Even under normal circumstances, June is one of those months that's part of the quieter calendar of gaming. Once E3, and to a smaller degree Computex, is done, the industry settles down for a few weeks, using up annual leave or recouperating before the madness starts back up again in August.
This year, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic and the way releases and virtual events have been forced to spread out, that's not happening. June 2020 is absolutely rammed not just with new announcements, but unusually, a ton of new releases too.
I'll start by going through the releases, since that's what will occupy more of people's time (as excited for new games and gameplay as we all are). There were already a couple of games dropping in June that were going to attract a ton of nostalgic attention, but COVID-19 and some late announcements have really filled out the roster.
Command & Conquer Remastered Collection (June 5)
I've already played The Outer Worlds, so its Switch release on the same day isn't going to be that huge a drawcard for me. Instead, I'll be looking forward to the super campy FMVs of the Allies and Soviets, or GDI and NOD, depending on which Command & Conquer game you're playing.
It's also just fascinating seeing the amount of work that EA has approved here. The publisher has had a history of abandoning projects that don't make financial sense, so to see them back a remaster of Command & Conquer is unusual for them. It's not like it's been an easy project.
The team behind the upcoming Command & Conquer remaster have posted a video that’s partly about the process behind cleaning up the 1995 original’s cutscenes. Mostly, though, it’s a fascinating look inside the archives at loads of dusty old tapes that are crammed with bonafide video game history.
In putting together the HD remake of Command & Conquer, EA went to get the old recordings of the game’s announcer, EVA, and couldn’t find them. No big deal, they just went got the original voice actor to re-record everything.
Desperados 3 (June 16)
The solid mechanics of Shadow Tactics, with a more refined UI and the character of the Wild West. The chunk of gameplay I previewed from Desperadoes 3 was solid - and it was several missions worth too, which is always a good sign. I'm a little worried for the developers in that Desperadoes 3 is launching in a super noisy period, and Last of Us 2 being the same week won't help. But it's already a super solid game.
The pitch for Desperados 3 is straightforward. It's a squad-based tactics game from the makers of Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun, which itself was a respin on the Commandos formula in Japan's edo period. The Desperados series is cut from the same cloth, but set in the Wild West. That by itself works. But Desperados 3 also has a neat narrative hook, with each mission revealing more about the origins of the Cooper gang. And yes: active pause is back.
The Last of Us 2 (June 19)
Originally due out in May, the coronavirus pandemic and the impact on retail shipping forced Naughty Dog and Sony to push the game back to June 19. The game's had some enormous leaks already, but it's still set to be one of the biggest games of the year: few studios make narrative adventures to the degree that Naughty Dog does, after all. It'll also be interesting to see how the full game pans out, given the amount of internal turmoil and crunch behind the scenes.
If you were really looking forward to Ellie's upcoming adventure in Last of Us Part 2, huge PSA: you'll want to set up spoiler filters now.
As Naughty Dog Crunches On The Last Of Us II, Developers Wonder How Much Longer This Approach Can Last
One Friday night in February, some artists at the video game studio Naughty Dog were working on their latest game when they heard a crash. A large metal pipe had fallen from above them and landed right next to their desks. If it had dropped a few feet closer, the consequences might have been dire. It was late, past 9 p.m., and the construction workers above had perhaps recklessly assumed that nobody was there. But at Naughty Dog, people were always there.
Destiny 2 Season 11 (June 9)
Not everyone will be jumping into Destiny 2 again, of course, but those who are still on the Bungie wagon will undoubtedly check back in. The fact that the Tower is on the verge of being partially destroyed and the planet completely invaded by Darkness has a touch of Cataclysm to it.
Best Friend Forever (June 18)
Dogs in a dating sim. Again, indie games aren't going to pull the same kind of weight as, say, Last of Us 2, but I know plenty of people on my social feed who went nuts for Best Friend Forever as soon as it launched. It might be something you play for a day or two and then move on, but that's still an extra day or two occupied amidst a fortnight of announcements and then some major AAA releases.
Pokemon Sword & Shield: Isle of Armor (June, possibly)
This was scheduled for June, but with no official release date and Nintendo having more problems than most when it comes to remote development, there's still a chance this gets bumped.
Disintegration (June 16)
The new shooter from the co-creator of Halo, Disintegration is also rolling the dice by launching in June. There's been a lot of attempted positioning pitching Disintegration as a AAA title from an indie studio, but I haven't seen a huge amount of excitement for the blend of strategy/FPS elements. Feedback on the technical beta was mixed, although one consistent theme was that the game was certainly unique. That's a good start, and it'll be interesting to see how much the singleplayer campaign uses those RTS elements.
Ninjala (June 24)
Another May release bumped into June, this one looks like a super creative, almost Splatoon-esque take on battle royale. Eight players free-run around an urban environment, fyling around with foam bats and weapons while chewing "ninja gum".
