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Backlog: The Embiggening – July, 2017

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By Nelson Schneider - 06/30/17 at 06:24 PM CT

Welcome back to another look into the near future! June was full of lies, and the dreaded Summer Game Drought does appear to have snuck up on us, once again. July features a LOT of delayed releases from previous months that never quite got out the door. The remaining releases aren’t looking particularly inspiring.

There are only two pieces of shovelware coming in July: One in each major shovelware sub-shovel. There’s “Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star” coming to Switch, for those who like their shovelware based on a non-game IP. Then there’s “Miitopia” coming to the 3DS, for those who like their shovelware so casual that it’s hard to find an actual game in there.

There are four ports/remasters slated for July as well. The PS4 and XBONE will both be receiving a compilation of the completely uninteresting “Don’t Starve” games, as well as a delayed port of loathsome Roguelike, “Rogue Stormers,” and “Minecraft”-ugly RTS, “8-Bit Armies,” while the PS4 will be getting a shiny remaster of “Final Fantasy 12” (featuring the never-before-seen-outside-Japan International Zodiac Job Boards). “FF12” is a good enough game (and old enough) to deserve this remaster, but I can’t say I’m inspired to buy a console for the privilege of re-experiencing it.

Half of July’s legit multi-platform releases were supposed to be available already. Musical ‘Diablo’ clone, “AreA” and Action/Adventure, “World to the West” are both old news. They are joined, however, by a banal hunting Simulator called… “Hunting Simulator,” as well as a (currently) console-exclusive Sim, “Aven Colony.” The most interesting-looking multi-plat coming in July would have to be Epic Games’ Tower Defense/TPS mashup, “Fortnite,” which looks like something the MJ crew will co-op through once we figure out the price structure and come up with a way to avoid being screwed.

Sony and Microsoft are going to have a really bad month in July. I know this because the only exclusive either one of them has is “Collar x Malice” for the Vita, while the rest of the midsummer exclusives are all hitting Nintendo platforms, including the friggin’ SNES (yes, “Unholy Night: The Darkness Hunter” was supposed to ship last month, but it didn’t). PC isn’t getting anything big either, but at least the perpetual flood of new stuff hitting Steam will allow fans of Indie games and garbage to finds something. Nintendo is, meanwhile, rocking nothing but first-party titles again with “Splatoon 2” coming to Switch and Platforming spin-off “Hey! Pikmin” coming to 3DS (WHYYYYY?!).

VR helmets get jack squat. I guess that’s okay, as they can get pretty hot… but people who want to sit in a nice, cool virtual world instead of going outside in the July heat don’t have any new options.

July is looking really horrible, and comes as something of a system shock, when we’ve been used to full release slates going into this Summer. The Game Drought is definitely back again this year! I can’t say that anything new for July really interests me… except “Fortnite.” After Trendy Entertainment managed to piss me off TWICE (they even got Chris’ goat so bad he has vowed never to touch another Trendy product ever again), the fact that “Fortnite” looks to combine Tower Defense with something else in a rather ‘Dungeon Defenders’-esque way makes me interested. But all the different pricing brackets and ‘bundles’ on the game’s pre-order page worry me. I don’t know yet if “Fortnite” will simply be yet another title that goes from Buy2Play to Free2Play and Pay2Win after a few months, whether Epic Games is capable of running such a title without screwing things up, or if it contains anything resembling a campaign mode. We shall see.

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