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Backlog: The Embiggening – December, 2019

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By Nelson Schneider - 11/24/19 at 02:49 PM CT

December is upon us, as the Twenty-Teens prepare to give way to the Boring ‘20s. Shockingly, Publishers seem to have caught on – finally – that releasing games late in December is an exercise in futility. The result is a month with few releases, but all of them crammed in the first 10 days or so. It doesn’t really matter, though, as the continued dominance of ports means there’s not much to get excited about, regardless.

We can mostly lean on our shovels like Department of Roads employees, as there are only two pieces of trash-disguised-as-games releasing in December, and both fall into the super-casual non-game variety. We’ve got “Avicii Invector,” a Rhythm game based on some Electronic Dance Music DJ’s portfolio of ‘work;’ and “Waku Waku Sweets,” a spiritual successor to the ‘Cooking Mama’ series of motion-controlled Home Economics simulators.

In spite of the lack of releases overall coming in December, we’ve still got 5 ports, remasters, rehashes, compilations, and other such things to deal with. The Switch is getting “Call of Juarez: Gunslinger” (a good game, to be sure, but old as hell) and a compilation of ‘Assassin’s Creed’ games, while PlayStation VR is getting “Mars Odyssey,” which used to be exclusive to PC VR systems. Then there’s the end of the whopping one-month timed PC exclusivity of “Blacksad: Under the Skin,” which just looks incredibly bizarre for a noir detective thing. Lastly, and relevantly, Beamdog is finally porting the original “Neverwinter Nights” – from 2002! – to consoles after decades of PC exclusivity.

Legitimate, new multi-platform releases are looking particularly dismal (as usual), with a single title: “Heroland,” a kinda-generic-looking, kinda-stupid-looking RPG by Japanese developer FuRyu – a fairly prolific handheld trash developer – localized by Xseed.

Exclusives aren’t particularly confidence-inspiring either. PC is, once again, getting a super-short timed-exclusivity window for a new multi-platform game: “Darksiders: Genesis” will be available on Steam for two months before hitting consoles. Other than that, though, the other platforms are looking barren as a wasteland, except for the Switch, which is getting “Farming Simulator 20” (technically a multi-platform release on non-gaming platform, Android, but whatever), and the delayed release of the latest in the ‘Deadly Premonition’ franchise.

One of the things I dislike the most about this time of year is the stench of Autumn leaves as they begin to rot, releasing an aroma reminiscent of nothing more than dog poop. December’s docket of scheduled game releases is emitting a very similar scent, and I find it very difficult to feel a positive emotion about any of it. If pressed, though, I’d say that the console release of “Neverwinter Nights” is good news for those uninformed hill-folk who still think game consoles are worth owning and irrationally believe that PC gaming is still as horrible as it was when “Neverwinter Nights” was first released. But I already own both versions of that game on PC, so there’s no reason to pay the Nintendo Tax to get it on Switch too.

Backlog Embiggened: +0

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