The lights are on
For our August issue, we released five separate covers featuring games from our E3 Hot 50 list. Massive franchises like God of War, Splinter Cell, and Resident Evil graced those covers, but we're doing something a bit different for our November issue. You've heard all about upcoming blockbusters like Assassin's Creed III and Bioshock Infinite, but we wanted to give five under-the-radar titles their time in the spotlight.
Conventional wisdom claims the middle class of console games is dead. As production budgets and development staff sizes rose dramatically over the past decade, it became harder for publishers to squeeze profit out of second-tier games. Selling a couple hundred thousand copies of a game no longer paid for the initial investment. In today’s console world, if you’re not selling millions you’re not making your money back, which is why cult favorites like Mirror’s Edge, Singularity, and Bulletstorm still don’t have sequels.
Even if a game is greenlit, not every project is granted the multi-million dollar marketing budget that you need to create a mass-market groundswell. Dead Island sold more than four million copies, and Quantic Dreams’ Heavy Rain was a critical darling, but we still don’t expect to see Super Bowl commercials informing the larger public of their follow-ups any time soon. This is why, rather than announce a new game this month, we turned our focus toward five games that deserve a better fate than slipping through the cracks. As the console generation winds down and new games become scarcer, we think these five titles promise unique experiences that justify keeping them on any hardcore gamer’s radar. Here they are in no particular order.
UPDATE: The issue is now live on iPad and Android tablets!
Originally announced as Overstrike, Insomniac's new IP (and first cross-platform effort) has more than a new name. Check out exclusive details about how the studio is bringing their brand of insane weaponry to a new universe.
Dead Island: Riptide
The first Dead Island was essentially Borderlands-style progression and loot-grabbing meets open-world zombie murder. The combination was potent, and Dead Island: Riptide polishes up the original formula while adding in intense defense scenarios.
Beyond: Two Souls
Quantic Dream returns after 2010 PlayStation 3 thriller Heavy Rain. Ellen Page stars as Jodie Holmes who must live alongside a supernatural entity she calls Aiden. In our cover feature, we break down every branching path in the demo and speak at length with Quantic Dream head David Cage.
Metro: Last Light
Artyom returns in the Metro 2033 sequel, which picks up right after the events of the first game. This time around, developer 4A Games says publisher THQ is providing more time (and resources) for playtesting and overall polish. Don't think that means that the cult hit is getting dumbed down; Last Light is as rich and complex as its predecessor, which you'll see in our feature.
Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
The esteemed Studio Ghibli teams up with the equally notable Level-5 to create a new RPG experience. Get ready to return to the worlds from your childhood imagination again.
On top of these five titles, we'll review XCOM: Enemy Unknown, look at several long-dormant RPG franchises, chat with Vigil about the aftermath of Darksiders II, and run down ten features you don't know about Assassin's Creed III. Print subscribers should start receiving the issue around October 6, and digital PC/Mac subscribers will receive it on October 9. If you have the tablet edition (on iPad and Android), you can download it now! Not a digital subscriber yet? Convert your print subscription here or start a new subscription here. If you're not a subscriber, you can still purchase individual issues via the appropriate apps.
We've put together a coverage trailer for our month of online content, and you can watch it below.
Click below to follow our month of online coverage, featuring plenty of info and media on these five promising titles.