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Backlog: The Embiggening – May, 2020

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By Nelson Schneider - 05/03/20 at 02:00 PM CT

Welcome back to another look into the near future. Thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine/shelter-in-place/stay-at-home zeitgeist is has foisted upon us, game developers and publishers don’t really seem all that keen to release a bunch of new games.

This is, of course, completely ass-backwards, as videogame development is done entirely on computers, and thus can be done from anywhere, meaning that the programmers, artists, and musicians whose talent goes into making the games we love (or love to hate) can and should still be doing their thing, regardless of the state of the pandemic. Not only can the work involved in creating videogames be done from anywhere, there’s no time when people need the escapism brought by the medium more than now. The entire world is a more-or-less captive audience, staying home, bored out of their minds. Wouldn’t this be the ideal time to release a bunch of new games? Even if they aren’t the full “AAA” experience?

I guess not!

Shovelware is light this month, but when the entire list of slated releases amounts to only 14 titles, the fact that 2 of them are shovelware means that 1/7 of the May releases are trash right out of the gate. We’ve got a licensed anime tie-in based on “Is it Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?” and the annualized release of motorcycle-racing IP, “Moto GP 20,” which was supposed to release last month, but didn’t.

Guess how many of the remaining dozen game releases slated for May are ports, remasters, rehashes, etc.? Come on, GUESS!

If you guessed, “All of them,” you’d almost be right, as 11/12 of the remaining games ‘coming out’ in May are, indeed, old crap being disguised as new crap. And ‘crap’ is truly the operative word, here.

And while we’re at it, why not take a guess at which platform is largely responsible for the continuing glut of portage and rehashes? Come on, GUESS!!!!

If you guessed, “The Nintendo Switch B-but Portable,” you’d be exactly right. The Switch is getting ports of “Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath,” “XCOM 2,” the first “Xenoblade Chronicles,” compilations of both ‘Bioshock’ and ‘Borderlands,’ and shared ports of “Spirit of the North,” “Dungeon of the Endless,” “Arcade Spirits,” “Saints Row: The Third,” and “The Wonderful 101.” The only May rehash NOT coming to the Switch is the PlayStation 4 port of “Ys: Memories of Celceta.”

What is our lone non-shovelware, non-port release for May? Well, the idea that it’s not shovelware is actually debatable, as it’s a multi-platform release of a play-as-a-shark game called “Maneater,” coming hot off the presses at Euro-jank publisher, Deep Silver.

P-please! Stop throwing things!

After last months’ catastrophe, I didn’t think things could get much worse, but May proved that there are always new depths to plumb. If things are this bad now thanks to COVID-19, this Summer’s annual Game Drought will be truly mythical in proportion and severity.

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