Nevi: Similar to our Bookclubbing year ahead, I thought it’d be useful to set out some of the video games we’re planning to cover. And while I don’t think any of us are currently planning to upgrade to the next console generation quite yet, we’ve still got plenty of exciting games to play. Besides many of the games currently scheduled for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X are on PC and George and Gav love themselves a good computer.
George: Beep boop.
Nevi: One project I’m excited to start is to cover the entire Halo series. After diving into the novels last year, I convinced my partner that we should co-op our way through the series. It’s been a fantastic journey and I’m now hyped to continue the novels as well. I’m planning to start where it all began with the original Halo game and work my way to Halo 5 and include a couple of the spin-offs along the way.
George: Beep boop.
Nevi: Stop it, George. I don’t have any robot themed games on my list to explain your beeping and booping. In fact, I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Vampyr which is about as far away as you can get from robots. Don’t Nod’s action-adventure game set in early 20th century London at the time of the Spanish flu is one of the most compelling games I played in 2020. Partly because I’ve become obsessed with pandemic fiction, but mostly because of the intense atmosphere, interesting systems and awesome music. I’m looking forward to delving deeper into Vampyr at some point in 2021.
Nevi: Another unexpected delight that I played in 2020 was Ring Fit Adventure. From the insane concept to the silly music and strangely addictive gameplay, somehow Ring Fit has made me fitter and healthier. I made a passing remark to my partner when it came out that I thought it sounded ‘cool’ and it was my biggest birthday surprise. If you had a similar response to the trailers, then hopefully my upcoming article will help shed some light on whether to pick it up for yourself.
Gav: You can also use your muscular Ring Fit hands to pick up evidence and point aggressively at judges and prosecutors while raising objections. If leaks are to be believed, there will be plenty of scope for that in 2021, with Capcom finally bringing the two ‘missing’ Great Ace Attorney games to the West. They’ve been a big sticking point for the franchise, and it would mark a bit of a turning point if we’re to see them localised as well, as many people had assumed they’d been left for dead.
Gav: Speaking of being Left 4 Dead (hold your applause), 2021 sees the release of two games that are of great interest to me as a serial enjoyer of the iconic zombie-basher. First and foremost is Back 4 Blood by Turtle Rock Studios, the original developers of L4D now independent from Valve. From the alpha footage, Back 4 Blood is L4D3 in all but name (and even then, it’s pretty close). On the other end of the galaxy, among distant stars and war everlasting, there’s Warhammer 40,000: Darktide, a 40K-based successor to the successful Vermintide games. It’s one to watch, especially if you’re interested in 40K and want to biff all manner of Chaos-ridden cultists and beasties from the next dimension.
Nevi: Oooo, yeah. I’ve got my eye on Darktide as well. I want to continue covering more Warhammer video games and have the likes of Sanctus Reach, Total War: Warhammer 2 and the entire Dawn of War series downloaded and ready to go. Now back to Gav.
George: Backing the motion on Darktide thrice, I am really excited to see some of 40K’s iconic weapons up close. I know we have had SpaceHulk: Death Wing offering L4D coop shooter action in a tangy Tyrannid flavour, but the tepid reviews and my apathy to stories about Space Marines kept me from playing it. Darktide however seems right up my alley with its human (and one Ogryn) protagonists. Having run a team of Inquisitorial agents in Necromunda, I’m excited to carve up cultists without having to worry about rolling a 66 on an injury chart.
Gav: For biffing and bashing enthusiasts, there’s basically only one major fighting game confirmed for 2021 so far – Guilty Gear Strive. It represents a new genesis for Guilty Gear, with director Daisuke Ishiwatari claiming it’s being remade from the ground up. It’s also among the first major releases by a Japanese developer to feature rollback netcode (the most famous being the poor example in Street Fighter V), and this implementation could be pretty monumental in seeing how the genre progresses. Bad online experiences have been par for the course for the classic Japanese developers, even as the West has moved on – does it have to be this way?
Gav: There’s probably more to talk about, but I’ll silence my incessant hooting and make way for more Nevi content and/or robo-beeps.
George: Beeping through my steam wishlist to remind myself that the future holds more than just endless lockdown, I’ve found a few titles I’m quite excited for. Tactical Breach Wizards may finally emerge from the mad workshop of Tom Francis, the genius behind Gunpoint and Heat Signature. I had a really good time with the demo, casting spells, knocking people out of windows and rewinding when the scenario went horribly wrong.
George: Everything I’m excited for seems to revolve around the the puzzle of ‘how do I kill these people’? Hitman 3 looks to be another stunningly detailed set of murder playgrounds in which to leave taps running and throw briefcases at people. Finally, Deathloop looks intriquing adding a little bit of Immersive Simulation to this murderers row. From what I understand you’re one of two rival assassins trapped in a time loop on a mysterious island.
Nevi: Over the 2020 holiday, my partner and I finally got into playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons, so I’m going to try and convince Gav and robot George to write something with me. In fact, there are a few other Switch titles that I’m excited to cover (they might be other systems as well) such as mech strategy game Warborn. I also want to explore some of the games of my youth starting with Dark Cloud and perhaps venturing into some Final Fantasy titles. After all, I still need to tell you why Final Fantasy X-2’s Blitzball is worth your time.
George: *dial up screeching* I’m just recieving a message from the Bitsphone.
George: Our podcast is making a triumphant return after fizzling out due to *waves arms around pointing at the state of the world* everything. And this time we’ve got a format and we’re sticking to it. The idea is to play the first hour, no more no less, of 9 video games chosen by us. Then we’ll sit down to discuss our thoughts. With games getting longer and longer, is it even possible to get a good first impression of a game from only 60 minutes of play? Let’s find out. Each of us has chosen 3 games, one that we loved and the others haven’t played and 2 that none of us are very familiar with. 60 Minutes Exactly should be hitting your podcast feed next month.
Nevi: That’s a lot of video games. If we manage to cover half of these without getting distracted I’ll be a happy man. I’m sure there’ll be plenty of random titles that wiggle their way into our coverage throughout the year, which is an exciting prospect. In the meantime though, watch this space and take care.
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