Sunday, August 17, 2014

Forever Delayed: the 10 Xbox One and PS4 games we won't see this year

Kingdom Hearts to The Witcher 3

Remember back when the Xbox One andPS4 were released? Remember how excited we all were? Fast forward almost a year to today and it seems like the 'next' generation of consoles has barely even got started.
What happened? Delays happened. It seems all the games we were hoping to play this year slowly slipped back and back. Some argue that there aren't many reasons to upgrade from an Xbox 360 or PS3 yet.
Without wanting to wish our lives away, that's all going to change in 2015. Here are the 10 games we've been gagging to play all year, which we'll now have to wait a bit longer for.

                                                   Kingdom Hearts 3 (PS4, Xbox One)

Planned release: No promised date
Actual release date: Possible 2015
What's the excuse? It's not Disney enough yet, more or less
Okay, so Square Enix never promised that Kingdom Hearts 3 was going to come out in 2014, but there comes a point where teasing a game constitutes a promise that it'll be out in our lifetime. Square Enix originally showed off the game - or at least the idea of it - during E3 2013. Then we got a bonafide trailer in E3 2014.
It's in development alongside a remastered version of Kingdom Hearts 2 for Xbox One and PS4, so we wouldn't bet against the game being delayed even further into our dotage.
Not already a fan? Kingdom Hearts has one of the most bizarre premises in the video game… kingdom. It's a Japanese RPG starring the cast of Disney's most popular properties – Mickey, Hercules, Donald, and all the other greats - who star alongside the usual cast of spikey-haired anime types. Weird combo? It sure is.
The series has sold more than 50 million games in its lifetime, though. So either it has a big fan base or someone incredibly rich likes it a bit too much.
Anticipation level: Embarrassed whimper

Battlefield: Hardline

Planned release: October 2014
Actual release date: Early 2015
What's the excuse? Everyone sorta hated the beta
Battlefield: it's the thinking man's Call of Duty, and a troll's multiplayer dream. But Battlefield: Hardline has been pushed back into early 2015. In a blog post on the Battlefield website, DICE explained it wanted to make a better game than it could bring out in October 2014, the original intended release date.
Of course, it was all relayed terribly positively in the post, but our takeaway was that the game as-is would be a buggy, derivative and shallow mess. The beta told us much of this already.
It took place in June 2014 for a couple of weeks, and showed the game felt a bit like a Battlefield 4 expansion pack. While Battlefield 4, the first Xbox One/PS4 Battlefield game, received a decent reception, it was hardly the height of next-gen.
If the series wants to uphold its good name, it needs to up its game. And boy do we want it to – we don't want it to become a derivate stream of yearly updates like Call of Duty.
Anticipation level: Tickly trigger finger

The Order: 1886 (PS4 only)

Planned release: Late 2014
Actual release date: 20 February 2015
What's the excuse? It's not good enough, yet
The Order: 1886 is one of the games we're most looking forward to in 2015. Why? Because it's something new, and it's set right in the (one of the) homes of TechRadar towers, sunny London.
We say sunny, but in The Order: 1886 it's a grim and grey place where the colour palette alone is enough to give you an existential crisis.
It's serious, not fluffy. And it has guns. And knights. What's not to like?
It's also not hard to understand why The Order: 1886 has been delayed. This is one of the most anticipated PS4 exclusives, and if it's to be a lasting franchise then it needs to be good. It also runs on a new game engine, RAD 4.0. Pretty much everything is working against it.
On the PlayStation blog, developer Ready at Dawn's Ru Weerasuriya explained the 2015 delay was to ensure they can "deliver on the promise we made when we first introduced the game." So basically, it's still a tiny bit crap at the moment. The prospect of releasing in October against all the gigantic pre-Christmas names probably wasn't too appealing, either.
Fingers crossed the 20 February release date will give Ready at Dawn enough time to perfect this potential classic.
Anticipation level: Speaking in Dickensian tongues


Planned release: 21 October 2014

Actual release date: 10 February 2015

What's the excuse? "to meet our collective standards of creative excellence"

Evolve is about as high-concept as games get. It's a multiplayer title for Xbox One and PS4 that sees four people play co-operatively to try and take down a fifth. The four play as humans, the fifth as a much more powerful monster than can power up (evolve) by consuming small animals it finds.

It's a novel idea, but will it hold our interest for the span of a full game? Perhaps that's what developer Turtle Rock Studios is out to improve by delaying for four months until February 2015. We know it's fun from a fairly brief hands-on, but it needs to go the distance. Like a big old leaping, terrifying monster.

As part of the original release delay announcement, publisher Take Two said it was looking for a "favourable release window" - i.e. it'll sell more if it releases in February because there's less competition for your bucks then. Dropping a new IP game into this period can be like dropping a defenceless piece of steak into a pond of pirhanas.

However, in a later statement given toPolygon, it was suggested that the extra couple of months would also give the chance for some more improvements.

Anticipation level: nervous anticipation

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Planned release: 2014

Actual release date: 24 February 2015

What's the excuse? To bring the open world to life

The first two Witcher games are among the best role-playing adventures of the past decade. Which is exactly why we can't wait for The Witcher 3.

