This week’s releases are a little, um, lacking, to say the least. Well, not in terms of output, there’s two dozen games coming out, so your choices are staggering. The real question, though, are any of them even worth picking up? Is anyone even out there, to hear if I care?
Scorn (PC/Series X|S) – Releases Oct. 14th
Developed by: Ebb Software
Published by: Kepler Interactive
Come, and enter a bio mechanical world made up of H.R. Giger inspired monstrosities, where your darkest nightmares live. In Scorn, players find themselves stranded on an alien planet and are given very little direction about what they should be doing or where to go. In this non-linear game, players will have to use context clues and their wits in order to figure out what the need to do to survive in this very hostile environment. This is pretty much it, folks. I told you it was a light week.
Kamiwaza: Way of the Thief (PC/PS4/Switch) – Releases Oct. 11th
Developed by: ACQUIRE Corp.
Published by: NIS America
In this Robin Hood-esque tale, players take on the role of a theif named Ebizo. Set during the Edo period of Japan, Ebizo has grand dreams of stealing from the rich and giving to the poor, but that is all thrown into a tailspin when one job turns horrifically violent. Fleeing the scene with the only other survivor, a young girl, Ebizo vows to end his thieving by keeping the child safe and raising her as his own. Several years later the girl becomes ill and is on the brink of death. In order to afford the medicine to save her, Ebizo must go back to his life of crime. With multiple branching pathways, the story in Kamiwaza can be different each time you play it. It also looks like a PS2 game, WTF?
LEGO Bricktales (PC/PS4/PS5/Switch/Xbox One/Series X|S) – Releases Oct. 12th
Developed by: ClockStone
Published by: Thunderful Publishing
Part Fez, part Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, but probably not as good as both of those, LEGO Bricktales is a puzzle game set in tiny dioramas. Players will need to use an assortment of LEGO bricks to build things that will, hopefully, help them solve a puzzle.
Somber (PC) – Releases Oct. 12th
Developed by: David Söderström/Mikaela Marti/Evelyn Petterson
Published by: You Will Get There
“Somber is an atmospheric action-platformer that takes place in the semi-open world of Gloom. A hand-painted game filled with stunning environments, Somber demands absolute precision from players who wish to unlock its many secrets“.
Cobra Kai 2: Dojos Rising (PS4/PS5/Switch/Xbox One/Series X|S) – Releases Oct. 14th
Developed by: Flux Game Studio
Published by: GameMill Entertainment
Based on the hit Netflix show, Cobra Kai is back with its second video game. The graphics are atrocious and the controls look terrible. Plus, what the heck are these weird super powers the characters seem to have? I’m not going to sugar coat it, this game looks awful and you should probably stay away from it; no mercy.
Dragon Ball: The Breakers (PC/PS4/PS5/Switch/Xbox One/Series X|S) – Releases Oct. 14th
Developed by: Dimps
Published by: Bandai Namco
Asymmetrical games are the hot shit right now, especially when joined with the horror genre. It’s a bit interesting, and odd, that a new entry in the genre comes from the Dragon Ball license. I guess, though, the villains in Dragon Ball are pretty scary, if you think about it, with goals of either destroying the world or enslaving it. In The Breakers, one player takes on the role of a classic villain from the series while four other players take on the roles of b-tier heroes. Without any Super Saiyan powers, it will take quick wits and a bunch of weapons, to survive against foes like Frieza and Cell.
Nickelodeon Kart Racers 3: Slime Speedway (PC/PS4/PS5/Switch/Xbox One/Series X|S) – Releases Oct. 14th
Developed by: Bamtang Games
Published by: GameMill Entertainment
Kids of all ages rejoice, for you can now see Powdered Toast Man drive a go-kart in a race against JoJo Siwa, as foretold in the great prophecy. Featuring a staggering 42 characters to choose from, the third outing for Nickelodeon Kart Racers appears to be its largest. Did this series need a follow-up? Couldn’t they have just put out DLC packs? I guess you gotta pay for that Garfield license somehow.
