Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Breathing room

Game Informer's cautious realism is vindicated once again with news that Sam Fisher has, in fact, snuck past his fall release. The list of games not coming out this fall is an impressive one. Besides Splinter Cell: Conviction, you can look forward to not playing Bioshock 2, Heavy Rain, Singularity, Red Steel II, Bayonetta, MAG, Starcraft 2, Red Dead Redemption, and almost certainly many more. The fall 2010 release window is starting to look like Omaha Beach.

This is the best news I could imagine.

In recent years, the holiday videogame season has turned into a form of ironic punishment. If you like one AAA action title, the reasoning goes, you're going to love several of them every week! So we flail to keep up with the rising tide of must-have games, using each new release as a handhold on the way to the next one, because, dude, I'm pretty sure the one that comes out next week is GOTY material. It's like your mom catching you with a cigarette and forcing you to chain-smoke a whole pack, just to teach you a lesson.

In the meantime, nobody can stop to sink their teeth into games that deserve thoughtful consideration. Some games get overlooked completely amid the hubbub, games that at other times of the year would rightfully earn the spotlight. Sometimes it seems like being a gamer today is more about catching 'em all than about playing them once you've got them, in the same way that Facebook is more about collecting people like baseball cards than about friendship.

I say we should enjoy the chance to go deeper with fewer games this year. And it's not as though we'll be wanting for anything new: Batman: Arkham Asylum, Uncharted 2, Modern Warfare 2, Beatles Rock Band, Brutal Legend, Halo 3: ODST, Borderlands, Ratchet and Clank Future: A Crack in Time, Assassin's Creed 2, Left 4 Dead 2, and freaking dozens of other games are still on the schedule.

Geez, look at that list. It would be nice if a couple more of them got pushed back, actually. We'll never have time to play all that.


feitclub said...

Don't we now run the risk of having a stacked Q1 next year? Or do you think these delayed games will be held back until the summer or later?

Mitch Krpata said...

Even if they do all come out in Q1, I think it's still a steadier flow than it would have been otherwise. That sounds like a good thing to me.

Gary A. Lucero said...

I only have so much money to spend and the delays don't change what is must-have for me. If one of the three or four games I plan on purchasing slipped to 2010 it wouldn't be a big deal. If they all did, well, that would suck.

But the slipping dates are all good news as long as the 1st quarter doesn't end up becoming the big holiday push. How are consumers going to come up with gobs of cash in the first few months of the new year anyway?

For me, I don't think it matters. I buy a lot of games but a couple of major Western RPGs make up the bulk of my play time and the shooters and action adventure games are filler. When I'm done with them I sell them and that's that.

For others, people who buy tons of games throughout the year, moving things to early 2010 may be a little harder to handle.

Tyler said...

Personally, the only one on that list that excites me at all is Brutal Legend, and that's less exciting for the gameplay and more exciting for the writing and humor. But I don't play that many straight-up action games anyway. Well, actually, Batman and AC2 look cool, but I'm going to have to wait until those have been out to decide whether I want them.

I spend a lot of time and money buying old PS2 and Gamecube games, so personally, I kind of enjoy the fall rush a bit, since there's bound to be something new in it that I like. Of course, I'm not expected to play all of the new games, either.

Sparky said...

I'm with you -- I'm kind of happy about the way things have turned out in terms of the thinning of releases. Now the squeeze will come on the DS, with Professor Layton, Bowser's Inside Story, and Scribblenauts all hitting within a few weeks of each other in late August/early September. Paring my likely console titles down to about 6 for the fall is the best thing that could have happened: more time to enjoy the new releases, more time to replay older games.

Reed Brown said...

I'm not one to support the holiday season but sadly I get most of my games at Christmas. My PS3's gonna be pretty lonely considering I play shooters and Rock Band on the 360. Some of the games I'll be missing

God of War III
Heavy Rain
The Last Guardian
and MAG.

Russ said...

I'm liking the news of all the delays too. It will give me more time to get deeper into some of the games I currently own. Also, I'm seeing a lot of great deals on games that were released in '08, and even early '09, that I was interested in, but they got lost in the flood of all the titles that were released in the last quarter of '08.
Based on what I had heard about some of those games I probably never would have paid the full $60 for them.
But Mirror's Edge for $20? Sure, why not?

Brenna said...

Is "snuck" a word? I'm not asking to be a douche, but because I use it all the time and seeing that you've used it makes me think it is a word, even though I still suspect it might be "sneaked."

Mitch Krpata said...

"Snuck" is a perfectly cromulent word.

Anonymous said...

For a guy like you (Mitch), who's a game reviewer (and who perhaps feels some obligation to stay "in the know" even on those games you don't review), I can absolutely understand hating the fourth-quarter crunch.

As for everyone else? If you don't like chain-smoking the whole pack, then don't. You actually don't have to play every major game the minute it comes out, if you don't want to. (In fact, you don't have to play every major game, period.) It's okay. I totally understand the pressure to catch 'em all -- I feel it too -- but if you're not enjoying it, figure out how to stop doing it. Seriously, you'll enjoy the games more if you slow down, enjoy a few games at your own pace, and don't approach it as "work" to slog through all these gaming obligations.

Ultimately, there's no reason your playing schedule should be dictated by the release schedule.

- Dave

Mitch Krpata said...


Anonymous said...

I don't think Starcraft 2 belongs in that list. Anyone who wants it will buy it over any other game, and probably over food/gas/indoor plumbing. The fanbase waiting for that game could care less what else is coming out around the same time.