A light drizzle of game signals the beginning of the end of the summer drought of computer-based entertainment, as a prelude to the usual Christmas downpour. September is packed to the very gunwales with plastic rock, starting with The Beatles: Rock Band, subject of a superb article in the New York Times. It’s on target for a 9th September release as far as I’m aware, though until I actually have the box in my grubby mits I’ll be lightly sceptical, what with the Wii Rock Band 2 raft foundering on its way to the UK, making an increasing mockery of Joystiq’s headline “Rock Band 2 may not be ridiculously late in Europe” in the run-up to its first anniversary. Still, even if the release is delayed until actual beetles rule the earth there’s always Guitar Hero, coming up to its fifth instalment. Some cracking tracks in the set list, I’m particularly looking forward to 21st Century Schizoid Man.
On the MMOG front of course there’s Champions Online; a few jaunts through the start of the beta (mostly in the character creator) have been rather fun, though not really enough to decide whether to plump for a lifetime subscription. With the whole monthly fee model rather in question at the moment for MMOGs (an APB FAQ recently revealed it won’t have a monthly subscription), 6 months for £36 looks like the better bet of the pre-launch subscription deals. I’ll be interested to see how the mix-n-match power selection works out later in the game, hopefully it should provide an interesting way to customise the way your character plays exactly as you like, though I have a slight worry it may lead to a small number of min-maxed “uber builds” slightly unbalancing things.
Champions and plastic rock should pretty much take care of September, with the Steam indie pack filling any gaps, and talking of Steam one of the news items it popped up the other day was for Alpha Protocol, coming in October. An “espionage RPG”, it looks rather interesting; if we’re very, very lucky, it might just offer a Deus Ex-y storyline of conspiracy and intrigue, with many possible approaches for missions, so I’ll be keeping a keen eye on previews of that to see if it has any chance of living up to the hype.
Hmm. Even as I hit “Post”, seems that the Champions limited pre-launch subscription offers were, indeed, limited, and have now sold out. Slightly galling, but such is life; a great cynic might even say it’s a useful way of drumming up some publicity about the demand for the game, perhaps coupled with some new offers “by popular demand”…