PGA Tour 2K23 (PC/PS4/PS5/Xbox One/Series X|S) – Releases Oct. 14th
Developed by: HB Studios
Published by: 2K
We haven’t had a realistic golf simulation game since 2020, and there hasn’t been one starring Tiger Woods since 2013. Let’s see some gameplay footage:
Star Trek Prodigy: Supernova (PC/PS4/PS5/Switch/Xbox One/Series X|S) – Releases Oct. 14th
Developed by: Tessera Studios
Published by: Outright Games
It’s a big week for kid games, guess that means Christmas is just around the corner. This appears to be a run of the mill hack & slash game, nothing special.
Ports and Re-releases:
No More Heroes III (PC/PS4/PS5/Xbox One/Series X|S) – Releases Oct. 11th
Finally, No More Heroes III in 60 FPS HD. That Switch version looks like SHIT, what a terrible console. Nintendo should just give up already, Xbox pwns them.
Triangle Strategy (PC) – Releases Oct. 13th
Finally, Triangle Strategy on PC. That Switch version controls like SHIT, what a terrible console. Nintendo should just give up already, Sony pwns them.
Prison Architect – Undead (PC/PS4/Xbox One) – Releases Oct. 11th
Just in time for Halloween comes one of the most terrifying groups of hideous monsters you’ll ever encounter…law enforcement!
There’s way too many games coming out this week and I would have loved to have featured a few more of these up in the Top Releases section, but my life is only so long. Unusual Findings is probably the one title down here I’m most interested in, even if I think the 80’s setting is played out. Still, point & click adventures are my jam, so I expect to give this a shot in the near future. We’ve also got a new hockey game which means I get to figure out how to watch the Kings play without having cable, and then there’s Asterigos, a new Souls-like game from an indie studio.
- Asterigos: Curse of the Stars (PC/PS4/PS5/Xbox One/Series X|S) – Releases Oct. 11th
- Unusual Findings (PC/PS4/PS5/Switch/Xbox One/Series X|S) – Releases Oct. 12th
- CULTIC (PC) – Releases Oct. 13th
- The Darkest Tales (PC/PS4/PS5/Switch/Xbox One/Series X|S) – Releases Oct. 13th
- Fueled Up (PC/PS4/Xbox One) – Releases Oct. 13th
- Lost Eidolons (PC) – Releases Oct. 13th
- Paradise Marsh (PC) – Releases Oct. 13th
- Trifox (PC/Switch/Xbox One) – Releases Oct. 13th
- NASCAR Rivals (Switch) – Releases Oct. 14th
- NHL 23 (PS4/PS5/Xbox One/Series X|S) – Releases Oct. 14th
- Winter Games 2023 (PC/PS4/Switch/Series X|S) – Releases Oct. 14th
- Flat Eye (PC) – Releases Oct. 17th
- Terror of Hemasaurus (PC) – Release Oct. 17th
Notable Releases from 10, 20, and 30 years ago:
Dishonored (PC/PS3/Xbox 360) – Released Oct. 9th, 2012: Wiki Link
Notable Film Release: Argo – Starring Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin, and John Goodman
*Click here to watch the trailer*
Notable Album Release: Mac DeMarco – 2
*Click here to listen to the album*
Following the release of their first game in 2002, Arx Fatalis, developer Arkane Studios was feeling the pressure of being an independent studio. They had hoped that they could develop a sequel to Arx Fatalis using a modified version of Valve’s Source Engine, but the poor sales of the game made it hard for publishers to pony up the cash for it. However, Ubisoft saw potential in the studio and contracted them to make a new game in the Might & Magic series using this new same engine they had just built. The game. Dark Messiah of Might & Magic was poorly received and didn’t do much, sales wise. It looked bleak for Arkane, with their next few jobs being contract work on titles like Bioshock 2 and Call of Duty: World at War. A proposed Half-Life spin-off was cancelled by Valve, as were two other games, The Crossing and a project with Steven Spielberg & EA called LMNO. With their fortunes drying up, Arkane was poised to lay off several of their staff, but fate would intervene.
