Top 5 Friday: Top 5 Outlandish Predictions For 2014

5.  Dota 2 will overtake League of Legends.

Why it could happen:  One word, Valve.  Valve has this proven track record of knowing how to take a product and make it larger than life.  Half-Life, Counter-Strike, Left 4 Dead, Team Fortress 2; they’re all household names.  Dota 2 has so much polish, and is doing incredible things to push its brand and e-sports in general, forward.

Why it probably won’t happen:  Here’s the thing…it probably will happen, just not in 2014.  League of Legends still has a much wider fan base, and even with all of Dota 2’s little advantages, it’s still going to take a while to usurp that throne.

4.  Fallout 4 will not only get announced, but also be released.

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Why it could happen:  First off, let’s be clear.  The announcement of Fallout 4 isn’t really isn’t a very outlandish prediction.  I’d be pretty surprised if we didn’t see that game at E3 this year.  Games are getting much shorter marketing cycles though.  The days of game announcements coming two or three years before release seems to be over.  I’m also not sure how the Fallout and Elder Scrolls franchises are tied to together financially, especially with Zenimax in charge of The Elder Scrolls Online.  If that game bombs really hard though, there might be a lot of added pressure to release a sure-thing in 2014, and Fallout 4 would certainly be that.

Why it probably won’t:  If it’s announced at E3, that doesn’t leave a ton of 2014 left to release in.  They’d want it out by mid-November I’d think, to make the holiday sales, but even as buggy as Bethesda games tend to be at release, I can’t see them rushing it that much just to make it out by 2014.  I’m guessing we’ll see it before E3 2015, but not before January 1.

3.  Blizzard will finally unveil project Titan.

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Why it could happen:  Of all my predictions, this is the one that I think is actually most likely to happen.  Blizzard has a pretty good track record of unveiling something new at every Blizzcon, and it almost certainly won’t be another WoW expansion as we’ll be toward the beginning of the Warlords of Draenor lifecycle.  The bigger question is whether or not Starcraft II: Legacy of the Void a big enough title to headline the show?  It’s not really a new product announcement, and we already kind of know what it is.  With WoW expansions, the announcement is always kind of big because up to that point no one knows the story, new features, etc…  With Legacy of the Void though, we kind of already know exactly what’s coming.  It’s the Protoss campaign, and some new units.  That’s not enough to headline the show.  It won’t be a trailer for the Warcraft movie either, that’s not slated to come out until 2016 so that probably won’t have even been filmed yet.

WoW is still massively more popular than any other MMOs, but that doesn’t mean that Blizzard isn’t looking to the future of their pocketbook.  There’s no denying that the WoW subscription numbers have been going down for years now, and I have to believe that once WoW’s run is over that Blizzard isn’t just going to go back to making one-off games, the money they made on WoW is just too massive to not attempt to replicate.  Blizzard has come out and said that Titan is an MMO, so they’re not getting away from the MMO business any time soon.

Why it probably won’t:  It’s Blizzard.  They do things on their own timeline, with little regard for how fast the fans want them to churn out products.  To their credit, Blizzard doesn’t really make bad games.  Project Titan has been “a thing” for so many years now that I’m starting to wonder if it’s just vaporware at this point anyway.  I will say this, if it doesn’t appear this year at Blizzcon, I’m giving up hope that it exists at all.

2.  An indie darling will be GOTY.

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Why it could happen:  Indie games are the cool thing right now, and while most triple-a titles are doubling down on the status-quo, indies are shaking things up gameplay-wise.  Games like Papers Please, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, The Stanley Parable, and Gone Home were talked about in most GOTY considerations.  That’s not going to stop this year.

Why it probably won’t:  Because it never really does.  Ultimately indie games have a hard time competing with the triple-a’s because their development teams are small enough that it’s nearly impossible to present products with the same type of polish.  While the indie darling were discussed for game of the year last year, ultimately it was games like The Last of Us and Bioshock Infinite that took home the big prizes.

1.  We’ll see Half-Life 3.

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Why it could happen:  Why not?  Valve’s last true game was what, Portal 2?  That was 2011 I believe.  They’re due for a new game, and it public knowledge that the Source 2 engine is a real thing.  Releasing Half-Life 3, using the Source 2 engine, and having it run perfectly on Steam OS would be a fantastic way to stick it to the Sony and Microsoft.

Why it probably won’t:  Just like with Blizzard, this is Valve we’re talking about.  And in Valve’s case, I think they’re actually worse.  I imagine Gabe in some dark basement, reading Reddit comments and manically laughing to himself while Half-Life 3 plays on his Oculus Rift.  The game is done, it’s just that he won’t give it to us.  Gabe you dirty bastard!

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