Now that the proverbial dust has settled from the blitz that was this year's E3 and companies have stopped patting themselves on the back, the majority are all ready to descend on Germany for Gamescom 2014. Sadly, Nintendo have again decided not to do a keynote but that doesn't mean there isn't still a whole plethora of announcements to sink our teeth into. Here are the top five things to look out for.
Now there is no denying that Sony knocked it out of the park this year at E3. Sure, everyone had a good year but they put together a long list of AAA titles covering both long-running series and new IPs. They also dedicated time to focus on smaller games ranging from the ethereal bird adventure Entwined to my personal E3 favourite, space exploration adventure No Man's Sky. So after they fired all cylinders, dropped the mic and walked away from the explosion they left on stage, what now?
Personally if there was one thing from Sony I'd say I'm most excited about it's Bloodborne, (the cousin of Dark Souls) playable on the convention floor. That puts us all one major step closer to dying brutally, over and over again, in a beautifully horrific landscape, and we should be very, very excited.
Industry behemoth Blizzard this year have four days of showcase events ranging from their upcoming entry into the MOBA world with Heroes of the Storm and unbelievably addictive card game Hearthstone. As well as a handful of World of Warcraft and Starcraft competitions, they're covering all bases.
However in true Blizzard style they're opting to include other forms of entertainment. Spark, a live orchestra, will be playing a selection of WoW's incredible soundtrack on Friday at 2pm. Sadly nothing about the upcoming movie, though filming on it has recently wrapped up so, soon...
Usually not putting much into Gamescom other then showing face and having a few playable goodies, this year they've opted to a media briefing and promise some big things. After their E3 conference, we should definitely expect more Indie games and a large mention of their current underdog status in this gen due to fairly disappointing first year sales.
As a die hard Halo fanboy who may/may not have had a master chief poster on my wall growing up, most of my attention is on the developments around the new set of games, as well as the anniversary edition. As we all know, a spartan never dies, they just get more pixels and a visual overhaul now and again.
Missing out on Gamescom last year after the Steam Box was pushed back to 2015, this is the first time that the public will be able to get their mitts on the redesigned controllers. After some pretty 'meh' feedback about the original design, they've drifted more to a stereotypical controller with, y'know, buttons. People will be able to get to grips with it at GC (and most likely complain about there not being enough innovation).
Interestingly, as well as listing themselves as bringing 'controllers and hardware' they're also listed as PC, so most are keeping fingers and toes crossed in the hope they bring a game to show.
After the few teaser details dropped at Comic Con regarding Mass Effect 4 it's pretty safe to assume we'll see even more of the next instalment in the series. Another game to look forward to from them is the mystery-surrounded 'Nightmare'.
The live-action teaser raised many questions about smoking faces and locking yourself out of your own car in a nightmare world. One thing's for sure, it doesn't look like the usual third person RPG fare they've become the industry leaders in, and they've promised that the new IP will be explained and explored at Gamescom. I'm so excited my head might start smoking.
The big draw to Gamescom each year is the platform it gives to the tech developments, and luckily for us the industry is abuzz with VR at the minute. After the Oculus Rift caused such ripples throughout the gaming world by actually delivering an exciting and immersive, albeit occasionally disorientating VR experience others have started to throw their goggles into the ring. The biggest contenders in the form of Sony's 'Project Morpheus', add in the 'will they/won't they' rumours surrounding Valve making their own headset too and there is potential to see a lot of VR gear this year.
With millions watching both famed gaming personalities and random grandmas screaming and having a fit as they ride a virtual roller-coaster, the YouTube effect has played a big part in giving VR its current boom. Now that companies like Sony have begun to embrace it as a commercial interest, and the $2 billion acquisition of Oculus by Facebook, VR is close to the seemingly impossible; fulfilling the broken dreams we've had since the virtual boy. We still don't like to talk about the virtual boy.
Apart from those listed, there will be the usual pick-and-mix of Indie games and their haggard developers, industry insiders young and old, and half a dozen well kept secrets that'll make it a good year for consumers. Also, for those like me who are making their way to the much more local Eurogamer next month in London, it gives us a great insight into what we're going to be able to play around with, preparing the ever vital queue plans and our lists for Santa this holiday season.
