As We Head Into Next-Gen, Where Are These Current-Gen Games?
In case you haven’t heard, the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S launch is just around the corner. Day-one software may not be the most robust, but early adopters can still tear into games like Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Demon’s Souls, and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. Not so fast, though. Before we dive into dessert, we still have some tasty looking entrees left on the plate in the form of PlayStation 4 and Xbox One games that still haven’t released.
These games not only have yet to launch but have also been floating in development purgatory. I’m talking about projects we either haven’t heard from in years or have simply been delayed repeatedly with no clear end goal. Before we kick off next-gen in earnest, here’s a reminder of some easy-to-forget projects still waiting in the wings for your current consoles.
Lost Soul Aside – PlayStation 4
This slick-looking action game blends Devil May Cry-esque stylish combat with the visual trappings of a Final Fantasy title (Noctis look-alike protagonist included). It turned heads in 2016, not only for how sharp it looked but primarily because it was developed, at the time, by a single person: Bing Yang. The game impressed Sony enough that it scooped up the game as a timed PS4-exclusive. Lost Soul Aside continued to look promising in subsequent trailers and playable demos (read our PSX impressions) but the game blew past projected release windows and updates have been scarce for some time.
The most recent tweet from the game’s Twitter account is from March – the beginning of the pandemic in the west. It simply states that Yang and his team, who are based in China, are healthy and safe. A pinned Tweet from October 2019 shows off “new” concept art. It wouldn’t surprise me if Lost Soul Aside simply transitioned over to PlayStation 5 at this point. Regardless of where it ends up, we can’t wait to play the finished product.
Wild – PlayStation 4
Also known as “that neat animal game with the giant snake lady,” it’s been a good while since we’ve seen Wild Sheep Studios’ mysterious debut title. This open-world game is the brainchild of Rayman creator Michel Ancel, and it puts players in control of a shaman who can transfer his mind into various wildlife. Take control of birds to soar above enemies! Inhabit a rabbit to sneak around them! You can even summon and ride a bear! Wild first surfaced at Gamescom 2014 but had its bigger and more memorable gameplay showing during Sony’s 2015 Paris Games Week. Since then, it’s been largely quiet. The most recent update of sorts came when Ancel announced his controversial departure from the game industry in September. He assured fans that Wild would continue and described its development as going “super well”. Hopefully that’s true, as Wild looks like it could be a delightfully weird and fun time.
Dead Island 2 – PlayStation 4, Xbox One
What even is this game anymore? It was announced at E3 2014 and helmed by Yager before publisher Deep Silver pulled the team off the project in 2015. Crackdown 3 developer Sumo Digital picked up the reins in 2016 only to tag out to Dambuster Studios in 2019. Beyond early demos we hardly saw much of the game during most of these tumultuous years, making many speculate if it still existed at all. A playable, 5-year old build of Dead Island 2 leaked online back in June, giving fans a first-hand sample of what’s unlikely to be the final product at this point. Signs of life appeared in the form of a recent job posting, but it’s wild to think that Dead Island 2 was supposed to be released in 2015; the same year Dying Light arrived and kind of ate its lunch.
The Last Night – Xbox One
Not much is known about this stylish side-scrolling title. It debuted during Microsoft’s 2017 E3 conference with a 2018 release window and is described as a cinematic platformer in a post-cyberpunk world. It looks awesome, but developer Odd Tales hit major snags along the way. Shortly after The Last Night’s reveal, old tweets from founder Tim Soret resurfaced that garnered backlash for expressing anti-feminist views and sympathy for GamerGate. He later apologized and explained he’d since changed his stance. After staffing up and relocating to a new London studio, the team was later slapped with unknown funding and legal issues, jeopardizing the game’s development. As a result, they had to cancel a 2018 Game Awards trailer. The last real update came in January 2019 when Odd Tales announced they were seeking additional funding. It’s unknown if the financial part is worked out or not; the project hasn’t been officially canned, so that’s something. We still don’t know if The Last Night is as fun to play as it is to gawk at, but if Odd Tales can right the ship, we’ll hopefully know sooner than later.
Skull & Bones – PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Speaking of righting ships, Ubisoft’s pirate game has been lost at sea for years. The multiplayer-focused title pits factions of sea dogs against each other in chaotic high-seas skirmishes. That sounds fun enough, but Ubisoft has struggled to nail down Skull & Bones’ vision. It’s been delayed time and again, and that’s happened between long stretches of silence. The beleaguered title most recently skipped September’s Ubisoft Forward event. A blog post stated Skull & Bones needs more time in order to bring a “new vision” to life. At this point, it’s a race to see if the pirate fantasy releases before its TV adaptation does.
Dying Light 2 – PlayStation 4, Xbox One
“Ambitious” almost undersells everything Dying Light 2 is trying to accomplish. The deep choice/consequence system and sheer world-size has kept Techland plenty busy getting this sequel off the ground. So much so that the studio delayed the game indefinitely at the start of the year. It’s tough to know what’s going on with Dying Light 2, but a great analysis on the topic by our own Liana Ruppert may help shed some light on the matter.
Biomutant – PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Biomutant might hold the title for “Coolest Game You Regularly Forget Is Happening.” Since its 2017 reveal, Biomutant’s gene-splicing customization, vibrant open world, and martial arts combat consistently impresses despite only getting to see it now and again. Every preview basically reads “this seems rad, no clue when we’ll play it for reals though!” Biomutant seems ambitious as hell, which I imagine has everything to do with how long things are taking. As it stands, the game’s launch is planned for current-gen consoles and PC. A project of that scope seems primed to milk the extra horsepower granted by next-gen hardware too.
Red Ash: The Indelible Legend – PlayStation 4, Xbox One
After Keiji Inafune and his team at Comcept crowdfunded the infamously snake-bitten Mighty No. 9, Red Ash was meant to be its next big follow-up. Despite being billed as a spiritual successor to the beloved Mega Man Legends series, Red Ash fell well short of its Kickstarter goal (roughly $500,000 of its $800,000 asking price). That seemed to be all she wrote, but then Chinese entertainment company Fuze swooped in out of nowhere to fund the rest of the title’s development. While the Red Ash anime managed to see the light of day, little of the game has surfaced beyond some prototype videos and a rough playable demo.
In 2017 Level-5 acquired Comcept (rebranding the studio to Level-5 Comcept), but Red Ash has been radio silent since. Somehow, the game still hasn’t been officially canceled; it’s strange to think someone, somewhere might be working on this game as we speak. Personally, I’d rather Inafune take a crack at that cute penguin game again.
Payday 2 was a huge success for Overkill Studios, so Payday 3’s anticipation was through the roof. Unfortunately, the game’s been in development hell since its existence became known in 2017. The years haven’t been kind to Overkill or its parent company Starbreeze. Highly publicized financial woes have plagued both companies, in part due to the massive failure of Overkill’s The Walking Dead game in 2018. Starbreeze is reported to be on the brink of closure, putting many of its projects up in the air. Thankfully, Overkill recently confirmed the game is still in development and has switched over to the Unreal Engine. With luck, fans can get the gang back together to pull off one more big job.
So what do you think are the chances some or all of these games appear on next-gen consoles. Which are you looking forward to, and are there any other long-in-development games you're excited about. Share all of those thoughts and more in the comments!