12 months have flown by yet again and now we all have to adjust to writing a 14 whenever we date things now. For many, this is a time to reflect on the year behind us, which I have already done by highlighting my top 13 nerdy moments of 2013. Before the monotony of another year sets in, we have to get excited and look forward to what 2014 and beyond will give us! I say beyond because in crafting this list, there were a couple things that I really am looking forward to, but may or may not happen in 2014. I feel that’s justified because they are still heavily influencing my nerdy excitement this year, regardless.
These are the things I’m going to be talking about the most during the foreseeable future. These are the things I hope to see news and updates about everytime I check my geeky websites. These are the things that will be the very foundation of my life as a nerd this year. I hope you enjoy perusing, and also take the time to comment on what you are excited for. If you write a blog similar to this, share it with me because I love to discuss things people are excited for! What I have below are my most anticipated games, anime, and other things that my geek life revolves around.
14. X-men: Days of Future Past
Normally a simple 2 or 3 hour movie wouldn’t make the cut, but there’s something about this particular X-Men movie that just makes me feel like it’s going to be the best one in the series. The trailer was packed with emotion and heightened even more so by John Murphy’s incredible music. ( I really wish John Murphy was composing the actual movie) The trailer itself is one of the best I’ve seen recently, and hopefully that same graceful intensity translates into the film. It features an unnerving amount of characters and, to me, feels like two movies in one thanks to the two time periods it takes place in.
First Class remains my favorite X-Men movie purely for the way it was blended with great emotional character moments and breathtaking displays of super powers. I am hoping that this movie can surpass that and be the highlight of all the blockbusters this year. My only concern, and biggest reason this isn’t higher on the list, is that director Matthew Vaughn of First Class, Kick-Ass, and Stardust fame isn’t directing this film. I consider him the biggest credit to First Class and I hope Bryan Singer can deliver on the same level. And finally, please let there be another bad-ass teleporter because they are done so well in this series, and teleporting is one of my favorite powers. Sorry Jumper, even with that, you’re still bad.
13. Shingeki No Bahamut
What in the world is this anime? Is it really Attack on Titan with dragons? Is that a good or bad thing? Why does that girls arm fall off?! There’s no way to make heads or tails of this anime based on the trailer. Clearly, it at least looks like an amazingly epic anime set in a similar atmosphere and setting as Attack on Titan. The quality of animation at least makes it look on the same level as the best in the industry, and there’s no doubt that the world is still full of ripe imagination on the creator’s part. Enormous, is the best way to describe the scope of this anime, and it could eclipse the already overly-epic Attack on Titan.
If it fails, however, it will go down as the biggest imitator of Attack on Titan in the anime industry. It’d be a stigma that I doubt it could ever recover from. I’m an optimist, so I feel like this anime is going to be true and fair competition for the big boy on the block. There’s enough here to give it a unique identity. The presence of magic, most importantly, clearly gives it a fantasy element that I feel will be it’s defining trait. I am on the fence on whether this will ultimately be a hit, or a failure, but either way, I am dying to find out.
12. Persona 5
This is one of the games that may miss the 2014 window in America, but will hit Japan in winter 2014. My fingers are crossed for a global release before the end of the year. Persona literally skipped an entire generation of console releases before finally announcing it’s next numbered entry. Fans have been more than content with the Persona 4 Golden remake on Vita, but as good as it is, we’ve always secretly desired that next entry for years. Persona is one of my favorite RPG series of all times thanks to it’s very “anime” like characters and design and all of it’s unique RPG mechanics that I’ve grown to love. As the year goes on, we’ll learn much more about it, but just knowing that it’s in development is enough to make the wait more exciting.
11. Game of Thrones Season 4
Now that Breaking Bad is over, Game of Thrones stands uncontested as my favorite show airing on TV. I don’t say it enough, but dark fantasy is my favorite “tone” or “setting” across any medium, and Game of Thrones is a hallmark representation of that very thing. The show’s constant drama and amazing character interplay combined with it’s realistic, yet fantasy setting has engrossed me every single season. The show has no fear and displays it’s darkest episodes proudly and that’s something that I hope continues into Season 4.