This one looks super cute and one of those games that will end up being way more fun than anyone expects.
That's not everything in June obviously: the SpongeBob SquarePants re-release will find its fans, and games like The Outer Worlds will hit an audience that skipped it before purely because it'll be coming to the Switch. It's also likely we'll see some interesting indies be announced and then released on the same day, which brings us to everything else that's happening in June...
Guerrilla Collective (June 7-9)
The first of many online showcases, Guerrilla Collective already has a ton of big names behind it: Larian Studios, Disco Elysium makers ZA/UM, retro FPS publishers New Blood, Paradox Interactive, Good Shepherd Entertainment, 11 bit studios, Rebellion (makers of Strange Brigade and the Sniper Elite series), and more.
The big showcase reveal will be on the morning of June 7 Australian time, although there will be two extra days of showcases after that.
PC Gaming Show (June 8)
Day and Frankie are back, and it's likely we'll see a ton of indies and interesting PC-only games drop. Last year we had Planet Zoo, Griftlands (which is supposed to be out in June, but I'm not holding my breath), Age of Wonders: Planetfall, Maneater, Vampire: The Masquerades - Bloodlines 2, a Chivalry sequel, Remnant: From The Ashes (one of 2019's sleeper hits), and a pixelated strategy game that was pitched as having some kind of link to Heroes of Might and Magic 2.
It's a 5:00am start, which will be painful as all hell, but the chaotic awkward energy from Day and Frankie gives me life. AMD should also take the stage to talk about their upcoming Big Navi GPUs, and that could get real interesting - although AMD might also just hold their own side-show, like they did last year.
Cyberpunk 2077 / CD Projekt Red (June 12)
It's more Cyberpunk 2077 gameplay/info/news. I don't need to say much more than that.
EA's Play Live 2020 (June 12)
The roster for EA over the holidays is looking a little thin, so it'll be good to see what they have in the pipeline. We know Battlefield isn't on the menu, but this might be the first chance we get to see any footage. Anthem, on the other hand, is being completely retooled and it'll be interesting to see how that pans out. Respawn are working on more Star Wars games, which could be cool, and Criterion have wanted to branch out for a millenia. Maybe they'll finally be allowed to this year?
There's also all the other usuals: FIFA, more Sims 4, Madden, and so on. The extra sports game might be the return of EA's UFC. There's a chance EA could be getting into the golf game again, although I doubt they want to seriously compete with 2K on that front.
Microsoft (sometime in June)
Microsoft's pledged to hold monthly events, although their July showcase will be the one showing off their first-party games. We don't know what's going to drop in June, and the reception to the Xbox Series X footage has caused the company to rethink their messaging. It's a safe bet that, out of anything shown, Xbox will probably drop some actual 'gameplay' trailers, as well as a deeper showing from the [email protected] program.
IGN's Summer of Gaming (feat. Blizzard, Square Enix, Devolver)
This one's a bit trickier, since there's no exact date on when this is happening. But in the absence of the ESA, IGN rounded up all of the non-first party publishers - SEGA, Devolver, Bandai Namco, Square Enix and so on, along with Amazon and Google - and is holding an online event for their showcases.
The messaging has gotten a little muddled in that the "Summer of Gaming" is also including the online showcases above, so it's a bit hard to separate the things IGN are running themselves. For gamers, all that you really need to know is that the other regulars will still be making their announcements, just in a slightly different way. Square needs to give gamers some kind of detail about what to expect with the future of Final Fantasy 7 Remake, and some word on what's happening to the Alien and Total War franchises would be nice. (Shogun 2 on iPad would be great, BTW.)
Of course, if ATLUS could just come out and tell everyone when Persona 5 will hit the PC or Switch, everything else will be forgiven. Please. Just do it. Everyone has been asking you for years.
What's interesting about June is that it's traditionally a very stop-start month. Computex usually kicks off the month, so there's a ton of hardware and peripheral news, bookended by new CPUs and occasionally some juicy bits about the GPU world. That leads right into E3, which completely obliterates my sleep for a week since I'm waking up at 1:00am every morning. And then after that, everyone basically takes two weeks off, or books most of their leave for July because not much tends to happen then either.
This year's different. COVID-19 has meant you can't really take leave - or you don't have any left because that's what companies had to do to survive - so the normal ebb and flow of the industry has been completely thrown out. June's stacked far more than it ever has been, and even July is looking unseasonably packed with Paper Mario, games like Death Stranding hitting PC, Ghost of Tsushima, the re-release of Destroy all Humans, Catherine: Full Body, and a new Deadly Premonition.
Not to mention: Halo Infinite footage, more Hellblade 2, and so on.
Anyway, we're set for a bumper couple of months. June especially. I'll need to mainline coffee and caffeine pills to get through, but hey - it's not like we're going anywhere. Does anyone want to hang out with 9 other people at a pub where you can't order from the bar?