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Editorial

Don’t Grumble, Give A Whistle

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Gamers are a demanding bunch. We want a full game experience (but not too long); we want adult storytelling and grown-up content; we want aliens, guns, and explosions. And when do we want it? Now.

The recent news that Deus Ex: Mankind Divided has been delayed from February 2016 to August 2016 was disappointing, in that I’m sure we all want to get our hands on the title after the great experiences that the first game provided, but it’s also gratifying, in that Eidos Montreal and Square Enix have faith in their customers to be able to discern something good from something great, and feel that delaying their game for six months could potentially turn one into the other.

It’s natural to feel disappointed about not getting something you want for another few months than you thought (or, in the case of very, very extended delays as in Team Fortress 2, The Last Guardian, Half-Life 3, or Duke Nukem Forever, years after), but our first reaction should not be to lash out at people who are not only making something you like, but are also wholly undeserving of you bashing them just for them trying to make something better.

A common theme on some of the more… well, childish parts of the Internet is that game developers owe you something, and they owe it to you on your schedule. This is obviously not the case. If a developer feels that they need more time to get project X into as good a shape as they think it can be, and their publisher agrees, then that’s something we should be applauding. We’ve seen the very real results that can occur when a developer tries to rush a project, and are either unwilling or unable to delay it to get it into a form worthy of release. The recent meltdown of Batman: Arkham Knight on the PC in particular is a abject lesson in this, and the irony is that Arkham Knight was itself delayed from October 2014 to June 2015. It seems that Rocksteady and WB quite severely underestimated the amount of work that the PC version in particular required, given what happened subsequently.

This is why your mother told you to eat all your vegetables

And let’s not forget: whilst a project is in development and not offered for sale, they are receiving precisely $0 in revenue from the game’s sales. Many developers may feel that whilst they actually need more time to make a title the best it can be, their financial situation may not allow this to happen. Many games come out with severe issues at launch that a developer is aware of but cannot fix with the resources available to them. They ship a broken product with the intention of patching out the issues down the line. Even bigger game publishers do things like this. A game like Assassin’s Creed: Unity comes to mind as a game that had quite extreme problems at launch that necessitated multiple patches post-release to get into something that resembled a playable state. So don’t just think it’s the indies that do this; the big players very much are part of the problem just as much as smaller developers. Many people playing the recent PC release of Mortal Kombat X couldn’t even get past the launch screen of the game; when it comes to “broken”, that’s about as clear an example as you can get.

So the next time you read something has been pushed back (please don’t delay Dishonored 2 or The Divisionplease), spare a thought for the group of people who have considered their options and decided that this is the best thing – for them and for you. They don’t want their name to be associated with a sub-par product, and they don’t want you to buy something that they consider to be anything less than their best work. Maybe they’ll be right (BioShock Infinite), maybe they’ll be wrong (Arkham Knight – and really really wrong at that) but they’re going into it with the best of intentions. We owe it to them to wait and see what the finished product looks like before readying our pitchforks.

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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