It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these! I did one right back at the start of the blog, in 2019 and then another for 2020. In both cases, they played the role of looking forward to what was coming that might end up consuming future playtime.
It’s somewhat amusing looking back at the accuracy – or lack thereof – of the posts. In the 2020 post I actually did exceedingly well, I played everything listed (including those in the ‘What else?’ section) pretty much as expected! The 2019 post on the other hand… Not so much. I still haven’t really played Outward. I didn’t play the Elsweyr expansion of The Elder Scrolls Online until the year after it came out. And as for Shadowbringers… Well, as you might’ve seen… I’ve really only just got through Heavensward now.
So I’m already curious how well I’ll do this time around.
Particularly given I’m going make things more difficult on myself and try… plan… That’s… It’s… That isn’t something I typically do around here. Things just sort of *wave hands* happen. It all works out in the end, so generally, I’m happy to let it be.
But I came to something of an epiphany today. The conversation started with the difficulty in extracting value from games when distractions in the form of other games abound. Led to Pete’s post on what value there is in finishing something just for the sake of it in ‘Too Much of an OK Thing?‘ and ended in a comment there, tying these threads together with Krikket’s concept of ‘Playing to Satisfaction‘.
What I realised is that I don’t have any particular desire to finish things for the sake of it. I don’t really mind putting games aside in favour of other games. As I’ve noted several times, flexibility is a valued part of my play style. What I want though is to exercise a little more conscious decision making over the process. To not just put something aside because something else is there, but to put it aside because I know I want to put it aside.
Will this still be something I want if I achieve it? Dunno! Or will I end up finding there is actually little practical difference between that and what I already do? Also dunno! I guess we’ll find out.
Whatever the case may be though — today it means I want to put at least a loose plan around when I might play some of the coming releases I’m quite interested in. This plan might go entirely out the window like 2019’s list, or perhaps I’ll adhere to it like 2020’s! Let’s find out. :)
The Games of Interest – Rest of 2021
I’m going to start this one off with an overview, listing the games in contention. I figure it’ll probably help with this whole… planning… thing.
|Game||Release Date||Game Function|
|Tales of Arise||10 September 2021||Singleplayer|
|Battlefield 2042||23 October 2021||Multiplayer|
|Forza Horizon 5||10 November 2021||Singleplayer and Multiplayer|
|Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker||23 November 2021||Singleplayer|
|Dying Light 2||7 December 2021||Multiplayer|
If you’re raising your eyebrow at my characterisation of FFXIV: Endwalker as ‘Singleplayer’ let me explain. When I say ‘Game Function’ I’m really talking about the role it fulfils for me. Titles I list as ‘Multiplayer’ here are the ones that will occupy shared gaming time in my friend group, if not exclusively, then just about.
I list FFXIV: Endwalker as Singleplayer here as that will be something I play in my own time, as it doesn’t (currently) interest the rest of my online group. Given how well the MSQ works as a single-player story experience though, this actually suits me just fine. This doesn’t mean I won’t engage in the MP aspects of FFXIV — I love the dungeons, trials and whatnot. It just means my group won’t be playing it in our shared time.
Just looking at this list, and with this context — it doesn’t seem like there will be too many clashes for time after all.
But… That ignores the fact I still need to get through FFXIV’s post-Heavensward content through to post-Shadowbringers content before Endwalker arrives. Annnd I still have Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin to get through too — a lot of it in fact!
In any case, let’s jump to it!
Tales of Arise – 10 September
Tales of Berseria was the first ‘Tales of’ game I ever played. And, this may not shock you, but I didn’t finish it. I did however really enjoy what I played.
I can’t survive on a game-diet of JRPG’s exclusively but boy do I enjoy throwing them in the mix every now and then. Berseria showed me a new series to get into between entries in the main Final Fantasy series releases. It especially tickled me the frequent and seemingly constant unlocking of new game systems to engage with.
It’s probably a flaw, but I really like it when games just keep the game mechanics coming.