Over at Bethesda, plans were in the works for a stealth game set in feudal Japan that they wanted to call Dishonored. Years earlier, after the release of Arx Fatalis, when Arkane was shopping the sequel around, Bethesda had been interested in funding an Ark Fatalis 2, but by the time they got their ducks in a row Arkane had already shifted gears to Dark Messiah. When the idea was Dishonored came up, Arkane’s name was floated as a possible developer, particularly because of the love that some of the staff there had for Arx Fatalis. Seeing that Bethesda was a good fit for their company (plus the fact that they were going broke), Arkane agreed to work on Dishonored and quickly got to work in 2010.
It didn’t take long for both Bethesda and Arkane to see just how well the two studios worked together. Only a few months after they started work on Dishonored, Arkane was approached by Bethesda’s parent company ZeniMax for them to acquire the studio and they accepted the offer. Now with the backing of ZeniMax, Arkane knew they had the time, money, and resources to completely retool Dishonored. In the early stages of development it started to become clear that the Feudal Japan setting just wasn’t working. Bethesda and ZeniMax were worried about hot to market the game, while Arkane was worried about authenticity, as hardly anyone in their offices knew much about the time period. The team decided to move the setting to London in the year 1666 but, after incorporating some more science fiction-y elements, the team would finally settle on a fictional city called Dunwall.
Dunwall has some similarities to Victorian era London, but it ultimately is its own fictional world that does not need to be constrained to any kind of historical accuracy. Dunwall was conceived as a huge metropolis, one that would be instantly recognizable to Americans and Europeans, but tweaked just enough to make it look exotic and unique. For the gameplay, the team still wanted to make stealth a major component but, unlike your typical Metal Gear or Splinter Cell game, it was not the players only means of completing a level. If you wanted to cause a major ruckus and murder everyone in plain sight, you could. That’s part of the excitement and fun of Dishonored. With a seemingly interconnected map with multiple routes, players could choose to be a ghost, silently progressing through the world, deciding if they wanted to kill the guards, knock them out, or just sneak right past them. Conversely, if you wanted to run down a hallway and mow guards down a sword and a gun, you could do that too.
In your journey through Dunwall, players will typically use a sword and pistol to fight. However, Dishonored has supernatural elements to it as well. As players progress through the game they come across magical runes that will grant them powers & abilities. These powers vary, with some providing assistance, such as being able to see in the dark, while others are a little more combative, like the ability to possess rats and use them to kill guards. These powers and the way you use them feed into a larger “chaos” system. As players move through Dishonored, their actions assign a score to the chaos system, changing the game in real time. For example, certain NPCs may not help you, or actively turn against you, if you have spent the game mindlessly murdring people left and right.
Before its release, Dishonored received a very positive reception at the 2012 E3 show, winning multiple awards, repeating this success at Gamescom a few months later. When it finally released, Dishonored was a smash hit, debuting at number two on the sales chart behind FIFA 13, and being the top selling game on Steam. Sales were so good that Dishonored held the record for best selling original game of 2012, and by the end of the decade, it was the ninth best selling original title on the 2010’s. Critics and players heaped overwhelming praise onto Dishonored, with many outlets calling it one of the best games of the year. Critics were highly impressed with the level of freedom and creativity allowed to players. Typically, a video game has very set rules about where to go and what to do. They design their games in a way to make sure that players follow a pre-set path that triggers multiple events. Dishonored seemed to actively discourage that, with objectives having near limitless solutions. It was like the developers gave the tools to players and told them to solve the problem however they saw fit.
The year end accolades were many, with multiple nominations and wins across the board. At the Spike VGA’s, Dishonored won Best Action Game and was nominated for Best Graphics, Best PS3 Game, Best Xbox 360 Game, Best Studio, and Game of the Year. Over at IGN, the game won Best Action Game, Game Informer also called it the best action game of 2012, as did Yahoo! Games and GameSpot. Oddly enough, it was nominated for multiple categories at the DICE Awards but failed to pick up any trophies there. Perhaps the most prestigious award, though, was their BAFTA for Best Game.
