This week the city of Cologne will play host to the biggest videogames expo in Europe, Gamescom.
While relatively small in size and stature when compared with E3, Gamescom has in the past seen its fair share of big announcements and drool-worthy reveals. Last year alone Microsoft stormed the expo, announcing Halo Wars 2 and showing off Crackdown 3 and Quantum Break, while Blizzard announced the World Of Warcraft expansion, Legion.
That having been said, it looks like many publishers are going to let their games do the talking at this year’s Gamescom rather than fancy keynote presentations. The major platform holders, Sony and Microsoft have announced that while many upcoming games will be available to demo on the expo floor, there won’t be press conferences from either of them.
Only two keynotes are scheduled – Electronic Arts and Blizzard – and this year’s expo seems to be more about putting announced games into the hands of the media and attendees alike than announcing anything new. While htxt.africa won’t be on the shop floor this year, we’ll be watching all of the developments keenly.
Here’s what we predict – and dearly hope – will happen.
Microsoft & Sony
As has been said the two console giants aren’t planning any splashy presentations, so it’s unlikely either of them will make any staggering announcements.
Those hoping for a new Xbox One exclusive or perhaps more information on Project Scorpio will have to wait. Similarly, Sony seems to be keeping its powder dry for PS Neo; the PS4 platform holder reportedly has a showcase planned for later this year in New York, so it’s more likely it’ll reveal details on its new console then.
Still, it’s not all bad news; Microsoft will have Gears Of War 4, Scalebound, Forza Horizon 3 and a couple of other exclusives on the expo floor this year. Sony for its part will be more than likely showing off more titles for its PS4 VR headset, since its arrival date for retail is rapidly approaching.
Wishlist: The new Crackdown was noticeably absent from Microsoft’s keynote and expo booth at E3, so we’d love to hear more about that – a release date would be wonderful. As far as Sony is concerned a new exclusive – perhaps a sequel to The Last Of Us – would be nice, but really, we’re not holding our collective breath.
Blizzard & EA
Even though they’re the only two publishers that have keynotes at Gamescom, it’s hard to know what to expect from Blizzard and EA.
In the case of the former, it’s kicked out a couple of new heroes for Heroes Of The Storm, a new adventure for Hearthstone and the Legion expansion for World Of Warcraft in the space of the last couple of weeks.
It’s hard to know what Blizzard could have in store for its keynote – especially because one would think that the publisher would save any major announcements for BlizzCon later this year. Still, we’ll be finding out this evening when Blizzard addresses Gamescom (and you can watch along on its livestream) at 18h30 local time.
EA will likely be showing off Battlefield 1 (its new trailer just dropped) and FIFA 17. We’re also expecting more on Titanfall 2, since its release date is a couple of months away. Some news on Mass Effect: Andromeda would be rather welcome too.
Given that Star Wars occupied a large chunk of EA’s keynote at E3, we’d be staggered if there wasn’t any news about some upcoming games set ‘a long, long time ago in a galaxy far away’. If you’re interested, you can tune into the livestream of EA’s Gamescom keynote at 19h15 local time tonight.
Wishlist: From Blizzard, we’d love to see a new expansion for Diablo III and some news on the rumoured Starcraft HD. EA, we’re still waiting for a new Command & Conquer and if you could make some attempt to rehabilitate the Dead Space franchise, that’d be lovely.
The other publishers
Bethesda has released an email promising media hands-on time with Dishonored 2 and the newly announced Prey. We also expect to see some news about the release date of The Elder Scrolls: Legends card game, since it’s been in open beta for a while now.
Wishlist: Please, please, please can we have some story-based DLC for DOOM?
Ubisoft’s most hyped titles are arguably Ghost Recon: Wildlands, Watch Dogs 2 and South Park: The Fractured, But Whole, but received wisdom states that they’re all going to be first-look demos. Expect clips as and when they go live.
Wishlist: We’re stumped on this one. A new Rayman, perhaps? Or confirmation that Beyond Good & Evil 2 is even a going concern anymore?
2K Interactive’s PR people are firing out missives about Mafia III, Civilization 6 and WWE 2K16, so we’d expect them all to appear at Gamescom. We haven’t heard if the BioShock Collection will make an appearance, but it would be good to see how the HD port compares to the original.
Wishlist: We expect nothing from 2K, but that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t like to see a new game from the publisher. A new BioShock, perhaps? Or a game that sorts out the cliffhanger ending in The Darkness II?
Square Enix’s Gamescom booth will likely feature Final Fantasy XV (which is slated for release this November) and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (scheduled for release this month). For us, though, it’s all about Hitman, which has quietly been going about its business as one of this year’s best releases.
Wishlist: Hitman all day every day. We’d like news on the new episodes (not just Bangkok, which drops this week), new Elusive Targets, new bonus content and new contracts. Oh, and we want it confirmed that a new Hitman game – whether it’s released episodically or as a full release – won’t be too far behind this one.
What are you all looking forward to from Gamescom? Tweet us @htxtafrica with your wishlist.