So We Ride Again...To Another End...
E3 has finally started in earnest with the Xbox Showcase, which featured all sorts of crazy games that you’ll be able to play on the Xbox Game Pass at some point in the future. If you missed the show, here’s a quick and dirty compilation of nearly every game featured on stage, with any unnecessary redundancies omitted for optimal reading.
Bethesda has apparently been working on this in some way for 25 years, scary. Though they teased it a few years ago, there was little we knew about Starfield other than the fact that it’s one of them Bethesda RPGs but in space. Now…we know pretty much the exact same amount except that it’ll come out next year! Okay! From the concept trailer it at least looks like there might be more of a story than the usual Bethesda fare, but that might not actually be the case because cinematic trailers are always just sort of like that. Starfield comes out November 11, 2022 (the eleventh anniversary of Skyrim!), and will be on Game Pass right from the get go.
As someone who’s become heavily disenfranchised with Bethesda-made RPGs, it would be nice if Starfield is this more bold and open and barely put together mess of good and creative ideas like their older works, but based on games like Fallout 4, it’s hard to believe that’s even a possibility anymore.
Fallout 76: Steel Reign
Oh hey yeah look right here! This is the exemplification of everything that’s made me stray away from Bethesda. Fallout 76 apparently recovered from its disastrous launch when it added NPCs to the game with the Wastelanders update that came out last year. I don’t really know what recovered means, (I know maybe a total of three people that played it and it was not for very long) but apparently it was enough to warrant continued support. The Steel Reign expansion will continue to focus on the Brotherhood of Steel, with all the associated iconography and such that have come to be associated with them. It’ll add “Legendary Power Armor” and conclude the storyline set up last year in the Steel Dawn expansion. It’s coming out for free to Fallout 76 players next month, on July 7th 2020.
It really sucks that even if Fallout 3 and its ilk weren’t exactly bastions of thoughtful ideology and concepts, at least there was like something there right? Fallout 76 has taken the Fascist conceptualization of the Brotherhood of Steel that was meant to be a warning with regards to militarization and just ended up making all of that into epic cool stuff even more than ever before. Seeing the American flag power armor in 2021, still being used for the same reasons, is depressing beyond belief.
Also speaking of Fallout 3 I guess they’re gonna do DLC at some point that takes you back to The Pitt from Fallout 3, in a new “Expeditions” branded format. Okay.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 : Heart of Chernobyl
Okay now here’s the post-apocalypse I can get behind.
Over ten years in the making, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chernobyl is the fourth S.T.A.L.K.E.R. game! It looks a bit more approachable than previous entries in the series, but who knows if that will be true because video game trailers love to lie! It will have multiplayer and a full main story campaign that seems to be in a more traditional AAA format. I don’t know much about S.T.A.L.K.E.R. but if I can actually comprehend and play this one then that would be really cool!
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 is allegedly coming out April 28, 2022, but take that with a pinch of salt as always.
Not much about this one!!! It’s a co-op open world game from Avalanche, the makers of Just Cause. It looks like it might be in some sort of swampy place? Who knows!
Sea of Thieves: A Pirate’s Life
A free Pirates of the Carribean expansion for Sea of Thieves! They got more than just Jack Sparrow, they’ve got pretty much every single Pirates character like Davy Jones and such. The only thing that really struck me about this one is that all the Pirates characters look worse than they did in Kingdom Hearts II! Sad.
I had forgotten that this game even existed, but I remember its concept trailer being pretty popular when it came out all those years ago. The conceit is still pretty grounded in a wacky 1950’s Russian aesthetic, but who knows what it’ll really be. There’s still no release date, or like, gameplay outside of setpieces so????? Who knows.
Psychonauts 2 is apparently for real coming out on August 25th! After being delayed this many times, I must express a degree of trepidation, that has only exacerbated my concerns that I don’t think a sequel to Psychonauts almost 20 years later could be all that good. While it’s fun to hear the Invader Zim voice again, most of the comedy feels like it’s been taken right out of the original’s playbook, and I don’t know how well that plays in the irony-warped year of 2021. There aren’t that many 3D platformers left though, so maybe just that’ll be enough to be happy about.
This is just Gang Beasts with animals???? This is just Gang Beasts with animals. Okay.
The best Roguelite of all time is coming to consoles other than the Nintendo Switch! Hades will be on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S through Game Pass on August 13th. Please play this one if you haven’t already, one of the GOATs.
So this just looks like Limbo or Inside and there’s a reason for that! It’s made by the former CEO of Playdead, the company that made those! This one shockingly didn’t lead with the weird random child murder so I was a little confused at first. Somerville looks like a sad dad game set in an alien apocalypse of some kind. That’s probably the general gist of the game -these affairs don’t usually have dialogue of any kind- but we might find out more before its release in 2022.
Energy Sword Sunday.
Halo Infinite returns after its bumpy first reveal with a short look at Master Chief hopping around. It originally seemed like Infinite was going to take a bit of a departure from the main story that 343 had been setting up, but this new cinematic placed it firmly in a post Halo 5 world. There’s all sorts of mentions about Cortana and they added a new AI lady for Master Chief to talk to as well since she’s uh, gone?
