After a couple weeks of small releases we’ve finally hit the big leagues, with multiple massive AAA titles coming out every week until December. Those video game companies can smell your blood money in the water and they’re hungry, hoping you’ll be the foolish one to fall into their gaping maws. Are you ready?
The Outer Worlds (PC – Epic Games Store/PS4/Xbox One) – Releases Oct. 25th, Switch version TBA
I had an internal debate about what the featured game of the week should be, and initially I was going to go with Call of Duty, but then I realized that it’s an annual release, just another in a long line of similar titles, while an Obsidian RPG in the vein of Fallout: New Vegas is such a rare occurrence that it only felt right to give it the top spot. Finding success in the last few years with Pillars of Eternity, a game that harkend back to their days of making isometric CRPGs for Interplay at Black Isle, it’s nice to see Obsidian going back to the big Bethesda-esque open world RPG, as New Vegas is, in my opinion, the best title in the Fallout series of games (barring the originals). In The Outer Worlds, players take on the role of an unnamed colonist who wakes from their croysleep chamber before everyone else only to discover that their ship has gone astray and stranded them in deep space. With no one to turn to, the player takes a ship and begins exploring the few worlds on the far edges of colonized space. From here, in typical fashion, you will meet a cast of colorful characters who will give you quests to complete, and you’ll come across hordes of crazy creates who all want to take a bite out of you. I’m more than ready to get lost in this big open world and could use a little laugh in this satire of capitalism and science fiction.
The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III (PS4) – Releases Oct. 22nd
It’s part three of the fifth installment in the Legend of Heroes franchise (the 14th overall in the mainline series if you’re counting). I would just say that this is yet another JRPG in a long line of JRPGs, but I’m sure people would get mad at me as it seems that this is one of the more anticipated releases of the year. Picking up a year and half after the events of part II, protagonist Rean Schwarzer is now a professor, and the story follows his adventures at school with his students (that sounds familiar…) and his former classmates who are all now in various roles. I’m unfamiliar with the past games in the series, so I’m not sure how big a deal this it, but apparently they have sped up the battle process in an effort to move the game along and cut down on the playtime. This sounds like a huge boon in its favor, as grinding battle in a JRPG is among the most tedious things you can do in a video game.
WWE 2K20 (PC/PS4/Xbox One) – Releases Oct. 22nd
I saw the woman on the cover of this game at Comic-Con, she has really nice hair. Do you like wrestling? I don’t, so I’m only writing this much about it. The game is also not coming out for the Switch, but you can probably still get copies of WWE 2K18 dirt cheap from most retailers.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (PC/PS4/Xbox One) – Releases Oct. 25th
After last year’s campaign-less CoD: BLOPS IIII, Activision and Infinity Ward have “heard you loud and clear” and put a campaign in the upcoming re-boot of the Modern Warfare sub-series. Do you need me to talk more about this game? It’s Call of Duty, you have to know what you’re getting here by now; a morally ambiguous story about fighting terrorists that no one will play and the same old multiplayer BS you’ve been playing since high school or college while an eleven year old calls you the N-word and the F-word. Enjoy!
MediEvil Remaster (PS4) – Releases Oct. 25th
Hey, all twenty of you who were asking for it; MediEvil is back and remastered for modern consoles! How was the latest EvilCon? Did you cosplay as the main character? Did everyone cosplay as the main character? You all did? Nice.
Ports and Re-releases:
Skullgirls: Second Encore (Switch) – Releases Oct. 22nd
Two weeks ago saw the release of Lab Zero Games’ latest title Indivisible, and action RPG for PC, PS4 and Xbox One. Now this week we are treated to a Switch release of their first title, the fighting game Skullgirls. Featuring more fantastic artwork from Mariel “Kinuko” Cartwright, this fast paced brawler is gorgeous to look at and fun to play.
HAUNTED: Halloween ’86 (Switch) – Releases Oct. 24th
While this is likely not the most anticipated game re-release of all time, sometimes a title is so perfect that I have to highlight it. Originally made as a homebrew NES game in 2017, this title is now making its way to the Switch in what I can only assume is a dream come true for the developers. Featuring Kunio-Kun-esque character sprites, this platforming brawler has you fighting zombies as you try to save your town from being overrun by the dead. It looks fun.
This is the new layout for this section; deal with it.