I haven’t read the novels so nothing has been spoiled for me as of yet. I don’t know what to expect, but I know that I’m ready for the “fantasy” to overtake the world just like everyone else. The dragons are growing, the white walkers are nearing, and winter is coming. All these steadily progressing events feel closer than ever. Is season 4 the season that the lid comes off an Westeros changes into the fantasy world we’ve been waiting for? April 2014, and we’ll all find out together. Oh, and keep your fingers crossed for whatever character you love that’s still alive. People die in this show, apparently.
10. Korra Season 3
Legend of Korra is my “other” favorite tv show currently airing in America. It’s no secret that Avatar: The Last Airbender is my favorite fiction ever, even over all the anime I watch, games I play, and books I read. As much as I love the darker side of fantasy, the world of Avatar has a charm to it that simply appeals to me more than anything else. The Korra spin off has yet to reach the same heights but season 2 definitely brought it a lot closer to the same pedigree than the first season did. If it continues this momentum than I can only hope that season 3 becomes something utterly fascinating.
With the revealed title of “Change,” there’s a lot of new ground to cover after season 2 pretty much rewrote a big part of the mythology. Book 3 and 4 have a clean palette to work with to literally rebuild the world of Avatar. To me, it’s a second chance to make Korra on the same level as the original. There are many things I’m hoping for, but the biggest thing I want is the feeling of adventure that traveling this world brings, as well as the beautiful, fluid animation of the elemental bending that defines this series.
9. Born of the Gods/Journey Into Nyx
The final two sets of the Theros block for Magic: The Gathering both launch this year after a massively successful introduction to the greek mythology themed fictional world last year. This block has a lot of potential to become my favorite in Magic’s history, so to say I’m very excited is an understatement.This set has hydras, archons, gorgons, chimeras, and almost a dozen other creature types that I really love. On top of that, the artistic design choice to have the gods look like they are infused with the stars of the night sky is one of the coolest moves in fantasy art direction that I’ve seen lately.
The theme of the set has been amazing so far and the cards being revealed for the upcoming sets have all been incredible to look at. There are still ten more gods to be unleashed onto the world, and this block still has a lot of ground to cover. Minotaurs are looking to be the strongest tribal type in recent years, and the new mechanic, Inspiration, gets a big nod of approval from me for being one of the coolest mechanics of the block. My biggest thank you to Theros is being the block that brought me the first Simic (Blue-Green) planeswalker. She’s a bit rough around the edges, but she’s still pretty close to what I was hoping for. My only other wish is that Theros introduces Ajani as a green-white planeswalker completing the two-color planeswalker checklist.
8. Monster Live Action TV Series
The fact that this exists is one of the biggest surprises of last year. This anime, which sits proudly in my top 5, is very under-appreciated and severely overlooked. It remains, in my opinion, the best psychological anime ever. It contains one of the best villains I’ve witnessed in any fiction. A tour de force of manipulation and charismatically driven leadership, the villain literally makes the entire series worth watching. If you are not an anime fan, then I am glad that this project exists, because Monster deserves to be seen by anyone who even appreciates a psychologically driven story.
When Guillermo Del Toro announced that he is going to be adapting it into a live action tv series for HBO, I about crapped myself. This is the director of Pan’s Labyrinth, often regarded as the best foreign fantasy film of all time. I can see why he took a liking to the series because of it’s incredibly dark themes and use of child-like fairy tales as a source of psychological experimentation. Guillermo Del Toro is a huge fan of corrupted fairy tales, so I easily see him gravitating towards that aspect of the anime. I am incredibly excited for this to air and I feel bold enough to say that this could be my favorite show ever aired on TV.
7. Fate/Stay Remake
Fate/Zero would be my top anime of all time had it not been for it’s handicapped ending that had to tie in to the much-less-incredible Fate/Stay Night series. It’s an ending that has left a sour taste in my mouth even to this day.That aside, Fate/Zero is easily, on an episode by episode basis, the best anime I’ve seen, or at least tied with Mushishi in my personal tastes. The animation is ridiculously crisp and fluid, and the writing is incredibly diverse, complex, and intelligent. Every character has a fascinating perspective and their constant collisions with each other in this battle royale satisfies everything from my thirst for action to my hunger for intellectual stimulation. It is often said that Fate/Zero is the Game of Thrones of anime, and I would back that statement wholeheartedly.
