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.