Multiple pieces of DLC would be released for Dishonored, with each receiving glowing reviews from critics. Not surprisingly, the game would be followed by a sequel in 2016, with a stand-alone expansion the following year. In 2020 it was announced that the series would be taking a break, however Arkane’s latest title, 2021’s Deathloop, was eventually confirmed to take place in the same universe as Dishonored, though many, many years in the future. As for the future of this series, that’s anybody’s guess. Dishonored burned so brightly and so hot that it’s hard to imagine there wouldn’t ever be another one, but we’ll see.
If you’d like to learn more about Arkane I highly recommend this great documentary by the team at Noclip.
Suikoden III (PS2) – Released Oct. 24th, 2002: Wiki Link
Notable Film Release: Bowling For Columbine – Starring Michael Moore
*Click here to watch the trailer*
Notable Album Release: The All-American Rejects – The All-American Rejects
*Click here to listen to the album*
Hardcore JRPG nerds agree, Suikoden is a great series. If you aren’t a hardcore JRPG nerd, you probably don’t care about this series at all; that’s where I fall. I know that people love this series of games, but I have no connection to them at all. Maybe they’re great, or maybe they’re dog shit, I don’t know and, honestly, I don’t really care. Anyway, what’s up with Suikoden III, huh? After two well received entries on the PlayStation it was time for Konami’s series to debut on Sony’s latest machine, the incredibly popular PlayStation 2.
Suikoden III was developed by the same team that had worked on the previous two games, including series creator Yoshitaka Murayama. However, shortly before the release of the game, Murayama and several other creatives on his team left Konami just one month before the game’s release. All of these employees were removed from Suikoden III’s credits, leading some to believe that there was animosity between Konami and Murayama, however, the developer denied any malice and cited a long standing Konami policy of not crediting employees who had left the company before a game was released.
Critics had favorable things to say about Suikoden III, calling it an instant RPG classic. They thought that the game’s plot was far more mature and deep than the typical “bad guy wants to destroy the world” scenario we’d seen a million times. Over at IGN they said the game was as close to perfection as they come. As far as sales, Suikoden III sold significantly better in Japan than it did in the U.S., however the game was still able to move over 500k units worldwide. Good luck trying to find a way to play this game legally, as it is not available on any modern console, with used physical copies going on eBay for around $60 bucks. Two more Suikoden games would come out on the PS2 before going on ice. Series creator Yoshitaka Murayama would next make a third person action game called 10,000 Bullets before writing the scenario for the JRPG Alliance Alive. He is currently working on a spiritual successor to Suikoden called Eiyuden Chronicle, which is due out in 2023.
King’s Quest VI (PC) – Released Oct. 13th, 1992: Wiki Link
Notable Film Release: Reservoir Dogs – Starring Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Chris Penn, Steve Buscemi, Lawrence Tierney, Michael Madsen, and Quentin Tarantino
*Click here to watch the trailer*
Notable Album Release: Prince and The New Power Generation – Love Symbol
*Click here to listen to album*
In May of 1991, King’s Quest creator Roberta Williams had a meeting with one of Sierra’s newest up and coming writers, a woman named Jane Jensen; their goal was to come up with a story and setting for the sixth game in the King’s Quest series. Those initial talks in May would lead to Roberta coming up with a story outline in June, followed by intense discussions with Jensen about gameplay design. It would take five months of pre-planning to get the design document ready for King’s Quest VI. The goal of Williams and Jensen were to keep the tone of the game similar to the previous entries, but they were also keenly aware that it needed to stand on its own. Their biggest goal, however, was to make players feel an intense emotional connection to the game, this would lead Williams to make King’s Quest VI a love story between King Graham’s son Alexander and the Princess Cassima from The Land of the Green Isles.
