As a fan of adventure games, it warms my jaded, cynical heart by a couple of degrees to see the genre making a comeback over the last couple of years. Whether it’s Tim Schafer managing to pull off the Kickstarter miracle that was Broken Age, or Telltale games making the genre accessible—and familiar—to everyone with Game of Thrones, adventure games are making a remarkable, largely indie comeback, and anyone that loves games that go beyond shooters is benefiting from this.
For console owners however, it looks like there’s really only one clear choice if you’re an adventure game fan, and the PS4 has solidly locked itself into that winning position. Of course there are multi-platform titles, notably from Telltale, that anyone with a PlayStation or Xbox console can enjoy. But for those that prefer to play primarily on a console, there are lot of adventure games coming to the PS4, some of which aren’t even going to be available on the PC.
In one sense, there’s a certain market logic to this. The Xbox, particularly in North America, has a reputation for being the mainstream gamer’s console, which means shooters reign supreme. RPGs and other genres tend not to sell as well as its preferred, dominant genre. The PlayStation consoles have always entertained a broader, more experimental scope, and we’re seeing that in the flood of adventure games that are coming to the PS4 in 2015. One of the big wins is that many PC titles are getting ports to the PS4. Dreamfall Chapters, Broken Age and the classic Grim Fandango are all examples of PC adventure games that are coming to the PS4, but not to the Xbox One. Dreamfall and Broken Age in particular are big wins for adventure game fans since they’re both new games from Ragnar Tornquist and Tim Schafer, both of whom are revered in the genre for creating masterpiece titles.
Beyond that however, there are adventure games exclusive to the PS4 that are doing some interesting things. Of course, there will be AAA titles incoming; one only has to look at the leaks and reports from David Cage’s Quantic Dream studio to see that they’re hard at work on yet another PlayStation exclusive adventure game. But there are smaller titles as well, such as Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture by The Chinese Room, which continues to provoke curiosity with a title that says it all. Until Dawn combines adventure with teen slash horror to create a game where you pick who lives and who dies. Abzu, made by one of the developers of Journey is looking suitably mysterious, and largely aquatic-based, which is something that’s just not seen a lot. Then there’s What Remains Of Edith Finch by Giant Sparrow, the same studio that created the distinctive PlayStation Move adventure game, Unfinished Swan. Finally, there’s Rime, a game by Tequila Works out of Japan that is strongly channeling the look and feel of previous Sony games like Ico and Shadow of the Colossus.
For people who think there’s more to gaming than just shooting, the PS4 is quickly turning into the console to own for those with broader tastes. There’s nothing wrong with shooters of course, there’s a reason that the genre is the most popular in the world right now. But to play only shooters is like watching only reality television, or reading only New York Times best-selling novels. Experiencing only the most popular things in a media limits your perception of what that medium can do. Adventure games are strange, off beat, distinct and more demonstrative of a developer’s personal sensibility than a big AAA shooter ever could be, because these smaller games aren’t subject to the same market research scrutiny. If you’re looking for a more substantial, personal, artful interactive experience, your chances of finding it are bigger with adventure games, and there are more of those coming to the PS4 than any other console.