September is usually when the games industry starts to wake up. It’s the start of the “holiday season,” the three month time span in which most of the biggest and highest profile games are released. 2020 will be slightly different—2020 itself, of course, is vastly different, in every way, from what has been our perceived normal for the last several decades, but within the limited precinct of the games world 2020 will be impacted not just by the global pandemic but by the fact that there are new consoles coming out. This is a new console year. I have done absolutely no research into this whatsoever but it would stand to reason that, since the new PlayStation and Xbox won’t be out until November, that some of the big games that plan on releasing for both current and next generation consoles won’t be coming out until around then, either. So I’m going to operate under the assumption that September and October will be curiously light, compared to most years, and that November and maybe even early December will just be completely buried under so-called “AAA” games that had nine figure budgets and years and years of crunch pumped into them.
Look, I’m just riffing here.
So this is a September unlike any other. And looking over the release schedule for the month, it does feel different. It’s full of remasters and rereleases, but comes up short on the would-be blockbusters. That’s not a problem for Paste—we’re snobs, don’t ya know—and hopefully isn’t a problem for anybody else, either. Because hey, there’s still a lot of really interesting looking games coming out this month—like these five below. Here are the five new games that we’re most excited for in September.
Release Date: Sept. 1
Strategy doesn’t get much grander than the Crusader Kings games. It puts you in charge not just of one specific ruler but an entire dynasty and tasks you with taking over as much of the world as you want to. Game’s got scope. The newest one, which is already out, starts you off in Ireland and is, according to our intern and official Crusader Kings III reviewer Nicolas Perez, pretty tough. Global dominance probably shouldn’t be easy, so that’s good to hear. Crusader Kings III is already out, so if you’re looking for something to pour hundreds of hours of your quarantine downtime into, here’s one option.
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Stadia, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X
Release Date: Sept. 4; later in 2020 for the PS5 and Xbox Series X
Plagued by bad buzz for years, this big budget Avengers game from Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix is undergoing a bit of rehab thanks to some positive early reviews and demo impressions. One of the big complaints about it—that the characters don’t look and sound like their movie versions—was always silly; these characters have been around for decades, have each undergone countless changes in costume or depiction in comics and cartoons, and will all surely be recast for live-action within a decade or so anyway. Another, more important complaint—about its “game as a service” component and dependence on microtransactions—is far more valid, especially during these turbulent economic times. Expect more from me on this one soon.
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: Sept. 4
I’ve already played a bit of the latest refresh of the classic Tony Hawk skating games. It does a perfectly fine job of updating the look and feel of the original two games for the modern world. Despite this list being bookended by massive computer games that will probably devour hundreds of hours, there’s a great chance this will be the game I spend the most time with. Our resident skateboard fiend and skating game expert Cole Henry was also impressed.
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4
Release Date: Sept. 15
Or maybe the sequel to one of the five best videogames of the 2010s will ultimately take my service time crown? Derek Yu’s endlessly replayable roguelike platformer is still in my rotation eight years after release. It’s hard to see how that game could be improved upon, so I’m simply looking to the sequel for change. What does Yu have in store for us now? We’ll find out in a couple of weeks. (Or, uh, in like 10 minutes, when I download this review code I just got in the inbox today.)
Platforms: PC, Stadia
Release Date: Sept. 30 (early access)
It’s been 20 years since that old goof Baldur last cracked open his gate, but nothing ever really stays gone in videogames. Rooted in the world of Dungeons & Dragons, the first two Baldur’s Gate games were developed by BioWare in the late ‘90s and 2000. After a couple decades of corporate hot potato, the rights eventually landed with Larian Studios, the group behind the long-running Divinity series of RPGs. If you can’t tell, I’m filling up this paragraph with historical info because, frankly, I don’t know much at all about Baldur’s Gate. I haven’t played a Dungeons & Dragons computer or videogame since Eye of the Beholder like 27 years ago. Not that I’m opposed to RPGs or D&D or Norse gods and their gates—I’m just not much of a computer gamer, and that always seems to be the turf these games grow on. Still, Baldur’s Gate III makes this list (even though it’s only in early access and not a “full” release) because of the formidable legacy of the series and the great track record of Larian Studios. Expect this one to get reviewed by somebody else here at Paste.
Senior editor Garrett Martin writes about videogames, comedy, music, travel, theme parks, wrestling, and anything else that gets in his way. He’s on Twitter @grmartin.