Next year’s slate of games looks spectacular! But unlike most years, a ton of the games we’re excited about already have a release date, coming just a couple of months after the prime holiday season. February 2022 is currently looking like one of the most stacked months in gaming ever, reminding us of the biggest and best weeks of the fall. We thought it’d be fun to compare the upcoming 28-day gauntlet, which is gaining more killers every day, to massive release calendars of gaming’s past. First, let’s take a look at what we have to look forward to this February.
The month starts out strong with the Life is Strange Remasted Collection on February 1, followed shortly behind by Dying Light 2 Stay Human, Techland’s open-world zombie RPG, on February 4. OlliOlli World from Roll7 lands February 8, the same day as the promising martial-arts-focused Sifu.
A brief gap in releases allows us to catch our breath and enjoy the month’s strong opening salvo of games before The King of Fighters XV kicks in the door with its release on February 17, allowing an avalanche of must-play titles to pour onto our growing 2022 backlogs. Horizon Forbidden West continues Aloy’s adventure the next day on February 18. The following days bring the coming of Savathun in Destiny 2: The Witch Queen on February 22 and possibly the most anticipated game of the month, From Software’s Elden Ring, which plans to take over our consoles and PCs on February 25. Square Enix has also delayed the release of Final Fantasy VI Pixel Remaster to sometime during the month – in case you also wanted to play one of the best RPGs of all time.
It just doesn’t let up. But let’s look at other relentless months of releases from recent memory. In our first comparison, we look back to November 2006, not just the hottest point of a big holiday season, but the eye of the storm for two big console launches in the Wii and PlayStation 3. Not to be outdone, previous-gen consoles and the now one-year-old Xbox 360 bringing its first massive franchise to the console are firing shots across the bow of the newcomers as well. Here are the November 2006 game releases that devastated our bank account balances.
November 2006 Releases:
- Elite Beat Agents – November 6
- Call of Duty 3 – November 7
- Gears of War – November 7
- Guitar Hero II – November 7
- Tony Hawk’s Project 8 – November 7
- Sonic the Hedgehog – November 15
- PlayStation 3 – November 17
- Resistance: Fall of Man – November 17
- Nintendo Wii w/ Wii Sports – November 19
- The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess – November 19
- Red Steel – November 19
- Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Vegas – November 30
- Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness – November 30
Granted, some of the games listed above are fondly remembered in hindsight, while others, like Red Steel, were panned by critics and consumers alike. That’s also not even close to the full list of releases from November 2006. Still, the month was undeniably delectable for gamers, many of which were worthy of preorder to secure a copy during the busy shopping season. Compared to the current time crisis we’re facing in a few weeks, the selection is pretty even in terms of anticipation.
Honestly, it’s hard to find these kinds of blockbuster months in the last decade. Most companies became savvier about laying claim to a certain month or week, avoiding competition that may cut into precious sales. The closest week after week assault without a console release happened in October 2018, which positioned a hefty handful of big games to capitalize on the holiday rush, anchored by arguably the year’s biggest release yet in Red Dead Redemption 2. Like this upcoming February, there was also a similar spread of exciting remasters and intriguing indie games to anticipate.
October 2018 Releases:
- Forza Horizon 4 – October 2
- Mega Man 11 – October 2
- Assassin’s Creed Odyssey – October 5
- Super Mario Party – October 5
- Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 – October 12
- LEGO DC Super-Villains – October 16
- Starlink: Battle for Atlas ~ October 16
- Return of the Obra Dinn – October 18
- Soulcalibur VI – October 19
- Red Dead Redemption 2 – October 26
So why are we seeing a holiday season’s rush of games so soon after the start of 2022? In some cases, games are pushed to the beginning of a new calendar year to show a financial return before the end of the fiscal year, which usually concludes at the end of March. That, combined with development complications due to the pandemic over the last two years, there may not be a better option for companies right now than to launch their products and improve the numbers for this current 12 month period. February was once home to the release of the new Saints Row before it was bumped until August. Though, moving out of the way of a Horizon or Elden Ring may not be an option for organizations that rely on their bottom line looking good year over year. Hell, look at the ever-growing list of games now with release dates in March, which is starting to look like a repeat of the stacked which precedes it.
Which months or seasons do you remember having an almost impossible deluge of releases? Are you in favor of having release schedules this packed just after the holidays, or would you like them to spread out more throughout the year? Let us know in the comments!