2013’s Spring Lineup Is The Best Yet For This Generation’s Consoles
It used to be that the early months of a new year were the perfect time to sit back, relax and catch up with the releases of the previous year that you may have missed. Not so with 2013. Following an already stellar Fall season for gaming, which saw such releases as Dishonored, Assassin’s Creed III and XCOM: Enemy Unknown, you’d expect publishers to take it easy on us game-playing (and reviewing) folk, and give us some breathing room.
With titles such as DmC: Devil May Cry and Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch already released, and Dead Space 3, God of War: Ascension, and Bioshock Infinite (amongst others), due for release in the next couple of months, it seems as though our wallets aren’t going to earn any form of reprieve until perhaps the summer months. Now, I know most years aren’t completely barren throughout January, February and March, but, having done a little research, I can safely say that no other first-quarter release schedule during the course of this current console generation has ever looked quite so hectic.
The first full year of this generation, 2007, saw only one real major release during its first three months, namely Lost Planet: Extreme Condition. Subsequent years saw these early months get busier, with winter 2008 bringing with it the release of Burnout Paradise, Devil May Cry 4, and Rainbow Six: Vegas 2. 2009’s beginning had a similar number of major releases, including Skate 2, F.E.A.R. 2, Street Fighter IV, Killzone 2, and Resident Evil 5.
2010 raised the bar, with the highest profile release being Mass Effect 2, accompanied by Bioshock 2, God of War III, and a few others, being invited into our homes. 2011 was a little quieter, with LittleBigPlanet 2, Dead Space 2, Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds, and Pokémon Black and White releasing, and 2012 was a little slower again, with The Darkness II, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning and the PS Vita being the most memorable releases through the earliest months of the year – at least until Mass Effect 3 blew everything else out of the water.
2013 is set to surpass each and every one of these years though, with a high-profile game releasing almost at the equivalent of one a week. Whilst January only sees DmC: Devil May Cry and Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch as its major releases of note, February ups the ante, with Dead Space 3, Aliens: Colonial Marines, Crysis 3, and Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance hitting store shelves. It’s March where the proverbial bodily function hits the fan though, with (deep breath) SimCity, South Park: The Stick of Truth, Tomb Raider, God of War: Ascension, Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm, Gears of War Judgment, Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel, and Bioshock Infinite all vying for our attention and the attention of our wallets. This isn’t even to mention the lesser anticipated titles, such as Metro: Last Light, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate or LEGO City: Undercover.
So why is Winter 2013 looking to hit our wallets so much harder than previous years? There are a number of reasons, some speculative, others less so. The most obvious and factual reason is the delayed titles from 2012’s holiday season. Bioshock Infinite and Aliens: Colonial Marines are the better known examples of this, delayed for artistic reasons and/or for a dash of fine-tuning. Some of the maelstrom may have been contributed to – and may yet be lessened by – THQ’s financial difficulties, which will affect South Park: The Stick of Truth and Metro: Last Light the most (although yesterday’s acquiring of the South Park IP by Ubisoft may mean that the release date won’t change, at least for The Stick of Truth).
In this writer’s mind, though, the biggest reason for early 2013 gaming pileup is the oft-rumored impending announcements of Sony and Microsoft’s next-gen consoles, with some rumors going so far as to predict the release of one or both by the end of the calendar year. The fear of gaming impetus being taken away from their releases by the media frenzy surrounding a new console announcement, or having gamers decide to sit on their wallets and wait for new hardware may have publishers rushing to get their games out the door whilst money will still be flowing. There’s also the generational switch worry of having to tear a game to the ground and rebuild it for new hardware or software, if the powers that be decide that better sales could be had in the next generation consoles.
Whatever the reason, 2013 looks to be ready to hit the ground running, and despite the fact that it looks like gamers may need to take out a second mortgage to keep up with the torrent of releases – the next few months are sure to be a lot of fun! It’s certainly a better problem than having nothing to look forward to or to play and enjoy. I’ll leave you with one last thought: Just think, once January, February and March are out of the way, we still have nine months of the year left, with Grand Theft Auto V, Injustice: Gods Among Us, The Last of Us, Splinter Cell: Blacklist, Pokémon X and Y and a whole host of undated games left to come. There’s also the prospect of a new console or two. Better get on the phone to the bank….
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