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)
7. Stick It!
I’m most looking forward to South Park: The Stick of Truth… if it comes out. Which is, sadly, not even close to a guarantee. If it doesn’t, feel free to copy and paste this for the 2015 Preview list.
If it does come out though, I’ll be all over it. I’ve been a South Park guy since the first episode, and have watched it grow from a vulgarity-filled batch of fart jokes told by pieces of construction paper, to a vulgarity-filled bastion of satiric genius and fart jokes told by computers recreating pieces of construction paper. Combine that with my long-time love of RPGs, and we have ourselves a can’t-miss title. Provided it doesn’t miss the deadline. (Jason Iannone)
8. My Little Preference.
Though it’s already a third over, I’m really curious to see where the current season of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is going, since it’s the first season to experiment with serialization and establish an endgame. While it’s chased its own tail a couple times thus far, the fact that the producers are taking chances with the storytelling is exciting, and bodes well for the show going forward. (Sherilyn Connelly)
9. Quiet You.
Reasonably sure though I am that Mr. Peabody & Sherman will be, at best, inoffensive, and at worst an insult to the original, the March release of that film is still what I’m looking forward to. I’ll go to it regardless of its merits, simply in gratitude to the franchise for filling my childhood with the shaggy dog stories of that impeccably non-shaggy dog and his adopted boy. This unflappable benign know-it-all remains one of my role models (unattainable, of course); a tiny Peabody stands on my desk staring at me as I type these words.
And if the movie stinks, it’s an easy matter to cleanse my palate by finding the true Peabody’s time-travels to anachronistic pasts, his encounters with radio-comedy versions of historical greats, and the unconscionable puns with which of his adventures culminate on DVD, or on that modern Wayback Machine, the Internet. (M.V. Moorhead)
10. Damn Fine Blu-ray! And Hot!
More than anything else in 2014, I eagerly await the release of Twin Peaks: The Entire Mystery Box Set on Blu-ray (or whatever it ends up being called.) Yes, I already own the DVD set, in multiple incarnations in fact, but the upcoming Blu-ray set is said to include the entire series and the prequel movie Fire Walk With Me as well as the forty-five plus minutes of deleted scenes featuring the other cast members from the series. Those scenes have been the Holy Grail for hardcore Peaks fans like myself for over twenty years, but legal entanglements have kept them in the vault. There are also several other rumored special features, including the possibility the David Lynch himself is preparing something new just for this set. (again, just a rumor, but one that won’t go away.) Right now, there’s not a set release date; all I know is that it’s coming this year. And I. Can’t. Wait. (Eric Diaz)
11. Billions and Billions of Expectations.
I don’t tend to watch too many current TV shows these days, partly because I’m busy and mostly because I have reached such heights of laziness that even staring at a screen qualifies as overexerting myself. But I will at least make an a effort to track down the sequel to Cosmos, even though Neil DeGrasse Tyson will probably never be as memorably quirky as Carl Sagan was. Although the shiny, shiny trailer makes the whole endeavor look a little too action movie-esque for me, especially compared to the serene tone of the original, it does at least seem that Seth MacFarlane’s involvement will not consist solely of pumping in unrelated gags and that he’s taking it seriously. Hopefully this will air before Google starts the robot uprising and we’ll at least learn a little more about how our new masters are able to run 28 miles per hour before they start harvesting our bodies to make their own part-organic Cyber-Sagan. (Andy Hughes)
12. A Boner for Malkovich.
The TV thing I’m most looking forward to is … well, it’s actually hard to name just one. I’m seriously, and with a somewhat unhealthy amount of glee, looking forward to seeing a certain horrible person finally get what’s coming to them in Season 4 of Game of Thrones. Also can’t wait for Orphan Black to come back. I’m intrigued by Crossbones, NBC’s new show about Blackbeard, starring John Malkovich (looking a bit like Grumpy from Once Upon a Time in the promo pic) and written/executive produced by Neil Cross, creator of the horribly violent and almost unbearably twisted (but wonderful) Luther. (On the subject of pirate shows, Black Sails on Starz might be worth a look too.) I am ghoulishly curious about Helix; it could be a neat blend of horror and sci-fi and conspiracy, and Ronald D. Moore (an executive producer on the new Syfy show) usually does well with almost-certain-doom. Finally, of course I can’t wait for the new series of Doctor Who with a brand-new Doctor! (Natalie Nichols)
13. Fantasy Constructs.
Much as I’m looking forward to seeing what James Gunn does with Guardians of the Galaxy, and whether Lars von Trier can continue his string of effectively terrifying panic-attack movies with Nymphomaniac, I’m excited that my actual most-anticipated movie of 2014 actually comes out in the first quarter of the year. That’s right – until somebody makes a porno called Whose Responsible for Manicorns Cramming and Blocking Tupper Adam, I can’t think of a film more perfectly targeted at TR readers than The Lego Movie. It’s the first major feature film to have Wonder Woman as a major character; it features DC superheroes mixing it up with the Ninja Turtles, Shakespeare, Abraham Lincoln and the artist Michelangelo; it has the Brony-ready character of Unikitty, brilliantly fusing a unicorn and pink kitty for maximum effect; and has Liam Neeson and Will Ferrell in the same movie. Plus everything in it is made of Lego.
In cynical hands, it could be the worst thing ever, but Phil Lord and Chris Miller have done me no wrong yet. Every indication is that this is going to be pure cinematic candy, and I can’t wait to gorge.
Also, Tasha Reign’s Pony Tales. (Luke Y. Thompson)