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Backlog: The Embiggening – June, 2023

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By Nelson Schneider - 05/28/23 at 04:19 PM CT

Welcome back to another look into the near future! Summer is on its way, and after decades of precedent, gamers everywhere are preparing to dig-in for the annual Summer Games Drought, wherein, despite the largest portion of gaming’s marketing demographic being off of school for 3 months with nothing better to do than spend time and money on new gaming purchases to keep them out of trouble, the Games Industry publishes nothing new or of value. Let’s see if the Drought is going to come-on in-force all at once, or if it will be a bit more gentle this year.

There’s a healthy dose of Shovelware coming in June, with all three major categories represented. In Licensed Swill based on non-game IPs, we’ve got “Aliens: Dark Descent” based on the movie franchise, as well as “AEW: Fight Forever” based on the third-rate pro-wrestling franchise. In Casual Non-Game Swill, there’s quite a variety: “Powerwash Simulator,” “Charade Maniacs,” “Pretty Princess Magical Garden Island,” and “Little Friends: Puppy Island.” Lastly, there’s a single Annualized Release: “F1 23.”

While several of the Shovelware titles for June are, indeed, ports, there are far more ports, remakes, remasters, compilations and whatnot waiting in the wings. One of these rehashes, however, actually has my attention for once: “Front Mission 1st Remake,” a… *ahem*… remake of the original “Front Mission,” which spawned a series of mech-based Tactical RPGs that, sadly, remained mostly unlocalized from Japan to the wider world. I do wish this particular remake wasn’t exclusively hitting the Switch. Of course, that’s the modus operandi of too many publishers these days, as the Switch is continuing to get ports dumped on it with little rhyme or reason: “Blossom Tales 2” (which launched on PC first this time), “Beholder 3,” “Moonscars,” “Gal Guardians: Demon Purge,” “Goodbye World,” “ONI,” “We Love Katamari Reroll,” a compilation of ‘Outbreak’ games, a compilation of ‘Raystorm’ games, and a compilation of ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ games are all hitting the Switch in June (with most of those also hitting other consoles). Sony’s PortStation seems quaint in comparison, once again, with ports of “Destroy All Humans 2,” “Mercenaries Blaze,” and “Tiny Troopers: Global Ops” hitting the PlayStation 4, and “Police Simulator: Patrol Officers” hitting both active PlayStations and both active Xboxen.

There are a whopping TEN new multiplatform releases coming in June, which makes me question whether a Drought is happening at all. There’s quite a bit of variety, too. “The Courier” is a new Indie Sandbox thing. “Story of Seasons: A Wonderful Life” is the latest ‘Harvest Moon’-under-new-management sequel out of Marvelous. “Valthirian Arc: Hero School Story 2should be a Shovelware game, but, as far as I can tell, it’s a game first, not an anime or manga. “Miasma Chronicles” is another attempt at a TRPG by the people who made “Mutant: Year Zero,” so I’ll be passing on that. “Crash Team Rumble” is a CONSOLE EXCLUSIVE (e.g., no PC version) MOBA, attempting to jump on the MOBA train far too long after it left the station, starring the no-longer-relevant cast of the ‘Crash Bandicoot’ series. “Park Beyond” is a knock off of other theme-park Management Sims. “Loop8: Summer of Gods” claims to be an RPG, but everything I can find about it makes it look more like a banal slice-of-life Visual Novel. “Killer Frequency” is yet another First-Person Survival Horror thing (Chris would love that), but with a ‘Borderlands-y’ visual style (Chris would love that too). Then there are the big dog sequels that are sucking all the air out of the room: “Street Fighter 6” from Capcom and “Diablo 4” from Activision-Blizzard-King-MaybeMicrosoft… and, honestly, I couldn’t give half a poop about either of them.

Finally, we come to exclusives, and, shockingly, there are some of those dropping as the Summer rolls in. Sony is getting an Indie knock-off of Valve’s ‘Portal’ series in “System of Souls” as well as a game that, at one time, would have had me squealing in joy, yet now has me wailing in sadness and groaning in dread: “Final Fantasy 16.” While the former may or may not remain a Sony/PC exclusive, the latter is definitely heading to other platforms after a Timed Exclusivity window… but after the ‘Devil May Cry’-inspired gameplay mechanics that have been revealed, I wouldn’t touch “FF16” with a 10-foot pole, no matter what platforms it hits. Moving on from Sony, Nintendo also has a couple of exclusives coming, but neither are the first-party efforts that really get the Nintendo fanbase fired-up: A Visual Novel called “Jack Jeanne” and an Adventure game called “The Shapeshifting Detective.”

Well, that was something of a surprise for once! It’s nice to see a June release slate full of games, including a handful of Big Corporate Titles to keep the kids busy during Summer Vacation. Unfortunately, I don’t care about ANY of the big titles coming at the beginning of Summer… or really much of anything else coming in June. The one title I am excited about is “Front Mission 1st Remake,” which I would prefer to buy on PC, but since there’s no announcement of a PC release AND the physical release is a limited edition… damn it, I broke my own rules and pre-ordered the damned thing. I guess I’ll get to blow the dust off my Switch this summer.

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