The summer drought is nothing new to the world of gaming, but when it comes during the first year of a console’s life, following a very gradual drip feed of major titles during the first half of the year, it feels all the more galling for July and August to arrive and the release schedule to clam up for weeks at a time. There’s even a paucity of releases on the older machines.
In an industry so heavily focussed on the next big thing, the monsoon season can’t come quickly enough for many gamers, but this yearly downtime gives you and the games industry as a whole the opportunity to catch up and experiment.
Of course, this week still sees the second coming of Destiny, as the Beta arrives on PS4 and PS3 on Thursday. It’s an opportunistic move from Bungie and Activision on several levels, as it rewards pre-orders with a taster of the game that should further build up the levels of hype and excitement for its release in early September, but it also makes use of this quiet release schedule to become one of the biggest focal points for gamers over the next few weeks.
I know that I, for one, will be taking part in the Beta, to load up the game with some friends and see if the game is really for me – though yes, we will also be writing about the game on TSA. There’s a distinct appeal to playing co-operative games for me, but I personally struggled with the Borderlands formula, so it may well be that my time in Destiny is disappointing and brief.
Destiny aside, I will no doubt be casting my gaze back across the games from the last few months. Sniper Elite 3 has certainly tickled my co-operative fancy in the few sessions I’ve played so far and there are several more hours of fun to be had. Additionally, my focus free tomfoolery in Watch Dogs prior to E3 means that this game lies completely unfinished and I’ve barely even begun playing games like Child of Light or Valiant Hearts (though I did start Valiant Hearts last night). Now is the time for me to play these before they are forgotten and consigned to the deepest recesses of my hard drive.
There’s also a slightly strange dichotomy between the large number of complaints at a lack of major releases for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One and the lasting presence of a “pile of shame” in many people’s gaming collections. My own is steadily growing, especially with the likes of the Steam Summer Sale and monthly additions to PlayStation Plus, but at least, in its own special way, the games industry is helping.
I am talking, of course, about the spate of HD/Redux/Remastered releases. With The Last of Us re-arriving in the next few weeks and the Metro Redux collection at the end of August, alongside the likes of Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition and the far more extensive work done for Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty!, you’re regularly given a push to play these older games once again, whether it’s bringing the original releases back to the top of the pile, crying out for another play through or as a fresh experience.
Yet I know that, for all my good intentions, I’ll get nowhere near to playing all of the games I feel I ought to catch up on this summer. I will, however, be making an effort to play games with other people, and some of this comes through TSA. Battlefield 4 – which is generally a complete game these days – will be seeing weekly meets on PS4 on a Friday night that you’re more than welcome to join, and I’ll be getting some racing in on Gran Turismo 6 each Monday, where there’s even a little championship in the offing. Similarly, I feel obliged to coax people into playing GRID Autosport online too.
With a cursory glance, there’s not a lot going on in the games industry during the summer months, as thousands of developers are working long hours to try and get their games ready for release towards the end of the year – October 7th, to be exact. I’ll be trying to use the time to explore some more of the games from the last year or so, how about you?