October 2020 is coming in hot, with titles like Star Wars: Squadrons, Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time, and Watch Dogs Legion all slated to launch within the next 30 days. It comes as no surprise, as the month has almost always been a popular time for video game releases. The following list of October 2020 gaming anniversaries, from Halo 5: Guardians to The Secret of Monkey Island, is evidence of October’s adoration among publishers from 1990 until the present day.
1. Halo 5: Guardians (5th Anniversary)
While the next Halo game, Halo Infinite, may be on everyone’s minds right now, it’s important to look at 343 Industries last foray in the franchise, Halo 5: Guardians, to get an idea of what fans can expect in this newest adventure. Released exclusively for Xbox One on October 27, 2015, the game follows series icon Master Chief as he attempts to locate Cortana while a rival fireteam, led by Spartan Locke, tracks down his whereabouts. The title’s campaign leaves a little to be desired, especially in terms of length, but its gameplay is as satisfying as ever, especially when playing with friends via online multiplayer. If 343 Industries manages to spruce up its writing chops in time for Halo Infinite‘s release next year, this sixth main entry may just be the best Halo game yet.
2. Fallout: New Vegas (10th Anniversary)
Obsidian Entertainment’s Fallout: New Vegas, which launched for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC on October 19, 2010, is considered my many Fallout fans to be the best entry in the franchise to date. Set four years after Fallout 3 (or 204 years after the series’ Great War began), players take on the role of a character named the Courier, the likes of which finds him or herself caught in a turf war after being ambushed and left for dead while delivering a package. The title’s gameplay feels more fluid and polished than its predecessor, and its main narrative and quests are engrossing. With Obsidian and Bethesda now under Microsoft’s umbrella, New Vegas 2 may one day be a reality.
3. Shadow of the Colossus (15th Anniversary)
Team Ico’s Shadow of the Colossus launched exclusively on PlayStation 2 on October 18, 2005 in North America and October 27, 2005 in Japan. It’s no wonder why the game was re-released for PlayStation 3 in 2011 and remade for PlayStation 4 in 2018, as few other titles successfully capture its sense of tragedy. At the same time, the game evokes a feeling of adventure with its beautiful semi-open world environments and meticulously crafted dungeons. Shadow of the Colossus deserves all the praise, as there’s nothing out there quite like it.
4. TimeSplitters (20th Anniversary)
Unlike Shadow of the Colossus, Free Radical Design’s TimeSplitters franchise hasn’t seen any attention since its last main entry released in 2005. Its first iteration launched exclusively on PlayStation 2 in North America on October 26, 2000 and redefined preconceived notions surrounding video games by allowing fans to travel through a whole century in time, from 1935 to 2035. What’s more is that the game included a four-player split-screen multiplayer mode that played a lot like a cross between Quake and GoldenEye 007. For a launch game, TimeSplitters was the complete package. It’s a shame we haven’t had the chance to enjoy the franchise with a fresh coat of paint yet.
5. The Secret of Monkey Island (30th Anniversary)
People who are into point-and-click adventure games may have seen references to Lucasfilm Games’ The Secret of Monkey Island or the Monkey Island series in the general once or twice in their lifetime. The first entry in the franchise, whose 16-color version released in October 1990, effortlessly melds impeccable, movie-quality audiovisual fidelity with a hilarious script and an accessible difficulty. In other words, The Secret of Monkey Island never feels niche. On the contrary, the game provides a down-to-earth template that many video game writers continue to study to this day.
As we scarf down candy and carve faces into pumpkins while enjoying our latest digital obsession, it’s important to remember the hard work that developers new and old have poured into the titles we love. Here’s hoping the industry will continue to thrive in the future, and that we never take our interactive experiences for granted.