward to Dark Souls II mostly because I have no idea what to expect. I'm deliberately avoiding reading too much of the prerelease coverage because I want as much of the experience as possible to be fresh to me when I finally venture into its treacherous realms. Will it just be more Dark Souls, another tremendously challenging, tremendously rewarding journey through fantasy worlds in which every crumbling wall speaks of tragic history? That would certainly be enough to enthrall me.
Dark Souls is one of my favorite games of all time, and more of it would be no bad thing. But just as that game constantly found ways to surprise me, with incredible new environments, terrifying new monsters, and mind-blowing shortcuts that changed the way I understood its intricately interlocking world, I'm hoping Dark Souls II surprises me by pushing the gameplay of the series forward in ways that I can't anticipate.
I'm hoping Dark Souls II surprises me by pushing the gameplay of the series forward in ways that I can't anticipate.GameSpot Editor Carolyn Petit
Yes, I still want brutally hard combat, incredible bosses, and a story that takes the minimalistic approach, letting me piece it together on my own rather than bludgeoning me with lore dumps. These are the things that make Dark Souls Dark Souls. But unpredictability is also a core part of Dark Souls. I don't know how the creators could seriously improve on what they've already done, but I can't wait to see them try.
Check out all our coverage of Dark Souls II here.
That's what gets me most excited about The Witcher 3: having the opportunity to spend more time in Geralt's world and watch his story unfold.GameSpot Editor Maxwell McGee
Despite having not actually played the first Witcher game, I was happy to crown The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings as my number one game of 2011. I've since started reading the books from Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski on which this series is based. The grim, unforgiving world of the Witcher is quite excellent.
Geralt's mix of virtue and cynicism, which is expertly mirrored between the books and games, makes for a commanding protagonist whose exploits I'm excited to follow. That's what gets me most excited about The Witcher 3: having the opportunity to spend more time in Geralt's world and watch his story unfold.
CD Projekt RED, the series' developer, has already proven itself capable of realizing this dark, high-fantasy world within its games. And based on what I've seen so far, this conclusion to Geralt's gaming trilogy should follow suit.
The question isn't really how someone can be excited about The Witcher 3--it's about how someone couldn't be excited about The Witcher 3. The Witcher 2 is one of the most beautiful and intriguing role-playing games in recent years, yet it's also a tease. You look out onto vast landscapes, yearning to explore them all, yet they remain frustratingly out of reach. The Witcher 3 expands this beauty into a lush open land, urging you to investigate every nook and cranny.
This doesn't just sound like a great RPG--it sounds like potentially one of the greatest.GameSpot Editor Kevin VanOrd
As described by developer CD Projekt RED, The Witcher 3 sounds like the best of all RPG worlds. It has a dark fantasy kingdom ripened with dark, lusty themes; it has energetic combat that makes it fun to crush giant monsters; and it has you making life-or-death decisions as Geralt of Rivia, the stoic antihero who longs for his beloved Yennefer. This doesn't just sound like a great RPG--it sounds like potentially one of the greatest.
Check out all our coverage of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt here.
Do you agree with our choices for Most Anticipated titles for 2014 so far? If your most looked-forward to game is not here, never fear! We have two more Most Anticipated features coming at you, so stay tuned to see what other top 2014 titles the crew at GameSpot are eagerly waiting for. In the meantime, sound off in the comments below!