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Backlog: The Embiggening – September, 2023

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By Nelson Schneider - 09/09/23 at 09:24 PM CT

Backlog: The Embiggening – September, 2023

Welcome back to another look into the near future! Summer’s over and all the little darlings have gone back to school, while the most of the MJ Crew has returned our dear mothers to the Earth. Can the Games Industry do anything to improve our collective mood? Not bloody likely!

The shovelware is OVERWHELMING for September, with all three major subvarieties present in the great, seething mass. In Licensed Swill, there are games based on ‘RoboCop,’ ‘Paw Patrol’ (which still disappoints me by not being ‘Papa Troll’), ‘Ninja Kidz,’ the ‘Fate’ anime, ‘Cry Babies Magic Tears,’ the auditory abomination known as ‘Baby Shark,’ ‘NASCAR,’ ‘Rainbow High,’ ‘House Flipper,’ ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender,’ and – inscrutably – an ancient Western movie that I have surprisingly never seen, ‘Bud Spencer & Terence Hill.’ That’s quite the load, and it includes both IPs I’ve never heard of because I’m not a Gen-Z autist AND IPs I’ve never heard of because I’m not a Boomer. Gen-X gets screwed, yet again!

In the 2Cazul2BaGaem category, things are a lot lighter, with only two titles: “60 in 1 Game Collection,” which is almost definitely a worse experience than the Chinese bootleg cartridges that contain a huge number of illicit NES ROMs, and “Fresh Start Cleaning Simulator.” I just… My home is a hoarder’s paradise of mess and collections that I desperately need to sort through, clean up, and prune down… WHY WOULD ANYONE DO THAT IN A VIDEOGAME FOR FUN?????

In the final shovel-ready category, we have Annualized releases, and September is typically one of the bigger months for those. Thus we have “EA Sports FC 24,” where I assume ‘FC’ stands for ‘FIFA Cup;’ “NBA2K24” for basketball fans; and “F1 Manager 23” for those who fantasize about managing teams of incredibly flimsy racecars.

At this point, I’m about ready to break down sobbing, as the ports, remakes, rehashes, and other re-releases are SO NUMEROUS that the tabs for them don’t all fit on my monitor at once. It’s hard to classify who the biggest loser in Port World is this month. The Nintendo Switch is getting an assload of them, as usual, but only three of them are exclusively hitting the Switch – and they’re actually decent games: “Pikmin 1 + 2,” “moon,” and the 10th Anniversary edition of “Q.U.B.E.” But then there are the TEN titles the Switch is sharing with Sony’s PlayStation ecosystem in portage: A Special Edition of “Gimmick!,” “Spells & Secrets,” “Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Heart of the Forest,” “Vampire: The Masquerade - Coteries of New York / Shadows of New York,” “The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails,” “Lord Winklebottom Investigates,” “Neon White,” “Vernal Edge,” “Gloomhaven,” and “The Rumble Fish 2.” THEN there are STILL the handful of titles the Switch, PlayStation, and Xbox are all getting from PC: “Blasphemous 2,” “Firefighting Simulator: The Squad,” the remake of “Mortal Kombat (1),” “You Suck at Parking,” the remake of “Bomberman 2,” and “Daymare 1994: Sandcastle.” Indeed, the only ports that don’t involve the Nintendo Switch in September are: “Paradise Killer,” “Postal 4: No Regerts,” “Lies of P,” “Miasma Chronicles,” and “Weird West.”

With all the crap and old stuff taken out of the equation, how much new stuff are we actually getting in September? Well, it’s a surprising amount! There are over a dozen legit, new multi-platform releases coming in a wide variety of genres. There’s “Exophobia” and “Payday 3” for people who like FPSes and have low standards. “Pocket Bravery” is a new 2D Fighting IP for people who love super-deformed chibi characters. There’s a glut of Adventure and Adveture-adjacent games, including “Paleo Pines,” “Mineko’s Night Market,” and “Anonymous;Code.” There’s a similar glut of Wholesome Farm Sims in the vein of ‘Harvest Moon’ and “Stardew Valley,” including – shocker! – a new sequel, “Harvest Moon: The Winds of Anthros,” along with a sequel to “My Time at Portia,” “My Time at Sandrock,” and the Fantasy-themed “Fae Farm.” Fans of wheeled vehicles can choose between “Truck Driver: The American Dream” and the latest entry in Ubisoft’s ‘Crew’ series, “The Crew Motorfest.” Then there’s a smattering of miscellaneous Action-y things. First there’s a so-called Action/RPG that we have abbreviated to “Mon-Yu” in the MJ database, but whose full title is really “Mon-Yu: Defeat Monsters And Gain Strong Weapons And Armor. You May Be Defeated, But Don’t Give Up. Become Stronger. I Believe There Will Be A Day When The Heroes Defeat The Devil King.” EFF you, Japanese devs and your retarded titles! Then there’s a new Survival Horror thing that ChrisWouldLove (presumably) in “Ad Infinitum.” Lastly, there’s an early Halloween-themed 2D Platformer in “Death or Treat.” In other words, September’s multi-plat releases are just a bunch of clutter.

Exclusives aren’t looking particularly zesty for September, but there are still a few of them, and the platforms involved AREN’T the usual suspects. The Switch, in fact, has NO new exclusives coming this month! On the other hand, Steam has the timed-exclusive release of “Dolphin Spirit: Ocean Mission,” which will hit EVERY other platform NEXT month. Sony has “Runner Heroes: The Curse of Day and Night” coming to the PS5 and “VR Skater” coming *gasp* to PlayStation VR2. Lastly, Xbox… WAIT WHAT?! Yeah, Xbox is getting “Starfield,” the latest overhyped project out of Bethesda Game Studio – now a studio owned by the Xbox Division. Or, I should say, Xbox has just gotten “Starfield,” as the game came out this past week and is already upsetting gamers’ applecarts and causing controversy. Ruh-roh!

Yikes! That’s an absolute butt-ton of releases coming in September, but the only one I’m even remotely interested in is “Starfield”. With the horrible first impression it’s made, though, it seems like it’s going to be “No Man’s Sky” all over again, but probably worse, due to Bethesda’s reputation of never fixing their shit after release, but instead leaving it to modders in the community. It’s definitely a game that won’t be worth buying until at least September 2024… maybe 2025 or later!

Backlog Embiggened: +1 (at some point in the far-flung future)

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