Sub-titled Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow, the plot of the game picks up right after the events of King’s Quest V. If you don’t remember, in that that game, King Graham goes on a quest to rescue his wife, daughter, and son from the evil wizard Mordack. When Graham reaches the wizard’s lair he also learns that a young princess had also been captured, named Cassima. Upon defeating Mordack, Graham is reunited with his loved ones and Cassima is returned home to her family. While in captivity, Alexander began to develop feelings for Cassima so, wanting to see her again, Alexander uses his father’s magic mirror (from King’s Quest I) and sees a vision of her in peril. Wanting to save her, Alexander sets sail for The Land of the Green Isles to find.
The Land of the Green Isles is made up of several islands in close proximity to one another. When Alexander arrives, his ship encounters a violent storm and he washes ashore on the Isle of the Crown, where Cassima’s palace lies. Alexander learns that the King’s vizier, Abdul Alhazred (named after the fictional author of the Necronomicon) has seized control of the kingdom and intends to marry Princess Cassima and install himself as the new King. With Cassima being held prisoner, Alexander must make his way across the many islands that make up The Land of the Green Isles. These include the Isle of Wonder, based on Alice in Wonderland, the Isle of the Sacred Mountain, inspired by Greek & Roman mythology, and the Isle of the Beast, inspired by Beauty and the Beast. This wasn’t the only connection to Beauty and the Beast, as Prince Alexander was voiced by Robbie Benson who had played the role of Beast in the 1991 Disney adaptation.
For the game’s script, Jensen wrote over 6,000 lines of dialogue and would work with the game’s programmers to make sure that these lines were delivered properly and with the correct emotion. While the previous King’s Quest games were fairly linear, sometimes allowing for skipping around, King’s Quest VI was intentionally made to feel more open, with puzzles not necessarily needing to be completed in any particular order. This was partly due to the spread out nature of The Land of the Green Isles, as players could move freely between them, by way of a magic map. For the game’s visuals, artist John Shroades would create 80 background paintings, while another team of filmmakers and animators would shoot live action sequences that could be integrated into the game. In 1992, there was a push by certain video game developers to try and mimic what was being done in film & television. Video games, by that point, were entering their 20th year and the art form was looking for ways to legitimize itself. One of those ways was to make video games look like movies, and King’s Quest VI was part of this early trend.
KQ VI was initially scheduled to release in September of 1992, but was delayed to October to allow for final testing and polish. Testing on King’s Quest VI was intense, with constant play testing happening and the writers and programmers scrambling to fix bugs and mitigate issues. The open world nature of the game must have certainly played a part in this. When the game finally hit store shelves it immediately flew off of them, selling over 400k copies in the first week. King’s Quest VI was a major commercial success for Sierra, sitting atop the PC sales charts in October, November, and December of 1992; by 1996 the game had moved 3.8 million copies around the world on multiple PC platforms. Critics were spellbound by the game, with high scores from multiple outlets, including a perfect score in Dragon magazine. The move to a non-linear format was hailed by critics and they were particularly astounded by all of the secrets that the game held, including hidden islands and characters. Upon retrospection, King’s Quest VI is considered the high mark for the series, and one of Sierra On-Line’s greatest games.
When KQ VI first game out it was distributed on floppy disks, the last Sierra game to release this way, but in 1993 it would receive a CD-ROM edition, containing higher resolution character portraits, digital sound, newly recorded lines of dialogue, and a a studio recording of the ballad “Girl In The Tower”. While it didn’t receive many year end awards in 1992 (not that there were many to give) King’s Quest VI has been added to “Best of…” lists throughout the years from multiple outlets including, GameSpot, PC Gamer, Adventure Gamers, GamesRadar, and Kotaku. Sierra On-Line would put out two more King’s Quest games before going belly up, while Jane Jensen would find success on her own with the wildly popular Gabriel Knight series (also developed by Sierra). The King’s Quest series is currently owned by Activision who have, graciously, kept these games playable on modern systems. You can currently buy all King’s Quest games on either Steam of GOG, and I must tell you, they’re excellent and worthy of your time and attention.