Okay, gamers, it’s time for a hard truth: the video game hype cycle is too [insert expletive of your choice] long and it’s totally out of control.
Every person reading this has had his or her hopes raised and dashed when some incredibly promising game debuts four seconds of amazing looking footage and then isn’t scheduled for release until 3 years later (looking at you, “Watch Dogs”, the new “Battlefront”, “DriveClub”, and a whole laundry list of others).
Heck, some of these games drop their announcements with a single tantalizing frame and then don’t talk about them for months after (ahem, “Dragon Age: Inquisition”). What freaking purpose does that serve except to make me feel like a total junkie?
Taking the torment a step further, the gaming news cycle (yes, non-gamers, we have one of those) feeds off these scant details with rabid intensity, thrusting these same images and videos under our noses again and again for years and imagining the possibilities of titles they don’t know anything about.
It’s like if CNN only focused on video games.
What’s more, it seems like we only get coverage on a handful of titles (the ones with the biggest marketing budget). So, while you’re getting filled in on what colors Activision is painting this year’s “Call of Duty” favela or how the plant shading is going for the next installment of “Assassin’s Creed,” there are a whole host of games that fly relatively under the radar.
So, with only a little intended hypocrisy, we here at xystwhat.com have endeavoured to draw your attention to a few games you might not have heard of, some of the titles that are flying under the radar this year.
- This piece was a collaborative work developed by Justin Andress, Brooke Wylie and Steve Ruygrok.
Murdered: Soul Suspect
“Murdered: Soul Suspect” is a game that was introduced around E3 last year and while it had received a lot of intrigue and interest from people since then, we didn’t hear much else about it until recently. What was that news?
The news was that the game would be launching this June and that it would also be hitting Xbox One and PS4 in addition to current-generation systems.
“Murdered: Soul Suspect” puts players in the role of Ronan O’Connor who was killed and now, as a ghost, has to try and solve his own murder. This new IP and it’s new way of exploring a mystery game will no doubt be intriguing for adventurous gamers when it launches in a few months.
Child of Light
For those who have been following this game since it was revealed last year, “Child of Light” represents what an indie developer can accomplish when given the right support, which Ubisoft has done. This JRPG will be hitting next-generation and current-generation consoles this April.
Players will assume the role of Aurora as she journeys through a playable poem to take back the Sun, Moon and stars and save the universe of Lemuria from the Dark Queen.
The game could serve as an outstanding example of what a JRPG can do. “Child of Light” will launch this coming April 30th.
The Evil Within
“The Evil Within” arrives in late August, but it’s tailor made for October.
This fright-fest from Shinji Mikami, the aptly dubbed “father of survival horror” (he created the original “Resident Evil” game, after all) promises to deliver plenty of chills, anxiety and tension, but also looks to have a complex narrative and engaging world to supplement the terror.
We defy you to watch the trailer, even without sound, and come out unrattled: There you are hobbled, running around on what amounts to one leg, barely managing to stay ahead of a chainsaw-wielding dude who could give ol’ Leatherface a run for his money and that’s just the prologue? Yikes, we’ll be sleeping with the lights on for a while.
Lords of the Fallen
In what is setting up to be another difficult RPG, “Lords of the Fallen” will try to cast a new shadow on from “Dark Souls,” which a lot of people tend to point fingers at when thinking about this new IP.
Scheduled to hit the Xbox One, PS4 and PC, “Lords of the Fallen” puts players in the middle of a new world where they will have to intuitively pay attention to the attacks of their enemies, in order to progress through the game.
“Dark Souls” is a very challenge game and “Lords of the Fallen” looks to be no exception, but the developers say they’ve learned a lot about this style of game. We can only hope that means challenging, yet accessible, gameplay.
If ever there was a franchise that needed a reboot, the saga of Mad Max isn’t one of them. Sorry, Tom Hardy, you’re talented and all, but it’s a total mistake to remake a movie that is as brutally kick butt today as it was when it premiered. Seriously, if you have seen any of Mel Gibson’s post apocalyptic forays, you should, because they rule.
