What if Pokemon Snap was about capitalism?
Microsoft just finished up their first event in the Summer of Keighly and boy, there was some stuff that was interesting… I guess? It was a good half hour of content followed by some decent interviews that sold me on some games and took away some of my excitement for others. But I guess that’s what you get when you look at games with a mass market PR focus. They had games with guns, games with cars, a lot of really bad logo designs, and a Batman fake out that turned out to be a mediocre looking vampire game. There is a lot to go over so let’s just jump right into it.
Microsoft opened the show with a game from FYQD Studio that’s being published by Playism called Bright Memory Infinite, where as a still, its logo reads really poorly and my brain is calling it Bright Infinite Memory because while I was taking notes I looked up to just see the final logo rather than the infinite fade in. It seems to be the Stardew Valley of Shooty Pew Pews in that it really seems to be trying to be every video game in one with what looks like some pretty decent parkour gunplay, sword fighting Spartans, and even combat driving. It was A LOT and to find out that it’s being made by one person in FYQD was interesting and really hammers the nail in on that Stardew Valley comparison. I’m wondering just how this is all going to work when it comes out as it left me more excited than most of the trailers they showed, because it actually felt more like real gameplay than a lot of what was shown. It looked clunky, visually muddy, and messy as hell and that’s more interesting to me that seeing that fully polished slice we usually get. It’s weird being interested in a time travel shooter that ends with a driving segment in a (Not) Delorean than I feel like I should be and the more I think about this one the more interested I become.
Oh hell yes, Codemasters are back and getting DiRTy and I am 100% here for it. I have always loved the DiRT franchise and getting a real look at DiRT 5 was a blast from the past. It looks like the usual great DiRT game and when they went into some more detail after the show it got me really excited. I am down for more games bringing back split screen gameplay and hey, 4 player split screen racing is something that would be huge if I still had my old roommates. If you’ve played a DiRT game before you know what you are getting into here and I’m really excited for it. But, if you’ll allow me to get sarcastic for a second they made a massive deal about Nolan North being the games campaign protagonist and Troy Baker being in there and OH MY GOD HOW EXCITING WE’VE NEVER SEEN THIS AMAZING THING BEFORE! TROY BAKER AND NOLAN NORTH IN A VIDEO GAME AMAZING WOW! ok, my eyes have rolled far enough back into my head at this point so let’s just move on to the next game.
Oh god no eyes please stop rolling, please, it’s getting dangerous to roll this far back. Say hello to Scorn, developed by Ebb Software and published by Humble. It’s the Geigerest Geiger to ever Geiger and I’m not sure if I’m into what they are showing. Maybe some gameplay would help but at this point it’s just a really excessively horny cinematic that tells me nothing. The trailer started with me going oh look, it’s Prometheus, cool that seems like it could be an interesting world to explore and then instantly gets into the super phallic white goo dripping everything. I really need to see more because if they are just doing Geiger to do Geiger I really can’t find myself caring. I wish I could but what they showed took me from interested to complete indifference by the end of whatever this PornHub Aliens game is going to be.
Speaking of horny, we’re looking at what looks like a love story between a woman and her spaceship in Chorvs? Chorus? I’m confused, graphic design continues to be a passion in some of these logo designs. Deep Silver and Fishlabs bring us something that looks like a pretty solid space combat game. Something I’m always down for and I love what I’m looking at and if this is going to make me love a spaceship the same way I love my Titan BT, I’m so down for it. But space combat is always hit-or-miss for me and I’m hoping this one ends up being a hit.
Anyway Madden is coming and if you buy it on the regular Xbox One by December you can get it on the Series X for free until March. Thanks Patrick Mahomes. I couldn’t care less.
Oh wait nevermind, I actually can care less. Say hello to Vampire: the Masquerade Bloodlines 2 from Hardsuit Labs and Paradox Interactive. You might be fooled into thinking it was a Batman trailer at the start with all those giant Joker smiles but no, it’s an incredibly mediocre looking game based on an incredibly mediocre tabletop game. (I HAVE OPINIONS) Seriously though that trailer was so tryhard edgy I thought it was a 90’s Image Comic. I have nothing positive to say about this, I actually enjoyed the original Bloodlines but this did nothing to sell me on this new game and actively turned me off to it. Then again it’s V:tM which has always been pretty much exactly that and I’ve lost my tolerance for people trying to sell me on things with “Look how edgy we are” marketing. Between this and Scorn we got a lot of that with this presentation.
