Developer: Respawn Entertainment
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Expected: 11th March 2014 (NA), 13th March 2014 (EU)
This may be Respawn's first game but don't be fooled, this was the studio formed by Jason West and Vince Zampella following their firing from Infinity Ward by Activision in 2010. They formerly masterminded the Call of Duty series, including Modern Warfare and Modern Warfare 2, before the unceremonious break-up which resulted in them taking legal action against Activision (the suit was later settled, reportedly very much in West and Zampella's favour).
At first glance Titanfall might seem like your average sci-fi space mech combat fare, but dig a little deeper and there's more going on here. It may not be exactly re-inventing the wheel, but Titanfall looks to combine the best elements of the most popular shooters in recent history, incorporating elements of Tribes (wall-running), Mechwarrior (the, er, mechs, aka Titans) and utilising Valve's Source engine (that powers games such as Portal, Portal 2, and Team Fortress 2) to boot. March is only a couple of months away, so it won't be a long wait to see whether their Call of Duty success was a flash in the pan or an indicator of grander things to come.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Developer: CD Projekt RED
Publisher: CD Projekt / Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Expected: Q2 2014
The latest title in The Witcher series, Wild Hunt continues the story of Geralt, protagonist of the first two games. Sporting the all-new REDEngine 3, the game looks phenomenal in the screenshots and videos released so far by CD Projekt RED, and certainly seems to rival The Division for best-looking engine of this new generation of games.
The Witcher 3 is said to sport the largest world of any open-world game released to date, with the developers boasting that its environment is "20% bigger than Skyrim", which is certainly noteworthy. Hopefully the title will have the gameplay to back that up. Wild Hunt is also said to be 64-bit only due to the new game engine; given that most PC gamers worth their sodium are already using 64-bit CPUs and OS' then this shouldn't be a problem, and is likely one of the big reasons why the visual fidelity of the game looks so exquisite.
Expect to see a release date announced for this very shortly.
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Expected: Q2 2014
The game that took 2013's E3 by storm, Watch Dogs looks to combine an open world (in this case: a near-future Chicago) together with open-ended gameplay, with an emphasis on technology. Hacking traffic lights, cell phones, reading people's emails and obtaining personal information, this is what Watch Dogs is about. Essentially it seems like a slightly lower-tech Deus Ex: Human Revolution, although not linear.
I'll come right out with it: the game looks amazing.
We were already meant to have our hands on it, but the original release date of November 2013 was delayed by Ubisoft, with a spring 2014 now promised, and the extra time being used for "additional polish". I have a hard getting angry with developers and publishers when they are going to use the time to improve the game, especially when it's something like Watch Dogs which from everything I have seen and read looks like it could be something truly spectacular.
Hopefully we'll see a concrete release date going up for this in the very near future.
Developer: Eidos Montreal
Publisher: Square Enix
Expected: 25th February 2014 (NA), 28th February 2014 (EU)
Last but not least we have the reboot of Thief, the stealth series popular in the late 90s and early 2000s. The protagonist from the original games, Garrett, returns in this new title, and he must again satisfy his Robin Hood-esque compulsion to steal from the rich whilst remaining undetected, and using shadows, stealth, and subtlety to his advantage.
Following the success of Dishonored, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and even indie games such as Mark of the Ninja, stealth seems to be back in fashion, and Thief was one of the genre's original progenitors. Hopefully it can make a welcome return after a decade's absence, as I know many people think of it rather fondly.
And that's about it. No doubt there will be surprises from left-field in gaming this year, but hopefully there will be more than a couple on this list which actually turn out to be worth the wait.