Focus on the Xbox-exclusive The Gunk coming in 2021

Before discussing the main topic of this article, let me state that I am disappointed with the delay of Halo Infinite. I was looking forward to playing that game on my Xbox One and replay it as soon as I buy an Xbox Series X console (set for release this November). Now that Halo Infinite won’t get released until sometime in 2021, Microsoft will have to pull off the right moves to ensure that Xbox Series X will launch successfully. As per tradition in video gaming, exclusive games (whether it’s made by a 3rd-party developer or by the console maker’s own game studios) are attractive to consumers who intend to jump into the new console generation.

While Microsoft has Xbox Game Pass and a massively large library of games from the previous Xbox console generations that early adopters of Xbox Series X can enjoy, their potential lineup of launch games for the new console looks very uncertain (as of this writing) without Halo Infinite. Xbox division head Phil Spencer and the rest of Team Xbox still have yet to announce the price of Xbox Series X, confirm the existence of the rumored Xbox Series S, what games will be launching with the new console(s), what related devices will be released, emphasize how beneficial is game optimization for Xbox Series X truly is, etc.

And now for the topic at hand…

With so many games presented during the Xbox Games Showcase of July 23, it was rather easy to overlook certain games. After replaying the showcase, I came across The Gunk which is a sci-fi adventure game made by the same team behind the SteamWorld franchise of games. Watch this official video below.

Developed by Thunderful Development and published by Thunderful Publishing exclusively for Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Windows 10 PC with a September 2021 release (with inclusion in Xbox Game Pass plus support of Xbox Smart Delivery), The Gunk is a 3D sci-fi action adventure game that (based on the above video) will be played in third-person (note: you’ll see your character in the middle) with platforming, running, jumping, exploring and vacuuming a living substance called the gunk off plants in a very exotic planet that’s just waiting to be explored in the game.

Based on available information, The Gunk follows the exploits of a character who arrives on a planet with high-tech equipment as part of a salvaging operation to explore the natural environment and find something good or interesting. What lies ahead and how much gunk from the planet should be vacuumed remains to be seen.

The protagonist?

As to why The Gunk is an Xbox-exclusive, Thunderful Group CEO Brjann Sigurgeirsson explained that his team needed more power to realize their concept in 3D which is something they have not done before. They wanted a game where more is more. Below is an excerpt from the Xbox.com article:

One of our early hurdles was the defensive urge to “hold the game back” to ensure that The Gunk would run comfortably on any platform. It took us a while to understand that we were tasking ourselves with something impossible – we wouldn’t be able to maximize the game while worrying about frame rates. We had to choose, and we decided to go for the grand vision. Mind you, we had pulled off tricky stuff in the past and squeezed outlandish frame rates out of limited hardware, but to realize the full potential of The Gunk we would need real power. And so, we decided to talk to Microsoft and ask about this new hardware they were tinkering with. And now, dear reader… here we are: The Gunk will come out exclusively on Xbox Series X and Xbox One. ~ Brjann Sigurgeirsson

It’s so nice learn from the Thunderful Group that they came up with their first 3D project at a time when Microsoft developed the very powerful Xbox Series X. The Gunk being exclusive for the current and next-generation Xbox consoles just might turn out to be fun-filled hit and it should be noted that the Thunderful Group SteamWorld games not only earned a positive reception from critics and gamers, but also picked up an array of awards.

Nice art style – check. Nice visual effects – check. Mystery – check.

Personally, I really like what I saw in the unveiling trailer of The Gunk. It has a cartoonish character design that surprisingly looks good in 3D polygons. I also liked the artistic style and the clever use of lighting effects with regards to defining the look of the planet. In short, it really looked not only exotic but also out of this world! Apart from the exploration, the platforming and potential fun action, I hope that the game will have a really engaging story to tell and that their characters (note: no telling how many we’ll see) will be relatable. Since the game involves space travel, I hope that the developers will implement some space ship battles which is something that the great sci-fi RPG (role-playing game) The Outer Worlds lacked.

Right now, I am very interested in The Gunk. It has a high-quality look to it and it could deliver a whole lot of fun to gamers on the Xbox ecosystem. It just might become a standout among whatever Xbox-exclusive games will come out in 2021. What is clear is that The Gunk is a 3rd-party exclusive being made by very talented game makers for Microsoft’s consoles and that means a lot.

There a wide open environment waiting to be explored. Monsters and puzzles await us gamers.

For more on Xbox and video gaming, stay tuned!

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