It's a busy busy time in videogame land right now as we enter event season! Things kicked off yesterday with the Summer Game Fest and you can be sure that a lot of things caught our attention, as well as a few other titbits from around the industry. So let's dive right in, shall we?
Summer is here, and so are new game trailers. So far, I've been impressed by the reveal for Planet of Lana, which looks gorgeous.
Among the new announcements and cinematics (Elden Ring is real you guys!!), this is also a time of year when we get lots of fun musical performances. Last night's Summer Game Fest Kickoff included a performance by Weezer, and I was also thrilled to discover this chilled remote session from the musical minds behind Hades.
It is finally here; DICE have announced Battlefield 2042 with an epic trailer showcasing the destruction that comes with 128 player multiplayer matches. The trailer gives a lot of excitement to Battlefield fans, like me, showing the variety of weapons, equipment, and tonnes of vehicles across varying environments from being in amongst skyscrapers to out on the ice.
One huge new feature revealed in the trailer is environmental disasters like sandstorms and tornadoes which will wreak even more havoc in what a chaotic battle is already. Xbox One & PS4 will be capped to 64 players so this might be the push I need to upgrade, as being involved in an 128 player battle sounds amazing. The game is due to release on October 22nd, which means 5 months of watching gameplay trailers and play throughs to really build the hype!
Boss fights can be challenging and rewarding experiences, and other times they can be stressful and tedious blockers stopping you from getting back to the parts of the game you were enjoying. Axiom Verge 2 lands on PlayStation this summer and with it comes some interesting difficulty options from series creator Tom Happ:
"I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to stop playing a game because of a choke point. So, I addressed the difficulty issue in two ways. First, I’m letting players adjust their own difficulty settings. Rather than choosing among an Easy, Normal, and Hard Mode, players can adjust both how much damage they do and how much enemies damage you. Second, bosses are optional. You will be rewarded for defeating them, but gone are the days where they stood in between you and the rest of the game."
Read the full article on PlayStation.com
This sounds great. Given the choice between Easy, Normal and Hard game modes, I would always opt for Normal. Most of us play games to relax and a lot of the time the difference between Normal and Hard mode is that enjoyment is sacrificed for challenge. Game difficulty is something we have previously explored here at Etch Play, which you can read about here.
We all play games differently. Being able to control how much damage you take and how much you can dish out to enemies is an interesting mechanic that lets players find their own sweet spot. Axiom Verge 2 certainly isn't the first game to allow players to customise their difficulty but I wouldn't be surprised if we see these options become more commonplace in the future.
A key highlight of this year's Summer Game Fest for me was last nights Day of the Devs event, presented by Double Fine and iam8bit. This eclectic digital event was a presentation of a wide range of indie games interspersed with some musical performances from games-related artists.
The event had a fantastic grass-roots feel whilst being really well produced. What I found particularly enjoyable was the variety of games, studios and personalities from across the globe that participated, a fantastic showreel of the diversity and reach of video games creation.
The entire line up is worth a look but some stand out titles that grabbed my interest included Last Stop from Variable State and Annupurna Interactive (one of my favourite publishers) and Loot River by Straka.Studio, a dark procedurally generated dungeon crawler with a hint of...*checks notes*... Tetris!
Talking of Annapurna Interactive, they also showed off a teaser reel, during which I was overly excited to see a few frames of some new Outer Wilds content teased. I certainly will be checking out their event in July for more info on that as it's a firm Play team favourite.
This week, the team behind Kerbal Space Program let their community know that the next update for the game, is going to be its final one. The game released has been beloved by fans for years, so its a little bittersweet that the final update is a lot of bug fixes and quality of life improvements, but all good things come to an end. Plus, they announced Kerbal Space Program 2 almost 2 years ago, so I assume they're shifting their focus and going full speed ahead on the sequel, which is assumed to be releasing into early access next year.
Borderlands is getting a spin-off in the form of Tiny Tina's Wonderlands. It was rumoured before the event, but was officially announced at the Summer Game Fest, debuting the trailer and an interview with the game's star, Ashly Burch (who is also currently starring in Mythic Quest which you should definitely check out!). If you like dragons and magic, it looks like you're going to enjoy this one. Even if you've not played the Borderlands games, Ashly said in her interview that this will still be a game you can very much enjoy and will be a great introduction to the Borderlands world for new players!
What has caught your attention so far, or what are you hoping to see announced over the next week as the events keep on coming? Let us know by sending us a message on Twitter!
If you want more from us, head on over to our YouTube channel where we have loads of interviews with industry experts, gameplay, and marketing tips. We also host a live show on Twitch every Thursday at 4pm, where we discuss even more videogame news, play some games, and chat about videogame marketing and wider topics affecting the industry. Check out yesterdays episode right now, we were discussing how games companies can use TikTok with MJ Widomska from YRS TRULY 👇