In any event — Tales of Arise was announced not too long after my foray into Berseria and I was excited for it almost immediately. I wouldn’t say ‘next gen’ but it was certainly that relative to Berseria’s presentation (outside of the ever stunning pre-rendered anime sequences). And I can’t deny — it turned my head.
So I’m hoping for a more modern ‘Tales of’ game to really sink my teeth into, and at last, it’s almost here!
I won’t be dropping Final Fantasy XIV to play this… But it’s entirely likely I’ll drop Monster Hunter Stories 2 if I still haven’t done it by this point.
Battlefield 2042 – 23 October
128 players is going to be bonkers. But I’m here for it.
No clash. This will be the main multiplayer title for my group for at least a little while.
My only real concern is the time to kill. Battlefield V came out a little aggressive on this front for my tastes. I prefer that gunfights come down to more than who got the drop on who.
But the scale of this thing is looking intense. Squadding up with friends, taking on different utility roles and going to battle together? Yesss! :D
Forza Horizon 5 – 10 November
Forza Horizon as a series I’m interested in kinda took me by surprise.
After seeing this very trailer, in fact, I finally took the time to download FH4 from the Xbox Gamepass and take it for a spin.
I had always been under the (very mistaken, as it turns out) impression that Forza Horizon was a ‘serious’ racing game. From the FH5 trailer too, if I didn’t know better — I’d get that same impression.
But nooo. It’s an off the rails arcade experience, with optional sim-ish driving models for those that want them. The whole conceit of FH4 though is that it is an event largely set within an immersive VR environment. And they use this to great effect, having you ‘race’ — on the ground — jets… trains… Sometimes you get thrown into a Warthog and race against Halo’s covenant — complete with the ring-world set as the skybox.
Or… You know… Lego. The most beautifully rendered lego I’d seen, I might add.
I’m incredibly psyched to see what expansions Forza Horizon 5 gets.
In terms of potential to clash; from a Single-player perspective, it’s two months after Tales of Arise. I think that’ll be OK. Multi-player… It’s definitely closer than I would like. If my group decides we’re still having too much fun in BF2042 to put it aside just yet, we might wait on this one. And I’d be OK with that.
Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker – 23 November
I’m still not 100% convinced I’m going to be ready for Endwalker when it lands. Even so, that’s the goal. I have no plans to put Final Fantasy XIV aside for anything between now and then but it will share the single-player stage with at least one other game at any given time.
So far the playtime balance has weighed heavily in favour of FF, but I’m certainly enjoying MHS2 every time I do pick it up so I might need to return some balance to the equation soon.
If I do make it?
It will be the first FFXIV release I was ‘there’ for, since right back to the ARR launch when I very first gave the game a shot all those years ago.
Dying Light 2 – 7 December
I almost listed this one as both Single-player and Multi-player- I took this down to MP only on the assumption that similar to the first game, after completing an SP-only tutorial section the entire campaign could be played in co-op.
If that assumption proves incorrect, it might be that this shifts back into taking single-player time as well. If that happens, it is way too close to Endwalkers release for me to be entirely happy. The plan would be for Endwalker to remain secured safely in its spot, and for Forza Horizon 5 to move aside in both roles rather than just for multi-player.
Either way though, have been waiting for this one for a while. I really hope the fact it has been in a seeming development-hell for a while now isn’t indicative of a troubled release, but I guess we’ll see!
Not going to lie, I’m fairly skeptical I’ll keep entirely — or even mostly — to this plan. For one, it’s calling for 7 consecutive months of playing FFXIV fairly heavily to meet my goals for it. That would tie it (since I’ve been recording, at least) with WoW: Shadowlands release, where I continued on so long primarily because I had raid commitments.
And this is before we throw in anything I’ve forgotten to include here.
Which, I realise only just now writing this conclusion, includes New World. Out later this month. It isn’t exactly every day a new MMO comes out…
Maybe I need to make more of an effort to get more out of MHS2 before then, so it can take up that play slot instead of FF’s.
Hmm. This is going to require some thought.