Is July the Deadest Video Game Month Ever?

Following a month that gave us Mirror’s Edge Catalyst, Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE, and Zero Time Dilemma, and preceding the launch of the long awaited No Man’s Sky, are there many video game releases to look forward to in July?

July has in the past become a cooling period for video game releases, giving the industry some breathing room in between E3 and the beginning triple-A influx in the fall. For instance, some of the biggest games this year, including Final Fantasy XV, Pokemon Sun and Moon, and Dishonored 2, are launching in September and November respectively, leaving few big games in July.

Some of June’s biggest games, however, released in late June, just missing the dry month. Playdead’s Xbox One and PC spiritual successor to 2010’s Limbo, Inside, launched between the two months, with the Xbox One version releasing on June 29 and the PC version on July 7, although most fans played the Xbox One version prior to July. Spike Chunsoft’s finale to the Zero Escape visual novel mystery series, Zero Time Dilemma, also released just shy of a July release, launching on June 28 for the Nintendo 3DS, PS Vita and on PC on June 30. Both games were critically acclaimed, with Zero Time Dillemma being Twinfinite’s Game of the month in June.

zero time dilemma cover

There are numerous titles – while mostly short in game length and niche – still releasing in July however. Nintendo’s Pokemon GO soft-launched in Australia, New Zealand, and the United States on July 6, and has been on the minds of the gaming community and internet for days despite being a location-based mobile app. The game’s popularity doesn’t seem to be diminishing any time soon as well with thousands of fans in Sydney, Australia meeting up to “catch ‘em all.”

Tokyo RPG Factory’s old-school Japanese role-playing game I Am Setsuna is also launching this month on the 19th and looks spectacular with a turn-based battle system, beautiful piano-heavy soundtrack, and gorgeous world. GameStop’s and Insomniac Games’ collaborative metroidvania Song of the Deep is set to entertain those who aren’t fans of Japanese role-playing games or Pokemon as well, releasing on July 12.

Sandwiched between the biggest month for video game news and the beginning of the rest of the AAA releases for the year, July is undoubtedly the deadest month for gamers when it comes to releases. While August is often quite sparse with mostly annual sports games and one big game launching, this year is seeing a slight change with Deus Ex: Mankind Divided for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC, and the hugely anticipated space simulator, No Man’s Sky, launching on August 23 and August 9 respectively.

Smaller titles such as Metroid Prime: Federation Force, Attack on Titan, and God Eater 2: Rage Burst are also slated for August 19 and 30 releases, and the World of Warcraft: Legion expansion will release at the end of the month too – and will no doubt take up a lot of people’s time. Despite its few video game releases, August’s lineup is more impressive than July, with a greater variety of games from both AAA studios and niche indies; and each game mentioned above has a strong following, unlike many games releasing in July that will no doubt fall under the radar.

However, July’s limited video game releases isn’t necessarily a bad thing. A month with few video game releases might actually play into the community’s favor, giving us time to go back to games that released earlier in the year that we didn’t get the chance of playing. I’ve personally found myself returning to the 3DS’ Fire Emblem: Fates and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt’s Heart of Stone expansion, and spending hours in the world of Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE which only released on the Wii U late June. July might be the deadest month in video game releases every year, but that’s okay if it gives us time to chip away at our piles of shame before the onslaught of AAA releases begins in September-November.

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