- Destiny Connect: Tick-Tock Travelers (PS4/Switch) – Releases Oct. 22nd
- Mary Skelter 2 (Switch) – Releases Oct. 22nd
- Moons of Madness (PC) – Releases Oct. 22nd, PS4 in January
- Street Outlaws: The List (PC/PS4/Switch/Xbox One) – Releases Oct. 22nd
- Skybolt Zack (PC/Switch) – Releases Oct. 24th
- Let’s Sing Country (PC/Switch/Xbox One) – Releases Oct. 25th
Notable Releases from 10, 20 and 30 years ago:
Once again we have a three titles that are all vastly different from one another, from a MOBA classic to a game that would lay the seeds for one of the most successful franchises of all time; also Godzilla.
League of Legends (PC) – Released Oct. 27th, 2009: Wiki Link
For its ten year anniversary, Riot Games invited several long time players and community members to their offices for a special event. A co-worker of mine, Michael Vaughn, has been playing the game since the early days of its inception ten years ago. Instead of a normal summary of the game and its history, I thought it would be cool to instead talk to him about his experiences with the game and also a bit about the special event; enjoy!
What is your relationship with League of Legends; when did you start playing?
I’ve been playing MOBAs since DotA (the Warcraft III mod). I would play it in my hall at university with all my friends. A couple of years after picking up DotA, League of Legends entered its closed beta. My friends and I were pretty pumped to play it since it was promising to be the next generation of MOBA in a sense. Unfortunately, the university blocked the ports to play the game online, and we couldn’t LAN party this one. So my friends and I would take our computers, including a couple of desktops, to the seminary across the street (with open internet ports) and play together. We occasionally setup outside on their picnic-style tables, and we’d get lots of funny looks from people, but that was part of the appeal, y’know? Some of my favorite memories from college were spent playing League outside with my friends. To this day, League is still my favorite game, and I keep up with friends from school by playing it.
Wow, so you’ve been on this game since the beginning? Did you get a sense right away that it would turn into a massive hit?
Yep! I’m one of the old dudes in here. As far as knowing it’d be a hit, well that was kind of a crapshoot. I really just enjoyed MOBAs, and League was particularly fun. Another MOBA actually released before League called Heroes of Newerth (HoN). My friends and I picked that game up as well, and we would occasionally play it together. However, it was really aiming to be more of a clone of DotA, where League was deviating from the formula a bit and sort of evolving things more. For me, it ultimately came down to preferring League’s formula to HoN’s formula. I just enjoyed the League mechanics more. When DotA 2 released on Steam a bit later, I was fairly unimpressed. It felt like I was taking a step back into the old way of doing things. Note, I totally get the appeal of HoN and Dota 2, but I just really prefer the League of Legends format.
I only have a passing familiarity with MOBAs, so what sets LoL apart from DotA and other games in the genre?
They all tend to be similar, in that they’re normally team games focused on obtaining some sort of objective. The typical formula is a 5 v 5 (or 3 v 3) where teams work to destroy an enemy base with different lanes for teams to spread their players across. Eventually, after gaining experience and income in a lane, the team will level up and purchase items to increase their power. There are lots of variations on this formula, but those are the basics across most MOBAs.
What sets League apart is a bit nuanced. In DotA, the granddaddy of MOBAs, teams try to land the killing blow on units like minions or towers in order to obtain gold. If you miss the last hit, you don’t get anything but the experience. So a strange mechanic that people would utilize in DotA is killing their own allies in order to “deny” gold to the enemy team. While denying made sense as a mechanic, it doesn’t really make sense from a logical point of view. Why should killing your own units be a valid mechanic? It complicates games and makes the barrier of entry very high for new players who don’t get the reasoning behind murdering units on their own team. That’s only one small example…there are lots of weird mechanics from DotA that a few of the newer MOBAs have held on to. League simplified a few of those things while still maintaining the same major strategies and mechanics. I prefer the modernized evolution of League.
Recently Riot had a special fan event for League of Legends that you were invited to, correct? How did they get in contact with you, and what was the reason? Can you tell me a bit about your time there and what the experience was like?
I got a random email from Riot games saying that I’d been invited to a 10 year anniversary event in LA. They claimed they were flying me out and putting me up in a hotel…and it seemed too good to be true! I actually sent in a support ticket just to confirm it was all real…and it was! The basic gist of everything was that since I’d been playing for so long and because I’d played honorably (basically, not getting reported and playing respectfully), they wanted to fly me out as a thank you of sorts. I couldn’t turn that offer down!
As far as what the experience was like, it felt like finding the golden ticket to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. When I arrived at the hotel, I found out that only 100 summoners (players) had been invited to the event, and out of those 100, only 74 were able to come. I was the only person from Kentucky, which was pretty wild. Either way, it was amazing to meet other people who’d spent as much time and dedication to the game as me. Some of them had also been playing since beta. Others were volunteer moderators on the League of Legends boards and subreddit. Regardless, I couldn’t believe I managed to be part of such a small number of people invited.
