It's not surprising that October is a busy period for video games. But in terms of weeks that grow the Pile of Shame, next week is looking absurd.
It wasn't scheduled to be the biggest seven days on the calendar. That's still reserved for whatever happens with Red Dead Redemption 2, which will coincide with the wider launch of Fallout 76's beta on PC and PS4. And November is no slouch either: a proper Pokemon game on the Switch and Fallout 76 launching in the same week should encourage a few to take early annual leave.
Next week won't match that level of hype. But as far as games to pay attention to? That's another matter.
A quiet bit of news that hasn't been announced much is World War 3, the Polish-developed military shooter I ran into at Gamescom. When I spoke to some of the developers, they weren't entirely sure whether the game would hit early access this year. November was looking like the likely target, possibly early December. But as it turns out, WW3 is launching next Friday internationally.
It's not known at this stage whether the game will have Australian servers. If anything, I'd be stunned if it did. But it's a intriguing sign given the game has been doing rounds of beta tests since September, and launching ahead of Battlefield isn't probably a bad thing.
I got to play a good chunk of Battlefield 5 over the course of Gamescom, and the grand scale shooter is coming together largely as you'd expect. But I also got to play another indie FPS on the show floor, one that nearly replaced any excitement I might have had for DICE's efforts.
But that's not all that's jumped out of the woodwork. Remember Lucas Pope, the maker of Papers Please? Overnight, he also announced that his upcoming adventure — the early-era Macintosh looking Return of the Obra Dinn — is also launching next week.
Obra Dinn is about the self-titled merchant ship, which left for the Orient from London with over 200 tons of goods. It vanished in 1802, but five years later the ship drifted into port with no crew and some damage to the sails.
The player takes the place of an insurance investigator for the East India trading company, scouring over the ship to piece together what happened.
It was on show at PAX Australia a couple of years ago, and rather quietly too. It was on a single TV, at a small stand. Pope arrived at PAX with little fanfare, and no announcements or inquiries to the press went out beforehand.
Obra Dinn's fascinating from the off. Games that look like this don't get made any more. And there's always a sense of wonder and mystery about a game that drops you into an environment of loneliness. What happened? Where is everyone?
Of course, that's not all next week has to offer.
Next week, Ubisoft's intriguing dabble with real-life toys launches on the Switch. Starlink: Battle for Atlas is coming to Xbox One and PS4 as well, and it'll look (and run) substantially better on both of those platforms.
And it's not as if the Switch has an absence of prominent third-party launches next week. Dark Souls: Remastered finally drops next weekend, having already dropped on PC earlier this year. How the Switch holds up overall is another question, though. The most we've seen so far was the tutorial level, and while that ran smoothly enough, it's by far the most taxing part of Dark Souls.
And then there's the Resonance of Fate remaster:
The middle of October typically isn't the best period for a remaster of a JRPG from 2010. That's not a reason to avoid the game, obviously — it's just that this time of year is packed. Games compete for your time more than anything else, and cutting through the noise is harder when games are backed by mammoth marketing budgets.
And if you've got friends over at any time, there's also a new Jackbox pack. There's five games again this time, although the one that stands out the most is the remake of You Don't Know Jack, the trivia classic that supports up to eight players this time. (The original only supported a max of 4.)
To go with that, there's also: Warriors Orochi 4, the early access launch of the 4X strategy AI War 2, the digital recreation of the board game Terraforming Mars, the Game of Thrones spin-off for Reigns, the latest Soul Calibur, and what might be a bit of a sleeper hit, Cooking Simulator.
In case it's not already obvious, half the fun of Cooking Simulator has nothing to do with actual cooking:
If you really don't want to, you don't even have to cook anything. Throw kitchen knives like darts. Set fire to cardboard boxes, cook a steak on them, and then save the day with a fire extinguisher. Build a tower out of pots and trays.
So yeah, next week is insane. Good thing Black Friday sales are just around the corner.