The German games industry may not (yet) be able to keep up with the best locations in an international comparison, but there are national studios whose works do not have to hide from global competition. From my point of view, Deck13 from Frankfurt am Main has blossomed into such a company in recent years – with fun souls-like action RPGs like Lords of the Fallen, The Surge and The Surge 2.
On May 16, 2023 the current project of the Frankfurter for PC, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series will appear: Atlas Fallen (buy now €59.99 ) was only announced in the course of gamescom 2022 – with first information about the game world and fights. We haven’t seen any gameplay yet. But the reveal trailer made you want more:
And having enjoyed Lords of the Fallen, The Surge, and The Surge 2, I’ve been excited for Atlas Fallen since it was announced last summer. At the same time, I’m also worried that the action role-playing game could go completely under the wheels in May. Finally appears just a few days before The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom (on May 12, 2023). June 6th is already there diablo 4 raring to go, followed by Final Fantasy 16 on June 22, 2023. Also scheduled for May and June red case (2.May),
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League (May 26 – meanwhile postponed again) and street fighter 6 (June 2nd), just to name the big blockbusters.
I realize that many of these games appeal to very different audiences. But there will also be gaming enthusiasts who want to take several of these blockbuster releases with them and who have to decide on a few titles due to lack of time and money. At the same time, the sales figures for Atlas Fallen at launch could be a decisive factor in the form in which publisher Focus Entertainment will approach the follow-up project.
In fact, in the history of our favorite hobby, there are several games where something similar happened, which were actually of high quality (as hopefully Atlas Fallen will be too) and yet flopped (or at least fell short of their potential) due to their poor release timing ). Here, for example, I immediately notice Warhammer Online one that has been overshadowed by two months after launch Wrath of the Lich King stood and was never able to recover from the collapsing player numbers.
Other online role-playing games are likely to curse World of Warcraft in retrospect. For example everquest 2, which appeared shortly before WoW in November 2004, but was never able to generate any advantage from it. And also one Lord of the Rings Online would certainly have been more successful at launch if Blizzard hadn’t put the WoW expansion Burning Crusade online a few months earlier.
The hero shooter wasn’t bad at all Battleborn by Gearbox, which did not oppose in May 2016 Uncharted 4, DOOM and over watch could prevail. Or let’s just take the really good shooter titan fall 2published in October 2016 by battle field 1 and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare was crushed.
Of course, I wanted to know why those responsible at Deck13 and Focus Entertainment agreed on this date in particular (and who was the driving force behind the decision), whether they – as of now – see a problem at all and how they see the well-known competitors assess their chances of a successful launch. And sure enough, Mathias Reichert, Managing Director at Deck13, took the time to answer my questions (thanks for that, again!).
Mathias explained to me that as a publisher, Focus always has the last word when it comes to the release date of a game. At the same time, however, the production also dictates the period in which a game can appear. In the case of Atlas Fallen, those responsible had a window of four weeks. In addition, after the rather bad experiences with The Surge 2, which was released on September 24, 2019, they wanted to avoid late summer.
But when exactly before the summer slump come out? Like last year, it is extremely difficult to find an optimal release time in 2023. Sure, alone one The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom will already attract a lot of attention from press and players. This makes the Nintendo Switch blockbuster a direct competitor, even if Atlas Fallen is a very different kind of game.
Nevertheless, Mathias is self-confident. Atlas Fallen has enough quality and features, such as fast-paced gameplay and a focus on solo and 2-player co-op adventure, to hold its own against the competition in May. And since the successful The Surge 1 was also released on May 16th, nothing can go wrong, right?
My hope now is that the developers will soon reveal more details about the game and finally show gameplay, and that what is shown can then also be convincing. Building on that, Atlas Fallen could then perhaps be given enough attention over the coming weeks to at least have a solid launch (more would actually surprise me given the release date, even if Atlas Fallen ended up being Deck13’s best game yet), which can then be built on in the weeks and months that follow. After all, the people of Frankfurt should have the financial and creative resources to continue developing great games from Germany for us in the years to come. I keep my fingers crossed!