Finally, something I’m interested in again. It’s Call of the Sea, a 1930’s-style adventure game from Out of the Blue and Raw Fury. I’m a pretty big proponent of adventure games these days as good chill experiences with good storytelling. Solon described this as we were watching as Journey meets the Shape of Water but really it’s far more Firewatch than Journey. Anyway, I really hope this game has someone get horny for a fish-man to keep up the theme of having a lot of sexual tension in this presentation. Honestly this looks pretty damned interesting and I’m excited to see what it actually is, especially since I might actually be controlling a fishperson sometimes.
I don’t even know what The Ascent from Neon Giant and Curve Digital is. It looks like a top down shooter, it looks like a Diablo, do we call it a top down shlooter? I want to punch myself in the head just for typing that last sentence but it looks like it could be a pretty cool co-op experience. Once again, though, the trailer leans way too hard into some try-hard edgy stuff but y’know, if I can be a lady alien with a giant mech suit taking down corporations I’m down for that.
Speaking of edgy stories, it’s The Medium from Bloober Team and holy crap, I am so down for this. A shifting world from regular dilapidated buildings to a supernatural one with music from Akira Yamaoka? LET ME SAY THAT LAST PART AGAIN: THE MUSIC IS FROM AKIRA YAMAOKA! Ya’ll, this is just a new Silent Hill and I am screaming with excitement. Bloober Team has made some really good horror games in the past along with The Blair Witch game which had some promising ideas but didn’t quite hit the highs of their previous games in Observer and Layers of Fear. I have a lot of hope for this one and I can’t wait to see more.
Now we get to shift into anime with Scarlet Nexus from Bandai-Namco which we all thought was Code Vein 2 for most of the trailer. What a weird ride that was, thinking it was a sequel or an expansion to another game. It’s from former members of the Tales of team so I continue to have no idea what this is. Is it going to be an action RPG? A character action game? A Soulslike? Who cares? It looks anime as hell, that’s just about all I need to be somewhat interested in a Bamco project of this style. It’s weird how even though they have a set style where their games bleed into each other with looking kind of samey, I’m still excited for more now that they’ve really gotten into more varying game styles with their anime bullshit.
I guess that was enough anime because now it’s time for Systemic Reaction’s Second Extinction. I guess we’re reclaiming earth from the dinosaurs in a co-op game that looks like a fantastically mediocre experience. It looks like a blend of Turok and one of those Left 4 Dead like games just without one person being able to control cool dinosaurs. Tell me when I can play as a cool dino and I’ll be interested, until then this is another one for the meh pile.
And now we are to the highlight of the presentation. The Xbox once again has a great JRPG we can play that isn’t Lost Odyssey. That’s right, Yakuza: Like A Dragon from Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio and SEGA is coming to Xbox and Windows 10 and I could not be more excited. I have no idea what Yakuza even is with the shift to JRPG combat but I am so excited to hop back into that franchise and find out. I also love that they have finally mastered how to sell these games, by showing off both the serious parts and the fact that it’s goofy as hell. Bless you RGG for this franchise. You can summon crabs and apparently have a magic bat so please give me the game now.
We close with Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla from Ubisoft and well, remember how excited I was talking about it on last week’s podcast? A lot of my enthusiasm is right out the window as well, it seems like it’s going to be all England all the time. I’m still excited for it because I loved Odyssey but this feels so … watered down for the show. I know it’s a PR presentation and they are trying to sell the game to the mass market but I don’t care about “Living my viking dream” or whatever bullshit you are trying to sell me like that. I want to hear actual details about the settlement building, poetry slam battles and whatever. Ubisoft, your reveal trailer was showing the contrast between what the Saxons were saying and what the Vikings were doing. With this you’re just shouting YEAH EXTREME RAIDING AND SACKING OF VILLAGES YEAH EXTREME PILLAGING! I care so much less when you try to sell me with some tryhard edgelord garbage where you continue to only show the dude version of the main character even though the special edition seems to come with a statue of the woman version of the MC.
Wow, what a disappointing way to end this thing. I shouldn’t be surprised considering how much EXTREME TRYHARD EDGELORD permeated this whole thing. There is a lot that I’ll have to see more of before I can actually bring myself to care beyond annoyance, but there were some definite bright spots and things I’m really excited for and the fact that a good chunk of these games I can buy on my PC and have for when I finally decide to buy a Series X is nice. What do ya’ll think? Are you ready for that Series X? Or are you going to continue to wait it out with your regular Xbox and PC?