Over at Kotaku, Leo Wichtowski recently posted a humorous video about the “video game drought” that strikes every summer. With E3 finished and the holiday season both too distant and too imminent for publishers to make strategic launches, the hottest season of the year is notorious for being the coolest in terms of new game releases.
That’s certainly not to say, however, that there isn’t anything of interest hitting store shelves this summer. Sega recently released the hotly anticipated Company of Heroes 2; yesterday, the latest expansion, titled Brave New World, to Firaxis Games’ Civilization V launched to nigh-universal critical acclaim and Konami launched the most complete Metal Gear package to date; and Ubisoft intend to release Splinter Cell: Blacklist, which heralds the return of the beloved “spies vs. mercs” multiplayer mode, late next month.
The summer months also herald some of the best gaming sales. Steam’s summer sale has tended to be every bit as great as it’s winter one, GOG.com just finished their first(?) summer sale in which well over 100 classic games were discounted (sorry guys, I dropped the ball on notifying you all about that one), and Microsoft just finished their “Ultimate Summer Sale” and have the annual Summer of Arcade just around the corner. While we may not see many triple-A titles launch before the fall, it’s good to be a gamer in the summer (that’s doubly true if you’re a student like me).
What I want to know is, what’s everyone playing this summer? For myself, I have been–in spite of my ever-growing backlog of games to play–dedicating the vast majority of my game time to not one, but two Elder Scrolls titles. I busted out Oblivion to play with a buddy of mine who had just recently picked it up for his PS3. As my least favorite entries in one of my most favorite series, Oblivion was a blast to play, but I found that it wasn’t quite scratching my RPG itch. I had been intentionally delaying one final (well, “final”) playthrough of Skyrim until the game’s DLC went on sale, but I couldn’t help myself and finally gave into my pangs. I’ve since brought a new, combat-focused character from level 1 to 38 on the game’s recently implemented Legendary difficulty setting. I’m finding that I am every bit as addicted to the game as I was when it launched in 2011 and I’m keeping my fingers cross for that coveted DLC to go on sale in the coming weeks.
I’ve also put in some time (but not nearly enough) with some friends playing Company of Heroes 2. It’s a terrific RTS, every bit, I think, as good as the original with plenty of potential to improve over the coming years. It’s been a while since I was able to play a competitive game with any respectable level of skill, but I’m really hoping to change that with CoH2.
Finally, I’m working on writing my first narrative-driven mod for Skyrim. It’s a dream of mine to one day work in the game industry as a writer, and I’m hoping this might give me some much-needed experience with the process. It’s still in a very early, brainstorming stage, but I’ll be sure to post some updates to the site here as I make progress on it.
The summer’s half-over, but it feels to me like it just started. While that probably means that I’m in for a rude awakening come August, I’m excited for the time I have left, not only for gaming and game writing, but for the time it means I get to spend with the other married gamer in our home (though she might scoff at the title) and with our little next-gen (as in, literally the next generation) gamer.
What about everyone else? What summer sales or releases are you looking forward to or enjoying currently? Or, are you doing something else that maybe doesn’t apply directly to gaming, but should be shared here anyway? Sound off in the comments!