Fall welcomes video game season

By: Zach Walton

Autumn brings with it many things: the changing of the season, cooler weather and football season, to name a few. Autumn also brings one more thing, the start of the holiday video game season.

Starting in September and ending in December, the video game industry is prepping to launch AAA blockbuster titles every month. The industry knows that gamers have money around the holidays and they want it. Here’s a heads-up as to what gamers can look forward to in the coming months.

September starts strong with the release of two hotly anticipated prequels. Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep (Sept. 7) is the first game chronologically in the Square-Disney crossover that fans around the world have come to love. What is arguably the biggest launch this year though is Halo Reach (Sept. 14), the prequel to the first Halo that made Xbox a household name the world over. Other notable releases include Civilization V (Sept. 21), Dead Rising 2 (Sept. 28) and Final Fantasy XIV (Sept. 30).

October gets even busier with the release of numerous titles. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow (Oct. 5) is the first western-developed title in the storied franchise that is sure to please fans new and old. Enslaved: Odyssey to the West (Oct. 5) is Ninja Theory’s latest crack at the action genre after their first game, PS3 exclusive Heavenly Sword, didn’t do as well as they had expected. The other big releases in October are Medal of Honor (Oct. 12), Vanquish (Oct. 19), Fallout: New Vegas (Oct. 19) and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II (Oct. 26).

November is the biggest holiday shopping month in the year. If a game is to be released in November, it has to be big to be heard over the noise of everything else. Call of Duty: Black Ops (Nov. 9) is that kind of game. Alongside Black Ops, there are other releases that are worth checking out: Little Big Planet 2 (Nov. 16), Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit (Nov. 16), Donkey Kong Country Returns (Nov. 21) and Golden Sun: Dark Dawn (Nov. 29).

December releases are never announced this early in the year and even then, nothing much is ever released. Consider it a break for your poor wallet who has just spilled everything it had to buy all those great games in the previous months. It’s going to need the break as January and February of 2011 are already looking busy with Dead Space 2, Mass Effect 2 for PS3, Portal 2 and Killzone 3.

Remember to take a break from your studying every once in a while. The fall semester can be tiring. Video games can provide a great break from studying and the responsibilities of college life. So sit back, turn on your console of choice and enjoy a game. Autumn is going to have plenty of them for you to choose from.