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Editorial

Developers Really Need to Stop Announcing Their Games So Early

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With today’s games industry being much larger than it used to be, in terms of both the number of users and revenue, it makes sense that developers and publishers see a need to get early buzz about their title, to keep a game in the public consciousness well in advance of the game’s projected release date. This had led to the unfortunate situation of some games being announced years in advance of anything remotely close to their release.

There’s probably a couple of games you are already thinking of right now that fit this description, and I’d be quite surprised if one of them didn’t contain the words “Last” and “Guardian” in it (although perhaps not for much longer). As I said, it’s understandable in this age of gaming ubiquity that when games can have budgets in the tens of millions (or higher, in some cases) then they want to ensure as high a chance as possible that they are going to turn a profit on a particular title. This means getting the word out about the game, putting up a site for it, continually rolling out tidbits about the game’s story, characters, etc., and hopefully forming a community of other like-minded people who are equally interested.

Other than The Last Guardian (announced in 2009!), there are several games that have done this. A notable example that’s relevant today would be CD Projekt RED’s Cyberpunk 2077. This was officially announced way back in the beforetimes of 2012, and right now is essentially limited to a single Youtube video which certainly looks cool… but that’s about it. CDPR recently stated that they did not anticipate giving any further details on Cyberpunk until 2017 at the very earliest, instead choosing to concentrate on The Witcher 3 for 2015 and 2016. So the earliest we would have details on Cyberpunk would be a full five years after the game’s announcement – and this would just be details about the game, not even the game’s actual release. I think it’s fair to say that CDPR certainly announced Cyberpunk too early. If it wasn’t their intention to provide almost any concrete details about the game then they did their fans (of which there are many – myself included) a disservice by announcing the game so far ahead of its release – whenever that ultimately turns out to be.

cyberpunk2077

Another game essentially missing in action is Half-Life 2 Episode 3. Considering that Half-Life 2: Episode 2 was released in 2007 – 8 years ago – you would think Valve would have at least have said something with regards to Episode 3. Whether this turns out to be a new episodic game on an extremely sluggish release schedule, or a full sequel that would be considered Half-Life 3, the very words “Half-Life 3” have come to mean nebulous vapourware, almost the dictionary definition of a developer ceasing to discuss a particular title under almost any circumstances. I can only hope that when Valve choose to finally unveil the game officially, they choose 1st April to do so; this would be extremely fitting, and entirely appropriate.

The final honourable mention may actually see the light of day itself, shortly. Doom 4 was announced by id in 2008. Now seven years later, the game was rebooted by Bethesda (who’s parent company, ZeniMax, acquired id in 2009) in 2011. The game was officially “re-unveiled” at id’s 2014 QuakeCon, and is going to be showcased at this year’s E3. Whether a release date will be announced is anyone’s guess, but at least there’s a slow drip of information coming out (with the emphasis on slow).

I get it game developers, I do. It can be an expensive process, and you want to get people hyped and stay hyped for your game in the intervening years of you announcing something and finally releasing it. Keeping us hanging in some cases for literally years and years though, I don’t think that’s doing you any favours whatsoever. It may actually turn people against you in the long run by creating the perception that you are just stringing people along aimlessly. I’d like to see games announced no more than a year or two away from their projected release. This leaves plenty of time for communities to build, hype to be… er, hyped, and the game to actually be completed on schedule.

No more keeping people dangling for years, developers, if you can’t commit to delivering in a reasonable amount of time. Your fans, and this fan, will thank you for it.

I write about PC games and sometimes it even makes sense. I'm a refined Englishman, but live in Texas with my two young children whom I am training in the ways of the Force.

Editorial

Three Single-Player Games to Watch Out for in May 2019

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May

May offers no respite from the big, bold games that have released so far in 2019, bringing with it a host of games almost certain to appeal to gamers of every stripe.

Close to the Sun

Release Date: May 2, 2019
Platforms: PC, consoles later in the year

May’s first major release may also be its most intriguing. Close to the Sun has regularly attracted comparisons to BioShock for its art style and premise, though the relationship between the two titles is, at best, spiritual.

Players take the role of journalist Rose Archer as she steps aboard Nikola Tesla’s ship, the Helios in 1897. Like Andrew Ryan before him (or after him, depending on perspective), Tesla has created a microcosm in which scientific freedom is unrestricted, with disastrous outcomes. Rose’s first impression is of a quarantine sign at the entrance to a still, dead ship, but she presses on regardless in search of her lost sister.

With Close to the Sun, developer Storm in a Teacup aims to provide an intense horror experience. The Helios holds none of BioShock’s shotguns or Plasmids. Instead, players have no means to defend themselves, with gameplay focusing on hiding from and escaping the threats on board.

Check out OnlySP’s final review of the game here.

RAGE 2

Release Date: May 14, 2019
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

For anyone to whom the slow, meditative approach does not appeal, Bethesda is busting out the big guns with the long-awaited, little-expected sequel, RAGE 2.

This time around, id Software has tapped Just Cause and Mad Max developer Avalanche Studios for assistance in developing an open-world game. The result, if the trailers are any indication, is a breakneck, neon-fuelled experience that focuses on insanity and ramps up all the unique aspects of the earlier game.

One focal point of development has been ensuring the interconnectedness of the game’s structure, and the teams have promised a greater focus on narrative this time around. Perhaps in keeping with that, RAGE 2 is being distanced from its predecessor, taking place 30 years later with a new protagonist and a whole new story, though some callbacks will be present.

Although id’s legendary first-person gunplay is a driving force throughout the game, it will be supplemented by some light RPG elements, robust vehicular combat, and post launch challenges and support (though the developers deny that RAGE 2 is designed with a games-as-a-service model in mind).

A Plague Tale: Innocence

Release Date: May 14, 2019
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Out on the same day as RAGE 2 is the vastly different A Plague Tale: Innocence. A historical adventure, the game challenges players with overcoming obstacles with brains rather than brawn.

Players become Amicia, an orphan girl struggling to survive in a plague-infested medieval France while also keeping her younger brother safe. With the landscape rife with rats and members of The Inquisition, one of the core tenets of gameplay is reportedly the need to use these threats against each other. As such, though Amicia has a sling to use, the gameplay is designed more as survival puzzles than combat ones.

Developer Asobo Studio is not a household name, though it has a lengthy history of adaptations and support on major titles, including Quantum Break and The Crew 2. Furthermore, even though A Plague Tale is yet to release, publisher Focus Home Interactive has displayed remarkable confidence in the project by extending its partnership with Asobo.

Honourable Mentions

Although RAGE 2 is the incontestable action-blockbuster of the month, gamers in search of another kind of frenetic may want to wait until May 21, when Curve Digital drops American Fugitive, which has a more than passing resemblance to the earliest Grand Theft Auto games. Alternatively, PlayStation VR owners may want to look into Blood and Truth come May 28.

Sega also shines this month, dropping Team Sonic Racing on May 21 and Total War: Three Kingdoms two days later.

Anyone looking for an RPG has indie’s answer to The Outer Worlds, Within the Cosmos, to look out for on May 30, while those looking for slower stories get the latest episode of Life is Strange 2 on May 9, Observation on May 21, and the fjord-noir Draugen at a yet unspecified date.

Have we forgotten anything that you’re excited for? Let us know down below or on our Discord server.

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