No, a movie isn’t necessary. A video game on the other hand …
We can’t wait to see what Warner Bros. has in mind for their open world game. Okay, so games based on movies suck, we know that. And Warner Bros. doesn’t exactly have a rep for awesome games. But they do have a reputation for solid, faithful recreations (“Harry Potter,” anyone?).
And, heck, if they give us the chance to roll around the wasteland in a muscle car and shotgun freaks and weirdos, we definitely won’t pass it up. Remember how much fun “Rage” was?
Sleeping Dogs: Triad Wards
When “Sleeping Dogs” launched back in 2012, it was heralded as a game that rivaled the likes of “Grand Theft Auto.” This fantastically entertaining open world adventure did a masterful job of blending open world gameplay, with a unique driving and combat system.
We are highly anticipating the next iteration in this franchise and can’t wait to see what United Front Games does with it next.
For a style of game that needs to be challenged and pushed, “Sleeping Dogs” was the right title for the job, and we can only hope that they have brought back the same incredibly entertaining style of open world once more.
“Sleeping Dogs: Triad Wars,” does not have a release date, but we should be hearing more about it soon.
Remember how awesome “Myst” was? Well, “The Witness,” an upcoming puzzler from a small, independent team (that nonetheless includes Eric A. Anderson formerly of Cyan) seeks to claim the crown as the new face of exploration-puzzle games.
“The Witness” takes place on an idyllic, uninhabited island and challenges players to explore and solve puzzles to learn more about the nature of the island, as well as its past and present. The game is said to stem from an earlier game designer Jonathan Blow previously conceived, but never completed. Blow has been reported as saying he wanted to take a “magic moment” from the previous game and infuse it into every moment of “The Witness”.
Just what that “magic moment” is, however, he’s keeping mum on, so only time will tell if he achieved his aims. “The Witness” is slated for release in mid-2014, but no official date has been announced.
Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor
A video game that spans the time period between the events of “The Hobbit” and “The Fellowship of the Ring”? That right there is enough to sign most Tolkienites up for “Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor.” Add in the fact that players not only have warrior moves, but also boast Wraith abilities and there aren’t going to be many fantasy or adventure fans who aren’t paying attention.
Consider also that “Shadow of Mordor” is an open world game that makes use of the brand new Nemesis System – a nifty system that remembers player’s interactions with various characters and character types they will encounter throughout the game and adjusts the way those characters act accordingly – and the reasons not be excited about the potential of this game are in truly short supply.
Design director Michael de Plater did tell IGN that though the game is being developed for PS3 and Xbox 360 as well as PS4 and Xbox one, the focus is on next-gen consoles. The good news, at least for next-gen console owners, is that in the same report, IGN declared that the Nemesis System “could be revolutionary” if all goes according to plan.
In “Evolve,” you are a monster. Sometimes. Other times you’re one of four hunters tasked with hunting down said monster. And that is it; that’s the whole game.
Sound boring? Ok, let me throw another scenario at you. You’re one of four survivors working together to get from Point A to Point B. The only catch is that between here and there a bunch of zombies are waiting to eat your face off. Still bored? The odds are good you weren’t bored when you were fending off the horde in “Left 4 Dead”.
Turtle Rock Studios, the same people who brought you that delicious bit of zombified mayhem, are also intent on bringing you another refreshing multiplayer experience with the big game monster hunter, “Evolve.”
Lavish arenas, clever characters, and the promise of some truly awe-inspiring action make this one game to keep an eye on. Sure, the formula might sound simplistic, but this time you get to do a little face-eating of your own.
In space, no one can hear you scream.
That’s the tagline for one of the scariest movies ever filmed: “Alien,” in which the crew of a salvage ship are terrorized by maybe the most efficient killing machine in all of cinema. The whole film has this totally unnerving “haunted house” vibe that sets you on edge during the opening credits and never really lets you go until the acid-blooded fiend is sucked out the airlock.
Of course that whole pants-soiling terror thing was eschewed in the sequel in favor of (awesome) marines with (incredibly cool) big guns.
The folks at Creative Assembly, however, are more interested in the series’ first outing, the one that still gives this writer the chills, and they’re hoping to bring the same sense of helpless fear to their newest outing, “Alien: Isolation.”
You will be afraid to turn out the lights.