My hate for everything in the Fate universe that is not Fate/Zero turned into pure excitement when they announced that the very same studio that did Fate/Zero would be remaking Fate/Stay. Under Ufotable’s direction, I am sure that this remake will be one of the best in anime history. Ufotable’s studio does not mess around, with one of the strongest animation teams in the industry and an amazing backlog of anime under their belt. They are my personal favorite anime studio of all time so anything they work on is something I instantly drool over. Two of their anime are in my top 10, and this could be their third.
6. Magic: The Gathering Live Action Movie Series
Just announced a couple days ago, this instantly catapulted into the list because this is what I’ve wanted as a Magic: The Gathering fan for over a decade. A lot of fans are very apprehensive because Hollywood is notorious for ruining many things that nerds hold sacred. Even still, it’s hard not to simply let out a squeak of delight when you imagine seeing your favorite planeswalker on the big screen. Even more exciting is the fact that this was not just announced as a single movie deal, but an entire franchise to rival that of Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter. I can only hope it hits the same heights as either of those franchises, and if it does, you’re looking at someone who will own every single film on blu-ray the second they come out. (Ooh, I hope the blu-rays come with a promo card!)
Many fans of the series are wondering where they’ll even start the storyline from. I would say that, logically, the best thing is to start with the second generation planeswalkers (Chandra, Jace, etc) but then have a later series that delves into the history of magic during times like the Brother’s War or the Weatherlight crew. The storylines are admittedly better before the new planeswalkers came out, but I don’t see Wizards wanting to take them out of the limelight. All I want is for them to explore the planes of Ravnica, Kamigawa, and Mirrodin. It’s tough to tell if this would be something worth watching if you haven’t played the game, but when more of the cast and crew are announced, we can speculate if this will truly be the next big fantasy movie series. Just please, do not eff this up Wizards.
5. Dark Souls 2
After many fluctuations, I ultimately decided that Dark Souls is my favorite game from the last generation of consoles. You can understand then, that Dark Souls 2 is my most anticipated PS3 game. Though it is unfortunate that it’s not being made for the next generation, I can still take solace in the fact that the series has such a huge following that it’s only a matter of time before the next entry does hit next-gen consoles. And even still, Dark Souls graphics were good enough. Dark Souls 2 does have marginal improvements, so I’m still excited to see the new aesthetics, but the meat of the game is the gameplay and atmosphere. The trepidatious journey full of anxiety and peril is something unique to the Souls series, and as long as they don’t lose that, I don’t care what system this game is on.
So even if I owned a PS4, I will still enjoy the hell out of this game. Well, the word “enjoy” might be better replaced with “endure,” because this game will be just as ball-busting difficult as the previous one. We know to expect an incredibly dark and immersive fantasy setting that borders on the horror genre like a looming shadow. We should also know that the lore and story of this world is going to take months for the entire community to piece together. Both of these things strengthen the Souls brand and players. The newest addition I’m excited for is finally being able to dual-wield your weapons. I am very excited to try out a high risk build with no shield and two fast swords. Bring on the monstrosities, for I am prepared to die.
4. Witcher 3
I have more anticipation for this game than I ever did for Skyrim and that is saying a lot because I literally had dreams about Skyrim upon the week before it’s release. Witcher 3 looks to be the defining open world RPG of the generation. It’s massive and geographically diverse fantasy world looks sublime and the atmosphere paints a great mix of bleak darkness and adventurous exploration. With the promise of continuing the amazing narrative of the earlier Witcher games, fans are in for what I expect to be the greatest story told in an open world game.
Everything about this game appeals to me. The music is bombastic and heavy, the combat is fluid and full of swords and sorcery, and finally, the tone of the game is very gritty and mature which should appeal to all the Game of Thrones fans out there, myself included. Media journalists that have seen the game up close and in action only sing the highest of praises. Gametrailers even called it their most anticipated game of 2014. The Witcher 3 has what a lot of RPG games wish to receive from their fans, and that’s respect. They take their game seriously, and therefore, so too do the fans.
