Ah, May. A time to go out and enjoy the Spring weather before it gets hot and muggy... or for those a little less unfortunate, stare outside the window waiting for all the snow to melt. It's also a time to catch up on our gaming backlog before the hot and hazy months and their wave of games hits! With a few smaller releases such as Metro: Last Light and Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D, May won't be completely dry, but it certainly isn't the deluge of releases that March was!
It leaves one to wonder... how about the past? Are all Mays considered 'break months' for the game industry, or is this month just a fluke? Let's find out!
May of 2003 was a rather boring month. Few new games came out during the month, and even those weren't particularly big releases. However, this month in particular introduced us to a new IP: The WarioWare series. WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgame$! gave us the frantic pace of quick and quirky mini-games... and really, what else could we ask for?
Other notable releases: PlanetSide, Burnout 2: Point of Impact
The month of May in 2004 was a bit of a dull one for gaming. This time, the biggest release is one that's mainly known as a PC release, which wasn't as common in the gaming industry as it is today with distribution services such as Steam. Thief: Deadly Shadows is exactly what a stealth game should be: You have multiple tools at your disposal, and failure to keep hidden and silent is likely to lead to your death. It's intense and nerve-wracking, but also a lot of fun.
Other notable releases: Samurai Warriors
The fifth month of 2005 was very slow. With no big console releases during the month, gamers had to turn their portables to get their gaming fix. Thankfully, one portable release was bound to keep a lot of gamers busy for the month, and that was Pokemon Emerald. The updated version of Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire, Emerald offered a new legendary to catch and other updates to keep Game Boy Advance owners occupied.
Other notable releases: Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones
Earlier on in these years, there seems to be a bit of a trend. While console gaming seems to take a break and slow on the releases, portable gaming steps in and gives us a great release to keep us occupied. During this May we received New Super Mario Bros., Nintendo's attempt to return the Mario series to its roots. It was well-received critically, and no matter what you think of the 'New' moniker now, you have to admit that the original DS game succeeded well in its mission.
Other notable releases: Hitman: Blood Money
Again, May 2007 is a dry month for console gaming, and again, portable gaming stepped up to the challenge of giving gamers something to entertain themselves. However, Etrian Odyssey doesn't have the same wide-spread appeal as the previous entries--a throwback to first person dungeon crawling of old, this game (and series) is brutally difficult. It isn't for the faint of heart, but for those that stick through it are given a great experience.
Other notable releases: Penumbra: Overture
It's said that April showers bring May flowers... well, in 2008, it must not have rained much, since there were few flowers blooming. However, this gave niche and indie titles a chance to shine. Amongst the May releases was Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness Episode 1, which was a well received Arcade title. It was Penny Arcade... in a game! Also, the game itself was pretty good, and the small amount of competition during the month certainly helped its exposure.
Other notable releases: Boom Blox, Luminous Arc 2
If there is anything that can be considered about May throughout the years, it's that many new IPs come out. 2009 gave us inFamous, the PS3 exclusive that put us in the shoes of a man with an incredible power. Being able to explore the free world with the power of lightning at your side, you could wreak havoc or help the population. The combination of aspects we've seen before with new mechanics helped make inFamous a smash hit.
Other notable releases: Sacred 2: Fallen Angel, Punch-Out!!, Killing Floor
Surprisingly enough, May 2010 had many great releases, both triple-A and niche alike. However, nothing beats the release of Super Mario Galaxy 2, the much anticipated sequel to the Wii classic. Giving more of the greatness that fans loved, and new mechanics that kept the formula fresh (like everyone's favorite dinosaur, Yoshi), Super Mario Galaxy 2 kept Wii owners entertained for May... and even beyond!
Other notable releases: 3D Dot Game Heroes, Trauma Team, Red Dead Redemption, Alan Wake
In May 2011, two much anticipated WRPGs were released to the world. The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings was one of these, and was well received by fans and critics alike. The first game was dark, gritty, and had plenty of morally grey choices, and The Witcher 2 doesn't shy away from the grimdark setting. It's a sequel does does everything right for fans.
Other notable releases: Terraria, Fable III
May of last year was a little dry on the releases, though what did come out catered to wide and excited audiences. The biggest release of this month was the MMO Diablo III. Fans of Diablo II had been clamoring for a sequel for years, and they finally got the game they had been dreaming of... even if the aesthetics made it look like a World of Warcraft sequel. Love it or hate it, the MMO certainly made a big splash in the industry when it released.
Other notable releases: Max Payne 3, Alan Wake's American Nightmare
That's all for this May's Memory Lane. If you were worried about May being a month of low releases, don't be; that seems to be the case most of the time. It helps us prepare for the busy summer months, at least! Next month we'll see how big June typically is (or isn't) in game releases. See you then!
What are some of your favorite May releases? Any I missed? Let me know in the comments below!