The best upcoming games (and their release dates)
The best upcoming games (and their release dates)
1/21 Assassin's Creed: Unity
Set in Paris during the French Revolution, Ubisoft's latest Assassin's Creed looks incredible. For the first time, four players can take on missions in multiplayer co-op, and there's also a new stealth option, which contrasts well with the fluid movement of the deadly Assassin. Release date: October 2014
2/21 Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
The 11 year-old military first person shooter series is about to become more futuristic, with characters that look more realistic than ever - plus, Kevin Spacey stars as the bad guy. The downloadable content for will be released first on Xbox Live. Release date: November 2014
Nintendo's not known for its shooters, so they've entered the territory with a big inky bang for the Wii U. Play online as a squid in two teams of four to cover as much of the ground in your team's ink as possible - avoiding a splattering from your enemies. Bold, bright, boisterous, and a lot of fun. Release date: Q1 2015
4/21 The Order: 1886
Set in a stunning cinematic Victorian London (except with some curious/scary 'half-breed' monsters), the third-person shooter is exclusive to PlayStation 4. Steampunk fans will be very happy. Release date: February 2015
5/21 Super Smash Bros
New characters are coming to battle - including Pac-Man. Players will also be able to fight as their Mii character, as either a Brawler, Gunner or Swordfighter. Release date: 'Holiday 2014'
The $500 Million first person shooter with hints of MMO is nearly here. Set in a post-apocalyptic setting in space, Destiny will take players on a surprising journey. Release date: September 2014
5 players. Four as hunters, one as a giant alien monster. Release date: October 2014
8/21 Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
Naughty Dog aren't giving much away here, other than a clip of an older Nathan Drake. But he looks good. Release date: 2015
9/21 No Man's Sky
Space? Tick. Dinosaurs? Tick. Indie title dubbed as 'stealing the show' at E3. Tick. Release date: TBticked
10/21 Batman: Arkham Knight
Nananananananana! Just watch the trailer. Release date: can't wait for 2015
11/21 Legend of Zelda for Wii U
There were rumours that the protagonist was Zelda instead of Link, but Eiji Aonuma has denied this. It does look like the new Zelda will be more open and vast than ever - and it looks gorgeous. Release date: 2015
12/21 Little Big Planet 3
Sackboy's got some new friends this time round in PlayStation's puzzle platformer, each with different skills opening up a range of different, and cute, challenges. Release date: November 2014
13/21 The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
In the latest from the series which recently got a nod from none other than Barack Obama, the scope for Geralt’s open world looks vast. Release date: February 2015
14/21 Yoshi's Woolly World
Just when you though Yoshi couldn't be any more adorable. This beautiful new world of yarn is one you'll want to unravel, and it looks like the perfect children's game. You can also play with a friend as red yarn Yoshi. Release date: 2015
15/21 Sunset Overdrive
The colourful comic style offering exclusive to Xbox One combines the feel of Sum 41/Tony Hawk with a random mix of mutants and energy drinks. Release date: October, 2014
From the Dark Souls director Hidetaka Miyazaki (but it's NOT a sequel), Sony exclusive Bloodborne looks dark, difficult, and dramatic. Release date: 2015
17/21 Rainbow Six Siege
Tom Clancy's tactical multiplayer shooter goes back to basics where destruction will ensue whether you play as a criminal or the police. Release date: 2015
18/21 Dragon Age: Inquisition
Bioware's RPG sequel to Dragon Age 2 will let players explore more than ever before - and there are several different major endings depending on your decisions in the game. Release date: October, 2014
19/21 Ori and the Blind Forest
This indie release from Microsoft is one for those who love being enchanted by gorgeously unique artwork in a platformer. Release date: TBA
20/21 Far Cry 4
Set in a region of the Himalayas, you get to ride on an elephant with weapons, and invite friends to join you to play via PlayStation Plus, even if they don't own the game. Release date: November 2014
21/21 Alien: Isolation
What’s scarier than a survival horror game about being attacked by an alien? Being attacked by an alien in a virtual reality headset. You should try this on Oculus Rift. Release date: October 2014