2014 Post-Mortem: January
Happy new year and all that jazz. Let’s kick off this brand new year by looking back over the last one. I’ll be doing 12 of these quick summaries of the last 12 months for the next few days. So lets start controversially with January 2014.
As we entered the year that will forever be known as 2014 we were at the dawn of a new console generation. Both the Xbox One and PS4 had been out for 2 months but neither had a great killer app to their name. Xbox One had Killer Instinct, a downloadable free to play fighter while the PS4 had Killzone: Shadowfall. Both decent games but neither of them was a system seller, in fact it could be said that both of them still lack a major game for each, although the upcoming releases of Halo 5 and Uncharted 4 could be seen as system sellers in the near future.
Nintendo of course had it’s established console in the form of the Wii U. The Wii U had been a slow but steady seller with quite a number of good systems exclusives such as New Super Mario Bros U and ZombieU. 2014 however was the year that the Wii U kinda had to prove itself against the other two (and it kinda did).
So what games did we see come out of in January 2014? The month had no big triple A game to speak of (Other than a HD version of AC: Liberation). However several downloadable titles did come out to much acclaim. Kickstarter success story Broken Age Act 2 came out to much praise. Tim Schafers return to the genre that made his name was clearly a success but fans of the series are still waiting for the hotly anticipated part 2 that is due to come out in 2015. There had been talk of weather Double Fine had mismanaged the funds they had received from Kickstarter. Their funding goal had originally been for $40000 but had managed to raise an impressive $3.45 million. This lead some to believe they’d gone a bit hog wild with their spending and that maybe Double Fine had bitten off more than it can chew. These ideas were given some credence by events later on in the year.
The Banner Saga was the next game to be released in 2014. Also funded by Kickstarter, the Banner Saga come out to a decent reception. It was an impressive RPG with a gorgeous art style and fun turn based gameplay. I had a great deal of fun playing this game, and while it has plenty of room for a second play through, I never felt the desire to.
January also had the release of Octodad: Dadliest Catch. Like most games of this genre, it was met with a lot of positive coverage but seemed to quickly fall off the face of the earth. Games of these sort seem to rely heavily on the ‘PewDiePie’ factor, waiting for a big Youtuber to cover them and so boost sales. We’ve seen this a few times this year with games such as I am Bread and Goat Simulator. Octodad differs from these two for having genuine comedy, and not just the pratt falls and ‘O so random’ elements of those other games.
A game that did come out in the first month of 2014 is Tomb Raider: The definitive edition. This re-released version for the the 2013 title came out for PS4 and Xbox One. This game had been part of the growing trend of publishers making HD releases for existing games for the new gen of consoles. 2014 has been rife with this sort of practice, to various degrees of success. These re-releases have been filling the void of content the new gen has suffered over the last year. I doubt we’ll see this trend continuing over the new year however, with more and more publishers now leaving last gen behind them.
Over all January was a slow month for video games news. That’s hardly unexpected though, with the holiday season over and done with, people are starting to tighten their belts for the next month or so. This is also the month people will be playing the new games they got for Christmas so people are both going to be more frugal as well as busy with what they already have.