3. My first cosplay
I haven’t decided what my first one will be, but one of them will definitely happen this year, and if I’m productive enough I will also have my dream cosplay done this year. This is more of a resolution to myself, but the placement on this list is because of the excitement that going to my first con as a character will bring. I can’t wait to finally experience the con life as a cosplayer and talk to people who recognize my character. I got to around 3 to 4 cons per year, so this having one cosplay is going to bring me 4 incredible weekends that I will probably never forget.
My cosplays that I’m aiming to have this year are Okabe from Steins; Gate, Zuko from Avatar, and Noctis from Final Fantasy XV. That last one is my dream cosplay that I will put the most effort into and will probably keep as a repeat cosplay for the rest of my life. It’s going to be a challenging experience because I’ve never worked with props or clothing before. Last year, however, I never edited a video before, but I ended up crafting two AMV’s that took runner up, and Best of Action, respectively, so that gives me a little confidence that I just need to put my heart and mind into it, wear what I make proudly, and seek other’s guidance and constructive criticism.
2. Mushishi Season 2
I don’t see myself being this excited for an anime in a long time. Reason being, this sequel is one that I’ve been dying for ever since I first watched Mushishi, which just so happens to be my favorite anime of all time. The stars feel like they have majestically aligned to bring me this dream continuation of one of the most unique anime out there. Mushishi has told some of the most enlightening and heart-felt stories I’ve had the pleasure of seeing in all of anime, and I can’t wait for an entire new season.
This is further amplified by the fact that the OVA that aired a few weeks ago was one of the best things in the Mushishi fiction that I’ve seen. The episode had a beautiful story, complete with amazingly effective symbolism and the trademark fairy-tale mystical vibe. The OVA has actually been so critically acclaimed that on a few sites it’s listed as the highest rated OVA in anime history. What a beautiful first step into an even more gorgeous anime. Any fan of anime should at least see what this anime is like. It’s not for everyone, it may not even be for most people, but for the few that do look for something different from most anime ou there, it could prove to be something special to you too.
1. Final Fantasy XV
This is it. I’ve been saying it since 2006 when I first saw Noctis teleport up the side of a building. If I wrote this article every year since I was 16, this game would have been at the top every year. I haven’t even played the game, yet the main character is my dream cosplay. I don’t even know the story, but I’m already in love with everything about it’s world. It’s nothing like a Final Fantasy that we’ve ever seen, yet I’m expecting it to be the greatest Final Fantasy yet. There is something about this game’s world. The somber and heavy tones that have never been associated with a Final Fantasy game really entrances me more than anything else coming out. The music has been hauntingly beautiful and only heightens the already majestic and gorgeous aesthetics of the world of Final Fantasy XV.
The director, Tetsuya Nomura, has poured his heart into this game. It’s so full of personality and subtle intricacies that I don’t see in other games in development that I can’t help but feel like it’s a true work of game development passion on the largest scale. It’s a labor of love from the creator of Kingdom Hearts, and it seems to be the culmination of his dream fantasy for the least decade. This game coming to fruition will be the very epitome of my life as a gamer thus far. Nothing in history, nor in the foreseeable future captures my attention like Final Fantasy XV. It’s a work of emotional art in video game form that I’m expecting to be enamored by and drawn into until I fully discover what this amazing world is about.
What an exciting time to be a gamer. Same holds true for a devout anime fan, or an avid nerd in general. While a couple of selections on this list won’t even make it this year, the sheer anticipation for them effect the year just as much as some of these other things actually happening. A huge part of being a nerd is to be passionate about something. When something you love is on the horizon, you can’t help but preemptively adore it. To fascinate about what it’s true form will be like. That is why is was such a joy to take time and actually discuss and hypothesize on all 14 of these entries. It’s the dual pleasure of being a writer and a nerd. I hope you enjoyed what you read through and I implore you to do the same. Celebrate what’s coming out by sharing your excitment with others. 2014, let’s make it count!
Also, these 4 entries were one I heavily considered, but ultimately felt that their release was so far off that they could be saved for a list in 2015. (The same is true for FFXV, but I made an exception for that one, because it’s the best thing ever)
Kingdom Hearts 3
Metal Gear Solid V
Return to Kamigawa