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Backlog: The Embiggening - June, 2014

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By Nelson Schneider - 05/26/14 at 12:10 PM CT

Welcome to another look into the near future. Every year, gamers everywhere suffer through an annual occurrence known colloquially as the Summer Game Drought. It is ever ironic that the time during which publishers should be pushing out the most gaming products – Summer Vacation, when kids (the biggest buyers of licensed crap and samey FPSes) have plenty of free time and extra spending money from Summer jobs – is actually the time when the fewest new gaming products see the light of day. In 2014, it’s looking like the beginning of the Summer Game Drought might be a bit on the mild side, based on numbers alone. However, a closer look reveals that the stuff being released in June is being sent out to die based on tie-in deadlines or perhaps a feeling that less crappy crap might be perceived as ‘okay’ when placed side-by-side with really awful stuff.

Licensed games and shovelware are making a strong showing after all but disappearing recently. There are movie tie-ins for “How to Train Your Dragon 2” and “Transformers 4,” as well as EA’s first attempt at creating a licensed UFC game, after THQ went out of business and sold off the sports franchise (and all of their other IPs and licensing agreements) at auction. There are also a couple of noteworthy shovelware ports: PC is getting “Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare,” the 3DS is getting the formerly-Sony-exclusive “Putty Squad,” and both handhelds are getting “Farming Simulator 14” (for those times when literally watching grass grow is more exciting than the line you’re standing in?).

Outside of the stuff that’s guaranteed to be crap by pedigree, the multi-platform releases aren’t looking that impressive. There’s generic racing game “GRID Autosport,” generic FPS/Stealth game “Enemy Front” (as opposed to Enemy Back), and the less generic “Murdered: Soul Suspect” which sounds like a cross between survival horror videogames and police procedural TV shows. *barf*

But what about exclusives? Surely 7 months in, the PS4 and XBONE are getting lots of new stuff, and the WiiU is rolling in a year-and-a-half’s worth of library fortification? Nope. None of the 8th Gen consoles are getting squat. Instead, the PS3 is getting yet ANOTHER ‘Atelier’ game, while Sony has managed to keep “XBLAZE Code: Embryo” exclusive to the PS3 and Vita (I’m sure Aksys was forced to hire bouncers to keep the money-throwing console manufacturers away… or not.). The only other non-handheld getting an exclusive in June is the PC with space-based MMO, “Wildstar.” The handhelds aren’t getting much of excitement in the way of exclusives either. The 3DS is getting the North American release of Nintendo’s ‘controversial’ life simulator (OMG, no gay characters! End of world!), “Tomodachi Life,” while the Vita is getting portable spinoffs (read: crappier versions) of “BlazBlue” and “Hyperdimension Neptunia.”

June looks like another nice month of passively watching the horrors around me without getting involved.

Backlog Embiggened: +0

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