It’s no secret, the summer months (specifically July and August) are usually the worst for video gaming. Caught between one of the largest gaming conventions out there and the holiday season which is ripe with triple-A releases vying for your attention. After a solid spring, which is also a great season for gaming, publishers, and developers need a break so that they can capitalize on the swarms of consumers at the end of the year.
Sure, you’re treated to a gem here and there. July brought us what will definitely be remembered as one of the most fun experiences of the year in the form of Rocket League, but the month saw no other breakout hits. That left many to just accept that things would be relatively dead until September came to save us from the drought with Kojima’s next masterpiece and Mad Max. But it seems as if the drought may have ended early this year with the gaming deities blessing the masses with a refreshing rain of gaming goodness.
August started off with two stellar releases in its very first week. Galak-Z, an indie arcade-y space shooter for 17-BIT wowed us with its underlying depth and striking visuals. Then there was Rare Replay, with its collection of 30 games (yup, three-zero, that’s a lot of games) retro fans, or those looking to adventure through Rare’s three decade long history will have plenty of games to keep them occupied for a long time. Not to mention all of the neat additions, such as challenges and behind the scenes footage.
But those were only just a taste to let fans of video games everywhere know that August would be good to them. For the first time in a very long time, August has an extensive lineup of games offering impressive variety so that literally everyone will find something worth picking up throughout the course of the month.
Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture and Volume lead the indie front while showing off the variety offered by small, highly talented teams. One is an eerily beautiful take on the apocalypse, while the other comes from a man who managed to make rectangles interesting people.
On the triple-A side of things you have quite a few releases that won’t just tide you over, but have the potential to provide some top-notch experiences. Until Dawn is a PlayStation 4 exclusive that will put players in control of the lives of young adults in the fight for survival. Decisions will mold the game and alter the course of events, making this one prime for replaying.
There is also Gears of War Ultimate Edition and the Black Ops III beta to satisfy itchy trigger fingers looking for some new FPS action. Madden NFL 16 will bring the sports fans something to cheer for over the coming months. And, for the kids (and adults still in touch with their inner youth), there is Disney Infinity 3.0. Toys, Star Wars, and video games, that sounds like a match made in heaven.
These few titles mentioned here are just a fraction of what’s in store for gamers to look forward to this month, but they help to show the amount and variety being put out by developers. In a month, that is usually lucky to see one or two good games, the future lineup is looking impeccable over the coming weeks.
What was always known as a period of emptiness, one to be filled with backlogs and discussions of the future has been changed. This is an interesting turn of events, but one that is definitely a good thing. It shows that developers are starting to take the middle of the year more seriously by providing quality content to be enjoyed. The drought is finally over.
And this isn’t just an “over for now but will return later in the year” either (although it may very well return next year). The coming months have some highly anticipated titles lined up. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Fallout 4, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, Destiny: The Taken King, Halo 5: Guardians, Super Mario Maker and a lot more have the potential to make this one of the most exciting years in gaming we’ve seen in a long time.
Now, does this mean a new dawn for all coming summers? Only time will tell. The drought has always existed for a number of reasons, reasons that won’t soon disappear. But, if success can be found during the months of July and August on a regular basis, then we may see a shift away from the drought system and one where games are spread evenly over the year.
So, while we won’t jump the gun and say droughts are never to return, we can safely say that this year’s drought is over. With August’s strong lineup of games, and the coming months bearing loads of heavy hitters, this year is going to be a great one for gamers.