Developer CD Projekt Red is one of the few remaining fairly PC-centric game developers, and its approach helps give its console games an edge that makes them quite different from the other stuff we'll see released in 2015.

People who are disappointed Bethesda is focusing on The Elder Scrolls: Online rather than making a 'new Skyrim' should have both eyes on The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt too. It's a drop-dead gorgeous open-world role-playing game with all the exploring and storytelling you'd expect.

Originally The Witcher 3 was pencilled in for 2014, before being delayed until 2015 in May. In July, the game's creative director explained to GameRant that the delay was in order to improve the open-world experience. CD Project Red is one of those 'it's ready when it's ready' developers. Fair enough, considering the quality of its games.

Anticipation level: Full-on geeksplosion

Max Max to Arkham Knight

Mad Max

Planned release: 2014, at some point

Actual release date: 2015, at some point

What's the excuse? Max don't need no excuse

Think of a good vehicle combat game. Got one? There's a good chance it was released a decade or more ago, because they don't come around very often.

Could Mad Max be the next one? Who knows, stranger things have happened.

All we've seen so far of Mad Max are a couple of teaser videos showing a pretty predictable kind of vehicular carnage – wheels and explosions. Even the release dates suggested so far are very vague.

At first we were told Mad Max would come out in 2014, and the latest teaser suggested it'll come in '2015'. More details are sure to come, but unlike many of the other games here, you shouldn't expect this one to land in February. We're sure one of the films will be on over Christmas if you want to whet your appetite, though.

Anticipation level: Curious antipathy

Tom Clancy's The Division

  Planned release: 2014

Actual release date: 2015 is as specific as we have

What's the excuse? It's nowhere near done yet

Could this be the most interesting Tom Clancy-branded game ever made? It certainly sounds like it.

The Division is a massively multiplayer tactical shooter with role-playing elements. It takes place in an apocalyptic New York, where the city has been all but decimated following a virus outbreak. You play as a sleeper agent trying to bring the city back to some kind of order.

Rather than being a bog-standard tactical shooter, you could even say The Division has a bit of the The Last of Us about it. You'll have to level up your character too, which should give you a much greater connection with exactly what he/she is all about.

You'll be able to explore in, around and even underneath the city, in a labyrinth of tunnels. Why do we have to wait so long for it? The Division uses a new game engine, making it trickier to make. Last we heard the actual game development was only just underway.

Anticipation level: Bring on the apocalypse

Dying Light

Planned release: 2014

Actual release date: February 2015

What's the excuse? It's not innovative enough yet

Think zombies are a played-out gaming cliche? Dying Light is here to prove they aren't. Described as a cross between Dead Island and Mirror's Edge by many, this free-running-style zombie game has quite a different feel to the zombie games of old. Ok, maybe it has the odd shade of Left 4 Dead, but who doesn't want that?

Early this year, Amazon reckoned the game would ship in March/April 2014. Of course, that never happened, and in May developer Techland announced the game wouldn't be out until 2015. Like so many others, we're looking at a February release date

"We have now come so close to realizing our initial vision we feel we cannot stop before it is ready," said Techland.

Will it be more than just another mindless zombie game? Fingers crossed.

Anticipation level: Half-infected

Quantum Break (Xbox One only)

Planned release: Vague 2014 rumours

Actual release date: 2015 (not early)

What's the excuse? 2014 was never likely anyway

Story is still the weakest point in most games, but Quantum Break comes from Remedy, developer of two of the most atmospheric, story-driven action series – Max Payne and Alan Wake. There's more than just a shade of these two's husky charm in Quantum Break.

It's a narrative-infused action game that lets you manipulate time. Yup, your character has supernatural powers, like a low-key, moody X-Man. It's all because of a time-travel experiment gone wrong. This is probably as close as we'll get to the Quantum Leap game we've all been dreaming of.

There's even a TV show that'll accompany the game, presumably a bit like the Night Springs TV show of Alan Wake. Remedy is up to its old tricks again.

While some hoped Quantum Break would arrive in 2014, with the hindsight of all these other delays, that was never likely.

Anticipation level: Engrossed

Batman: Arkham Knight

Planned release: 14 October

Actual release date: 2015

What's the excuse? No excuses this time

Batman: Arkham Knight is the biggest game in the Arkham series, which more-or-less re-proved that superhero games don't have to be rubbish.

This first Xbox One/PS4 title in the series, Arkham Knight fits in the whole city of Gotham, making its play area five times larger than the previous Batman: Arkham City. As well as being absolutely massive, you also get to drive the Batmobile. We're sold.

Having a vaster play area for Arkham Knight lets it reproduce that Batman-grade speed much better than the previous games. We'll have to hope that the thwacks feel just as weighty too.

The 2015 delay was announced in June 2014, after having been originally pencilled in for October. Rocksteady didn't give a reason why – we'll assume it's because the big bad bat got a bit scared of all the other games coming out in the pre-Christmas period.

Anticipation level: Spidey sense on full alert. Oh wait.

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