Gamescom 2014: what to look out for
From No Man's Sky to a live orchestra playing World of Warcraft's soundtrack, there's a lot to feast your eyes on
Tuesday 12 August 2014
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.
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