October 7 is a popular date for the video game industry this year. In one day, five major video game releases will arrive for previous and current gen consoles and PC. While each game stands out for its genre - from sports to racing, RPG to horror - October 7 represents an expensive day for those interested in the latest titles to hit store shelves.
Established franchises like 2K's NBA 2K15 arrive on that date, alongside the third game in BioWare's Dragon Age series, Inquisition. Two other games spin off from already-established sources: Creative Assembly is bringing the Alien franchise to a new genre with the horror-fueled Alien: Isolation and J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings series enters the next-gen action-RPG realm with Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor from Monolith. The last major release of the day races in from an established developer bringing players a new franchise: Evolution's social-powered PS4 exclusive, Driveclub.
With five major releases, October 7 has become the video game industry's $300 day. Will all five games stay the course, or will one or more bow out and move to a less crowded spot on the 2014 calendar?
We asked the Joystiq staff to play the role of publisher, guessing which of the five titles is most likely to bend to the pressure of a crowded release list. There was consensus on one game, however: The title that will not move.
"NBA 2K15 won't be delayed because sports games adhere to a strict schedule," says Contributing Editor Earnest Cavalli. The rest of the team agrees. As a marquee franchise for 2K with a strong following that has only grown with the failures from competition, NBA 2K15's arrival on October 7 is solid.
From a business standpoint, one game is on shakier foundation: EA's next installment in the Dragon Age series. News Content Director Alexander Sliwinski says BioWare's title makes more sense for EA's fourth quarter portfolio, "unless EA diverts the revenue from the upcoming Betafield Premium package to post in the final quarter, like it did with Battlefield 3."
"Then again, there's always Need for Early Access Speed. There's enough money coming in from FIFA and EA Sports into the holidays that making a splash at the beginning of the year may be in its better interest," says Sliwinski.
Community Manager Anthony John Agnello agrees. "EA has had a lot of success publishing BioWare RPGs to big sales at the end of winter, namely Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3 which released in February and March respectively. EA could hold Dragon Age to then, safe from the holiday blitz competition, and score big with an audience hungry for indoor entertainment. A nice big sales bump right at the end of the fiscal year to boot."
Managing Editor Susan Arendt points to Inquisition for "a very unscientific" reason: "We haven't played it," she says. "We've seen Dragon Age, but haven't actually put our grubby little hands on it, which doesn't necessarily mean anything at all but could point to things not quite being where they should be at this point in development."
A Driveclub delay seems unlikely, Feature Content Director Xav de Matos adds, due to the game's position as an exclusive title with strong placement as a PS Plus promotional product. "It has already had its high-profile delay. Driveclub is ready and I don't see Sony delaying another one of its exclusives after pushing The Order: 1886 to 2015."
Contributing Editor Sinan Kubba thinks that, with the recent delay to Batman, Warner Bros. may re-think its lone major 2014 release. "Somehow Shadow of Mordor feels a bit early. I could see Warner Bros. re-positioning it," he says.
When considering the complete list, Joystiq Editor-in-Chief Ludwig Kietzmann uses process of elimination, and thinks Sega is most likely to blink.
"I think EA is more likely to make immediate income a priority, especially with a BioWare franchise, so I would say Dragon Age: Inquisition is the least mutable in this list. Driveclub and NBA 2K15 have a specific audience in mind too, so I think they can survive the same date. That leaves Dragon Age competitor Shadow of Mordor, which is quite far along and backed by WB, and Alien: Isolation, which is going for the horror crowd - but it's by Sega, which I don't believe has the marketing bucks to risk a shootout. So, by process of elimination, I'll say Alien: Isolation will move," he says.
On the other hand, Joystiq Senior Reporter Jess Conditt goes with her heart: "Only because it would be the most upsetting to me personally, I'll say Alien: Isolation."
All of that said, it's completely likely none of the titles slated for October 7 will shift and instead decide to go head-to-head for your dollars. It's a risky move, but plausible. We want you to play the role of publisher, and answer the poll below: Which of these five titles is most likely to move from its October 7 release date?