The day after I arrived, they gave us a tour of Riot headquarters where they introduced us to the people behind the creation of the game, including the two main minds behind the beginning of League, Marc Merrill and Brandon Beck. They hosted a short Q&A and then introduced us to Rioters who would show us around campus. My Rioter was a pretty cool guy, and he guided us around campus the whole day to different events and sights to see.
You said you still keep up with the game, right? Is League still as strong as it once was or has it run its course? Ten years is a long time to focus on one game. Do they plan on releasing anything else?
League still has a pretty incredible presence. I don’t know the numbers, but they still have a massive, committed player-base. I believe that people will continue to maintain interest in League because it fills a niche that other games haven’t quite matched just yet.
Also, Riot Games will finally be able to claim the plurality in their company name! They announced several cool things at the event, including a new shooter, a top-down exploration-focused game, a fighter, a collectible card game, an animated series, and more. So while they’re diversifying, they certainly seem like they’ll be keeping up with their original cash cow as well.
Are these all League of Legends spin-off’s or can we expect new IPs?
As far as the other games are concerned, from my understanding at the event, most of the games are League of Legends-related. It seems like the shooter may very well be a standalone title. I think they have a video which goes into more detail about it.
Going back to the event, the thing that surprised me the most was that they created a mural at Riot HQ with the names of “Summoners of Distinction.” I (Neocheese) made the cut!
Nice, so you’re forever enshrined on the walls of the Riot offices.
It’s cool feeling like I’m a part of the “history” of my favorite game. My mind was blown.
I think a lot of us in the video gaming hobby would love to be able to have our favorite game and/or company hold us in such high regard that they’d do something as awesome as put our names on their wall. Well, I appreciate you taking the time to talk to me, I’ll let you get out of here, but before you take off you have a YouTube channel, right? Did you want to talk a bit about that and let people know where to find you?
Yeah! My gaming-focused Youtube channel, Loser Loser, has been a bit inactive for the past year or so since I moved, but my buddy Job and I are working to put together more content, including a summary of the trip I just took with more videos and photos taken at Riot HQ. I’ve not put the video together yet, but it’ll eventually be live over at www.loserloser.win
UPDATE: The video was finished.
Awesome. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with the game and about your time hanging out at the Riot offices.
Grand Theft Auto 2 (PC/PlayStation) – Released Oct. 22nd, 1999: Wiki Link
After finding modest success with the first Grand Theft Auto in 1997, series developer DMA design began work on a sequel, however there were two new names behind the scenes that would be crucial in turning the franchise into a global phenomenon; Dan and Sam Houser. While original co-creator David Jones would be credited as director on the game, it was the two Houser brothers that seemed to drive a lot of the tone of the game. With Sam producing and Dan writing, the game would show early signs of what we’d find in later entries; fully scripted radio shows, cynical antagonists that you must revere and then manipulate, satirical social commentary, and a strong cinematic influence. Reception of the game was mixed upon release, with most reviewers praising the title for its direction and story, but it took some heavy hits in the gameplay department as it didn’t seem to differentiate itself enough from its predecessor, and in an age of 3D graphics, GTA 2‘s top down, 2D view just wasn’t cutting it (particularly with games like Driver on the market). Two years later, however, the team at DMA would take the best parts of this title, and marry it with (at the time) cutting edge 3D graphics, completely revolutionizing the video game landscape…but that’s a story for another day.
Godzilla: Monster of Monsters (NES) – Released Oct. 1989: Wiki Link
For his first NES outing, Godzilla teamed up with the lovable Mothra as they would attempt to save Earth from the monsters of Planet X. To do this, Godzilla and Mothra would go from planet to planet, moving around a game board in which they would encounter side scrolling levels and eventually boss monsters from various Godzilla movies. Initial reviews weren’t too kind to the game, with reviewers calling the game too difficult (a seemingly normal criticism of many NES titles), particularly due to the fact that the Godzilla and Mothra sprites were so large that it was hard to dodge enemies. Couple this with clunky controls and you were likely to find more than a few frustrated players who would rent this from their local Blockbuster for the weekend (along with Godzilla 1984 and, I don’t know, Godzilla vs. Mecha Godzilla). The history of Godzilla in video games isn’t very bright, with more than a few that fell short of expectations which, frankly, is a real shame considering the characters long legacy. Maybe one day some company out there will give fans the game they deserve, but until then they’ll just have to settle for mediocre.