October is always jam-packed for video games. But thanks to a combination of new hardware, COVID-impacted delays and publishers taking their time with the launch of a new console generation, this October is uncomfortably busy.
Whatever way you slice it up, there’s big hitters on just about every week. Each has either a huge, replayable multiplayer or co-op experience to dig into, or an enormous single-player open world that’s liable to suck up a minimum of 40, 50, maybe 60 hours of your time.
The only real saving grace at the start is really the very first week: that’s when FIFA 22 launches on October 1. It’s not something that’ll typically appeal to a lot of the Kotaku crowd here, although FIFA is one of those games that mainstream audiences tend to buy (or upgrade) consoles for.
A lot of games will have just launched as we come into that week as well — Amazon’s New World was delayed to the very end of September, for example. And just on the other side of FIFA is the party spectacular Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania, complete with Morgana DLC (but not voiceovers). If you prefer your adventures solo, however, there’s the very cool looking Terraformers.
No really, if you haven’t seen Terraformers yet, check it out. It’s got a UI that reminds me a ton of Endless Space 2, which is only a good thing for a colony simulator like this.
Just alongside Terraformers — a day’s apart, in fact — is Far Cry 6. I’m not going to go into depth here about the complications of supporting games while the companies responsible fail to reform some truly abhorrent behaviour. That’s a tricky beast with no simple solution, although I also wouldn’t blame anyone for passing if they don’t like the idea of missions where roosters attack dogs.
But what if 2D is more your style? That same week also heralds in the launch of the Nintendo Switch OLED, complete with Metroid Dread. There’s nothing about Dread that looks like it’ll specifically need the OLED, so if you have a Switch and any passing interest in games like Hollow Knight, Samus or platformers, this will probably be the biggest game of the month. Hell, it’s been almost two decades since a new 2D Metroid, provided you weren’t including fan remakes or spiritual successors like Axiom Verge.
Samus’s movement in Dread looks fantastic, and should be a treat when speedrunners really start to pick the game apart.
Oh, and did I mention PAX Aus Online that week as well? Blimey. And those who prefer more chill adventures? Well, there’s Moonglow Bay, one of the most eye-catching titles from E3 this year. That’ll be available from October 7.
All of those games will probably take at least a week, maybe more, to fully work through. So before you even finish those, there’s the co-op Back 4 Blood to contend with. This is still an Xbox Game Pass day one title for PC and consoles, so I wouldn’t be surprised if a ton of people jump in for some campaign gameplay at a minimum. Tons of PC users will be on Game Pass that month anyway for Age of Empires 4, which will keep people occupied for weeks just with the campaigns themselves.
But it’s not just AAA titles at the start. Despot’s Game launches on October 15. With an artstyle that’s giving me heavy Duelyst vibes, it’s a roguelike tactics game that hits a lot of the same beats as, say, Dota Underlords or Auto Chess. You basically recruit new members on a room to room basis, rerolling so you can get a better weapon for your ranged attackers in the back, or dealing with problems like your healer being transformed into a zombie.
If that’s not enough, there’s also Monster Crown, a more mature take on Pokemon. Demon Slayer -Kimetsu no Yaiba- The Hinokami Chronicles drops on October 15 too, and it should be a blast for anyone who loved all the Naruto Shippuden games CyberConnect 2 made.
If fast-paced shooters are more your style, the demonic Into The Pit launches — also on Xbox Game Pass — on October 19. That should give everyone just enough breathing space before House of Ashes, the latest spooky accidentally-choose-your-own-death adventure from the Dark Pictures Anthology, lands on October 21.
By the way, while I’ve mentioned Back 4 Blood, we still have no idea what the Nintendo Switch Online might get in September. Or what’ll be on PlayStation Plus. Or the other Xbox Game Pass games. Just keep that in mind.
So now we’re past the third week of October, there’s the gorgeous Solar Ash to contend with. Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy drops on October 26. Riders Republic was postponed into late October, so if mountain biking and wingsuit races are your thing, there’s that. Mario Party Superstars, Nintendo’s answer to releasing actual DLC for Super Mario Party, is dropping on October 29.
I mentioned Age of Empires already — that’s October 28 too. But there’s also Saint Kotar, a psychological detective horror game set in rural Croatia that looks neat. The Lovecraftian horror shooter Forgive Me Father drops the same day. as does the early access release of Lovecraft’s Untold Stories 2, the action roguelite RPG that looks really neat.
And those are the games with confirmed release dates. There’s still a ton that are targeting a launch sometime in October. Nerf: Legends, a modern remake on that Unreal Tournament Nerf game from the early ’00s, is launching that month.
Tiny Combat Arena, one of the neatest looking projects from the new age of MicroProse, wants to launch in October too. Exophobia is another retro-inspired shooter with some great art and EDM beats. Strategy fans will want to keep an eye on The Unliving, a roguelite strategy about raising legions of undead.
And this is just all the things we currently know about. That’s not to mention any major content updates or patches that might drop for games over that period. And there’s tons that I’ve left out, like the Peppa Pig game (October 22), the Fatal Frame re-release (October 28), or the Switch re-release of Ty The Tasmanian Tiger 1 and 2. I haven’t even gotten into what’s happening on the VR or PSVR front, either.
Like I said before, October is never a quiet period per se for video games. But there’s busy months, there’s busy months because of delays, and then there’s this. The only saving grace is that at least we’re not also dealing with, say, an Assassin’s Creed or Persona-style JRPG that adds another 150 hours onto the pile. It’s a real diverse mix, though, so while most of Australia might still be in some form of lockdown, at least there’s no shortage of distractions to tide us over.
Correction: Stray’s launching in early 2022 now, not October — thanks kalys. Battlefield has also shifted to November.