September 30, 2021 — From a writer trapped in the hell of the Pacific Northwest to the rise of the Sith, September featured a bevy of video games we cannot help but board the hype train for. Thanks to the PlayStation Showcase on September 9, players were treated to some dark, gothic, and fantastical tales that we are sure will satiate that appetite for the macabre that so many gamers share.
This roundup of September’s most epic game videos features an impressive blend of titles that will take players to the end of time while surely providing a memorable gaming experience.
‘Alan Wake’ Confronts the Taken in 4K
Tortured writer Alan Wake just wanted to escape to the Pacific Northwest with his beloved Alice, hoping to escape the stresses of writer’s block. However, the sleepy town of Bright Falls, WA, has something else in store for him. When the mysterious Cauldron Lake awakens a darkness that engulfs the town, turning its people into murderous shadows of their former selves, only Alan Wake can piece together what’s really behind the chaos.
Alan Wake was a hit when it was released as an exclusive on the Xbox 360, and fans have been clambering for a sequel from Finland’s Remedy Entertainment ever since. While American Nightmare was a decent holdover, and the connections to Remedy’s most recent release, Control, help stave the craving, gamers want more. So, to tease us even more, Remedy and co-developer D3T released Alan Wake Remastered, a visually improved version of the already attractive game.
Now available on Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Windows, and, for the first time ever, PlayStation 4/5, Alan Wake Remastered includes the two DLC, The Signal and The Writer, and is presented in 4K — without any gameplay changes. Though certain assets were recreated in 3D, the game is essentially the same as the 2010 release with a facelift reskin, which is entirely OK since Alan Wake did not need a remake, but the visual improvements help usher in new generations that can take up the mantle of begging for a continuation of the suspenseful story.
‘KOTOR’ Getting the Remaster Treatment
How do you get every Star Wars fan around the world to erupt into a massive cheer all at once? You announce the remake of Knights of the Old Republic, one of the most revered Star Wars video games of all time. Lucasfilm Games’ PlayStation showcase served as the vessel for the announcement, which is merely a voice-over and a quick glimpse at Darth Revan — which was more than enough to get everyone riled up and talking.
The Texan developer behind the project, Aspyr Austin, most recently published ports of Star Wars: Republic Commando, Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse, Star Wars: Jedi Knight — Jedi Academy, and Star Wars: Episode I — Racer. Those familiar with Mac gaming will know that porting has been Aspyr’s primary method of business until recently as the developer was acquired by Swedish mega-major in-the-making Embracer Group (THQ, etc.) in February of 2021 — so one can understand the slight hesitancy some players have had. However, some of the original team that helped create Knights of the Old Republic is returning.
Not much is known about the Star Wars remaster, but lead producer Ryan Treadwell notes Aspyr is “rebuilding it from the ground up with the latest tech to match the groundbreaking standard of innovation established by the original, all while staying true to its revered story.” which is pretty much publisher PR jargon for “We haven’t much to show, and you’ll be waiting a long time.”
Chinese Soulslike ‘Wuchang: Fallen Feathers’
Wuchang: Fallen Feathers is already cursed with being compared to Dark Souls and Bloodborne, and the 18 minutes of gameplay Chinese developer Leenzee Games showed in September certainly did not help. That is not to say it killed the hype as the showcase certainly promised an enjoyable experience.
Wielding a massive blade, fictional protagonist Wuchang explores a gloomy recreation of Ancient China’s Ming Dynasty, cutting down all manner of foe that stand in her way. Yes, the combat is very reminiscent of FromSoftware’s punishing Souls trilogy, and some of the animations even look similar, but there is still room for Wuchang to stand on its own — the trick is going to be in the storytelling.
Games like Ghost of Tsushima and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice have already proven semi-fictional Asian history sell well and if Wuchang is mimicking Dark Souls to an umpteenth degree, all it needs is a competent and engaging story and the dough should roll for the developer — which has an English Twitter account that intrigued gamers might want to look up: Leenzee Games. Unfortunately, it may be a while until we find out how the game truly plays since an official date has not yet been decided, though some outlets are stating a 2024 release, and us here at the Kurgan finds that time frame quite likely.
Hack ’n Slash Inspired By ‘Dragon’s Dogma’
A world of medieval awe and wonder awaits in Arise of Awakener, an open-world action RPG that, according to Gamera Game, is taking inspiration from Capcom’s Dragon’s Dogma. An announcement trailer dropped earlier this month, showcasing a multi-faceted experience pitting players against ferocious beasts and creatures of another age.
As a warrior, archer, or mage; players traverse a world based on Europe’s medieval age using dragons and airships to explore and engage their enemies. When on foot, it is all about swordplay, bow and arrow proficiency, or magical abilities and their role in elevating players to become the “Awakened One.” Overall, story details are scarce, but the gameplay showcased in the reveal suggests that the hack ‘n slash combat is only a fraction of the mechanics players can expect to play around with. Heck, one frame even showed a soldier mining for a mysterious mineral, which will likely play into crafting or merchant mechanics.
Arise of Awakener is scheduled to release on PlayStation 4/5 and Windows sometime in 2023.