Those sum­mer nights


Ah, the sum­mer drought, when all thoughts of videogames fade to the backs of our minds as we get out in the fa­mous Bri­tish sun­shine. The flow of new re­leases slows to a drip, then cuts out en­tirely, save for the odd movie tie-in or sports li­cence. And mag­a­zine sec­tion ed­i­tors the world over spend rest­less nights fret­ting about all those empty pages.

Yet here we are, in an un­com­monly cle­ment UK sum­mer, won­der­ing how we’re go­ing to fit all these games in – not just to the Play sec­tion, but our daily lives, lured as we are to the beer gar­den, the park, the Pokéstop. This must surely be a con­tender for the busiest Au­gust in videogame his­tory. The south­ern hemi­sphere, locked as it is in what passes for win­ter down there, must be in rap­tures.

Clearly, de­vel­op­ers and pub­lish­ers are be­gin­ning to un­der­stand that a packed Christ­mas re­lease sched­ule is no good for any­one ex­cept re­tail­ers and the pub­lish­ers of proven suc­cesses, and things are be­gin­ning to spread out a bit. That is not to say that this bumper sum­mer crop is com­prised only of chaff. Last year, not a sin­gle en­try in our ten best games of 2015 list hit shelves in its fi­nal three months. On this ev­i­dence, that trend may con­tinue. There’s Abzû (p108), an un­der­wa­ter spir­i­tual se­quel to

Jour­ney. There’s Quadri­lat­eral Cow­boy (p114), the most am­bi­tious game to date from one of the in­die scene’s true au­teurs, Bren­don Chung. There’s the ri­otous, culi­nary co-op of Over­cooked (p120), in­trigu­ing VR mys­tery The Assem­bly (p122), and artsy bal­let-plat­former Bound (p118). It’s a se­lec­tion of re­mark­able breadth, a vi­tal con­trast to the Christ­mas sea­son with its an­nual se­quels, its fo­cus-grouped re­boots, its de­signs by com­mit­tee. Like any good Brits, we find our­selves look­ing out through sun-drenched win­dows, clos­ing the cur­tains and silently pray­ing for rain.

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