They also finally showed multiplayer for the first time and it sure looks like Halo! There are some new armor ability type things like hand-held shields that bounce back plasma pistol shots that seem like they could be really fun if balanced correctly. My only problems with modern Halo have stemmed from trying to be like Call of Duty, and the ways the fetishization of military aesthetics have of course come along with that. While what was shown does little to allay my concerns, it looks like a lot of the funkier Halo vehicles are back, and they made new cool samurai armor that you can wear so maybe it’ll be really cool again! A girl can dream.
Halo Infinite and the first season of its free to play multiplayer will launch sometime this Holiday season.
A Plague Tale: Requiem
So this is like out of nowhere but they’re making a sequel to A Plague Tale, a game that has one of the most insane endings I’ve ever seen in a video game. This time around it seems like they’re frontloading the rat tornadoes, which is cool I guess. The vibes of this game are inscrutable to me, but I’m sure somewhere out there is someone incredibly stoked that the evil Plague Pope is gonna spit rats at you again.
Slime Rancher 2
Oh cool they’re making Slime Rancher 2! I still haven’t played the original, but I love the concept behind the game, and I think I’ve bought it for like three different people over the years. While I wonder what could be so boldly new and different about a sequel, it’s still cute and nice, so that’s good.
You can snowboard with your bros, December 2021.
This game looked sort of like that Cyberpunk one that was made by the weird UBI guy from a couple years ago, do you remember that? Anyways this game is made by Sad Cat and Coat Sink which really rips to type out like this let me tell you. While the gameplay seems pretty interesting and the lighting is really cool, I can’t help but be fatigued by its dour and redundant post-apocalyptic imagery. Can we please move on from the post-apocalypse I am begging you. Replaced comes out sometime in 2022.
The weird Honey I Shrunk the Kids game from Obsidian is getting a new “Shroom and Doom” update. This will add mushrooms and the ability to sit, alongside a bunch of other stuff. There was one bit where they introduced a big spider boss and then joked about how you could put on the arachnophobia slider to make it look like an orb and I get that it is very funny but it felt kind of weird! Anyways that’s coming out June 30th.
While it’s unclear whether this will be coming out alongside the other stuff outlined at the Summer Games Fest, Among Us will be adding 15 player lobbies. Crazy.
They pretty much just showed the trailer from the Kickstarter campaign for this Suikoden spiritual successor. Afterwards, a weird spin-off 2D platformer or brawler game called Eiyuden Chronicles Rising was announced to be coming out in 2022, with the full game coming in 2023. While I’m sure they’re being made by different teams, I really wonder why all of these Kickstarters just make one of their stretch goals to make an entirely separate ass game. So weird to me.
Age of Empires IV
It looks like Age of Empires but they asked me what I would do if I could control history and buddy I’d rather play Fate/Grand Order.
The Outer Worlds 2
An incredibly painful trailer that spoofed AAA games concepts trailers announced that Obsidian is working on a sequel to The Outer Worlds. Apparently it’s still in incredibly early development, so they have absolutely nothing to show. I really did not care for The Outer Worlds, I felt that its critiques of capitalism were so surface level and devoid of genuine human understanding that I couldn’t even begin to resonate with its world or characters. I know the game has plenty of fans though, so I hope that it at least delivers something they can enjoy whenever it comes out.
Microsoft Flight Simulator
This one is coming to consoles on July 27th, that’s pretty much all there is to it. There will also be a weird Top Gun expansion later this year, but very little was shown and it’s unclear what that will even be? The only thing I know about Microsoft Flight Simulator is they recently cut their game file size down significantly and in a world of Call of Duty Warzones I truly respect that.
Forza Horizon 5
Forza Horizon 5 is the fifth Forza Horizon game, yeah. This one takes place in Mexico and takes you around to all sorts of pretty places that games usually ignore when they make their weird racist fearmongering renditions of Mexico! Very cool plateaus, old architecture mingling with modern day, it’s all really nice to see. They also seem to be adding some more party modes to the game, with things like Bowling, or Pinata collecting. There also seems to be some sort of Halo map editor type stuff that looks like Fall Guys? Unclear. This presentation was like 15 minutes long and I retained nothing except for the fact that they did the fake presentation multiplayer talking and I live for that shit. Forza Horizon 5 drops November 9th 2021.
This is a new single-player/co-op game from Arkane studios, the people who make Dishonored and Prey, as well as the upcoming Deathloop. Redfall looks like some sort of vampire survival/arcade game, but it’s hard to tell exactly what gameplay will be like from its proof of concept cinematic. A lot of the dialogue was cringe-inducing, but ultimately if the real game does deliver on the premise of actually killing vampires via their designated weak points that could make for something really interesting!
It’s also pretty funny to me that this was the game that got all the Youtubers in a tizzy last year when the name Redfall got copyrighted because they were so sure it was Elder Scrolls VI! Remember to never trust leakers, everyone!