2014 is looking to be a pretty huge year for Konami as two highly anticipated franchises are set for launch on just about every platform. In fact keeping in mind what we know Konami will be releasing for sure in 2014 it will be interesting to see what their next gen plan for the future is, particularly when you consider how many options Konami has not only in AAA features but in XBL Arcade/PSN as well.
Almost every arcade game on the 360 is unavailable on the XBO at this time, which is a definite stab in the gut for anyone who was looking to enjoy a retro title on their next-gen system. As the king of arcade classics it would be wonderful to see a bundle of titles make their way over instead of purchasing each game bit by bit; most gamers wouldn't refuse a reasonably priced package of Contra, X-Men and TMNT and it would be great to fill up the store with things to buy sooner than later.
It's also been some time since we've heard about any recent developments in Silent Hill or Zone of the Enders, and given the technical capabilities of the XBO/PS4 either franchise would benefit greatly from increased graphical depth. Konami also hasn't done much in the way of flexing of their newly acquired franchises and with the sudden revival and positive reception of Killer Instinct it would be excellent to see Bloody Roar make a reappearance, even if as only a casual fighter.
In the meantime here's the stuff we know for sure:
Castlevania Lords of Shadow 2
Who wasn't honestly excited to see the return of Dracula in last year's announcement trailer? Seriously, the game looks like it's primed to be one of the first truly exciting releases of 2014 and perhaps one of the last big exclusive launches on the 'soon-to-be-outdated' console generation.
Taking place years after the events of Lords of Shadow players will once more be in control of Gabriel Belmont who has traded in a silver cross for whips of blood, a life leeching sword and all-around undead might. The blending of modern society with Gothic themes will likely provide a great contrast from the previous instalment, which was certainly no visual slouch. Topping it off is a movable camera, which if designed correctly should turn the more restrictive moments in combat into something that flows better.
Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes
So first we find out there's going to be a Metal Gear Solid V, only find out that game is going to be broken into a story with two parts. Confusing? A little bit, but really it's no more convoluted a means of storytelling that what most MGS fans are used to; and with any luck breaking the game into separate sections (or perhaps chapters) should ease not only veterans to the franchise into the new mechanics but also provide a nice springboard for console newbies looking to make the best of their PS4/XBO's.
That being said the mechanics being added to the MGS franchise is pretty staggering, from full real-time night and day cycles to (finally) having a full range of options in stealth gameplay. Being able to set the order of missions, having an upgradable base of operations, how each mission is approached and the inclusion of a wide variety of vehicles should go a long way in pulling the series away from its linear roots. All of this comes in the name of creating a 'true' open world experience, and we're excited to see if Kojima can deliver. It's impressive when you consider how far Snake has come over the years.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
So what's the difference between the Phantom Pain and Ground Zeroes? Well for starters it feels like narration will be the first big one. Much of Ground Zeroes sounds as though it serves as a prologue to Phantom Pain, in both story and mechanics, giving players a base of operations to grow acquainted with before setting the player loose in the open world on a quest of discovery and revenge.
The real question behind MGS V is whether or not it will reflect a game broken into two parts, or try to be sold premium for what's been confirmed to be two parts to the same story. Length, depth, replay value and cost are all going to be put in question considering we know that by design it's meant to be one game. One could argue that approaching a single story in different parts worked well for Lord of the Rings, but there was a considerable amount of time from the release of one film to the next. How close these two games are launched apart from one another may change our perception of Kojima's narrative test.
Pro Evolution Soccer 2015
So it's a sports game, but it's also one of the best selling sports franchises of all time. That being said it's safe to expect another entry into the system sporting all the usual bells and whistles. Updated rosters for each teams, perhaps a coat of polish over character design, the usual.
The most exciting part this year's entry isn't simply the jump into next gen but rather the continued development of the Fox Engine, which is supposed to be Konami's solution to multiplatform gaming. Seeing what it's capable of in a closed environment with limited physics would be a great way to have the graphics engine shine, and a good demonstration of how flexible Konami's development plan really is.