The lights are on
This week saw the release of three high-profile and much-anticipated titles: Dark Souls II, Titanfall, and Towerfall: Ascension. Plus, Blizzard’s popular Hearthstone digital card game finally saw an official release after its extended beta period. Densely packed weeks like this can be tough (gamers only have so much time and money to go around), but they are also memorable. The sense of having a lot of great gaming options is fun, and this isn’t the first time it’s happened. We looked at past release weeks to highlight five of the most interesting historical head-to-head game releases.
November 17, 2002
Today, Metroid fans are eager for any kind of announcement or acknowledgement from Nintendo. That’s a stark contrast to 2002 – a year that not only had two major Metroid releases, but had them both on the same day. Companies will often avoid releasing multiple products on the same day in order to give each one its own time in the spotlight; in this case, Nintendo gave gamers a dose of Metroid’s past (Fusion) and future (Prime) all at once. Instead of these two games competing, the enthusiasm for one fed into the other.
November 11-12, 2003
Beyond Good & Evil
Prince of Persia: Sands of Time
Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando
This is one of the most infamous examples of a publisher burying some quality products. Prince of Persia and Beyond Good & Evil were Ubisoft’s biggest and best holiday games, and the company dropped them both right on top of each other. To make matters worse, both games had staggered releases, so some platforms were available weeks before others over the course of November and early December. It was a screw-up that failed to give either title the attention they deserved. As for Going Commando, there’s no sad story there – it’s just another good game released in the crossfire.
November 16-20, 2007
Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune
If you had to pinpoint a release week that defined the last generation, this would be a top contender. In the span of a few days, some of the biggest and most successful franchises in history were launch. At the time, they all looked like good games, and it was hard to decide which one to play first. In retrospect, the impact is even greater; these titles would define the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in the years to come.
October 21-28, 2008
Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia
Far Cry 2
Okay, so this one technically encompasses two release weeks, but the significant titles in that timeframe is pretty amazing. Not only that, but the available games offer a little something for everybody, from open-word FPS to post-apocalyptic role-playing to whimsical platforming. Not all of these games were industry-defining juggernauts, but they served their audiences well and made it a fun time to be a gamer.
January 5, 2010
In early January, the gift-giving season is over, so getting a release date right after the holidays could be a death sentence. Despite an enthusiastic reception from the hardcore crowd, neither of these games moved an incredible number of units. However, they both delivered a unique twist on stylish action, and won a devoted fan following. I don’t remember anyone feeling the need to choose between the two games at the time – people were mainly happy to have a couple options for something new and interesting to play so early in the year.
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