Watch out for some familiar titles in this summer’s new gaming releases

    Today’s gaming industry generates more revenue per year than the music and movie industries combined. So it is no real surprise that new game releases can attract as much media attention in the gaming heartlands of Australia, the USA and Europe as a new Hollywood release or rock album.

    Gaming’s mainstream appeal in the 2020s is reflected in the wide spectrum of titles. But one trend that is impossible to miss is that so many of 2023’s summer releases are variations on titles that are already established. Just as a new album by the Rolling Stones or a new Bond movie are guaranteed to do well, so gaming is leveraging the selling power of some classic branding, too. Here are just a few examples.

    Mortal Kombat 1 takes the Star Trek approach

    It has been four years since Mortal Kombat 11 and there was a general assumption in the gaming community that 2023 would see the release of Mortal Kombat 12. Developer NetherRealm has decided to take a different strategy and adopt a Star Trek approach of taking us right back to the beginning and exploring a different timeline – but with even more violence and grislier fatalities.

    The original Mortal Kombat was released more than 30 years ago, and the franchise has a fanbase that encompasses multiple generations. When it goes on general release in September, we have little doubt that MK1 will be the biggest fighting game of the year.

    The Wish Master Megaways is already wowing Australian casino gamers

    Another new update on a classic theme, NetEnt’s very latest game looks set to be a casino cracker if early reports from Australia are anything to go by. The Wish Master Megaways went on limited release at Australia online casinos for real money in early June and full roll out will follow shortly.

    The original Wish Master slot came out in 2014 and introduced the casino world to the idea of multiple Wild features. It is still popular today, but this Megaways version adds a welcome polish to the gameplay as well as the Megaways mechanic, which significantly boosts the win potential. Australia is great barometer for casino games, and it is safe to say that is it is a hit there, it will be a hit in the rest of the world, too.

    Assassin’s Creed Mirage goes back to basics

    The Assassin’s Creed franchise has seen as many sequels and spin-offs as Mortal Kombat but in half as many years. The most recent, Valhalla, was the most ambitious yet, taking place across a practically limitless open world on a grandiose sale. Mirage is conceptually more ambitious despite being played out in a smaller setting (a carefully rendered Basra).

    The designers have set out to make the playing experience closer to the original game, highly narrative driven, but with the addition of the latest game features and mechanics.

    Counter Strike 2 – the eSport upgrade is here at last 

    The sequel to what is arguably the most popular title in e-Sport has been long mooted but slow to arrive. It is finally going to be made available to existing CS:GO customers as a free upgrade, so there’s no reason to doubt that it will become available for tournament play straight away.

    Counter Strike 2 brings no fundamental changes to gameplay, but it includes a useful and entertaining new array of features, such as smoke bombs and improved player reactions to explosions, gunfire and the like.

    Sonic Superstars effortlessly blends 2D and 3D

    This one really is the gaming equivalent of a new Stones record. Sonic was the emblem of the SEGA generation, and the little blue hedgehog attracts sales as effortlessly as he picks up gold rings.

    Sonic Superstars was one of the highlights on display at the 2023 Summer Games Fest couple of weeks ago. All the familiar faces are there both alongside and against Sonic such as Knuckles, Tails and Dr Eggman. However, the environments and challengers are quite new. It’s a perfect blend of the familiar and the new and is certain to attract both new players and those who remember Sonic from the Mega Drive / Genesis days.

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