It’s The State of Gaming Podcast, Popzara’s in-depth look at what’s shaking up the gaming landscape delivered on a monthly basis. Our hosts Cory Galliher and Nate Evans guide you through the best, worst, and everything else making headlines and headway in the world of interactive entertainment.
The Games of December 2021
While many of the year’s biggest heavy-hitters debuted last month, December is no slouch when it comes to blockbusters either. Chief among them (pun intended) is Microsoft’s Halo Infinite, which unleashes its single-player campaign to help finish the fight the free-to-play multiplayer started. Despite numerous delays and bad first impressions, it looks like 343 Studios has done the near-impossible and made a new Halo that lives up to Bungie’s original trilogy. With an open-world twist, of course.
The hits keep coming as Deep Silver makes space sims fashionable again with their intergalactic shooter Chorus, Square Enix goes triple-dipping with their remake/reimagining of Final Fantasy 7 Remake: Intergrade for the PC, Nintendo wants to train your brain further with Big Brain Academy: Brain vs. Brain. Yacht Club Games brings their adorably pixelated hero to a new dimension with Shovel Knight Pocket Dungeon and Ubisoft proves the content will never end for their latest Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla Dawn of Ragnarok.
NPD: November 2021
NPD remains the gaming industry’s best snapshot of what’s moving and shaking up both physical and digital retail shelves across the country. All stats are for entertainment purposes only. Sales of new gaming hardware and software fell a steep 10 percent from last year at $6.3 billion (from $6.9 billion). All signs point to hard-to-find consoles like Sony’s PS5, Microsoft’s Xbox Series X / S and Nintendo’s Switch as the leading culprit for the slide, though it seems both the Switch and Xbox eked past Sony’s machine for the month.
The Top Twenty Software chart is mostly familiar, though EA’s multiplayer-only Battlefield 2042 debuted strong in second place, quickly becoming one of the year’s best-sellers despite a deluge of controversy following a rocky launch. Nintendo’s Pokémon: Brilliant Diamond/Shining Pearl had the DS remakes showing strong in third while Microsoft’s sublime racer Forza Horizon 5 also debuted strong in fourth, a real surprise given the game is also available on Game Pass.
While much of the list is populated with returning hits, a real surprise was Atlus’ Shin Megami Tensei V a bit further down the list at sixteenth, though this represents the best launch for the long-running JRPG series.
In other news The 2021 Videogame Awards happened, and they weren’t embarrassing! Did your favorite game win anything? Did you see 2020’s live-action Sonic the Hedgehog blockbuster? A lot of people must have, because there’s a super sonic sequel zipping into theaters next April, and there’s a trailer to prove it! See Jim Carrey (and his epic mustache) as the evil Dr. Robotnik! See Tails! See Knuckles! Just see this movie already!
Also, legendary developer Peter Molyneux (Populous, Dungeon Keeper) is back with a new game focusing on everyone’s favorite cryptocurrency fad, NFTs! Better get that virtual land before it’s gone! Speaking of cyberstuff, before you see The Matrix Resurrection this Christmas, why not dabble with the uncanny valley and a digital Keanu Reeves with Epic Games’ freely available The Matrix Awakens for PS5 and Xbox Series X? Whoa!